J.J. Abrams’s ‘The Story of S’ Will Blow Your Mind

jj abrams the story of s doug dorst projectWikicommons / Mulholland Books

J.J. Abrams is undoubtedly known for his must-see TV and film resume which includes throwbacks like FelicityAlias, and films including two of the Mission Impossibles and Star Wars Episode VII. Abrams’ literary partner in crime also happens to be his friend, author, and three-time Jeopardy! champ Doug Dorst. Abrams dreamt up the idea for The Story of S (or simply S.) after discovering a book in an airport; apparently, the book was intentionally left behind by its previous owner, who left a note to whoever found it next. Conceptualized by Abrams and written by Dorst, each and every detail of The Story of S was scrutinized closely, and even the handwriting is printed as notes to emulate something personal.

jj abrams story of s
More on Abrams’ S.:

One book. Two readers. A world of mystery, menace, and desire.

A young woman picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger, and so begins an unlikely conversation that plunges them both into the unknown.

THE BOOK: Ship of Theseus, the final novel by a prolific but enigmatic writer named V. M. Straka, in which a man with no past is shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched onto a disorienting and perilous journey.

THE WRITER: Straka, the incendiary and secretive subject of one of the world’s greatest mysteries, a revolutionary about whom the world knows nothing apart from the words he wrote and the rumours that swirl around him.

THE READERS: Jennifer and Eric, a college senior and a disgraced grad student, both facing crucial decisions about who they are, who they might become, and how much they’re willing to trust another person with their passions, hurts, and fears.

First uncovered in 2013, the mystery of S. is exceptionally cool. On the outside, it resembles an old library book entitled The Ship of Theseus, which was published in 1949; and the author, a mysterious figured who goes by V.M. Straka, is believed to be as fictional as the title of the tale itself. If that isn’t unique enough, the story has another untraditional twist: it’s actually told in the margins of the pages!Within the folds of the book are postcards, photographs, newspaper clippings, letters and even doodles on a napkin. All of these things are clues that enable the reader to unfold the mystery told inside the book. In order to solve it, you must read not only the book but all of the notes made by the readers (Eric and Jen).

In preparation for its release, Abrams delivered the video teaser for the book entitled “Stranger.” Once you have the book in your hands, though, you’ll realize that such a cool concept as this may be just as intimidating as it is exciting. Although S is a heavy read, I’m confident it’s equally exciting. In fact, there are websites dedicated to helping new readers know where to begin. Whoisstraka.com, for instance, is a community for readers to go to discuss guidance, theories, and answers about The Ship of Theseus.

So who is The Story of S best suited for? Mystery lovers for starters; anyone who is a fan of the show Lost; and those who want to celebrate the creativity that becomes possible with a well-spun tale.

Uber nerds and fans of the well-written word alike can rejoice at yet something else to revel in. I for one can’t wait to decode The Ship of Theseus myself.

Have you read The Story of S?

Tell us how excited you are for J.J. Abrams’ project in the comments below!

Errica Bailey
the authorErrica Bailey
A city girl from the midwest still not sure where to call home, Errica hopes to one day be able to focus her creative energy at a level akin to Carrie Matheson - off her meds of course.