My daughter and I were huge fans of Fringe right from the show’s start in 2008. She was eleven years old, and we watched most of the first couple seasons on time delay, strictly during daylight hours. Five seasons later, we shared the finale together as it aired live, me and my now high school sophomore kid, enjoying the end of the long (and at the same time, all too short) trip.
As a result, I’ve got a bit of a sentimental attachment to Fringe, in addition to liking it a lot on its own merits. And for both of these reasons, I can’t say enough about the work and detail that clearly went into compiling Insight Editions’ Fringe companion volume, September’s Notebook.
Presented as an in-world journal collecting the notes, photographs, files, drawings, and other ephemera gathered by the Observer named September, this is a big (10-by-11.5 inches and 190+ pages) and amazingly jam-packed hardcover.
It functions on one level as a typical show companion book: There are character biographies and back stories, and episode outlines which take the form of Case Report Summaries printed on their appropriate agency stationery. But I give authors Tara Bennett and Paul Terry a ton of credit for the effort they’ve put into avoiding – as much as possible – reminders that this is a book about a TV show. There’s a “To the Fringe Faithful” foreword on page 7, and not another “real world” intrusion until page 186, where the book concludes with an episode guide and acknowledgments.
But in between? It’s like living Fringe all over again, and it’s just plain cool. The book’s divided into four sections: Over Here, Over There, Another Timeline, and 2036. Each of the first three closes with a portion that mimics a file containing the case reports of “Classified Fringe Events,” complete with cardstock folder pages and protruding tabs.
The book’s scrapbook-style layout allows for an abundance of photos that go well beyond standard production stills. Things like old Bishop family photos, reproduced gravestone rubbings, propaganda posters, newspaper clippings, and employment ID badges are just a few examples of things that may have only been glimpsed onscreen – if at all – but which make this book a real treat. And I definitely get the feeling that there’s an alternate universe’s worth of Easter eggs hidden throughout.
The minor sticking points with the book aren’t uncommon to this kind of publication: You need to take some care with the extra removable bits and fold-out pieces, and the file-folder style tabs that protrude from the pages are quick to dog-ear. (Although that particular wear seems to fit right in with the cover design, with its weathered look and almost complete lack of any “real-world” identification marks. It doesn’t even have a bar code or ISBN on it.)
Bottom line: I can’t imagine any fan of Fringe not being completely engrossed by this book – in any universe.
Want a copy to call your very own?
The team at Insight Editions not only provided us with September’s Notebook for this review, they sent over another for a lucky GeekDad reader!
The contest is open to U.S. Residents only, and you need to enter by 9 p.m. Eastern time May 6.