Stranger Things season 3 will release in summer 2019, which gives those of you who have never seen it a little more time to binge for the first two seasons to see what all the noise was about. For those of you who are anxiously waiting to see where the summer of ’85 takes Mike and Will and Lucas and Dustin and El, you may want to pass the time by checking out the new Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down – The Official Behind-the-Scenes Companion. (Yes, that’s the full title.)
The first thing you’re likely to notice when you see the book is its overall design. It’s got a worn look, with slightly torn edges and crinkles and that plastic cover that libraries love to put over their hardcovers. A sticker on the cover labeled “Melvald’s General Store” lists the book in FAIR condition, by the way. That’s a fair assessment, given that the inside of the book’s jacket has seen better days and has a sketch of a very familiar nightmare that’s visible if you remove it.
I’m a huge fan of fan books that follow a theme, and this book knows how to please its fans. Here’s a list of some of the unique features that made me smile:
- Character bios and interviews with the young actors are formatted inside four Dungeons & Dragons character sheets, complete with stats.
- The high school kids (including Barb) have their bios and interviews tucked inside yearbook-style pages, complete with corny captions for the various photos.
- El, Joyce, and Hopper all have individual Hawkins Laboratory dossiers with bios and interviews.
- Full-color advertisement spreads for things like VCRs, BMX bikes, tape clubs, and more… each containing details about how the show’s nostalgic look and feel are obtained.
- Want to learn more about the Upside Down and how it developed? You’ll have to flip the book upside down to read that 15-page section.
- Someone stuck a fold-out geological survey map of Hawkins, Indiana in the back of the book—it’s got some markings and notes on it that may be of interest to you.
- There’s also a Pocket Signal Disk included that contains the International Morse Code on one side and Two-Arm Semaphore on the back.
- The foreword to the book is written by the show’s creators, Matt and Ross Duffer… and an afterword by Shawn Levy, one of the show’s producers.
- Full-color photos and production notes for seasons 1 and 2, along with TONS of interviews with all the actors PLUS so many details on how the show stayed true to its ’80s theme, such as using real actors instead of CGI whenever possible.
- Footnotes galore—most of them explain concepts from the ’80s for those who weren’t lucky enough to grow up an ’80s child (like me).
This 220+ page hardback is a pure gift for fans of the show. I read it all in one sitting… I could not put it down. There are a few more surprises in the book that I won’t spoil (one hint: That Morse Code card might come in handy), so if you’re a fan… or know one… this is a must-have book.