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Unlocking the Meaning of Lost: An Unauthorized Guide Paperback – April 7, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc. (April 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402207263
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402207266
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,037,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

ABC's hit show, Lost, goes under the knife as Porter, a humanities professor, and Lavery, who has written studies about other shows including Twin Peaks, investigate the show's mysteries and provide valuable explanations of the show's plotlines and characters, along with speculation as to how they may be interlinked. The authors analyze the show's predecessors-Gilligan's Island, Jurassic Park and the Stephen King novella, The Langoliers-and posit "Lost's ongoing narrative drive is modeled, in what may be a television first, on the storyworld of video games." Loftier questions dealing with philosophical and spiritual concerns (Is technology good or bad? How do people define who they are? Does man have free will, or is he controlled by destiny?) are posed and left to the reader to ponder. The writers are remarkably conversant with the show and the subculture it's spawned, and though this makes for an insightful and satisfying read, the narrative can get bogged down in debating contradictory or insignificant details. With easy-reading plot summaries, intriguing predictions and swift overviews of the show's philosophical underpinnings, the book is sure to be a hit with fans.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In just a little under two seasons, the ABC drama Lost has already garnered a devoted and fervent fan base and helped turn things around for a struggling network. Porter and Lavery venture inside the phenomenon, examining the different aspects of the show that have garnered it such a loyal audience. From a title that carries meaning on many different levels to the religious symbolism in the show to characters that defy the stereotypes they first appear to fit so neatly into, Porter and Lavery show just how inventive Lost is. They also delve into how the show's creators and writers created buzz for the show, building excitement through hype before the show even began. They've retained that fan base by going far beyond the hour of new drama each week--official Web sites tease and illuminate the show's mysteries, and the writers and cast even take time to visit fan sites to gauge audience reaction and theories about the show. An all-encompassing guide for those who want to dig deeper into this complex, compelling show. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Cecilia Chen on March 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
I was sent an advanced copy of the book through their publicist because I write occasional short articles for [...] I agreed I'd review it, and promised them nothing (no rave reviews, no automatic endorsements) except an honest opinion & critique--since I posted it there, I thought I might as well post my early opinion here as well. :)

This is a 290 page softcover which promises "to explore the philosophies and themes of the hit show, as well as the countless mysteries that consume fans." Topics covered by chapter include:

Creating Lost

Lost without Technology

Lost in Their Lives

Lost Spirituality

Larger Spiritual Concepts

Lost Ancestors

Cult(ivating) a Lost Audience

...and a long glossary/appendix section.

Overall, I found this to be a decently engaging book for those who are true fans of the show, and want to delve more deeply into underlying themes. It at times reads like an academic text, taking its subject matter seriously (and may be a little stylistically dry for some). They have obviously done a good amount of research. Drawbacks for more populist fans of the show are that it has no photographs or pictures, (in part because of copyrighting issues, I assume?). Readers seeking a more official companion book may want to check out LOST Chronicles (Mark Cota Vaz, 2005, Hyperion) instead, which also works better as an episode guide.

Particular strengths of this book are in the beginning chapter (about the creation of the series) and the ending chapters (about other literary/TV/movie references that preceded the series, and fan participation). They provide a lot of meaningful insight / background into what may be going on within the TPTB creative minds.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Blake Petit VINE VOICE on May 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'll be the first to admit it, I don't read a lot of nonfiction. And what nonfiction I DO read, typically, is discussion and analysis of my favorite fiction. Such is the case here, as Lynnette Porter and David Lavery delve into the mysteries of one of the top shows on televison, Lost.

Porter and Lavery have constructed a very thoughtful and (more importantly) thought-provoking analysis of the show, the story of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, which crashed on a mysterious island where nothing is as it seems. The book discusses each of the main characters, outlines connections between them, dissects many of the "ancestor texts" -- TV shows, movies and books that are percieved to have influenced Lost and which may contain clues to unlock the show's mysteries -- presents a great many of the theories behind the show's mysteries and even talks about the innovative production and promotion of the show, which has used the internet to create a community of fans that interact with the creators in a way that no television show has done before.

Interestingly, for a book concerned with "unlocking the meanings," this book is very short on speculation. The authors content themselves with discussing the facts of the show as known and the ideas put forth and supported by the fan communities, but they don't put forth or endorse any theories or ideas of their own. It's a surprisingly journalistic approach to the subject matter, one that took me quite by surprise. The book covers the entire first season of the show and a bit more than half of the second season, presumably all of the series that had been aired at the time the book went to press.

Overall, this really is a well-written, well-researched book that serves best as a recap for longtime fans as a way to refocus their thinking and go over what we've uncovered so far.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Writestuff on May 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
Unlock the Meaning of Lost with this Unofficial Guide, which is the only key you'll need. This book is for the thinking fan who likes to unravel the many mysteries hidden in Lost. It delves deeply into all sorts of areas like spirituality, for instance, uncovering various hints of religious ideology from Catholicism to Paganism as well as the philosophical underpinnings of Locke.

It also secures Lost within a literary and popular culture history, providing the reader with its "ancestors," like the work of Defoe's Robinson Crusoe to my favorite, Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you've read any of Lavery's other books on popular culture, this one won't disappoint either. Porter is also the author of one of the best books on The Lord of the Rings too. Together, Lavery and Porter create an unbeatable dynamic duo, who manage to create a real tour de force of criticism here.

Make no mistake about this. Even though it's written by two Ph.D.s, this book isn't just for academics. Although it deals with some complex material like literary criticism, it's written in an entertaining and engaging way. It's fun. It's even got a section on all the fan sites, a Lost glossary, and some great character sketches that help provide background for those of us wishing to catch up on the series.

In short, the book is well-researched and a great, easy read. It unlocks all the mysteries that you've been wondering about and even some that you didn't know existed.

This unofficial guide is the only guide you'll need to navigate the incredibly complex, unmapped terrain which is Lost.

Buy it today!
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