With J.J. Abrams' name at the helm of two major science-fiction franchises, all eyes are on both him and Bad Robot awaiting further tidbits of information. The production company does two things very well: secrecy and hype, so elements of each are to be expected whenever a new Bad Robot project is announced.
What we weren't expecting, however, was a mysterious teaser trailer entitled simply "Stranger," which was shot in black and white and featured some strange imagery of a near-drowned man walking up a beach, all with a voiceover that gave very little away. The teaser, which can be watched above, came with no indication of what it was a teaser for, though it's nicely-shot and is certainly quite memorable.
For a while this trailer left many puzzled, since it was difficult to imagine Abrams committing to a new major project with Star Wars Episode VII looming on the horizon. It transpires, however, that Stranger isn't a movie or TV series at all; the trailer is actually for a new novel devised by Abrams and written by Doug Dorst ("Alive in Necropolis"), which seems to be titled simply S. Bleeding Cool dug up some coverage of the book that was published on The Huffington Post in May, showing a strange postcard sent from Brazil.
Publisher Mulholland Books describes "S." as a "multilayered literary puzzle of love and adventure," and hints that there may be multimedia elements to the story, with further expansions available online and in the real world. The book's story will also be told in "in the margins... the hand-scribbled notes, questions, and confrontations of two readers." No details, of course, about who the two readers might be, but Mulholland promises that "S.", "will be a literary event, and is truly a love letter to the printed word.”
The entire marketing effort so far has been incredibly cryptic, even for Bad Robot, and it's frankly difficult to dig out a possible plot that connects a man being washed up on a beach, a man with his lips sewn shut, a postcard from Brazil, and some strange terminology referring to birds. Of course, confusing and apparently unconnected clues are all to be expected in a mystery novel, but with so little known about the plot it's difficult to find anything to really grip onto. Whatever happened to the good old days of murders committed in locked rooms?
Advertising for novels does tend to be a little less clear-cut than the average movie trailer, so perhaps it's to be expected that Mulholland Books and Bad Robot are keeping the cards close to their chest with "S." If you like a good mystery and think you've spotted a pattern in the clues for "S.", share your theories about the novel's possible plot in the comments.
S. is out on October 29th, 2013. That is all we know.