A Matter of Time:
The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon
Softcover, 340 pages
Back to the Future is one of the most successful and beloved film trilogies of all time. Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Tom Wilson and others, the movies have stood the test of time, remaining as entertaining, hilarious and exciting now as they were when theatrically released between 1985 and 1990. But if you've only watched the films, you've only seen part of the story. A Matter of Time: The Back to the Future Lexicon brings fans the entire franchise: every character, place and object ever featured in the BTTF mythos, from not only the films, but also the screenplays, cartoons, novels, video games, card game, amusement-park ride, music videos and more.
Every McFly, Brown, Tannen, Parker, Clayton and Strickland... every eccentric invention... every Hill Valley business—past, present and future... A Matter of Time covers it all. This staggeringly complete encyclopedia, written by Rich Handley, the author of Timeline of the Planet of the Apes: The Definitive Unauthorized Chronology and Lexicon of the Planet of the Apes: The Comprehensive Unauthorized Encyclopedia), contains:
- Nearly 3,000 alphabetical entries detailing every character, scientific innovation, institution, location, vehicle, business and more, from every corner of the BTTF universe
- A stunning painted cover and more than 25 breathtaking, full-page interior sketches from artist Pat Carbajal, produced exclusively for this volume
- A nostalgic and informative foreword by BTTF.com's Stephen Clark, a noted expert on the Back to the Future mythos
- Detailed listings of Doc Brown's many inventions, as well as all known ancestors, descendants and aliases for every major character (and even some minor ones) from the film trilogy
- An episode guide to Back to the Future's entire expanded universe—the movies are just the beginning
- A gallery featuring 160 covers spanning three decades, from the films' home-video releases, as well as novels, comics, video games and more
Back in Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Chronology
Great Scott, not even Grays Sports Almanac is this complete! Beautifully designed by Paul C. Giachetti—and geared toward both casual fans and those who know Biff Tannen's middle name—A Matter of Time: The Back to the Future Lexicon is your guide to the whos, whats, wheres and whens of Hill Valley's history. So make like a tree... and order it.
The Back to the Future Lexicon is available at Amazon.com for $25.15, as well as at BTTF.com.
HASSLEIN BOOKS: How long have you been a fan of the Back to the Future franchise?
RICH HANDLEY: I've loved all three movies since my initial viewings, back when they first showed up in theaters. The concept, the humor, the cast, the recurring gags, the outfits, the excitement level, the stunts—it had me at "hello." When the first film was released, I saw it several times in the theater (I was in high school at the time), and I later re-watched it multiple times on TV and on VHS. I had a girlfriend back then who loved the film as well, so I have fond memories of watching it with her. I was in college when the sequels came out, and was blown away at how much I loved both of them. That same feeling I got from the first one was there in both Part II and Part III, and I walked out of each viewing with a big grin on my face, as though I, too, had traveled back in time to my high-school days, when I first met Marty and Doc onscreen. Years later, after countless viewings of all three films, I met Greg Mitchell, who had read my Planet of the Apes books and suggested that I give Back to the Future the same treatment. I agreed with the suggestion, but asked if he'd be interested in handling the chronology, while I tackled the lexicon (I'm not a stupid guy—I realized that a person would have to be nuts to write a Back to the Future timeline, given how complicated it is, so being naturally lazy, I chose the encyclopedia… see below for more on how THAT worked out). Greg agreed, and his book, Back in Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Chronology will be out next year, as a companion piece to this book.
HASSLEIN: What inspired your fascination with that universe, and why?
HANDLEY: Quite simply, it's so damn fun. How can someone NOT be fascinated by Back to the Future? Doc and Marty are like Kirk and Spock, Butch and Sundance, Han and Chewie, Apollo and Starbuck (new or old), in that there is SUCH a chemistry between these two characters. And then there are the other main characters—Biff Tannen, George McFly and Lorraine Baines—who remain some of the best characters ever seen in the cinema. Plus, I love time-travel stories when they're done right, and it doesn't get more right than BTTF. No matter what time period they're in, every character is hilarious and well-acted, every joke dead-on, every observation keen, and the parallels from one era to the next are fantastic. Watching Back to the Future—any of them—I sometimes wonder what drug Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis were on while writing it… because I want some. I can't think of a single film trilogy, other than Back to the Future, that is as consistently witty, and as consistently exciting. They're all brilliant. There's no Highlander II, Godfather III, Alien IV or Star Trek V in the bunch! How many film series can make THAT claim?
HASSLEIN: How would you sum up the project to tantalize future readers?
HANDLEY: Like the Planet of the Apes lexicon, this book is designed for anal-retentive fans. If it showed up or was mentioned onscreen or in print, it's here—every character, place and gadget, no matter how obscure, from not only the movies, but also the cartoons, the video games, the comic books, the novels, the ride, the screenplays, the Happy Meals, even obscure commercials and music videos. What amazed me the most while researching this encyclopedia has been just how much lore there is in the Back to the Future franchise. I knew the films like the back of my hand, and I was familiar with the animated series, but I'd never read the comics or played the games, and I'd never perused the movies' scripts or novelizations. I mistakenly assumed this would be a smaller project than POTA, and that Greg Mitchell would be the one writing the larger volume—but I was wrong. A Matter of Time is already shaping up to be around the same size as the Planet of the Apes lexicon (which is to say… it'll be huge).
HASSLEIN: What most excites you about working on this book?
HANDLEY: Three things, primarily: (1) Finding out just much I DIDN'T know about Back to the Future (particularly in getting to know the huge number of ancestors of Marty McFly, Doc Brown and Biff Tannen), (2) having the chance to work with art director Paul Giachetti and illustrator Pat Carbajal again, as we did on the Apes books, and (3) getting to know Greg better, as well as other Future fans, such as BTTF.com's Stephen Clark, who has graciously agreed to write the foreword to my book. We make a great team, since we're all geeks with a passion for the same brands of nerdiness. In addition, I love how revisiting Back to the Future has reminded me to laugh. Even during some of the more ridiculous moments of the animated series, I still often find myself cracking up. If I'm having this much fun writing it, that's a good sign!
Bob Gale, Creator and Co-writer, Back to the Future Trilogy:
Rich, you are certifiably insane! But I'm glad you are! And now YOU are THE authority on all things BTTF! Jeez, there's stuff in here even I didn't know... or didn't want to know... or wanted to forget! (However, I admit that I never played the 8-bit Nintendo game for more than 10 minutes--and if you did, you are either dedicated beyond the pale or a masochist!) Anyway, two gigantic thumbs up from me!
Claudia Wells, Actor (Jennifer Parker), Back to the Future:
AJ LoCascio, voice actor for Marty McFly in Telltale Games' BTTF video game:
Just got my copy of A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon, and holy crap is this thing heavy! No really—it's enormous! I would have begged my parents for this as a kid! It's an endless encyclopedia of absolutely every detail from the Back to the Future universe you could fathom. The illustrations are fantastic, the information is exhaustive, and just over all: a fantastic book to explore! If your as huge of a Back to the Future nut as I am, this book will absolutely blow your mind! Thanks to Rich Handley for making this happen! This is the Ultimate BTTF resource!
Stephen Clark, Noted Back to the Future Expert, BTTF.com:
Rich Handley's A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon... stands as a testament to the endurance this series still has today, and the grip it holds in the hearts and minds of its legions of fans. I won't spoil the pages ahead for you, but do trust me when I say that you're about to embark upon an incredible journey of unmatched research and creativeness, all pooled together into this one reference guide. I'm very thankful that there are people like Rich out there who have the knowledge and energy to tackle such a project as this, and I'm sure you'll feel the same way once you fully digest the following pages.
Troy Benjamin, BTTF.com Writer and a Researcher for the BTTF Blu-ray "Setups & Payoffs" Track:
I just wanted to say that I absolutely, undeniably am in love with the book. And I wanted to share a funny story with you… The moment A Matter of Time arrived, the first thing that I looked up was your entry for dear, sweet bench-dwelling "Red"--it was a point of discussion through the entire production of the 2010 Blu-ray tracks that finally ended up with copy notes from Bob Gale playing coy, stating "…and could 'Red' be related to 1955's Mayor 'Red' Thomas." And here I was hoping for any type of definitive answer. So naturally, I looked to your book--and it looks like you had the same confusion we did. Ha! Anyway, just wanted to pass along my love of your work and share that anecdote. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication to it. It's gonna be a mainstay on my shelf, re-read and referenced infinitely.
Jeff Bond, Geek Magazine:
If you've enjoyed the Back to the Future trilogy but draw the line at referring to a "Back to the Future Universe," this exhaustively researched 300-page-plus tome will metaphorically fling you back in time in order to rectify that criminal oversight... Suffice it to say, Handley has our endorsement to handle everything time-travel-related from now on.
Steve Czarnecki, Reporter, Beyond the Marquee:
I'd consider myself a pretty big enthusiast and thought I was pretty knowledgeable of most things Back to the Future. And then like a bolt of lightning I picked up Rich Handley's new book, A Matter of Time: the Back to the Future Lexicon, from Hasslein Books, and suddenly I sheepishly realized there was a lot more to the BTTF universe that I needed to learn in my ongoing journey as a fan. If you love the Back to the Future films, I encourage you to pick this ultimate guide-book up, you will NOT be disappointed... Rich, who wrote this magnificent book and deserves a standing ovation for his time and dedication, also is the author of Timeline of the Planet of the Apes: The Definitive Chronology and Lexicon of the Planet of the Apes: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia, which are also Must Haves for fans of Planet of the Apes. I just ordered mine on Amazon yesterday... I'm not kidding.
Zaki Hasan, Media Scholar, Critic and Creator of Zaki's Corner:
This is a massive encyclopedia of all things Back to the Future, and it blows my mind how much info he was able to pack in here. This goes through every piece of Back to the Future archana, so not just the three movies, but the cartoon show, the video games, you name it, and he created this fantastic encyclopedia. Just to put this in perspective, we've got the McDonalds Happy Meals boxes, we've got the Back to the Future Annual from Marvel Comics, we've got the card game, the animated show--a lot of stuff... so do check that out. If you're any kind of Back to the Future fan, you will find a lot to like in this book. It's a lot of fun.
Marty Mulrooney, Editor-in-Chief, Alternative Magazine Online:
Rich Handley was without question the right man for the job. To collect all of this information into one "heavy" tome must have been a mammoth task–it is no exaggeration that this will likely become the equivalent of the bible for many Back to the Future fans from now on. After reading the foreword and introduction, the sheer size and comprehensiveness of The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon can be almost overwhelming at first. Yet the clever layout and design of the book by Paul C. Giachetti makes it very easy to dip into without getting lost.
Blogger Daniel T. Gillette, CinemaDan.com:
In the movies, the Sports Almanac is the most prized possession. Well, in our world, this IS the Sports Almanac of Back to the Future. ALL Back to the Future knowledge—A Matter of Time covers EVERYTHING... If you're a Back to the Future fan like I am, you WANT this!
The Sci-Fi Block's Robert Ring:
I absolutely recommend this book. Not only has it been polished by yours truly, but it has been put together by someone whose thoroughness could not be matched.
Author and literary critic John Kenneth Muir:
Author Rich Handley is a very good historian indeed... Reading through A Matter of Time, I really wanted to watch Back to the Future Part II again, and perhaps review it on [my] blog... Handley's text reminded me of that film's sense of joy… and utter madness. It left me feeling "Fired Up," to refer to a 2015 Marty McFly and the Pinheads compilation album (addressed in the book on page 93)
Novelist Greg Mitchell, author of The Back to the Future Chronology:
Rich Handley's new Back to the Future Lexicon is available now! I got my copy last night and I can't say enough about this book. The work put into it is staggering, and the original art is breathtaking. You will spend hours poring over the pages with wonder. It's an encyclopedia on all things BTTF (except for a timeline, because I'm still working on that one). Do yourself a favor and buy this. Buy TWO, and give one as a present. No self-respecting geek should be without it.
Forces of Geek's 2012 Holiday Gift Guide:
...the perfect gift for yourself or someone on your list.
Fatih Tüylüoglu, Administrator, Official Back to the Future Facebook Page:
You need to check this: A Matter of Time: The Back to the Future Lexicon brings fans the entire BTTF franchise--every character, place and object from not only the films, but also the screenplays, cartoons, novels, video games, card game, amusement-park ride and more.
Back to the Future fan Dale Ankers
Received my copy today and I have to say that I'm really surprised at the quality of the publication. I've been a BTTF fan for as long as I can remember and own pretty much every book that has ever been published on the trilogy. I'd have to say that the Lexicon is perhaps the first ever ESSENTIAL book for any serious BTTF fan... It's beautifully put together. I can see myself returning to it again and again. Thank you for the work you put into it..
Jarrett Kruse, Reviewer, Den of Geek!:
Spot on and unbelievably detailed, A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon is the book that time-travelling fans have been waiting for. If ever there was a Holy Grail for both the new and old BTTF fan and sci-fi junkie, this is perhaps the perfect gift for this holiday season. Every BTTF fan, from those like me who wore out their VHS tapes in high school and college to the current era of pause-happy high-definition Blu-ray, will revel in the attention to detail that Rich Handley has put into this massive and truly epic book. Having the book by my side turned watching the trilogy again into an all-day event. The book acts as the DVD bonus feature that we have always wished for but thought could never happen. With its amazing abbreviation key, the reader takes a journey to all of the answers, inside jokes and backstories behind the popular franchise. Arguments will finally be settled within the fanboy set as you get the chance to see things in the series that you never noticed before.
Amazon.com Reviewer "Yee-haw Texas":
WOW!! What a terrific book for the BTTF fanatic! Everything is in this one. Well worth the money if you really love the BTTF Trilogy.
Kait & Monica's Geeky Holiday Gift Guide, AllGeekToMe.net:
If you know someone that is a humongous fan of the Back to the Future movies, this is the book for them! They will learn about every piece of the franchise that they might have missed while wishing they had a DeLorean.
Smells Like Infinite Sadness' Geek Holiday Gift Guide 2012: Books and Collectibles:
An encyclopedia of everything Back to the Future, containing thousands of factoids on all things McFly.
Ruth Suehle (GeekMom), Wired.com:
It's hard to be a geek of our generation without having at least some nostalgic feeling towards the Back to the Future franchise, and probably a lot more than just that. (Perhaps it's most often subtly manifested in the geek war cry, "Where's my hoverboard?!") But I suspect few have invested the passion that Rich Handley brings to A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon.
Joe Crowe, RevolutionSF.com:
You like Back to the Future. Of course you do. You're a human being. But you don't know as much about it as Rich Handley... This whole project is a mushy love letter to a fun movie and everything related to it. Far more information than you need to know is here, including the principal's first name. It was in the novelization. That kind of information is what we as geeks require. It feeds us. This book will sustain you until you make like a tree and get out of here.
Lisa Kay Tate, International House of Geek:
This is, without a doubt, one of the most thoroughly researched books on a movie franchise I've seen in a while... My first reaction, of course, was "well, you have really got to be into Back to the Future to get anything out of this," but like any well-put together reference book, all I had to do was glance at a random item and next thing I know I'm bouncing around from entry to entry, remembering (or just learning) details about the movie I never before realized.
Paul Simpson, Sci-Fi Bulletin:
Like its Doctor Who counterparts, The Encyclopaedia and Ahistory, A Matter of Time is a real labour of love on the part of its author...
Jason Carter, The Writer's Journey:
The appendices in the back of the book complement the book wonderfully. An episode guide, cover gallery, and even a family tree of sorts are among the extra pages at the end of A Matter of Time. Perhaps the most interesting page in this volume is the reproduction of the telephone book page Marty tore out in 1955, showing Doc's historical address and phone number. From beginning to end, A Matter of Time will delight Back to the Future fans with tidbits that they had forgotten.
Philip J. Reed, Noiseless Chatter:
"The Back to the Future films are more or less the gold standard for sci-fi comedies... which probably makes this a good gift for somebody on your shopping list, as it's likely you know at least one major fan."
BTTF Fan James Brancale:
"I wouldn't recommend the Lexicon to a fellow fan... I would rather state the Lexicon is a necessity, because the use of the word 'recommend' doesn't express how 'heavy' this book is!"
Back to the Future and related characters and stories © Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment. No copyright infringement intended.