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Unlocking the Meaning of Lost: The Unauthorized Guide Paperback – 1 Jun 2006

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If like us you are a fan of the hit TV series LOST, this book is going to be a very handy little addition to your bookshelf! Providing detailed information on the show, its creators and even the fans it highlights information which could be vital in unravelling the mysteries surrounding the show. With some great information on the various different conspiracies and theories that have been doing the rounds on the internet and quotes from the shows producers and creators this is a must have item for LOST fans everywhere! We have rated this book with five stars. --Enchanted Entertainment (UK) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


This title takes you inside the philosophies and themes of the hit show, "Lost". Rarely has a cult TV show reached the level of "Lost": an average of 15,000,000 viewers per week, and 12 Emmy nominations in its first year, including a win for Best Drama. Through it all, "Lost" has retained the core elements of a quality cult show: excellent writing, deep themes, and plot twists that keep its fans loyal, talking and guessing. "Lost World" is the first book to explore the philosophies and themes of the hit show. It serves as both a guide to the mysteries, as well as an analysis of the issues that the characters face, and how these issues reflect our life and society. The topics include: Second Chances, The Nature of Faith, Facing Fear and Loss, and Finding One's True Path.

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In September 2004, the ABC network series Lost debuted on U.S. television. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 17 reviews
47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Review from an advance copy. 16 Mar 2006
By Cecilia Chen - Published on Amazon.com
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. The book is clearly written by fans of the show for fans of the show, and the passion for the subject matter comes through.

The middle chapters which look into arching themes are solid and well-referenced down to episode. The chapters on technological themes and interconnectiveness of lives aren't bad, but I do believe that within the spirituality chapters, there is a paucity of information on some recurrent symbology which is not explored well, including black & white/duality themes, Western governmental philosophies, and Eastern spirituality (there are a couple of sentences on dharma, but little else from that perspective, though the book does a good job with Christian, Muslim, and even Pagan themes). Another unfortunate thing about the book is that it suffers from its "mid-seasonality"-in order to release it in time for sweeps, it has to by necessity cut off the analysis to the episode The Long Con (2.13) and will not cover through all of Season 2.

I for one was attracted to the fact that the book restrains from too much random speculation/conjecture in the middle chapters, and backs up all connections with specific facts found within the episodes. Many of the ideas were obvious (some honestly a bit mundane), but there were a few that were original as well, making them enjoyable to read and think about (inspiring me with a few tangential thoughts of my own). The only time the book dips its toes deeply into the muddy theoretical realm is in the chapter on fan sites/forums. This did not bother me, because it stuck with just a handful of older semi-popular (and not yet discredited) fan theories-I had heard of some of them, but some were new. One of the theories mentioned, the "Copenhagen photo" has since been officially discredited as a hoax by the perpetrator, and probably should not have been included.

I liked the background info in the ending chapters, detailing some of the history of the show and the origins of its "fandom"; it was like having a backstage pass. There is very much an appreciation in the book of the unique interactivity of the show, and of how far the "phenomenon" of LOST has come with its internet fan base (a community which the authors themselves appear proud members of). It's hard to come up with a comprehensive list of show "ancestors" without going overboard (since there are just SO many possible influences), but the authors did a good job with their limited list (roughly 20), especially with analysis of connections to Lord of the Flies, The Stand, and The Twilight Zone series.

The Glossary, the Character Sketches, Character Connections and Appendix sections take up a good third of the book, but they are well worth it and I think will make a good, organized source of reference for those interested in future detailed discussions of the show.

In summary, this book is worth a read for those seeking intelligent, grounded commentary on general themes that permeate the LOST series, Season 1 - half of Season 2; just remember that this is not an official or "insider" book.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Interesting analysis 7 May 2006
By Blake Petit - Published on Amazon.com
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.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Unlock Lost With the Utlimate Key 10 May 2006
By Writestuff - Published on Amazon.com
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!
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Lost in a great book! 10 May 2006
By JC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am an avid fan of Lost and found this book to be a great resource, as well as a starting point for some new thought on the subject. There is a lot to keep track of in this TV series (characters' current lives on the island, flashbacks to characters' previous lives, plot twists, philosophy. . .etc) and the details that are catalogued in this book have been revelatory to me. Having all those details laid out in front of me has helped me to think about my own and others' theories on Lost and make some interesting connections and even some dismissals. This book is for the thinking fan who wants an accessible resource and insightful discussion of an incredible series. I have also loaned this book to a friend who I wanted to get interested in Lost, and she has found it most helpful and is now HOOKED on the series. There is also a section on fansites and blog resources that has been really fun to peruse. I have even run into one of the authors online and gotten to chat. Very cool! In short, this book has it all!
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Who was this written for? 9 Oct 2006
By Clay Reimus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I read this book during the break in seasons 2 and 3. Besides the thorough section devoted to the producer's influences--the parallels to "The Stand" and "The X-Files" are interesting--it was a waste of time. It left me wondering what audience they were targeting with this book--huge Lost fans who are involved in the intertextuality of the show know all of this already, and casual fans won't be bothered by buying books. I also noticed that there is no speculation whatsoever in the book, and that it sticks to the basic facts that we all know already. Plus, it was written before the last episodes of season 2, which are critical to "unlocking" any meaning behind the show.

Don't buy it.
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