By Rich Handley
Hasslein Books, out now
A comprehensive alphabetical guide to all things – and we really do mean all things – connected to the Back to the Future franchise…
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 Rich Handley, who has gone through every single frame of every single BTTF movie, TV episode, ride and other ephemera to create this exhaustive list. You know when something has reached that point when the codes for information require one that reads REAL to refer to real life – in case you’ve forgotten that such a thing exists!
Unless you’re as much of a BTTF geek as the author, I would heartily recommend jumping to the first Appendix before you embark on reading the book. This gives an “episode guide” to the franchise, covering the movies, the animated TV series, the computer games and the comics, with basic plot descriptions. That allows you to understand the entries far more, and you can understand far more clearly where draft/early screenplay ideas have been incorporated into the whole.
It’s not a dry work either: Handley has an occasional wide-eyed sense of humour (look up the entry about a Mutant Two-Headed Elvis or the Enquisitor for an example) and he points out where things are simply wrong (images printed on back covers of books etc.). The only real downside is the artwork, which doesn’t really capture the faces of the actors as well as it does the technology.
Verdict: An entertaining book to dip into and an indispensable guide next time you decide to take a trip in the DeLorean. 7/10