Gregg Nations: The Chronicler of Lost

Long term readers of this blog already know that in addition to international literature, another thing we’re very passionate about is the TV show Lost. (Which should come as no surprise—_Lost_ is the best, and most literary, show on network TV. Any show that puts together a special promo video to talk about how a character will be reading James Joyce’s Ulysses this season totally gets my love.)

With the season 5 premiere only a couple of days away, the New York Times put together a special article about Gregg Nations, the man who puts together “show bible” for Lost:

Enter Mr. Nations, who has now compiled an archive that, were he ever to print it out, might — as he put it in an interview at the Lost production offices on Disney’s Burbank studio lot — give War and Peace a run for its money.

Just how long the entire document is he does not know; he has never printed it out in full, in part because he and his secretive bosses do not want copies falling into the wrong hands. But he has multiple electronic copies, which he keeps in undisclosed locations.

In addition to charting story arcs and tracking characters, Mr. Nations has noted each character’s sojourns on and off the island, mapped the research stations established by the mysterious Dharma Initiative and recorded the appearances and disappearances of polar bears, Smoke Monsters and an unhealthy array of guns.

After the show is over, it would be awesome if someone published this “bible.” Lost is a bit complicated, and for anyone wanting to analyze or write about the show, something like this would be invaluable. . . .

Somewhat full disclosure: I met Gregg a number of years ago when The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien was on the show. We’ve kept in touch ever since, and for a while, did a special Lost radio segment every week on a Top 40 radio station in Normal, IL. (It was kind of like the international literature bits on our local morning news program. Obviously Lost is much more popular than translation, but the way Gregg talks about the show, and drops cryptic hints, was a cut above the morning show norm.)

Although it’s not specifically mentioned in this article, in writing the “Eggtown” episode for last season, he managed to include both Philip K. Dick’s Valis, and Adolfo Bioy Casares’s The Invention of Morel, two perfect “Lost Books.” One of which is a work in translation by one of Argentina’s greatest authors, thus tying this post back into our primary mission. . . . But seriously, it’s cool how pro-literature this show is, and the impact that Lost has had on getting people to read interesting cult (or not-so-cult) books is not to be underestimated. Hell, we sold 15,000 copies of The Third Policeman in the few weeks after it appeared on the show. (And mind you, it was only on screen for like half a second.)

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