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New Mexican (Newspaper) - October 2, 2005, Santa Fe, New Mexico ENTERTAINMENT Cultural collision One small publisher is bracing for fame after a pivotal cameo on Lost By Patrick T Reardon Chicago Tribune CHICAGO Talk about a strange cultural pairing It would be difficult to think of a bet ter example of mainstream American entertainment than the hit ABC show Lost about plane crash survivors on a mysterious island Last season an aver age of nearly 17 million viewers watched the Emmywinning shows 25 episodes As many or more are expected for the second season By contrast theIllinoisbased Dalkey Archive Press is famous in literary circles for publishing experimental and avantgarde books The Firm is lucky if it sells books in a year the TV show may bring an unusual bounty this fall to the 21year old company headquartered on the Illi nois State University campus in Normal On Oct 5 one of Dalkeys a 1999 reprint of the comic novel The Third Policeman by the late Irish writer Flann OBrien will be prominently featured at a key moment in the third episode of this season of Lost says Craig Wright who wrote the script with Javier GrilloMarxuach Normally that wouldnt mean a lot Who watches television dramas to get tips on what to read But lost is decidedly not normal Its filled with odd and unexpected plot twists for instance the sudden appearance of a polar bear on the cast aways South Pacific island And no one on the island or in the television audience is ever quite sure whats going on Indeed in the search for clues Lost fans have latched onto every aspect of the show from the numbers 23 and 42 a character named Hurley used to win the lottery back home to a Spanishlanguage comic book of Flash and the Green Lantern Faster Friends that another of the survivors was seen reading And its borne fruit That polar bear Well by tracking down and reading a copy of the comic fans learned that the appearance of the bear is one of several events on the island that also happen in the FlashGreeixLantern story So when a character named Saw yer got to reading Watership Down by Richard Adams and later Madeleine ABC Lost fans have latched onto comic books lottery numbers and childrens novels in an attempt to learn more about the show And on Oct 5 the novel The Third Policeman by the late Irish writer Flann OBrien will be prominently featured at a key a scriptwriter says LEngles childrens book A Wrinkle in Time aficionados grabbed the books and scoured them for meaning Adams 1972 best seller is about rab bits fleeing a developer and seeking a safe haven while LEngles work pub lished in 1962 deals with space and time travel So one or both may provide a pivotal insight into where the series is going and how it will turn out Or they may not Wright and the other writers and producers on Lost are coy about the sig nificance or lack of significance of such hints After all it certainly helps build up the shows aura of mystery Consider OBriens book from Dalkey This Wright says was chosen very specifically for a Its nar rated by a dead man although the reader doesnt learn this until the end of the book A red herring perhaps Or a tell ing hint Wright wont say What he will say is Whoever goes out and buys the book will have a lot more ammunition in their back pocket as they theorize about the show They will have a lot more to speculate about and no small thing they will have read a really great Wright is a fan of Dalkey and the work it does keeping great works from the margins of popularity in print And officials at the press are betting his use of the book on the show will reap them a windfall Its going to be says Chad Post development director at the press Of course huge at Dalkey isnt exactly earthshaking at most publishing houses At Harper Perennial part of the massive HarperCollins organization publicist Leslie Cohen says no ones noticed any big sales jump in Down because of its appearance on Lost Indeed she was even unaware that it had been featured on the show But the Adams book has sold well for more than 30 years and is a staple of highschool English classes A sales rise due to Lost might not be noticeable Thats not the case at Dalkey In its first two printings over the past six years The Third Policeman sold nearly copies one of the big gest sellers in the publishing houses history But now in anticipation of the Lost appearance the firm has ordered up a new batch of copies Post is hop ing that of those copies will be sold to the shows fans Jim Milliot a senior editor at Pub lishers Weekly says its prudent for Dalkey to have a new printing on hand and thinks it could sell out Theres a he says that it will get some But its not going to start a stam pede to the No but for Dalkey selling copies would be fine indeed it would be the equivalent of a major publisher reaping die profits from The Da Vmd Code or a new Harry Potter book Besides the firm has hedged its bets Even if Lost doesnt bring a windfall Dalkey officials know based on the ear lier sales that there are enough fans of good literature out there to buy up the new printing eventually Itll just take four years instead of four weeks The New Mexican Oct 28 2O05 SUNDAY 29
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