Bird Box pales in comparison to its literary counterpart for a fundamental reason: consistency.
To the delight of Wal-Mart and Dollar Tree employees everywhere, blindfold sales have skyrocketed in the past few months. T-shirts have been torn, cloth cut—blinders have been made. This is thanks to Netflix’s 2018 film Bird Box (A Quiet Place‘s cooler, less compelling younger brother); a critical “eh” yet cultural phenomenon based on the novel of the same name by author Josh Malerman.
Their stories revolve around the character of Malorie, a woman who enjoys sailing and running through the woods blindfolded—while tripping over branches and shrubbery. Well, not really. Characters in this post-apocalyptic world use a blindfold to avoid the enticing/suicide inducing visions of the eldritch—invisible creatures that now haunt the Earth. Viewers of the film seemed to admire those trained to function without eyesight…. The resulting #BirdBoxChallenge sparked an onslaught of chaos as people attempted to complete tasks blindfolded. It got so bad that one woman even crashed her car! We reported this story months ago so if you want more information regarding the incident, click here!
Netflix had to issue a warning:
Regardless, some of the less-harmful memes (arguably the 21st century’s greatest societal contribution), as always, have been spectacular.
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When Malerman’s novel came out in 2014, it received a warm reception from the literary community; although, the cultural impact it had was nowhere near that of the car crash, and Will Smith’s genie trashing social media whirlwind. Malerman’s novel probably was overlooked by some—The Happening and The Road were released around the same time with similar apocalyptic themes. It seemed that in 2014, frantic adults ran around with their eyes closed in every movie theater and on every page.
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A sequel to the 2014 novel entitled Malorie (Sandra Bullock’s titular character) has been confirmed with a release date of October 1st, 2019. In an interview with Esquire, Malerman not only reiterated confirmation of his upcoming sequel but offered up a few other details:
“In the time between Bird Box coming out and the time since I’ve been writing Malorie, I’ve been asked a ton of times: people want to know what happened with Boy and Girl. But as much as I care about Boy and Girl, this isn’t their story. The Bird Box world is Malorie’s story, and I wanted to know more about her. I wanted to get to know her even better.”
The story is set to take place eight years after the ending of Bird Box; it’s worth noting that the book and film differed upon their conclusions. The film ends on a hopeful note—Malorie, Boy, and Girl safely make it to a school for the blind where the two children finally receive proper names. In the book, however, the three find a greenhouse community where everyone has blinded themselves on purpose. So yeah, that’s a bit more brutal and less convenient than the film. The novel’s ending will undoubtedly influence the sequel’s plot—and it will be interesting to see how the inevitable film adaptation differs. I’m sure the subsequent online debauchery will make up for any shortcomings in storytelling.
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You’ve probably heard of ‘Bird Box,’ the apocalyptic Netflix thriller driving the Internet up a wall (and making its fans walk blindfolded into one). No one has died from the ‘Bird Box Challenge‘, but everyone is dying over the viral memes that haven’t slowed since their initial breakout. You may know that the movie’s original inspiration was a Josh Malerman novel of the same name—but how much do you know about that novel? By the end of this article, the answer will be a lot more. Let’s go.
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Josh Malerman is one of those frustratingly talented individuals, who, having succeeded in one artistic field, then went on to succeed in another. Given that becoming a famous author or a famous musician is already pretty unlikely, this dream career gets even harder with the addition of the ‘and’. Malerman is the singer/songwriter of Detroit rock band The High Strung, and that comes with some seriously high ambitions.
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When the band took off after hit TV series Shameless chose “The Luck You Got” as its theme song, Malerman’s life got a whole lot busier. Despite playing over 200 shows per year on tour, Malerman found the time to write many rough drafts of novels—that’s not drafts of the same novel, by the way. In total, he wrote fourteen unpublished novels before publishing Bird Box, though it’s uncertain whether or not Malerman wrote all of those during his six years of touring. If so—damn.
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Why did Malerman get into a second incredible-but-not-usually-profitable art form? Shocker—it wasn’t the money. Malerman remarks: “I never saw the books with dollar signs in my eyes. It was no hobby, that’s for sure, it was the real thing and always has been, but I was happy, then, simply writing.” He credits his own success as anyone might: a potent concoction of hard work and blind luck. When Malerman reconnected with a high school friend who had publishing industry connections, it wouldn’t have mattered had he not already cranked out up to fourteen possible books. And ‘cranked out’ is the right term to use here—Malerman wrote the draft of Bird Box in only twenty-six days.
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He describes the timeline and the draft itself:
It was dreamy as hell. Nightmarish and fast. Foggy, strange, scary. I didn’t set out to write an experimental draft but that’s sure as hell what itsomething lo-fi about that draft and I think lo-fi is always scarier than hi-fi. A shitty, crackly microphone makes you wonder what’s going on in the vocal booth. A grainy film makes you wonder who made it? The rough draft of Bird Box was like this. And yet, the final draft, the one we have now, is just as misty, just as ghostly, and certainly scarier overall.
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Bird Box became his first publication, and the film rights were optioned in 2013 before the publication of the book. As a debut author, Malerman tried some gimmicks to promote his work. After its release, he and his wife gave the audience blindfolds on his book tours, encouraging them to experience the dark world of his characters. (Unlike in the ‘Bird Box Challenge’, everyone probably remained seated.) Either the trick worked or the writing did—Malerman’s debut, Bird Box, has been his most successful novel to date, a twist almost as shocking as the actual book. Though debut novels are much harder to sell, Bird Box was nominated for several prestigious awards. Ultimately, it won the Michigan Notable Book Award. Since then, Malerman has written a total of seven books. Losing your mind yet?
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