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The Lost Encyclopedia comes out in a few weeks, and DK has released some promotional samples online. Each article's far less comprehensive than our counterpart, but it's got some great, attractive layouts, and it blends analysis with description, making for interesting prose.
Is it canon?
Supposedly. The authors claimed they ran everything by Gregg Nations. I was skeptical when I heard this - no one would edit an 400 page encyclopedia without a salary or an official credit. I mean, except for us. But we're insane.
Then I read the samples. A few odd bits caught my eye.One claims that Jacob banished Widmore. Jacob, angry at Widmore's transgressions, ordered Richard to banish him. I wouldn't think this likely. Widmore blamed Ben for his leaving. ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham") Jacob claims not to intervene at all in such matters as teaching right and wrong. ("Ab Aeterno") I'm surprised Jacob would condemn fathering a child with an outsider but allow mass murder... but maybe. Everyone has parent issues after all.
But what really made me shake my fist wasn't the info, which could be right, but the... sentence structure. According to the encyclopedia:
He eventually brazenly left the island for personal matters and even maintained a relationship with a woman who became the mother of his second child, Penelope. More concerned with his own satisfaction than his island responsibilities, Jacob had Alpert strip away his leadership and banish him from the island forever as punishment.
I interpret this as "Widmore was more concerned with satisfaction than responsibilities". But it literally says that JACOB was more concerned with his own satisfaction. You can call me a grammar Nazi, but this isn't a wiki, where we expect dangling participles and run-on sentences (till we fix them). This is $45.00 book from mighty Dorling Kindersley! If no one caught that error, what else slipped through the cracks?Then there's the article on the Tempest. It explicitly says Widmore ordered the Purge, and I'd call that a valid conclusion. It says he ordered it "after colluding with Richard Alpert and the rest of the Others", which is another example of questionable grammar. But the really odd thing in this article is their bit on Harper.
They call Harper's appearance in "The Other Woman" "one of the strangest occurrences that Juliet experienced", and I agree. Despite this uncertainty, they explain what happened:
In reality, it was Ben who wanted to unleash the Purge part two. His intention was to release the gas and kill everyone on the island, including all the crash survivors. So Ben had Harper set Juliet up for a suicide mission.
This violates my "Harper=MIB" theory, but I would have accepted the conventional "Ben contacted Harper through unknown means so the Tempest would keep running and he could use it as a threat." But Ben wanted to kill everyone on the island? Including all his people, none of whom wore gas masks? Including Richard? Including himself? Including Alex? Ben was at this time in the Barracks, and he said nothing to anyone there to ensure his own safety. Tempest gas does not cover the whole island - Danielle survived the first Purge; Roger needed an additional cylinder - but what's the one place we know it affects? The Barracks.Speaking of Danielle and the Purge, here's a bit from her article:
Since she arrived on the Island after the Purge, only the Natives lived in the Barracks...
Some might say that. Ben appeared to be with the Others around the time of Danielle's arrival. But he surely also met them regularly before the Purge. We know that Danielle arrived in 1988. The DHARMA Initiative, however, still recruited people to the island after the Gulf War. ("Live Together, Die Alone") Locke's dream of Horace dates the Purge to 1992. That dream could have been the Island or MIB or just about anything, but what purpose would "Cabin Fever" giving us the wrong date serve?
How seriously should we take the encyclopedia, so far? Should be cite the book as a source?
For additional errors discovered post-release, see this article.