"Book bible"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 11 20:02:06 UTC 2013

An advertisement was printed in Galaxy Science Fiction magazine that
claimed to offer the "bible" of the Star Trek television series for 2
dollars. Google Books only shows snippets, but a search for "1968"
shows that the volume containing the advertisement also contains the
November 1968 issue. That might be the exact issue containing the ad
since GB metadata says the scanned item is Volume 27, Issue 4 of
Galaxy. In any case, the ad is probably circa 1968 or 1969.

GB metadata: Galaxy science fiction, Volume 27, Issue 4

[Begin excerpt]

STAR TREK WRITER'S GUIDE...................... $2.00

The show's "bible," used by all
STAR TREK writers and directors!!!

[End excerpt]


The OED does list a relevant sense for bible, I think. But the above
use of Star Trek bible is more specialized.

Bible, n.
2. Hence fig. A text-book, an authority (of religion, politics, etc.);
a sacred book.
1804   Southey in J. W. Robberds Mem. W. Taylor (1843) I. 517   The
Annual..bids fair to become my political bible.
1856   R. W. Emerson Eng. Traits xiv. 255   The poets who have
contributed to the bible of existing England sentences of guidance.
1883   M. Williams Relig. Thought & Life in India ii. 21   This phase
of the Brahmanical system has for its special bible the sacred
treatises called Brāhmanas.


On Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 12:28 PM, Dave Wilton <dave at wilton.net> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Dave Wilton <dave at WILTON.NET>
> Subject:      Re: "Book bible"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> "Show bible" is a standard TV industry term for a document that outlines the
> concept and backstory for a television series. It's used to inform writers
> and directors of the creator's intent and to help maintain continuity.
> It sounds like "book bible" may be lifted from this.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
> Joel S. Berson
> Sent: Monday, February 11, 2013 12:07 PM
> Subject: "Book bible"
> I encountered the following on an email list.  I have not seen or heard the
> term "book bible".  The description of what the author wanted sounds merely
> like a book index, although very comprehensive.  Perhaps users of the phrase
> apply it only to fiction series, where the writer wants to be factual in
> succeeding publications (that is, to avoid inconsistencies).  I suppose
> "bible"
> because it is the truth about the fiction.
> "I hired a college student to assemble a book bible for my urban fantasy
> series last year. I was doing edits on the second book and about to begin
> the third, and was spending way too much time flipping through the first
> manuscript to fact-check details (was Alex driving a Mercedes or a BMW, and
> was it a convertible? That kind of thing). I had her make an index of all
> proper nouns, character details, world building details, lists of charms and
> potions my character made, etc.
> She's done the first two books and will be adding details from book three
> this year. It has saved a LOT of time."
> Googling seems inefficient (I'm an agnostic, and too many hits are for The
> Book).
> Joel
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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