The Previews

To Follow are comments or questions that I have on Mark Z. Danielewski’s epic book series The Familiar.  Speculations may or may not take into account all existing books in  The Familiar that are currently released.


\\We have the start of the universe and the start of the modern human in the preview sections of the book//

 I keep trying to think through the fact that the Encryption 1/5 is labeled as being, ah, encrypted at the beginning of the universe (Planck Epoch), but the being that is narrating also mentions extinguishing stars that seems to imply the end of the universe. Obviously there is some sort of end and some sort of beginning going on. Did these beings exist before the universe, and the beggining of ours is the end of theirs, if so, what stars are being extinguished? You would think the being would be commenting on the creation of our universe. Or do the being(s) exist in a present sense, and seeing the universe ending, with stars being extinguished as they in fact are today? Of course, this leaves the encryption date out of the theory.

Are we all assuming the communicating beings are the Narcons (or maybe the Narcons were created by them to be communicaters or scribes)? Later TF-Narcon mentions Cas getting glimpses of VEM in the sphere, and VEM is also mentioned in the signature of Our Common Horrors, so some relation.

So, if that is true, it would further support the theory that the beings are dying off on our current timeline, this point in history. Again, still wondering what the Planck Epoch has to do with it. I guess my initial question should be, did I miss something that would clear this up…

The word “encryption” that Our Common Horrors is signed with is also important in 2 ways:  1) Someone decyphered it.  2) It was written as a message intended to be read at some point.

Who deciphered the message?  Will we get to see that happen?  Is it one of our characters?  Anwar?  Does the sphere reveal the code?

Everything points to the fact that the characters in the narrative are at a pivotal point along the timeline (very Familiar to ours) of the universe in which it is important to know the message of “Our Common Horrors”.   The primary take away that seems to be driven at in the message is Death and War are inevitable and cannot be worked around.  What is gong to happen that warrants such a heavy statement, specifically tailored for this moment in time, from beings that were seemingly omniscient?


From what I read this artifact was used as proof that humans started acting like modern-day humans long before was previously thought.  I think its okay to assume that the following story about the children takes place during the time this particular artifact was being used (for dyes? Maybe even what is put on the girl’s face).

So we have the start of the universe and the start of the modern human in the preview sections of the book.

\\Will we eventually have the end of one or both?//