Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has just come out in paperback

Thursday, July 1st, 2021

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has just come out:

No, not the film. That came out in 2019. But now HarperCollins is publishing a novelization, written by Tarantino himself, and based on the earlier film. This particular type of fiction — the bastard offspring of the film treatment and the legitimate novel — is probably pop fiction’s least reputable genre, which no doubt is why it appeals to Tarantino.

When HarperCollins announced the project, Tarantino issued a statement:

To this day I have a tremendous amount of affection for the genre. So as a movie-novelization aficionado, I’m proud to announce Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as my contribution to this often marginalized, yet beloved sub-genre in literature. I’m also thrilled to further explore my characters and their world in a literary endeavor that can (hopefully) sit alongside its cinematic counterpart.

The genre is often looked down on:

Tarantino’s affection can probably be at least partially attributed to the year of his birth — 1963. Those of us born into the so-called Baby Boom generation grew up before videocassette players were widely available (and before DVD players and streaming services had even been conceived). Back in those benighted days, if you enjoyed a film based on an original screenplay and you wanted to experience it again after it had left the theater, your options were limited. You could wait for it to appear on television (where it would almost certainly be shortened, censored, cropped from its original aspect-ratio via pan-and-scan technology, and chock-full of commercial breaks), you could hope for it to enjoy a theatrical revival (highly unlikely), or you could seek out a novelization, which, though it would lack the colorful visuals and the musical score and the performances, would at least allow you to be thrilled once again by the plot and the dialogue, or some semblance thereof. Furthermore, although theaters wouldn’t allow people under 16 to see an R-rated film without parental accompaniment, bookstores had no such restrictions. A kid could buy the novelization of an R-rated movie without the book clerk asking to see his ID.


  1. VXXC says:

    Just before they were first built…1963, ok. But conception came earlier, in 1964.

    I was told RCA invented digital discs for computing in the 1930s, but I can’t find the source.

  2. Altitude Zero says:

    I’ll buy it.

  3. Isegoria says:

    Film geek James Hancock enjoyed the movie and the rather different book.

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