The Scrivener's Survey
Just stepping through the threshold of the Neopia Central Bookshop will tell you: there are so many books published in Neopia Central that it makes the Library Faerie faint with glee—and that’s besides the astounding journalism feats of those whose work comprises the Neopian Times.
Not to mention the usually-cursed texts of Qasala. Or those flighty Faerie tomes. (And let’s not even get started on Brightvale—I hear people enter those libraries and never come out.)
But most of us don’t really have enough time to read every single thing ever written. Or, let’s say you’ve finished a book that’s left you wishing you could clear out your brain like you can your Safety Deposit Box. What to read, what not to read, what won’t turn you into a Zombie Spardel with a drooling problem… the world of books can be tough to navigate!
That’s where the Scrivener comes in. Who is this mysterious Scrivener, you may ask? Who is that dashing vigilante of literary justice, the debonair Disco Zafara who breaks into your house at night and steals your Sword of Skardsen—
Wait no, now you’re just getting the Scrivener confused with the Aisha Thieves. The Scrivener is the one who breaks into your house at night and leaves incredibly witty and informative book reviews, helpfully attached by daggers to tables, walls, and—helpful hint, do not try jamming a dagger into a Virtupets computing console. Ow.
Oops, I’m getting off topic. Where was I? Oh, yes—the identity of said Scrivener.
Well, it’s just me, Blynn679, in a cool cape.
(Please don’t tell the Defenders of Neopia about the breaking into your house bit. By the way, those Vanilla Koi Biscuits on your table, which I can only assume you left for me, were delicious. Thank you.)
But the life of a rogue prose paladin can be a thankless one. (Seriously, stop throwing stuff at me.) Which is why this Scrivener has come out of anonymity to share with all of Neopia, via the Times, the inside scoop on books I’ve read! For truth! For justice! For informed book buying!
(And also because the Defenders of Neopia, in no uncertain terms, told me to switch to a more “conventional” method of spreading literary information. When Judge Hog speaks, you listen.)
Mysterious Book – Could this unique book contain the secrets of the thieves guild?
Spoilers: it doesn’t. This book is actually a highly-publicized decoy, written under a pseudonym and created at the behest of the Thieves’ Guild. While purporting to be an actual account of the secret details of the Guild, the narrative reads suspiciously like dramatic fiction, complete with a protagonist who is way too likeable and good-looking to be a real thief.
The Mysterious Book was actually written to throw people off the scent of the guild, giving the average Neopian reader a sense of being let in on an immense conspiracy... which is really a sham to cover up the actual conspiracy. If your head is spinning by this point, go fix yourself a cup of Borovan, watch your Doglefox chase its tail, and remind yourself that this is why you did not go into guild politics.
But come now, would you expect honesty from the Thieves’ Guild? Yeah, me either. But hey, it’s got Kanrik in it, so it’s a huge hit with the fangirls. (The real Kanrik has declined to make any public statements about his portrayal in the book.)
My First Book – This is the most basic book in Neopia. Ideal for the first time reader.
The publisher’s description isn’t kidding. This book is literally the most unsophisticated communication on the planet. Even Tyrannian cave drawings have more substance to them. (Although that may be an unfair comparison, as Tyrannian cave art is actually an intricate mode of expression with several layers of personal and cultural subtext.)
My First Book is actually all of one page long. While I am unable to reproduce the contents of said page due to copyright laws (as that would technically be transcribing the entire book), what I can tell you is that it consists of four words. These words form a sentence, a sentence which explains to you that you are looking at a page of a book. Astounding.
So what the Hagan’s whiskers, you may ask, is the purpose of My First Book? The results of a test run for a new printing press? A chew toy for toddlers? An easy out for Neoschoolers faced with book reports? (Although I’ve heard that Mrs. Owen will take this book and burn it in front of you if you bring it in for her approval.)
Actually, My First Book was the attempt of the Space Adoption Agency to help Grundos newly freed from Dr. Sloth’s control to integrate better with Neopia. For a while, each Grundo adopted from the Space Station was provided with a copy of this book in order to better understand the essential nature of reading material on their new home world. Because even for those whose brains weren’t scrambled by Sloth’s mutation process, it’s difficult to go from holograms and electronic data-pads to slivers of mashed-up tree pulp. Kind of a culture shock, that.
Billy Blue Hat – The adventures of Billy Blue Hat. Its a short story for beginners.
Don’t let the juvenile appearance and description fool you! What poses as a simple children’s book is actually a tale rife with psychoanalytical symbolism and socioeconomic metaphors. Why has the author picked blue as Billy’s signature colour? Does his hat being the same hue as the sky represent how the author wants her readers to see Billy as a stand-in for businesspets with theoretically unlimited earning potential? Is the rainy day getting Billy’s hat wet suggestive of the ultimate fickleness of fate, and how the ebb and flow of civilization ensures that Billy’s short-term gain will inevitably reach equilibrium with that of the hatless proletariat below him?
… Or maybe it really is just a vapid children’s book and I’m reading far too much into it. But you never know! Writers are a sneaky bunch.
Goodbye Mel – Say farewell to Mel in this hardback book dedicated to the life and times of your least favourite pet.
Goodbye Mel was originally written as a joke, by an owner so fed up with his high-maintenance Kyrii that he vented enough frustrations to make an entire manuscript. After abandoning the eponymous character, the manuscript lay in the owner’s storage for several years, until during a move, he and some friends found it and read over it again.
The excruciating details of life with a very fussy Kyrii got the author’s friends rolling with laughter, and they convinced him to polish it up and submit it to a publisher. Not only was it accepted, but it rocketed to the top of the best-seller list.
But readers wanted an epilogue. What happened to Mel? According to the final chapter, the yellow Kyrii had been dumped in the Pound, but he did not turn up in a survey of its then-current residents. With the considerable span of time between his abandonment and the book’s publishing, the task seemed impossible, but still the hunt for Mel began.
Two months later, they found him, living in a family with three other pets on Terror Mountain. Mel had been adopted by a less-fortunate Neopian, and going from being a pampered only pet to the latest addition in a crowded household had humbled him.
Not enough, however, that he wasn’t super cheesed off when he learned about the unauthorized publication of his life history.
Infuriated, Mel journeyed to Neopia Central and sought out his old owner, giving the human a good talking-to and threatening legal action. In hashing out their problems, the two realised how much they’d missed each other, and Mel’s old owner re-adopted him. The last I heard, the two were living happily on Mystery Island, enjoying the royalties from their ironic twist of fate.
So what’s the point of this whole story? Appreciate your Neopets, people! Unless they’re as irritating as Mel, in which case find ways to profit off of them.
Sinister Skeith – Their motives, world domination plans and darkest secrets revealed.
As you can imagine, this book has some not-so-nice things to say about Skeiths. For this reason it’s been the subject of much controversy, causing an outcry among Skeiths and their owners when published that led to its being outright banned in many libraries across Neopia.
Upon the rediscovery of Meridell and consequent bringing of that area into Neopia’s present, Kings Skarl and Hagan raised quite the ruckus about Sinister Skeith, to the point where Hagan threatened to boycott the publisher and Skarl nearly marched troops on Neopia Central. Ultimately the issue was never fully resolved, with Hagan unable to maintain the boycott and Skarl being talked down by his diplomats. To this day, it is wise to not mention the book in either of their royal presences, or have a copy of it on your person if you happen to be in their company.
(Incidentally, Malkus Vile has also loudly voiced opposition to the book, despite the Skeith crime lord having plenty of dark secrets and world domination plans. That guy really knows how to work the public relations angle.)
Loyal Lupes – How to tame Lupes so they respect you and do as you command.
Oh, this is a joke.
As any seasoned Lupe owner can tell you, you can’t tame a Lupe, and often it’s a stretch just to get them to acknowledge your authority. Lupes are a proud and willful species, and it takes a deep bond of trust with a strong and mature human to get them to see their owner as anything but a hapless puppy at best—or a threat to their autonomy at worst. (It’s even worse with Werelupes, trust me.)
I would advise against bringing this volume home if you have a Lupe, regardless of intent. They will summarily train you to never make that mistake again.
Jump Into the Future – A First time author and long time comedian leads you through his hilarious take on life in the year 20.
This book is already showing its age—it’s Y18, where are my Faerie-tech bionics? It just goes to show that the future is a tricky business, one where we can never truly know all the variables… unless you time travel. You sly cheater, you.
The author, meanwhile, has recently asserted that if there is not another Tyrannian land war by Y20, he will just have to make it happen himself.
I’m sure sticking around for that!
Time Travel – Psst... This book may be the secret to getting out of Neopia Central.
Speaking of the fourth dimension… Remember the good old days, back when time travelling was firmly in the realm of science fiction?
Yeah, me either! As everybody knows, time travel is completely feasible and doesn’t present any logical or ethical problems whatsoever! And this book is a handy guide on how to achieve it!
Really, the only thing keeping every Neopian and their cousin from popping in and out of the timestream at their leisure is this volume’s prohibitive price. Well, and the extensive laws laid down by Fyora, the Altadorian Council, and King Hagan and his court wizards. Okay, and the fact that time travelling is an extremely complex and delicate operation, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could meet with an unspeakable fate somewhere between the twenty-third dimension and 1200 BN.
… But other than that, this book has made time travel accessible to everyone! In theory.
Cybunny Soap Opera – A fun tale about one teenage Cybunnys interesting summer holiday.
Where the description says “fun”, please mentally substitute “irrationally riveting”. Seriously, you won’t be able to put it down! There are more twists than a game of Meerca Chase and more drama than a typical day at Neoschool!
Never mind the fact that it’s all completely unrealistic—you’ll want to know if that mysterious yellow Cybunny is really Cindy’s millionaire great-aunt, if Cyril survived his harrowing neck-ruff-replacement surgery, and how Cynthia will ever escape being sent to Mystery Island by her evil twin!
And then you’ll finish the book and realize you’ll never get back those hours of your life.
Time to buy the sequel!
A Magazine – All of the latest news about Aishas written by Aishas!
“I would like to buy A Magazine,” you tell the sales clerk.
“Which one?” she asks.
The clerk sighs. “Sir, you’re going to have to be more specific.”
“I am being specific!” you insist. “I would like A Magazine!”
“Is this some sort of a joke?”
I think periodical publishers need to rethink a few of their titles.
And so with the flutter of pages and the smell of wet ink, the Scrivener once again disappears into the night! But be on your toes, for you never know when she will strike the Neopian Times again!