I'm not sure if this was some sort of short story, or just a part in a larger book, but there was a book that would converse with you, but with text that was already in the book. For example, the character would open it up to a random page and there would just happen to be text that picked back up the conversation where it left off, but that text had always been in the book, even though it impossibly references current events.

I know for certain that the book wasn't some sort of advanced technology or anything. Everything that the book would ever say would already be in the book from the very start. In reality it was just a completely normal book, but something else weird was going on for causality to be set up in such a way for this book to appear to answer questions and such.

While very similar, this story about a person trapped in a room with a book that documents all future actions, on the page that he turns to to read those actions is not it. I specifically remember the book appearing to be sentient and speak to him through it's pages.

I am almost certain it is not a movie. I read posts on reddit.com/r/nosleep every so often, so it might be a short story there. May also be a creepy pasta.

  • 2
    I suspect it's not The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, but it seems similar. If you could give more information by going through the checklist scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9335/… it might help – cryptarch Jan 10 at 5:34
  • @cryptarch that was the first one that came to mind for me. Why not just add it as an answer? – SQB Jan 10 at 7:32
  • There is TVTropes entry for this, tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheTapeKnewYouWouldSayThat, but none of the examples seem to match what you're looking for. – FuzzyBoots Jan 10 at 16:06
  • Thanks @FuzzyBoots for the link! I looked through every source on that trope page and I was unable to find anything I recognized, like you found as well. – user24984 Jan 10 at 17:22

You may be looking for the novel Michael Ende, The Neverending Story (orig. title Die unendliche Geschichte). SPOILERS for that book follow.

At the start of the story, Bastian, a main character of the novel, meets an oddly attractive book in a book store, takes it, and starts to read it. That book, also titled The Neverending Story, tells a fantasy land, where the hero Atreyu is sent on a quest by the Childlike Empress. The task of the quest is to find out what causes the plague that puts the entire huge fantasy land in danger, and how it can be stopped. The book occasionally has references that curiously seem to match its reader Bastian in ways that are hard to explain. Atreyu eventually learns that out that to save the world, they need to bring an outsider hero from the real world to the fantasy land, but has no idea how to do that. He takes this news to the Childlike Empress.

The Empress explains to Atreyu that the hidden purpose of the quest was to get Atreyu into interesting adventures, so that someone from the real world would read those adventures, and get interested and invested enough to want to come and save the world. She also says in no uncertain terms that the quest has succeeded, and the hero now has no escape from his destiny to come into the fantasy world and save them. It is at this point when it becomes clear that the book is answering Bastian's questions, like you ask in your post. Bastian has some doubts about whether he really is the hero they need, and how he can travel to the fantasy world. Atreyu asks the same questions from the Empress as Bastian has, and the Empress gives answers, making it clear that she really is aware of Bastian in particular, even if he doesn't mention his name.

One detail that doesn't seem to fit your post is “the character would open it up to a random page”, beacuse Bastian appears to read the book strictly in order, and doesn't turn the pages ahead.

  • 1
    Thanks for this synopsis! But I don't think this is it due to the mystical nature of the book in the Neverending Story, whereas in this story I'm trying to remember, the book is just a normal book, and just serves to show some kind of mess-up with causality or predetermination. – user24984 Jan 10 at 15:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.