How to Visit the Mirror Universe


A while back I was contacted by a reader in the UK who was working with a new website that sells soccer (or football) related t-shirts. They wanted to know if I’d like to design a shirt for them. I replied that I know next to nothing about American football, and even less about FIFA. Indeed, I had only one idea for a shirt, which I told them (thinking it would demonstrate that I’m not the guy for this job). Instead they wrote back that they liked the idea. I was as surprised as anyone.

The shirt’s available for purchase now. I think this one's UK only (turnabout is fair play). If you have any ideas for a soccer related shirt, they’re all ears.





I promised a book contest, and here it is. I will ask a question. You will post an answer to said question in the comments section of this comic ("How to Visit the Mirror Universe"). The answer need not be correct. Heck, you don’t NEED to answer the question at all! Please do leave an e-mail address though. A commenter will be chosen at random to win a signed copy of my third book, “The Curse of the Masking Tape Mummy” (which is available for sale now).

There have been several questions about the books on my bookshelf, so here’s a clear shot of them.

Now the question. Which four books on this shelf exist because of John Hodgman?

DISCUSS!! The winning comment will be chosen at random on the morning of Thursday, February 9th.

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Reader Comments (210)

1) Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
2) Last Chance to See
3) The Long, Dark Teatime of the soul
4) Marky Mark Goes Bananas (invisible edition)

These books are attributable to John Hodgman retroactively, of course.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Swoboda

More by John Hodgman, The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman, All by John Hodgman, and If Chins Could Kill by Bruce Campbell.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

keep the book. i'll take the statue.(feel free to throw in the book)

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjaeddu

HA! It's a trick question. The books are all in your mind! John Hodgman is actually responsible for the book shelf itself as well as the special place in my heart.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy

The REAL answer to the question posed is that John Hodgman is responsible for ANYTHING OTHER than four of those books. Being that we are in the Mirror Universe, I could not even recognize Hodgman, because of his goatee and his looking like a Mac. So, in an effort to answer your question, I am mute.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPipeTobacco

- "All"
- "More"
- "The Areas of My Expertise"
- "The Curse of the Masking Tape Mummy"

I love the idol from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arc. Absolutely awesome! If I correctly guess the weight of "The Curse of the Masking Tape Mummy" and replace it with a bag of sand weighing the same... can i win a signed copy?

So once again, Jones, what was briefly yours is now mine.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJonnyB

In the mirror world, he has written/inspired none of books because he doesn't know anything.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

I don't like the mirror universe, Rick is too witty. Shock, I tell you *shock* that Rick would insinuate that you are not a skilled artist! Mirror universe Rick needs to be beaten to within an inch of his life with his spoon collection!

And to put my hat in the ring for the contest:

Only because other people have said so!

Keep up the excellent work, Scott!

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbyevad

The first four books of the HITCHHIKERS's Trilogy, of course; since it was on a PC that the upper-half of the room cleaning robot ate the last bablefish, causing me to break my keyboard since I had ignored that worthless pile of mail on my doorstep.

(I still go NGAAAH!!! when I recall that damned robot.)

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRob

I refuse to answer your question, if only to prove that your contest is fair and no purchase is necessary to win.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commentervtashore

That is All
More Information than you Require
The Areas of My Expertise

And then....
Curse of the Masking-Tape Mummy

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrett

The long dark teatime of the soul, because that sounds like something John would say in one of his guest appearances on the Daily Show. The more than complete hitchhikers guide, because its by the same dude. Soon I will be invincible, again because this sounds like something John would say on the daily show. And finally, the Watchmen, becuase THE WATCHMEN RULES! (and so does John ;-)

None of the books with his name or initials on them, becuase that is a wicked plot by the Moon emperor to mislead us, and certainly not the book of which everyone claims he was the literary agent, becuase that's a wicked plot by Wikipedia to mislead us.

Re: the mirror universe - shouldn't everyone be facing the opposite direction?

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSolak

"Which four books on this shelf exist because of John Hodgman?"

In the mirror universe or this one?

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

During the third panel, I was crossing my fingers for Boss with a goatee. XD

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEden T Eliott


February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrimgrim

It doesn't matter. Because in the mirror universe John Hodgman is an encyclopedia salesman.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason O.

Feb. 9 is my birthday!

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKnitterWho

The correct answer is "every book on the shelf," because John Hodgman is, obviously, the nexus of all human achievement.

However, I must decline the prize because I already own a copy of your book. I'm on my second reading already. "Warm, warm pants heat," mmmm.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohn walters

The Areas of My Expertise
More Information Than You Require
That Is All
The Curse of the Masking-Tape Mummy

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPlops

I'll guess the 3 books he wrote and the Hitchiker's Guide because you won it off of him in a game of poker.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave

The Douglas Adams and Hunter S. Thomson books, thanks to John Hodgman having a time machine.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike

The three on the left plus the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams based the Vogons on Hodgman.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew T

Well, we are talking about a mirror universe, remember? This picture was likely taken in that universe, and when we're talking about a universe where people deprive themselves of the good-looking facial hair that Scott and I have in common it means that you can't apply logic as we understand it to answer the question! Also, Scott's comic in the mirror universe is popular because of the art, though it is not drawn by a skilled artist, which... well... sort of means that some things are the same in both universes, I guess, and moots my point.

Scott, you know we love your art! The idol won't let us say otherwise!

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJittery

I assumed the mirror universe would just have reflected versions of all of the art.

Also, how's Soon I Will Be Invisible? I liked The Magicians, so I assume that the ability to write books I like is a trait siblings would share,

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I don't know who John Hodgman is, though he is a clearly a writer. I suspect I should find out, simply due to the fact that the other authors on your bookshelf also inhabit mine.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

I hyave no idea. But then I have signed copies of all the Douglas Adams books, so in the game of life, I win!

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNick in the UK

Trick question, they all are there because of John Hodgman, as illustrated by the contents of The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. Dirk Gently would tell you that everything is interconnected, and so if John Hodgman were removed from the equation, all reality as we know it may suffer. (note: I wrote this without reading others' comments as I am supposed to be working right now; apologies if I have duplicated an answer)

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMayor McChesse

since it was stated that you don't need to answer the question to enter the book contest, i won't. i will however comment on my love for the masking tape mummy. my wife will agree with me when i say that particular comic epitomizes my life.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterother scott

My guess is:

Batman: Dark Knight Returns
Long Dark Tea Time
Complete Hitchhikers

(In this scenario, John Hodgman is a friend of yours who clued you in to some of the most awesome stuff ever.)

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris Long

Throw me the idol, I'll throw you the whip!

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRebound

I'm going to guess "All," "More," and "The Areas of My Expertise," and in lieu of the likely-correct answers before me, something clearly incorrect. I'm going to say "Watchmen," because Hodgman's brilliance is obviously a thinly-veiled inspiration for the less-handsome Ozymandias.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

The answer to the question is [+++CARRIER LOST+++}

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergoober1223

Using my keen intellect and mastery of trivia (and cheating by reading the first page of responses), I'll have to say the Hodgman trilogy and the Bruce Campbell autobiography ...

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim

The four books are Douglas Adams' More Than Complete Hitchhikers Guide, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul, and Last Chance to See. This is due to John Hogman's early career as an agent for the Time Patrol, the details of which remain classified.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTBoaz

well that is the most comments I have ever seen on this sight.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterknauka

All of them and the shelf!

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBlitz

Answering this question in terms of Hodgman is like trying to explain Hawking's work via Newtonian paradigm. Or like eating crayons to demonstrate the difference between primary and secondary colors. Or... whatever, just send me the book.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJerryBoyle

I'm repeating, since my answer was already taken.
The Areas of My Expertise
The Curse of the Masking Tape Mummy

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom NC

Is the idol guy sitting on something or does he just have a really weird uncircumcised penis?

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterImpudent Urinal

My husband owns a signed copy of "If Chins Could Kill", and it's one of his most prized possessions. He put the dust jacket in a frame, and it currently hangs above the toilet in our guest bathroom. Now any time a (male) guest uses the facilities, he gets stared at by a fantastically smarmy picture of Bruce Campbell with "<husband's name>, you rat bastard, gimme some sugar" scrawled across his face in sharpie marker. Needless to say, it's a conversation piece.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrianne
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