Myst Linking Book

[Daniel] was looking for a special gift to make for his close friend. His friend is a huge fan of the Myst franchise which made the decision easy — why not make a Myst Linking Book?

After doing some research he discovered that the book in the game footage was a Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Volume LIV, Issue 312 from 1877. He attempted to find one on eBay but they were pretty expensive — and in pretty rough shape. So instead he settled on a copy of Scribner’s Monthly Magazine,Volume XL, Nov 1875 to Apr 1876. Not quite identical but close enough!

His original plan was to embed a Raspberry Pi with an LCD screen to show off the Myst videos, but then discovered the cheap and easy to use video greeting card modules, which you can pick up for $10-20 from China. They typically let you store about five videos and use a magnetic reed switch to activate — almost like it was designed for this project!

From there he went to work, cutting out compartments from his newly purchased antique book. To glue the pages together he used a spray adhesive, which seemed to work pretty well on the old yellowing pages. Everything fit in nicely, and [Daniel] uploaded a bunch of Myst flyby videos to the device, as well as a birthday greeting for his friend. How’s that for a unique present/greeting card?

For more advanced Myst gifts, you’ve gotta check out some of the Myst puzzle boxes our readers have created. And we can’t forget the real Myst linking book which [Daniel] used for inspiration in this project!

34 thoughts on “Myst Linking Book

        1. Seriously though, comments like that aren’t welcome here. You’re free to post your thoughts or relevant info. What you’re doing is advertising, which is equally welcome but you should contact the hackaday staff to setup an ad campaign on the sidebar.

          1. Dude, I didn’t even realize this had showed up on the original site: I reblogged the story, ie took an excerpt and wrote about it on my site.

            The admins are completely free to delete the pingback. But that’s what it is: I had no intention of spamming my site.

            Let me repeat: I did not comment on this site. I linked to it, which created a pingback. When the person replied to me, I thought she was just being snarky on MY website, because it showed up in my notifications. What would you have said?

          2. It looks like this was an automated feature of WordPress which triggers when someone reblocks and wasn’t disabled on Hackaday’s side. Surprised they haven’t disabled it, but it shouldn’t be difficult to do

    1. I wouldn’t worry about that too much. You can find editions of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine from the same year for $10-15 on Amazon. That’s about what they would go for in a used book shop. They’re not exceptionally rare, not very valuable, and the content… Well, it’s a magazine from 150 years ago. We’re not talking about the first edition of some insanely influential book here.

      I would expect the value of this specific book to be a bit higher, but only because of the connection to Myst.

      1. The main reason things are going into “rare and valuable” state is nobody consider them that way.
        I know, this is matter of perspective. For example in my country (Poland) radios made before WW2 are considered rare and valuable. Why? Because it was illegal to have one under occupation, unless you were German. Many receivers were destroyed. Original ham radio gear from 1920s and 1930s didn’t survived almost at all. But in USA you can find that stuff on people attics or basements, you can buy it quite cheat on Ebay etc.
        Anyway, destroying book that old is an act of barbarity for me. I find even younger prints worth of preservation. You may find content trivial and unimportant, but It may be valuable for future historians.

        Don’t get me wrong. I am also interested in “interface archeology” and I like to “hack” old devices. But it is one thing to install modern electronics inside a (already cannibalized by a previous owner) telephone from 1960s (yes, I did that) and doing the same with a device manufactured in 1880s.

      2. It may not be completely rational but I also feel this is more like vandalism. Ok, so if I hit a rock with a hammer it’s been there for millions of years until I broke it but the book survived a long time in human terms and it’s a very tactile part of our cultural legacy. Books this old are scarce and only cheap if noone wants them right now. This hack is almost guaranteed to be discarded in the next 20 years. When the Harry Potter franchise needed spell books they covered telephone directories.

    2. Hey there! I made the older Myst linking book featured on here that this author used as a reference. Not all old books have value in the same way that not all books today have value – think old tax books for instance. The book he used is similar to my one and it’s basically a bound copy of snippets (not even the full text) of the equivalent of today’s gossip magazines. It’s printed on the cheapest newspaper-quality paper and bound using offcut scraps of the cheapest cardboard – it had very little value back then, and almost no value now. Books like this are valued only for how pretty their spines are, and are usually sold to interior decorators my the metre of shelf space without even mentioning their titles. So, yes the book has been ‘killed’, but by changing its purpose he’s made it so much more valuable and now more people have had enjoyment from this book than it’s probably had in its 140 year life. :)

    1. Myst was a series of computer games and books built around the idea that a society discovered a way to create a gate between worlds/dimensions which could be embedded within a book (usually referred to as a “linking book”) then collapsed, with most of the books and technologies being lost but a small number still remaining and a large number of colonies being cut off as a result. Think Stargate with the books being the gates.

      The games were largely focused on puzzle solving and used pre-rendered scenes to provide a much higher level of graphical quality than was available to most others at the time. The books were (iirc) largely focused on the rebuilding of the lost civilization who first discovered the books by re-discovering their methods and re-establishing links with the lost colonies

  1. Cool project.
    I also really like the original inspiration for this with the full computer inside to play myst. It would be cool to see one now that incorporates a cheap android tablet considering that myst runs quite well in scummvm for android with the mohawk engine module installed,

    1. Hey there! I made that original one. I thought about doing that at the time but rather than just slip a phone in a book, I wanted to go all-out so I could run the later games too that ScummVM can’t emulate. It’d be much easier to just use a phone or tablet though, if all you want is Myst/Riven gaming. In fact, Intel’s new compute sticks would be fantastic to replicate my original design… If only they existed a few years ago!

    1. I 3D printed a stencil of the MYST title and painted it in. Then I used a paper towel to weather it. I explained this in the project post.
      This is such an easy build there is really not that much to it other then , measure twice cut once.

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