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Discovering Scarfolk

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  848 ratings  ·  124 reviews
"Scarfolk is a town in north-west England that did not progress beyond 1979. The entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. In Scarfolk children must not be seen OR heard, and everyone has to be in bed by 8 p.m. because they are perpetually running a slight fever..."

Part-comedy, part-horror, part-satire, Discovering Scarfolk is the surreal account of a family trapped i
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published October 16th 2014 by Ebury Press (first published October 2nd 2014)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Welcome to Night Vale fans
Recommended to Melki by: boingboing
Welcome to Scarfolk!

...where every day is Friday the 13th.

No. It really is. Just look at the calendar - description

Scarfolk is just your ordinary town in Northwest England.


An ordinary town with electrified water and after-school activities for the kiddies like Thump-Chums. (The first rule of Thump-Chums is you can talk about Thump-Chums to whoever you like as long as you thump them.)

In fact, children are one of Scarfolk's most precious commodities.


They believe in educating them and everything, as shown i
B Schrodinger
Oct 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, retro, humour, horror
So you're like me and grew up watching bad UK sci-fi especially the TV adaptations of "Chocky"and "The Tripods". You are a big fan of John Wyndham. The League of Gentlemen tickled your funny bone.

"Discovering Scarfolk" is for you. Undoubtedly.

A researcher finds the account and collected paraphenalia from a person who was held against his will in a small northern english town in the 1970s. The town no longer exists and it seems to have been covered up.The man tells the account of his twin sons b
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was tricked, or somehow drugged. This is a non-fiction-fiction book. But, is it? I mean the 70's were a freaky time. My father smoked at the dinner table while we were eating. I am really not sure what to say, this being a non-fiction-fiction book. It was as if Monty Python(all of them) and Rod Serling hooked up and wrote...something. My favorite parts were the public service posters and book covers that are throughout the book. Things like "In the playground kids can pick up something more de ...more
For more information, please reread this poster.

Based on a blog, Discovering Scarfolk is a horror-comedy in which the tale of a man's search for his missing children is supplemented with 'found' evidence from the sinister town of Scarfolk, perpetually stuck in a macabre version of the 1970s with an ultra-draconian, and probably evil, town council. The story - ostensibly assembled by an academic with little prior knowledge of the main character's life - is illustrated with public information post
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious and terrifying in equal measure. Full review here: ...more
Murray Ewing
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, humour
Based on the darkly hilarious Scarfolk blog, which presents odd items from the archives of an insular, paranoid, medically unsafe and supernaturally haunted town in the northeast of 1970s England, Discovering Scarfolk attempts to understand what happened to a man who may or may not have been named Daniel Bush, and who may or may not have lost two children who may or not have been his, and may or not have subsequently been held captive in Scarfolk itself. A town which may or may not exist.

The art
Sep 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: gonzo
My wife has actual footage of me in a reading chair, this book prominently open in my lap, and light snores coming from my direction. I will have to deduct one star based on the lack of vaguely Orwellian/Kafkaesque dreams.

The highlight is the painstakingly fabricated yet eerily time-appropriate posters, papers, and informational material, all of which convey a consistently inept surveillance state and callous disregard of human existence. It is really astonishing at how thoroughly Littler worked
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
A painful paper-cut above the traditional tie-in cash-in, I was perversely pleased to find this genuinely disturbing. There are many cheap and easy comparative options to be had, so here are a few of mine: Reggie Perrin stars in the Wicker Man, Children of the Stones remade by Monty Python, The Prisoner set in the Crossroads Motel. From the time when abandoned fridges, shiny floors and chip pans were as terrifying as terrorism is now. Towards the end it even began to remind me of Danielewski's H ...more
Mar 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I have mixed views on this.

On the one hand the Scarfolk artwork is fantastic - a very original concept which really works for me.

On the other hand the actual text in the book is atrociously written. Daniel visits Scarfolk and his twin sons go missing blah blah blah. I don't know, i think it's supposed to be funny but it missed my funny bone by a significant margin. It's so bad, that you just look forward to examining the next poster or book cover. A shame really as the concept has huge potenti
Oct 30, 2015 rated it liked it
I LOVED the posters, but the story was only so-so.

Buyer beware: If you buy it from a seller on, you may end up getting the original version, which had a major printing error (all the images are low-resolution). But if you contact the publisher, they will send you a replacement.
Jack Stark
From what I can figure out, this project started off as a blog, and after becoming very popular, got a book deal. I think this works better as short blog posts or tweets than it does as a collected book.

There is a narrative that runs through this, it’s not just a collection of graphics. Our protag loses his children one day and when he tries to find out what happened to them, he uncovers evidence of this dystopian Scarfolk Council and a cult of stationery worshipers. It’s hilariously silly in p
Robin Bonne
The art and graphic design was fantastic. The plot and humor left a lot to be desired and read like a forced attempt to explain the graphics.
K.A. Laity
Nov 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I can’t say when I first stumbled across Littler’s Scarfolk site. Probably one of the usual suspects (Brazill or Billson). I’m pretty sure it was on Twitter, but it doesn’t really matter. What I discovered was that I knew that place very well. A lot of my friends had been scarred by living in 1970s Britain which seemed to be a time and place determined to foist the uncanny onto all its citizens. People would speak in hushed tones with glazed eyes and trembling lips of that Donald Pleasance-voice ...more
Tom Breen
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fans of weird fiction - or anything weird, really - would do well to pick up this tome, based on the Scarfolk website that posits the existence of a surreal, totalitarian dystopia somewhere in northern England where things have never really moved on from the worst week of 1974. The website is an archive of ingenious mockups of artifacts from the town of Scarfolk - public health posters, old books, cassette tape covers, etc. - and the book includes a great deal of that material, but wraps it arou ...more
Jamie Bradway
Sep 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Almost needs two ratings; one for the writing and one for the design of the book.

The story is faux-eerie supernatural comedy peppered with a 12-year-old's penchant for profanity. Anatomically punned names... oh, the laughs. Two stars - didn't laugh at the text once. The writing didn't really matter so much, though. It was just an excuse of structure in order to present some awesome graphics. The seventies-era posters and brochures really were clever. The book itself was designed and constructed
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I bought this for my partner but they were laughing so hard reading it that I thought I should read it too. It is very funny. Odd 70s town where everything is very unpleasant and there are mysterious stationary supplies cults, evil children, mass surveillance and a stranger who gets caught up in all the madness. The missing person story is a good hook for presenting the material. Definitely recommended.
J.T. Wilson
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Daniel Bush makes a dreadful mistake when he stops off at Scarfolk, and when his two sons are abducted he must overcome the town’s totalitarian leadership, the paranoia of its brainwashed inhabitants and the dark secrets at the town’s malevolent heart.

Littler’s influences are obvious: Scarfolk’s twin towns include Night Vale and Royston Vasey, notable residents include Patrick McGoohan and Lemony Snicket, ‘The Wicker Man’ looms like a shadow, and the epistolary “third party attempts to make sens
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After multiple readings I feel that I have been mentally disfigured for life. Sadly I don't think many people will be able to tell the difference. I recommend this book for anyone who grew up in the 1970s and is already so warped that any further dysfunction will simply be rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
I should point out that I sniggered and cackled at each rereading, though not always in the same places. There was also some drooling, but this washes out eventually. Like a suppuratin
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Discovering Scarfolk is a visitor's guide to a small town in the UK, a real tourist trap (entirely literally). Full of helpful advice, such as "Don't go with strange children", "Stop" and "Don't", this is an indispensable guide to getting out alive.
If you're a Welcome to Night Vale fan, you'll find a lot to like here. This book is unsettling blend of horror and humour, each pitched perfectly to avoid tipping completely in either direction. A shortish read, but I doubt you'll be able to resist se
Kev Neylon
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-rated, sci-fi
Like buses five star ratings come along in pairs.

This book is brilliant, bonkers, funny, and utterly disturbing in equal measures. The concept is good, and the alternate reality of 1970's England is just outside the bounds of what would happen, but tangible enough to make it seem possible.

The creation of all the posters, books, food, adverts are amazing.

Definitely worth reading. (For more information reread this review).
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a work of genius. I wish I could give it ten stars.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Avşar by: merve şen
A masterpiece of dark humour through social dreaming. For more information please reread this review.
Jennie Smith
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sooo good. Very dark and slightly worrying.
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
At last! After months of looking at this book I'm finished! It's way too nonsensical for me to enjoy it, but it did make me laugh at parts. I acknowledge the creativity needed to come up with something like this. Can't say I didn't slog through it though. ...more
Nov 15, 2017 rated it liked it
After P. G. Wodehouse, the most British book I’ve ever read. This is a fun, dystopian art book culled from a fantastic blog. Like most books adapted from online content, it falls short of its intentions because of the media shift. But I still enjoyed this and am going to keep it on my shelf for the wonderfully horrific ‘70s advertisement art.
Dec 08, 2014 rated it liked it
I've always really enjoyed the Scarfolk Council blog ever since I've discovered it from some source or another,
so when it was announced that the supernatural/totalitarian community would be committed to print, I was very anxious to see the result.

Sadly, the book format added some problems to the winning formula.

First of all, the fictional account of the demise of the Bush family in Scarfolk don't contribute at all, I think.
The excessively tongue-in-cheek quality of the narrative cheapens the sa
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, humor, 2018
This book is a collection of fake (though persuasive) propaganda material, but there is an overarching plot. The story is about a man whose wife has died, so he is taking his two sons north to make a fresh start. Along the way they stop for gas at a town called Scarfolk. While the man is filling up his tank, his boys go into the gas station to use the restroom. They never come out.

Eventually the man goes into the gas station to find his kids, but the station attendant says there is no bathroom a
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A travel guide to your waking nightmares, assuming they involve creepy British towns stuck in the 70s.

If you like your humor weird, surreal, and dry as a bone, this is the book for you. Ostensibly a travel book for the British town of Scarfolk, forever trapped in a nightmare version of the 1970s, this collection of the Scarfolk blog is a must read for anyone who loves good thing. This is a collection of and expansion on the Scarfolk Council blog, so give that a Google for a taste of what you'll
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The funniest book since sliced bread. (And I'm not just saying that because they're watching) - It's been ages since I've read a book that had me laugh so loud my family became worried about me. Maybe they're on the council too. I have to be careful. We all have to be careful. If you are fond of sarcasm, surrealism, Orwellian oppressiveness, tacky 1970's stylishness, general creepiness and gut busting hysteria, this is a MUST read! I love to highlight or put markers on pages of books that impact ...more
Thomas Hale
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
A surprisingly dense book based on the excellent Scarfolk Council blog, a collection of artefacts from a mysterious British 70s dystopia. The book collects a large number of the material from the site (really spot-on 70s-style paraphernalia that at first glance could be authentic) and uses it as supplemental illustration for a weird, funny and creepy story about a man who lost his children, and his mind, in Scarfolk. It's a book best read in small doses, as the style can start to get a little ol ...more
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