Labyrinth: A Novel Based On The Jim Henson Film is the novelization of the film of the same name by ACH Smith, which was first published in the USA by Henry Holt to tie-in with the film's release in June 1986. A UK edition of the book was published by Virgin Books in late 1987 to tie-in with the film's release in the region.
Editions of the book were published in numerous languages, including French, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese.
The novelization is currently out of print, but has been transcribed and can read here. In January 2014, Archaia announced that the novelization would be republished in April 2014 with new supplementary content.
Back Cover Synopsis (USA Edition)
What happens when you wish for something terrible... and your wish comes true? Young Sarah is about to find out. Left at home to mind her baby brother, Toby, she finds herself trying to comfort a screaming infant as a wild storm rages about the house. In a fit of temper, she wishes that the ghoulies would come and take the child away. Unfortunately, they do.
Sarah then plunges into a whirlwind adventure. If she cannot reach the center of the mysterious Labyrinth within thirteen hours, Jareth; King of the Goblins - will keep Toby forever. In the twists and turns of her dangerous journey to Jareth's castle, she meets an extraordinary variety of strange characters, some more friendly than others. But none of them will be able to help her unless she musters the courage to challenge Jareth - no matter what the odds.
Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets and director of Labyrinth, has joined with executive producer George Lucas to take us once again on a fascinating journey into a fantastic world. Labyrinth has been produced by Eric Rattray; the executive supervising producer is David Lazer. Illustrator Brian Froud is the conceptual designer, and the screenplay by Terry Jones is based on a story by Jim Henson and Dennis Lee, A Lucasfilm Ltd./Henson Associates, Ltd. Production, The movie is distributed by TriStar Pictures.
ACH Smith, who is also the author of The Dark Crystal and Lady Jane, has captured all the excitement and poetry of a brilliant film in this riveting novel.
Back Cover Synopsis (UK Edition)
Everything is unfair. No one understands her. She is alone in a friendless world. This is how young Sarah feels when she is left behind yet again by her father and hated step-mother to look after her baby brother Toby. Outside a storm is raging, inside Toby is screaming his head off; in a fit of temper, Sarah wishes the goblins would come and take him away. Unfortunately, they do.
Suddenly, Sarah is plunged into a whirlwind adventure. She must get Toby back from the centre of the mysterious labyrinth within thirteen hours - or else, Jareth, king of the goblins, will keep him forever. The journey is long and dangerous, and the odds are stacked against her. Can she rise to the first real challenge of her young life?
A.C.H. Smith, author of numerous novels and plays, including The Dark Crystal, has recreated all the excitement and magic, and has brought to life all the weird and wonderful charecters of a brilliant film in this riveting novel.
Differences from the Film
While largely faithful to the events of the film, the novelization features some notable differences. These include-
- The insertion of dialogue and/or non-musical scenes to replace sequences that featured Bowie's songs in the film. The scene that replaces the Magic Dance sequence includes a passage describing Jareth's ennui and general dissatisfaction with his position as Goblin King. The ballroom scene in the novelization has Jareth attempt to kiss Sarah, who is said to be "suffused by disgust" and wrenches herself away from him.
- Added background information on Sarah's family, most significantly an explanation of the absence of Sarah's mother Linda and scenes that feature both Linda and her boyfriend Jeremy.
- An expanded version of the scene where Sarah is faced with the two door knockers. In the novelization, Sarah first takes the door with the knocker that has the ring through its ears, and finds herself in a flower filled forest that resounds with the laughter of birds, trees and flowers. Sarah starts to laugh as well, but soon realizes that her laughter is uncontrollable and is starting to cause her pain. She summons the strength of will to leave, and takes the other door which leads into a grey, dank forest that appears to be formed of bones. The forest of bones eventually leads into the firey forest Sarah enters in the film.
- When Sarah returns home after defeating Jareth, it is ambiguously noted that "tears were trickling down her cheeks".