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Author
JasperFforde
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎08-24-2007
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Re: Any Questions?

"Mr. Fforde I have bee curious, what are some of your favorite books? Mention so many characters in your stories I sometimes wonder what you love to read when you are not writing."

My top ten, in no particular order...

Title: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Author: Lewis Carroll

This was the first book I actually remembered picking up to read aged seven or eight. I still have the same copy in my library. I was swept away by Alice's madcap escapades and respectful irreverence of established nursery characters and situations. Lewis Carroll was an extremely intelligent man and could make humorous connections in his writings that are as fresh, full of genuine charm and as delightful now as they were in the late nineteenth century. But for all that Grade-A nonsense there is a strong and very logical construction of Alice's world.

Title: Three Men in a Boat
Author: Jerome K Jerome

This is a book that I still laugh out loud whilst reading. Fresh and joyous self deprecating humour of lazy Victorian gentleman going for a cruise on the Thames in the late nineteenth century. I challenge anyone to read the 'Taking two cheeses by train' story without smirking. The fact that this still resonates with a quirky freshness 125 years after being written demonstrates to me that humans don't ever change.


Title: Diary of a Nobody
Author: Bert and Weedon Grossmith

A book of infinite charm written over a hundred years ago but still relevant to us today. Follow Charles Pooter, a middle class clerk as he attempts social climbing, dealing with his dissolute son Lupin and all the 'fads' of the time, with highly amusing consequences.


Title: Slaughterhouse-5
Author: Kurt Vonnegut

A bizarre and surreal story that spans time-travel, the bombing of Dresden and conventions of Optometrists with a style, pace and verve that is extraordinary.


Title: Catch-22
Author: Joseph Heller

Much has been written about this book and it is all true. One of the finest, if not THE finest books of the twentieth century. Especially notable for the way in which the narrative unfolds as we go from character to character. The section where Milo Minderbinder explains to Yossarian how he can sell eggs cheaper than he bought them and still make a profit is quite simply a delight.


Title: To Kill a Mocking Bird
Author: Harper Lee

Made a great impression on me when I first read it aged twelve and still makes me angry and frustrated after the verdict - you can feel the heat in the courtroom!

Title: The Little Prince
Author: Antoine St Exupery

Allegorical children's book that continues to enthrall and delight. Oddly, St. Exupery wrote and illustrated this on a whim - the rest of his writing is good but does not reach the heights of 'Prince'. Perhaps because he wasn't trying and the door opened to his heart.


Title: Summer Lightning
Author: P G Wodehouse

I mention this one book although I dearly love all of Wodehouse's writing. 'Summer Lightning' is probably the most indicative of his work. A story set at Blandings Castle in Shropshire In the twenties, it has all the Wodehouse elements: Forbidden love trysts in the rose garden, idiot sons, fearful aunts, damaging unpublished memoirs, theft, intrigue, pretty dancers and an impostor - there is always at least one at Castle Blandings.


Title: Declline and Fall
Author: Evelyn Waugh

I mention this book but his others are equally as good; 'Scoop' being my next favorite. 'Decline and Fall' has an episodic quality that I enjoy immensely and snaps along with a dry humor to die for.

Title: The Calculus Affair
Author: Hergé

I'm a long-time Tintin fan and he remains a big inspiration for story telling. 'The Calculus Affair' is one of the later books and probably the best. By this time Herge's illustrations, characterization and humor was never better. The story about secret inventions and kidnappings by foreign powers just snaps along at a breakneck speed. Tank, Helicopter and car chases - this book is like a movie on paper!
Author
JasperFforde
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎08-24-2007
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Re: Any Questions?

"I've another question: Where and how does one obtain a Grade II Cheese license? Humboldt Fog (Class B) is my favorite.

Where ever did you get the idea to make cheese an illegal substance? Hilarious."


This was an idea that has been used as a loyal sub-subplot for so long I felt I had to elevate it to plot status, and we could begin to see what kind of problems an extremely powerful cheese might wreak on Thursday's world. It also allowed me to keep the Welsh Socialist Republic alive as I may have need for that in future books. As it stands, the search for X-14 is a good plot to be carried over into TN-6, and it has the added benefit of being a familiar idea to TN readers - there won't be any particular stretch of credibility when I start to expand upon it.

The whole 'Cheese Duty' gag actually began when I was writing TN2. In the Uk we had just had a fuel tanker driver's strike over the very large amount of duty we pay on our petrol/gas/diesel. (out of the $6 we pay a gallon, about $5 is duty and then sales tax on the duty. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as we have a different tax regime to other countries, and if you don't pay for it one way, you'll certainly pay for it another) Anyhow, petrol/gas was suddenly in short supply and there was a mini-crisis where the government clumisily tried to claim that if we selfishly demanded cut-price petrol/gas, then there would have to be cuts in the National Health Service - 'want cheap fuel? Then we fire nurses and little old ladies would go without hip replacements and suffer crippling pain.' It was all very clumsy, but the whole thing blew over eventually. Anyway, it got me to thinking that perhaps the cash that the government needed perhaps never appeared as duty on petrol/gas ... but to cheese instead. If you read TN2 again, you'll see Mrs Jolly Hilly making the same daft arguments that my government did.

And the subplot just grew from there...
Author
JasperFforde
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎08-24-2007
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Re: Any Questions?

"I was strolling down the twenty-sixth floor of the Great Library in Chapter 6, where Thursday was saying, "The council governs dramatic conventions, strictly controls the use of irony, legislates on word use and, through the Book Inspectorate, decides which novels are to be published and which ones scrapped."

And I began to wonder. Nowadays, with electronic books making self-publishing a possibility no matter how awful the book, will the job, or even the function, of the Book Inspectorate have to change drastically? Before, after all, it was preventing a book already formed, either typed or laboriously printed, from being typecast and published in paper. Now books can get out there in almost primevially raw form and have a wide audience on the Internet. Surely this makes the job much more difficult?

Rhonda"


It would if Thursday's world had the technology. I'm not sure that it does. Mobile phones are a very modern phenomeneon, and I'm not sure she even has the internet, or electronic books. As you can see, I tend to try and gloss over all that high-tech stuff as I think ink and paper books are just that much more cosy, and enjoyable. That's not to say I won't attack the internet at some point, but I can see myself drifting too far from the brief and writing an internet thriller, which isn't what Thursday is about at all - TN lives in a world where people pick up books and read away quietly to themselves in a windowseat, while the rain bedashes the mullioned windows outside and within, a log fire crackles in the grate and the smell of baking scones and tea drifts in from the kitchen.
Melissa_W
Posts: 4,124
Topics: 516
Kudos: 966
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Ideas: 15
Solutions: 33
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Any Questions?

Haha, funny. Thanks for the reply. BTW, I am visiting a friend in Cardiff right now and immediately thought of Thursday Next as the train pulled into Swindon station on my trip from Heathrow to Cardiff!



JasperFforde wrote:
New book? Any hints? Sure. It'll be mainly paper and ink.

Message Edited by JasperFforde on 09-10-2007 04:55 AM

Message Edited by JasperFforde on 09-10-2007 04:56 AM


Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
Frequent Contributor
suetu
Posts: 81
Registered: ‎08-10-2007
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Re: Any Questions?

Hi Jasper,

Yes, thanks for answering questions. I have one...

It's a plot point in TN5 that "Jenny" is named after Melanie Bradshaw. Until that came up at the end, I always assumed she was named after Thursday's grandma. Wasn't her name Jenny too? Coincidence? Or possibly just a reader with a faulty memory to lazy to look it up?
Susan
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ronincats
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Any Questions?

You wrote, "It would if Thursday's world had the technology. I'm not sure that it does. Mobile phones are a very modern phenomeneon, and I'm not sure she even has the internet, or electronic books. As you can see, I tend to try and gloss over all that high-tech stuff as I think ink and paper books are just that much more cosy, and enjoyable. That's not to say I won't attack the internet at some point, but I can see myself drifting too far from the brief and writing an internet thriller, which isn't what Thursday is about at all - TN lives in a world where people pick up books and read away quietly to themselves in a windowseat, while the rain bedashes the mullioned windows outside and within, a log fire crackles in the grate and the smell of baking scones and tea drifts in from the kitchen."

I agree wholeheartedly. I was just musing, interpolating into Thursday's future, if some form equivalent to the Internet developed in her parallel reality, what effect that might have on that particular function of the Bookworld. There's also the question if the book in effect already exists as soon as the writer records it in someway outside his/her head--does the Bookworld keep it from being published, or even from being written? I myself love a world where people do as you describe. On the other hand, I think the mobilefootnoterphone is an absolutely hilarious permutation of cell phones. I laugh aloud every time I encounter it.

Rhonda
New User
Enniferjay
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Any Questions?

I was glad to see that you visited PG Wodehouse's works, but don't you think that Jeeves would be a great Jurisfiction agent? Or is he just too busy in his roles? Or maybe Bertie, when he's not playing his character, would be unexpectedly resourceful? I guess I'm asking for more Wodehouse for the Next Next book. What do you think?

Jennifer M
Author
JasperFforde
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎08-24-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Any Questions?

Hi Jasper,

Yes, thanks for answering questions. I have one...

It's a plot point in TN5 that "Jenny" is named after Melanie Bradshaw. Until that came up at the end, I always assumed she was named after Thursday's grandma. Wasn't her name Jenny too? Coincidence? Or possibly just a reader with a faulty memory to lazy to look it up?
 

Susan



Susan,

I had a look at Thursday's Family tree (www.thursdaynext.com/family.html) and there isn't a Jenny in sight. It might be Melanie's middle name, but it is probably more likely (Spoiler alert) of relevance to Aornis, who gave her the mindworm in the first place.

-Jasper
Author
JasperFforde
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎08-24-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Any Questions?

You wrote, "It would if Thursday's world had the technology. I'm not sure that it does. Mobile phones are a very modern phenomeneon, and I'm not sure she even has the internet, or electronic books. As you can see, I tend to try and gloss over all that high-tech stuff as I think ink and paper books are just that much more cosy, and enjoyable. That's not to say I won't attack the internet at some point, but I can see myself drifting too far from the brief and writing an internet thriller, which isn't what Thursday is about at all - TN lives in a world where people pick up books and read away quietly to themselves in a windowseat, while the rain bedashes the mullioned windows outside and within, a log fire crackles in the grate and the smell of baking scones and tea drifts in from the kitchen."

I agree wholeheartedly. I was just musing, interpolating into Thursday's future, if some form equivalent to the Internet developed in her parallel reality, what effect that might have on that particular function of the Bookworld. There's also the question if the book in effect already exists as soon as the writer records it in someway outside his/her head--does the Bookworld keep it from being published, or even from being written? I myself love a world where people do as you describe. On the other hand, I think the mobilefootnoterphone is an absolutely hilarious permutation of cell phones. I laugh aloud every time I encounter it.

Rhonda


Rhonda,

Well yes, the author might think they are writing the book but they are, in fact, merely holding the pen. In 'The Well of Lost Plots' and again in 'First Among Sequesl' we learn all about Storycode engines and how everyone down in the Well works tirelessly to try and make a workable, readable, book. As Commander Bradshaw explains:

‘ImaginoTransference Recording Device: A machine used to write books in the Well, the ITRD resembles a large horn (typically eight foot across and made of brass) attached to a polished mahogany mixing board a little like a church organ but with many more stops and levers. As the story is enacted in front of the collecting horn, the actions, dialogue, humour, pathos, etc., are collected, mixed and transmitted as raw data to Text Grand Central where the wordsmiths hammer it into readable story code. Once done it is beamed direct to the author’s pen or typewriter, and from there through a live footnoterphone link back to the Well as plain text. The page is read and if all is well, it is added to the manuscript and the characters move on. The beauty of the system is that the author never suspects a thing – they think they do all the work.’

-Jasper
Author
JasperFforde
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎08-24-2007
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Re: Any Questions?

I was glad to see that you visited PG Wodehouse's works, but don't you think that Jeeves would be a great Jurisfiction agent? Or is he just too busy in his roles? Or maybe Bertie, when he's not playing his character, would be unexpectedly resourceful? I guess I'm asking for more Wodehouse for the Next Next book. What do you think?

Jennifer M



Jennifer,

I'm a big fan of Wodehouse, too. I'd like to use him more, but it is heavily in copyright, and writing in that style might look a bit pastichy. Besides, who's to say that Bertie isn't actually thoughtful and intelligent when not being Bertie - and Jeeves is a dullard? Heresy, I know, but I'd have to think up some amusing and unexpected angle to make it work!

Jasper
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