The Thursday Next series
by Jasper Fforde
The Thursday Next series is unlike anything else I’ve ever read. It’s a kind of modern steampunk, an alternate history where they travel by dirigible and the Crimean War is still simmering after 130 years. It’s also a bit sci-fi, given the time-travelling plots that weave in and out of the series. But the big feature is Bookworld, the parallel existence where fiction actually happens. In the first book, The Eyre Affair, our heroine, Thursday Next, is a Literary Detective with Special Ops. In the hilariously warped world of the series, literature is more important than anything, except perhaps the world championship croquet match. There are riots over who wrote Shakespeare’s plays, and counterfeiting a first edition is the most heinous of crimes. Ms. Next manages to jump her way into BookWorld, where all fictional stories actually take place. Bookworld provides fertile imaginary ground for famous characters in new roles, wild plots, political and business satire, and literary meta jokes. Silliness abounds. There are metaphor mines, a text sea, and the well of lost plots where books that never got published live. At one point, they communicate via the footnoterphone, and indeed, the actual conversation is in the footnotes. I devoured this series and was very disappointed when it ran out of books. All highly recommended, and best read in order.
Story 5, Craft 5, Humor 5 — really. All of them. Click title above to see the book on Amazon.