...I shall be in France, living in a cave - woo hoo!
Anyway, I'm not quite sure why I thought it might be a good idea to write a post about the Thursday Next series, but I did, so I will. This really is a series and Jasper is up to book six. We have; The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, Well of Lost Plots, Something Rotten. First Among Sequels, and One of Our Thursdays is Missing. I am not going anywhere near the plot lines but I will try to describe the setting and background pick out some of the main themes. If you do come to a Ffiesta it is probably a good idea, though not essential, to have some sort of a grasp of these. It makes the whole event a little less bewildering, though for some people that sense of the surreal is what gives the whole thing its edge.
Anyway, the books are set partly in an alternative Swindon, and partly inside fiction. In Thursday's world England is a republic, headed up by President-for-life george Formby. Wales is a socialist republic and Scotland has quite possibly been set adrift. The Crimean War, of which Thursday is a veteran, is still going on at the start of the first book, though it is brought to an end by Thursday's intervention and we have to offer the Russians Tunbridge Wells as war reparations.
There is a very substantial duty on cheese which makes for a thriving black market.
Technology is not like ours - there are no planes (well, no jets, though you might get the odd bi-plane, though these are rare) instead you might travel by gravitube, airship or monorail.
Thursday works for Literatec, which is one branch of a sort of multi-purpose police force. In Thursdays world fiction is big business and fictional characters enjoy the sort of cachet which film and sports stars may enjoy in ours, only more so... instead of Jehovah's Witnesses you may have Baconions knocking on your door trying to convince you that Shakespeare wasn't the author of his own plays, and rather than football cards children swap fictional charaacters. Literatecs deal with forgeries and illiegal book dealing. Other branches of SpecOps deal with Vampires and Werewolves (Suckers and Biters), Horticultural Enforcement (Weeds and Seeds) Weird Shit generally and Time Travel (Chronoguard) Thursday's father Colonel Next is a chronoguard officer and flits about in time.
Cloning is common and can be done quite simply at home with cloning kits (to find out how, read New Splicer) and dodos are common pets (Thursday has a dodo called Pickwick). Mammoths roam the land and many other creatures have been brought back from extinction - and others have been created by over-enthusiastic home cloner/splicers. Among the creatures brought back are neanderthals and Thursday finds herself working closely with one named Stig.
Much of english life is under the control of a large and sinister corporation named Goliath (from the cradle to the grave) who have a finger in many pies, they control much of the media and have great influence in SpecOps and politics generally - though President Formby remains incorruptible.
Thursday has an eccentric genius Uncle, Mycroft who is responsible for many wonderful inventions - translating carbon paper, the ovinator, unscrambled eggs, and the prose portal amonst other things. The prose portal can be used to enter books and is used for nefarious purposes by a supervillain (Acheron Hades) who manages to kidnap Jane Eyre and hold her to ransom. Many of Mycroft's other inventions also play important roles in the stories. He is assisted by his wife, Polly, since his previous assitant was meringued. Mycroft is an afficionado of trashy TV shows and particularly enjoys watching name that fruit.
Thursday learns that she can enter fiction, initially via the Portal but later under her own auspices and whilst there works for Jurisfiction. Other Jurisfiction agents include Miss Havisham, Mrs Tiggywinkle, Gully Foyle, the Emperor Zhark and Colonel Bradshaw, who just happens to be married to a gorilla.
There's lots I've missed - croquet, earth crossers, Landen, GSD, Zvlkz, battenburg, Hamlet, Emma Hamilton, Friday, Tuesday, Jenny, angel delight, Spike and Cindy, minotaurs, Mrs Danverses.. I could go on and on, and it probably feels like I have, but this post is beginning to feel like a novel in itself, albeit one with out a plot so I'll stop now. I may say some more about this another time, but if you want to know more read the books, it's a lot more enjoyable than me wittering on