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First Among Sequels

A Thursday Next Novel

by Jasper Fforde

First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde

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Power Reviewer Cloggie Downunder

excellent dose of Fforde
First Among Sequels is the fifth novel in the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. The narration starts in 2002, some fourteen years after Something Rotten. Thursday, now 52 and feeling her age, is working at Acme Carpets, Spec Ops having been disbanded soon after the Commonsense Party came to power. Her sixteen-year-old son, Friday, destined to lead the ChronoGuard and save the world, is a typically teenage smelly, grunty bedslug. Landen and Thursday have two daughters, Tuesday and Jenny, and Landen writes at home whilst Thursday secretly runs her own Spec Ops branch and, in the Book World, trains cadet agents for Jurisfiction. Reality TV shows like Samaritan Kidney Swap have become popular, and read rates are dropping dramatically, a cause for great concern in the Book World. Tension is mounting between some of the genres in the Book World, and the Council of Genres is proposing to make books interactive. As things come to a head, Thursday finds herself, unthinkably, going to Goliath Corporation for help. While some of the pieces about time travel and the ChronoGuard almost had my eyes glazing over, things I loved in this excellent novel were the book refitter’s own language, the fictional Thursdays, the Stupidity Surplus, Schrödinger’s Night Fever Principle, the good ship Moral Dilemma on the Hypothetical Ocean, Aornis Hades timeloop prison, books whose genres change, piano exchange, the serial killer pun and the cheese smuggling. Landen has previously been very much in the background, but in this instalment his character is developed and we see more of Thursday’s family life. Fforde is always inventive with names and this book is no exception: Mrs Berko Boyler, Daphne Farquit, Aflredo Traficcone, Anne Wirthlass-Schitt, Cherie Yogert, Hedge Moulting, Cliff Hangar, Irritable Vowel Syndrome, and the various cheese names; Salmon Thrusty’s “The Demonic Couplets” is worthy of Rushdie himself. Thursday makes a lovely speech about the importance of the reader. The cliff hanger ending will send readers in search of the next Thursday Next novel, One of Our Thursdays is Missing. Reminiscent of Douglas Adams, this is another excellent dose of Jasper Fforde.
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