Reading guide for The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde

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The Well of Lost Plots

A Thursday Next Novel

by Jasper Fforde

The Well of Lost Plots
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2004, 400 pages
    Jul 2004, 375 pages

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Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

Introduction to The Well of Lost Plots

Thursday and her pet dodo, Pickwick, have taken up temporary residency in a run-of-the-mill unpublished crime novel called Caversham Heights through the book world's Character Exchange Program—at least for the duration of her pregnancy. While the pages of an obscure, unpublished novel seem like a safe harbor, Thursday's enemy stalks her in her sleep. Aornis uses her skills as a mnemonomorph to alter and destroy Thursday's memories, which are all she has left of her eradicated husband. Granny Next, apparently an ex-Jurisfiction operative herself, unexpectedly appears on Thursday's doorstep to try to help her battle the mindworm, but Thursday must face off with Aornis, and her darkest nightmares, alone.

It seems that no one in the book world is safe anymore. Thursday reports for duty with her Jurisfiction colleagues at their headquarters in the Dashwoods' ballroom in Sense and Sensibility to discuss UltraWord™, the Book Operating System upgrade that has the entire fiction world buzzing with anticipation. But when the squad heads out to chase down the escaped Minotaur, Agent Perkins's body is found mangled at the Minotaur's vault, and Agent Snell dies from contact with the deadly "mispeling vyrus." While Snell's and Perkins's deaths in the line of duty at first seem legitimate, a missing vault key, a damaged Eject-o-Hat, and Snell's horribly misspelled final words point to sabotage. But at the 923rd annual BookWorld Awards, Thursday alone can stop a conversion of power that will shake the world of fiction to its very core.

Reading Guide
  1. Do you think the UltraWord™ plot is a parable about television's effect on the imagination? What similarities or differences do the two have?

  2. Who is the Great Panjandrum? What is her role in the book world?

  3. Miss Havisham gives Thursday a piece of the "Last Original Idea . . . a small shard from when the whole was cleaved in 1884." Do you think the last original idea has been thought and dispersed already? Why or why not?

  4. The Jurisfiction characters argue about the "basic eight-plot architecture we inherited from OralTrad." Do you think it's true that "No one will ever need more than eight plots?" If Coming of Age, Bitter Rivalry/Revenge, and Journey of Discovery are part of the eight-plot architecture, what do you think the remaining five plots are? Which would The Well of Lost Plots come under?

  5. Thursday sees her worst nightmare when she gazes in the mirror that Aornis holds up to her in her dreams, but it is not the memory of her brother Anton's death. What is it that Thursday sees in the mirror? What images might you see in the mirror? What is the significance of the "lighthouse" at the edge of her mind?

  6. When Snell tells Thursday that Landen can be written into fictional existence so they can live together in the book world, Thursday replies that she wants the real Landen or none at all. Are memory and imagination powerful enough to sustain a real person? If everything in the book world seems real enough, why would Thursday not choose the written Landen? Would you revive people you have lost in your life if you could? Why or why not?

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Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Penguin. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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