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Jasper Fforde

…Early Riser

Jasper Fforde really pushes out the SciFi / Fantasy / Dystopia genre with this one. An alternative UK where nothing is quite as it seems and extreme winters that mean that humans hibernate.
This new environment means that everyone has to gain weight to survive the winter, and being to thin is seen as very socially undesirable. I should fit right in! I’m not so sure about the comparatively lo-tech alternative though. Early Riser almost has a Terry Pratchett Discworld feel to it and keeps you guessing to the end with lots of questions raised that are wrapped up neatly. This is somewhat disappointing as it leaves no room for a sequel to this stand-alone masterpiece of story-telling, but it is rather refreshing in this age of a trilogy is not enough novel series.Early Riser Cover

There is one quote that I wanted to pull out, that calls itself out as being paraphrased from someone else but I can’t find a source with my meagre Google-Fu:

“If you can’t have change without injustice, then there should be no change”

Buy n Large

A  frightening insight into the future of consumerism, globalisation and the Internet is here at Buy n Large.  This comes from the BnL website privacy policy:

All acquired customer information becomes the property of the Buy n Large corporation and can be used (but is not limited to) any venture the Buy n Large Corporation deems beneficial to it. By visiting Buy n Large (or a Buy n Large partner) the user agrees to relinquish (if requested) any personal assets that may be deemed “usable” by the Buy n Large Corporation; this includes (but is not limited to) real estate, stock holdings, user transportation, employment income and the users “soul” (either real or imagined, regardless of spiritual or religious affiliation).

You have got to give a website points when they are this open about their intentions.  It turns-out that this amazing site is all an elaborate hoax to promote the upcoming Pixar movie Wall*E.

This almost reads like a slightly tamed-down version of Jasper Fforde’s Goliath Corporation [^].  Goliath comes right out and doesn’t hide it’s intentions behind legalese:

The Corporation welcomes open and responsible corporate affairs but also upholds the right to defend itself against those wishing to harm the good work it does for the citizenry. If you know who these people are it is your moral responsibility to tell us. Call (in confidence) our Goliath ‘Helpful Citizen Hotline’ 700-STOOLY. There may be a cash reward.

No Orwellian Double-Speak here!  What a shame that they are both fictional – but real-life is much more insidious.

Date Set For Fforde Festival

Swindon will be celebrating it’s new found, Jasper Fforde inspired fame next year in The Fforde Ffiesta over the Spring Bank Holiday. 

The event has been designed to give fans of Jasper Fforde’s surreal vision of Swindon a chance to get together, although few details of next year’s rendez-vous have been announced.
(from Swindon Advertiser) [^]

Now the big question is: can I think of a reason for myself and Mrs CannibalRabbit to be in Swindon for the 3rd to the 5th May 2008?  And a secondary concern would be, can we afford it?

The official announcement notes that:

“Early reports from the Chronoguard indicate that next year’s Ffiesta was a roaring success”

Only on the Internet

The things you find on the internet these days: The Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists [^]! At Beast Blender you create your own bizarre animal online from the bits that they provide (virtually).   The only problem is – no rabbits – what were these Americans thinking?

The truly strange thing was that I found the link to this from the Swindon Evening Advertiser website [^]  –  the reader blogs section, thank you  Plasticbird  [^].   So what the  interesting part I hear you say – well Swindon features in the Thursday Next novels of Jasper Fforde [^] where species re-engineering (Dodos [^] Thylacine and Mastadon . . . and William Shakespeare) is an everyday feature, and Chimera (strange genetically spliced creatures) have been known to appear as narrative detours.   Pete and Dave’s Dodo Emporium notes for the Thylacine says that they are “tame and docile and likes children but will make do with dog food.”   Sounds like the perfect pet to me!

The human mind is a wonderful thing, it likes to see links and connection – maybe even where they do not truly exist.   The original title was going to be “Only in America” but maybe “Only in my ramblings” would be a better idea.   Better still let’s blame the internet!