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SFX Magazine Review
Sept 2003
The Well of Lost Plots
Review by Dave Golder.
Jasper Fforde is a novel writer. In that he writes novels about novels that are novel. Really.

A book this self-consciously clever has no right being so much damned fun. The post-modern jokes; the copious references to English literary classics; the meticulously crafted fantasy world set inside the world of novels - it should be a recipe for self-indulgent disaster. And this is Fforde's third novel set in this world of book-hopping, communication by footnotes and sentient, self-aware book characters; surely the joke's wearing thin by now?

Nope. Okay, so the shock of the new has worn away and the sheer rate at which Fforde can add on new twists and concepts to his world is slowing down, but the storytelling, wit and imagination are as fresh as ever. Our hero, Thursday Next (who's from an alternate version of our world) is hiding out in Bookworld in a pulp novel called Caversham Heights, where she's training to become a Jurisfiction Agent. The introduction of a new book system called UltraWordTM is nearing; it should spell the end of misspellings and the need to attribute speech to characters, among other things. But could it also be the reason why someone is bumping off Jurisfiction agents? At the same time, Thursday's old nemesis, Aornis is eating away at her memories.

If you're new to Fforde's weirdness, be warned - the "story so far" section makes very little sense (and you can't help wondering if this is yet another calculated gag); it's better to pick things up as you go along. Better still, go back and read all his books so far - you won't regret it.

Ironically the only downside to The Well of Lost Plots is that its own plot gets lost for large chunks of insanity and incidental detail. But the joy of these books for the moment at least - is exploring this bizarre world. You can't help wondering, though, what a non-Bookworld Jasper Fforde novel would be like............... ***** (five star rating!)