The Constant Rabbit (Jasper Fforde)

The Constant Rabbit is a novel by Jasper Fforde.
Finished on: 17.8.2021

Content Note: (critical treatment of) racism and fascism

In 1965, an as of yet unexplained Anthropomorphising Event took place that transformed 18 rabbits into intelligent, talking human-sized beings. Ever since, they have multiplied and become a part of society. What part exactly that is, is a hotly-debated topic. The UKARP (UK Anti-Rabbit Party) that wants to see rabbit rights strictly limited has garnered much momentum. Peter Knox works for RabCoT, the Rabbit Compliance Taskforce, but sees the mounting leporophobia around him with concern. When a rabbit family moves in next door, and he realizes that he knew Connie, the mother, in college, it becomes ever more obvious that Peter will need to choose a side.

The Constant Rabbit is not subtle in its allegory, but its so supremely weird in the most wonderful way that it never feels preachy. It’s instead a deeply political, funny and revealing book.

The book cover, shwoing a white rabbit in a business suit in front of a red background.
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Early Riser (Jasper Fforde)

Early Riser is a novel by Jasper Fforde.
Finished on: 13.7.2019

Charlie Worthing is a Winter Consul for the first time, meaning that they get to stay awake with a selected few to take care of the world while the rest of the people goes into their yearly hibernation. Hibernation has become less risky thanks to scientific advantages from HiberTech, but it is still a dangerous thing that not everybody survives or that produces “nightwalkers” – people with limited brain functions. So, Charlie has some big responsibilities on their plate – among them an outbreak of viral dreams. But that is just the beginning of a long winter season.

Early Riser is the first Fforde novel in a few years (and even longer if you’re just looking at novels for adults), so my expectations where high indeed. Fortunately, the book definitely delivers – it bursts with ideas and is an extremely fun read.

The book cover showing a snow globe with two people in bathing suits on the beach beneath a big umbrella.
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Big Night Out (Ed. by Jessica Adams, Maggie Alderson, Nick Earls, Imogen Edwards-Jones)

Big Night Out is a collection of short stories, recipes, song lists, illustrations and edited by Jessica Adams, Maggie Alderson, Nick Earls and Imogen Edwards-Jones. It was published to benefit the War Child charity.
Finished on: 25.11.2017

Big Night Out isn’t your typical short story collection. There really is a lot here that isn’t a short story at all, although the biggest part are short stories. I grabbed it for those (well, I grabbed it mostly for Jasper Fforde‘s short story in it), so I mostly skimmed through the other things, even though some very big names contributed various things (INXSSteve Coogan, and Nick Hornby recommending songs? Anthony Stewart Head sharing a cocktail recipe? Joan Collins‘ beauty tips? Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, and Boy George detailing hangover cures? It’s all there). I did feel that the selection was made on the basis of the people in any case and not necessarily for the quality of their content. But hey, it is for charity after all. If you don’t buy it for the stories, but for the good deed, you’ll get what you expect.

After the jump, I will talk about the short stories in the collection separately and you can find the table of contents so you can see what else is in there.

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The Eye of Zoltar (Jasper Fforde)

The Eye of Zoltar is the latest Dragonslayer novel by Jasper Fforde. [Here are my reviews of the other two.]
Finished on 03.03.2015

Jennifer Strange is the manager of Kazam, which means that she hires out magicians for jobs and generally organizes their life. And it also means that she’s busy busy busy. Way too busy to really date trainee magician Perkins, even though they’d both like that. But things are about to get even worse: the Mighty Shandar had promised to kill all the dragons – dragons Jennifer saved. And since that means that Shandar is now deep in debt, he tasks Jennifer with procuring the famous jewel, the Eye of Zoltar. If that hadn’t been enough, the King and Queen settle Jennifer with the Princess Shazzine in the hopes that she will grow out of her spoiled-princessitude if she experiences the real world for a while. So Jennifer packs her things, the princess and Perkins and travels to the Cambrian Empire – famous spot for Jeopardy tourism and the last known location of the Eye of Zoltar. If it actually exists.

The Eye of Zoltar is full of creative ideas, fast-paced and generally made of win. I really loved it.

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The Song of the Quarkbeast (Jasper Fforde)

The Song of the Quarkbeast is the second book in the Dragonslayer Trilogy by Jasper Fforde. [Here’s my review of the first book.]

After the coming of Big Magic, Kazam – still under Jennifer’s leadership – is doing pretty great. Despite the fierce competition with iMagic, who can’t actually keep up with Kazam. But then the king gets involved and orders a magic competition. And strange things keep happening to Kazam’s sorcerers, making them unavailable for the competition. But bit by bit Jennifer uncovers that there is more to this than a bit of rivalry.

Unfortunately the first thing that I noticed about the book was the bad editing. But if you disregard that it was another really sweet and funny back that I enjoyed a lot.


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Re-Read: The Last Dragonslayer (Jasper Fforde)

The Last Dragonslayer is the first book in the Dragonslayer Trilogy by Jasper Fforde. [Here’s my first review.]

Jennifer Strange is in charge of Kazam, a temp agency for wizards who get hired to clean drains or rewire houses. Things are looking dire for them since the magic is slowly disappearing from the world. But then one of them has a premonition – the last dragon on earth will soon die. Which immediately leads to people camping outside his territory, waiting for his death so they can claim his country for themselves. But this is not the only change in the world – and Jennifer is deeper involved than she would have ever thought.

It is frankly amazing – it’s been not that long that I read this book for the first time, but I barely remembered a thing about, apart from liking it. Only a few details. But on second first reading, I might like it even more than the first first reading.


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The Woman Who Died a Lot (Jasper Fforde)

The Woman Who Died a Lot is the seventh Thursday Next novel by Jasper Fforde. [Here are my reviews of the other books.]

After an almost successful assassination attempt, Thursday is slowly recovering. Her body is still a wreck and she’s been in forced quasi-retirement for the last months. But that’s not the only thing that has changed: the time-engines have been shut down, leaving her son Friday feeling stranded and without a purpose – but instead with a dire prediction that he will shoot somebody. Meanwhile her daughter Tuesday is working hard to get the anti-smote shield working, which is a rather pressing issue as God has announced a smiting at the end of the week. And if that wasn’t enough, Aornis’ mindworm is still bothering Thursday and Thursday’s doppelgangers (crafted by Goliath) keep popping up all over the place.

The Woman Who Died a Lot is again absolutely fantastic. It’s a joyride, a whole damn lot of fun and the only real drawback it has, is that it’s way too short. But as there will be a next book, I can live with that.

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One of Our Thursdays Is Missing (Jasper Fforde)

One of Our Thursdays Is Missing is the sixth Thursday Next novel by Jasper Fforde. [Here are my reviews for the other books in the series.]

The fictional Thursday Next is troubled. Her books are only just above being unread, her co-characters are annoying and the guy she likes has no backstory whatsoever. She just wishes that she was more like the real Thursday – also because that would mean that she would get a Landen of her own. After a big restructuring of the Book World, Fictional!Thursday gets called in to investigate a book crash. But as she soon discovers, there’s more to it than it looks like at first and apparently Real!Thursday is missing – right on the brink of the peace talks between Racy Novel, Women’s Fiction and Dogma she’s supposed to be heading.

One of Our Thursdays Is Missing seems a bit like the start to a spin-off – there are wonderful new characters like Sprockett and Square, the Book World has been remade and the Real World is treated like the exciting new thing, not the Book World. But what remains the same is Fforde’s idea explosions and his sense of humor (there’s a mime field. It’s a thing of beauty and terror). And as usual, that just works very well.

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Re-Read: First Among Sequels (Jasper Fforde)

First Among Sequels is the fifth Thursday Next novel by Jasper Fforde. [Here are my reviews for the other books in the series.]

[slight SPOILERS for the previous books]

14 years have passed since the end of Something Rotten: SpecOps was officially disbanded and Thursday and Landen have been living happily with their kids, even though Thursday has some trouble getting her son Friday to join the ChronoGuard like his future self told her he would. Landen is safe in the knowledge that Thursday is no longer working for either SpecOps or Jurisfiction, but Acme Carpets, together with Bowden, Spike and Stig. But of course, this wouldn’t be Thursday if there wasn’t some action: She’s secretly still in business. There’s a bit of cheese-smuggling, helping Spike to get rid of some Supreme Evil Beings and training an apprentice in the BookWorld. And not just any apprentice, but Thursday5 – her own fictional version who is unfortunately not at all like Thursday herself. At least she isn’t like Thursday1-4 either.

First Among Sequels is one of my favorites in the series: I love the whole plotline with Friday and Thursday encountering herself-but-not-herself and there’s almost enough Landen to make me entirely happy (at least he exists the whole time through). It’s satisfying and fun.


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Re-Read: Something Rotten (Jasper Fforde)

Something Rotten is the fourth Thursday Next novel by Jasper Fforde. [Here are my reviews for the other books in the series.]

[SPOILERS for the previous books]

Two years have passed since The Well of Lost Plots and Thursday had her fill of the bookworld. Even though it’s exciting and fabulous, she wants to return to real life, to work on getting Landen re-actualised and to teach her son Friday to talk something other than Lorem Ipsum. So she leaves her hunt for the Minotaur, her job as Bellman and takes Friday – and Hamlet, who longs for a change – and returns to Swindon. While Thursday tries to get her life on track, childcare for Friday and her old SpecOp job back, she also discovers that the Goliath Corporation is applying to be a religion and has joined forces with Yorrick Kaine. And it seems like the world is about to end. Again.

Something Rotten is great. Good pacing, good sense of humor and I just love Thursday more and more with each book. And Hamlet is brilliant, especially when interacting with Alan, ferocious dodo extraordinaire.


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