“No compulsion in the world is stronger than the urge to edit someone else’s document” said Herbert George Wells, and I know the feels––Herbert is better recognised as H. G. Wells, an exceptional English author, satirist and biographer (21 Sept 1866 – 13 Aug 1946) who famously wrote The Invisible Man, War of the Worlds and The Time Machine.
I can understand how the fingers of Mr Wells must have itched, his brain must have misfired and his breath must have been shallow as he read a paragraph which badly needed editing. Indeed, I often wonder how some books (or e-books) get into print when it is glaringly obvious they need a bit of trimming and correction.
Just recently I read an e-book with blurb announcing an award, author kudos and high sales. Undeserved as far as I’m concerned. Why? The author had no idea of descriptive body language. The best he could do was “He frowned”, “She frowned”, and for variety “He scowled”, “She scowled” until I deleted the book at “She wrinkled her brow”.
How did this get loose and launched on the general reading public? I’m sure Rule 101 is “If in doubt, substitute ‘said’ and let the dialogue do the work”. Don’t repeat yourself. Unpublished as I am, I guess the writer can sneer and say “Well, I got the pay cheque and you didn’t” but I can retort with “Have some integrity.” Or go back to writing classes.
It’s easy to think “Not all publishing houses are that blind” but, oh, many are. If you haven’t read a book with an error, you haven’t read enough books. Pathetically, hardly a week goes by without my subconscious editing a typo or tidying a sentence. I will never know how efficient I am, whether I am always right, but, man, it makes me feel better!
Excited beyond belief when I found out Jasper Fforde, my all-time favourite post-modern author, has some cool events coming up! Including another book. And the eponymous Fforde Ffiesta rolls around again next year. If any reader attended a recent US event, or may be attending a future UK event, I’m jealous, but hoping I will read your WordPress review.
Photos by Mari Fforde (hover to see date) Information from Jasper Fforde website (see below)
Jasper Fforde says: As usual, please call the venue to check times and dates before you set out just in case I am kidnapped by badgers, eager to promote their dangerous monochrome agenda. Updated 22nd Jan 2018:
Feb 21st-22nd, Casper, Wyoming:
Wyoming Humanities Festival 2018
Book signing and lectures. I’ve never been to Wyoming, and the frightfully pleasant people at Casper have been asking me for a while. Talk and Book Signing Courtesy of Windy City Books, and a lecture plus Q&A the following day. Full details at the Humanities Festival website.
1-2nd March 2018, Cardiff Library:
Crime & Coffee Festival, Cardiff
First Crime and Coffee Festival at Cardiff Library. More details to follow, but I am assured the coffee is the crime, and there will be no actual murders of crimes taking place. Either days, or both, details to follow. Cardiff Library Website.
24th May-3rd June 2018
Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye, Wales:
“May or may not be attending this year––One of the UK’s most imaginative and entertaining authors creates hilarious, often absurd but always compelling adventures within bizarre and zany worlds. Jasper Fforde’s hugely popular The Last Dragonslayer series is packed with trademark magic and invention.”
Information brochure Hay Festival, Wales.
Gretchen’s book review The Last Dragonslayer.
Launch of Early Riser in the UK:
About bloody time too, say I. Likely 1st to 12th August. More details to follow.
August 13th – 18th, 2018, Wales:
Ty Newydd writing retreat, Wales
With Belinda Bauer, the course is called: Crime Fiction: A Twist in the Tale and from their website: “This course is designed for those who would like to write best-selling crime fiction – with a twist. Whether you’re writing your first novel, are switching from another genre, or have only dreamed of being a published author, we hope you’ll enjoy this down-to-earth, fun, and practical course. In workshops and one-to-one mentoring sessions, we will be sharing our tried and tested methods of creating character, plot and tension, while helping you to avoid some common pitfalls. We’ll offer advice on a range of issues, from writer’s block and the art of pitching, to how to cope with bad reviews!”
For more details, please mouse you way to the Ty Newydd Website.
25th-26th May 2019, Swindon, UK:
Fforde Ffiesta VIII, Swindon, UK
These Festivals are held biannually and oh, what ffun we have – and hopefully a lot more to talk about this year as I will have at least one more book published… Their website is here.
March 02031: Asteroid belt and Saturn (technology permitting) More details TBA.
October 02042: 81-year-old Fforde talks to other members of old people’s home: “I used to be a novelist, no really, I did. Is it lunchtime?” More details TBA.
July 02175: Semi-lifelike cloned Ffordesque replicant to tour Gamma Quadrant in the Cygnus Cluster. More details TBA.
Setember 03431: Much improved Fforde cloned back to life to face execution for sedition; all works consigned to erasure.
Janfebry 008910: Last evidence of Fforde’s books vanish forever with the removal of the ‘Formerly Thursday Street’ plaque from what is now W23-61 Rd in the conurbation known as EuroWest-79.
00012972: Visiting archaeologists from Thraal-7 discover incomplete copy of Well of Lost Plots from excavation in landfill. Deciphering takes seven hundred years and a further four hundred years of academic scrutiny before being accepted as historical fact.
I was listening to the audio recording of “The Princess Diarist” by actress Carrie Fisher, read by Carrie Fisher, when she passed away. I was already freaked hearing her true tales from the first Star Wars movie so the news bulletin got to me.
Carrie Fisher delivers a robust narration of her early acting career and famous mother Debbie Reynolds, whose death followed her own within days. Admittedly Carrie’s use and abuse of a variety of substances had ruined her voice and it could not be likened to that of youthful Princess Leia, but her naïve discontent and vitriolic humour pepper the story.
A frank look at the early life of a young woman shaped by Hollywood and eventually defined by George Lucas and his sci-fi series. The extraordinary 1977 Star Wars movie launched her fame, hair buns and an affair with Harrison Ford, making this book a slice of Tinseltown history with big appeal for fans of the first Star Wars production.
Doctor Who number thirteen is Jodie Whittaker. After media speculation and BBC misdirection for several years, the first female Doctor has been revealed. The newly appointed Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, has been quoted as saying:
“To be asked to play the ultimate character, to get to play pretend in the truest form: this is why I wanted to be an actor in the first place. To be able to play someone who is literally reinvented on screen, with all the freedoms that brings: what an unbelievable opportunity. And added to that, to be the first woman in this legendary role.”
Note: The series “Doctor Who” is a British time-travelling science-fiction television programme produced by the BBC since 1963.
Quote: Rolling Stone magazine Monday 17 July 2017 : Photo BBC
When a mature person says to me “I don’t understand new technology” my reply is “If a human invented it, a human can use it”. I believe every senior can master modern technology, and benefit from it.
I wasn’t always pro-IT, I thought it was invasive and time-wasting, not to mention eroding our good manners. You know, that person who keeps one eye on their mobile phone, flicking their thumb over the screen while you’re trying to have a conversation. I avoided e-readers, I kept my landline phone and used a small pre-paid mobile for texting only. Then I realised I was missing out on a lot of good things!
Things like blogging, exploring a holiday destination with Google Maps, or my cousin walking around her kitchen with a laptop while I viewed the design via Skype. And the ability to download an e-book or watch a video on my iPad any time of the day or night. The joy of being connected to the internet for instant information on my mobile, staying in touch simply and easily, this liberation never ceases to amaze me. Everything from family to fashion, bookings to e-newsletter subscriptions, all via technology.
In the State Library of Queensland Digital Futures Lab, one of my delights is showing seniors the Augmented Reality Sandpit and Virtual Reality. They are just as gob-smacked as me. It is our early viewing diet of sci-fi shows coming to life! Perhaps phone etiquette needs improving, and I may never give myself over to 24/7 connectivity, but I enjoy the benefits of IT and have fun exploring the endless world wide web on a device as small as my hand.
As a dyed-in-the-wool Jasper Fforde ffan, I recommend Shades Of Grey. No, not that one!
Shades Of Grey deviates from Fforde’s brilliantly off-kilter, zany other-Britain adventures of Thursday Next, a LiteraTech operative for SpecOps-27, a crime fighting division inside literary fiction – literally – but there is some serious world building going on. The Fforde trademark of inventiveness and unusual plot twists is there but the tone is sombre, the protagonist Eddie Russett lives in a tightly controlled world with a rigid hierarchy based on primary colours. However, Eddie is not stupid and rises to the challenge of solving a perplexing mystery with the aid of some ‘colourful’ locals and a feisty Grey woman, Jane.
I have to say it is not my all-time favourite book in Fforde’s repertoire: Thursday Next wins. I found the ending unsatisfying (except discovering where spoons go) although I do think it has been left open for a sequel. If you’ve read the odd humour of Douglas Adams or inimitable Terry Pratchett and want a neo-noir version, try Jasper Fforde for ffun. There’s enough books to keep you going!
Fforde has also written humorous Nursery Crimes series, and The Last Dragonslayer series about teenager Jennifer Strange. Her agency, Kazam, employs weird and wonderful wizards who create magic and mayhem.