May 24, 2004

The Well of Lost Plots, Jasper Fforde

This third volume is weaker than the second, by exaggerating the weaknesses the second has when compared to the first. It's still an amusing book, but it isn't worth reading twice.

This is a pity, because the weakness that annoys me is a lack of character development in the main character, and I quite liked her in the first book. Nor should she be so unconvincing; much is happening, she considers and acts; if I outline her behavior in the course of the book it looks like a character arc; but I didn't see more than the outline in the actual novel. It's crowded out by jokes about Generic characters.

Next's memory is being damaged by an malicious and personal enemy, and writing soliloquy on top of that and the plot would make this a very good, a Philip K. Dick-ambitious, novel; again, I am more critical this time because I remember the first novel doing a better job with the same challenge.

The literature-world also moved me less this time around; I felt as though the plot was mostly a game to get between set pieces, for instance Miss Havisham telling off Heathcliff. It's a great idea as a set piece, and wasn't wholly unconvincing, but unfortunately stood out from most of the rest of the book. (My other favorite scenes also had Havisham in them. Possibly I would have liked this book to be about her instead, with Next as a supporting character. Next could rest and recoup and be the plucky student who needs expository dumps.)

It's filed with the SF in my local bookstore. Same generally? The jacket fuzzes it as "fantasy/detective", and I wonder if some of its popularity comes from having that SF fizz but being lit'ry instead of skiffy. After all, it mentions Serious Authors, so it can't be just pulp, eh? But it could be decaying into a franchise of exquisite middlebrow appeal, mentioning classics but living in the genres.

ISBN: 0670032891

So wrote clew in SF&F. | TrackBack
And thus wrote others:
TrackBacks turned off...