Following the seemingly accidental death of Humperdinck Jehoshaphat Aloyius Stuyvesant van Dumpty (a.k.a. Humpty Dumpty), detective Jack Spratt of the police department’s Nursery Crime Division is dispatched to investigate. Jack, alas, has his work cut out for him as his department is grossly underfunded, underappreciated, and under intense scrutiny following Jack’s recent failed bid to win a conviction against the three little pigs for the premeditated murder of the big bad wolf. His new partner, Mary Mary, initially proves herself quite the contrarian, clearly unenthused with her new posting and secretly wishing she could instead team with the legendary Friedland Chymes, celebrity detective. But when the autopsy points to foul play, Jack and Mary find themselves fielding the biggest case of their careers. Colorfully shady characters abound and stunning secrets revealed as the investigation winds its way through the town of Reading. On the surface, Humpty seemed a good egg, but further revelations suggest he may have been rotten. Philanthropist, womanizer, shady businessman, he was loved by many, yet hated by a few as well – like his ex-wife, Mrs. Dumpty, and his business rival, Solomon Grundy. Did Wee Willie Winkie, the community’s resident narcoleptic, see anything the night Humpty took his great fall? Was imprisoned mob boss Giorgio Porgia involved? And who is the owner of the 23-foot long hair found at the scene of the crime?

Jack, our protagonist, who landed himself the nickname of “Giant Killer” following a series of unfortunate car accidents (Jack, however, is quick to point out that only one was a giant. The others were simply tall.), faces an uphill battle in his search for Dumpty’s killer, especially when beloved detective (and rival) Chymes tries to muscle in on the investigation. But, with the help of his new partner, Jack perseveres, juggling his professional commitments with a happy home life (his second marriage, the first ending with the death of his wife whose dietary preferences for non-lean cuisine lead to her premature end). Time and again, the pieces fall into place and yet, time and again, the slowly forming puzzle is upended by disclosures and discoveries that force our heroes to reconsider all that has come before.

Jasper Fforde’s The Big Over Easy is a riotous send-up of the hard-boiled detective genre, Mother Goose-style. Over the course of the book, the author skewers everything from Greek mythology to crime scene investigations, nursery rhymes to literary conventions, and, of course, our crime-obsessed media. The puns, gags, and subtle pokes come fast and furious, and the whole results in a dizzying but nevertheless delightful read. Fforde’s ability to deliver a complex and engaging mystery amid the off-the-wall humor puts him on equal footing with the likes of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. You doubt? May I present Exhibit A, Detective Friedland Chymes’ “cake-crumb scatter-pattern identification”. What? Never heard of it? No problem. Chymes explains: “This works on the principle that if someone lets cake out while talking, the crumbs are ejected from the mouth at different rates, according to the syllables of words spoken. By analyzing the pattern of crumbs on the table cloth, I was able to deduce that the conversation was not about the weather, as stated, but the misdiagnosis of botulism poisoning…” Need more convincing? Pick up the book and see for yourself.

An immensely entertaining read but not without its occasional hiccups. The fact that the supporting characters were not as well-rounded as our heroes, Jack and Mary, is a trifling critique, but the conclusion to the mystery proved a little more bumpy for this reader. Perhaps one too many twists and/or turns culminating in an ending that felt a tad scrambled (with apologies to the late Mr. Humpty).

Still, a fast, fun, and frenzied read and one sure to amuse all but the stoniest of curmudgeons.

So, what did everyone else think? Yes, I’m talking to you stony curmudgeons as well. Weigh in with your thoughts and let’s start posting questions for author Jasper Fforde In case you’re not sure what to ask or what not to ask, let me direct you to the author’s Question House, home to 316 of the most popular questions he has been asked…and counting (

Hey, a very productive day on the Atlantis script front. I completed an astounding 12 pages. Turns out the key to both creativity and productivity is to wake early, start writing, and not stop until dinner. I’m having an especially good time writing for one character in particular. But he was always tons of fun to write for back when we were producing the series. And, no, it’s not who you think.

Interesting developments afoot that could see me posting behind-the-scenes pics and vids from the sets of Stargate: Universe much sooner than expected.  Hopefully, we can work out the details this week… 


52 thoughts on “April 13 2009: The Big Over Easy, by Jasper Fforde

  1. Hey Joe,

    Mind posting that link to the most popular questions asked to Jasper Fforde? I think the (xxx) is leaving room for the link?

    Coming off three hours sleep so will write my thoughts tomorrow. Currently I can’t brain today because I have the dumb.

  2. I’m thinking…Woolsey. In fact, with the exception of Todd, I think Woolsey was about the best thing to happen in S5. I even liked him before, and The Return is one of my top fav episodes because of him… “He put his hand in my forehead. How can you resist that?” 😆 That line just cracks me up every time! He’s such a great straight man…and that scene between him and Todd on the Daedalus just tickles me to death! His expressions were priceless, watching Todd’s hand ‘creep’ up his chest as if it was a big, green spider coming to get him! Hilarious! I really don’t know how the two of them managed to keep straight faces during that scene. It was great!

    Thanks for the early blog entry. I really must go to bed early tonight (last night I was up until 3 am 😛 ), and I always like checking in with your new entry just before turning in. Now – I’m off curl up on the couch and catch up on some comics.

    Sweet dreams to you, Joe & to everyone! *smooches*


  3. The Big Over Easy – Joe, THANKS for a great recommendation for the BOTMC

    Had no idea what to expect other than possibly some aspect of any one or more nursery rhymes and of course the clue was the cover with Humpty Dumpty and the NCD – Nursery Crimes Division.

    This book blew me away! It was so delightful and a wonderful architecture of a story built on existing Nursery Rhymes. Jasper Fforde was so totally creative and inventive in binding everything together. He very nicely created his characters using known names, but not making them into tired and boring characters that might have been more representative of the nursery rhymes.

    This was as stated in the review – “…his wildly inventive narrative. His writing has been described as “stunningly imaginative“, “utterly delightful”, and “sheer gut-busting fantasy.”

    Started reading and rarely came up for air as the story unfolded. We know there are elements of the nursery rhymes, but aside from the characters, the story line is different and yet, seeming true to the basics of each of the nursery rhyme borrowed from. Got completely sucked in and stopped trying to analyze anything as I just wanted to know the basic – “who done it?” And, that was not answered until the end. The end of the book was a nice tidy wrap much like the “Dragnet TV Detective” shows of the 50’s. Where each character is mentioned and what became of them.

    As I read more and more of the story, the vivid descriptions of the characters unfolded in my mind’s eye – movie style. The Chief inspector was the steady persevering Finch in the movie V for Vendetta splashed in my mind as I read of Jack Spratt. And, the protagonist Friedland Chymes was the pompous and foppish Professor Gilderoy Lockhart from the Harry Potter Chamber of secrets.

    And, after all the hoopla of Friedland Chymes and how great and brave a policeman he was “supposed to be,” there is justice as he had to retire in semi-disgrace for his “retreat” when confronted with danger.

    Fforde’s inventive name development is amazing. PDR – Persons of Dubious Reality is pertaining to the differences between a human and a nursery rhyme or fairy tale character. However, with a play on the word “reality,” this certainly can apply to me and perhaps others who “love, live, breath, and seek” science fiction. My “reality” is not always, nor do I want it to be, the humdrum day-to-day existence of “normal” people, but instead a “reality” of my choosing whether I lose myself in a book, movie, a blog like Joe’s or other medium. Way too cool.

    The book’s cover was plain yet provided a “vision hint” of what the story was. Very cool NCD document showing the breaking/fragmentation of Humpty complete with bullet in and out and possible drug injection portal.

    Jasper Fforde has a really cool website: with links applicable to this book and other works.

    Questions for Mr. Fforde
    Bravo for a fabulous, a wonderful book! I have finished “The Fourth Bear” and have started into some of the Thursday Next series.

    1. What was your impulse to write a story using established nursery rhymes?

    2. Did you have any character/people in mind as you created the NCD team?

    3. How were you able to come up with nice lead ins for each chapter? Usually relating to the chapter’s content. And, how did you come up with names for the periodicals that were running them?

    4. How did you keep everything straight – meaning the different papers and tabloids and who was writing about whom?

    5. How did you manage to keep the complex plot from becoming unwieldy while using the simplistic nursery rhyme approach?

    6. Have you considered or has anyone considered making this a movie – even a cartoon? Although I think a mixture of animation and live actors would be a wonderful creation.

    7. How did you come up with some of the character names? Some are true to one or more nursery rhymes, but others are not and yet, fit in so nicely.

    Just as a side note, I could not wait to get into The Forth Bear and I was worried that if one picked up the story line near where you left off, it might not pull in a reader…namely me. Hah…no fear, this book is magnificent as well.

  4. Heya Joe…keeping fingers and toes crossed that magic happens to allow you to post pics and background stuff sooner rather than later.

  5. “Hey, a very productive day on the Atlantis script front. I completed an astounding 12 pages. Turns out the key to both creativity and productivity is to wake early, start writing, and not stop until dinner. I’m having an especially good time writing for one character in particular. But he was always tons of fun to write for back when we were producing the series. And, no, it’s not who you think.”

    If I was a betting man I would say Woolsey.

    Am I right Joe?

  6. I’m thinking either Ronon or Rodney for the “tons of fun to write for” bit. Rodney was my initial suspicion but when you said “No, it’s not who you think” I decided it could be Ronon because I remember you saying that you’d enjoyed writing Ronon stories in the past.

    Can’t wait to get the sneak peaks into SGU!

  7. That’s what we like to hear! Scripts going well, and behind the scene pics on there way.. I wonder what these new developments are… Hmm.. So who do we think joe enjoys writing for? Thats not who we think.. I would have thought john, but maybe a certain wraith.. Or rodney? Not sure.. Thanks for the update! Daniel. Posted this on my mobile. Sorry for errors and no line breaks!

  8. Heya das. Fires went out a few weeks ago with a deluge of rain. We’re still dry, but not so crunchy underfoot.
    Now the bureaucracy and finger pointing starts!

  9. Mr. Fforde,

    Thank you so much for answering our questions. I’ve long been a Thursday Next fan and really enjoyed both The Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear. (thanks again, skgraff!) They are the most imaginative, innovative works I’ve read in decades.


    1. My sister wants to know: In the Thursday Next series, are vampires and werewolves actually from that world/reality or did they ‘escape’ from the pages of fiction and began inhabiting Thursday’s world/reality?

    2. Friedland Chymes has the catchphrase “The case… is closed!” If you had a catchphrase, what would it be?

    3. Jack Spratt keeps track of the crossword puzzles he’s failed to complete. Is this a trait of yours? [I pay close attention to my Spider Solitaire statistics even though I’m lousy at it. (Difficult level: 174 wins/8104 losses/2% wins)]

    4. “…and of course the Dong, who so generously agreed to entertain us with his luminous nose.” Does ‘dong’ mean over there what it means over here? 😀

    5. Jack tells Mary he’s been at Nursery Crimes for 26 years. He would have been 18 when he started which seems unlikely, unless being a PDR changes that some how?

    Thanks for your time!

    Anne Teldy (a real person AND a fictional character in one)

  10. “The Big Over Easy” sounds similar to the “Gregory Maguire” books. Have you ever read any of his stories? He gives fairy tales a whole new twist.

    Also, you could submit Brie’s vd’s to Visiting that sight will always bring a few laughs at my house. They have some of the coolest captions.


  11. Hi Joe — I LOVED The Big Over Easy! It was funny, clever, and snarky — all pluses in my book.

  12. Interesting character and its not who we think?? Totally curious now–I’m gonna rule out McKay and Sheppard, as they’re the most obvious…the suspense is killing me!

  13. I was pleasantly surprised with The Big Over Easy. I loved this book and must admit that I could not stop laughing. I love to read murder mysteries and this one is at the top as one of the best I’ve ever read. Now, using mythology and nursery rhymes as your main characters was brilliant. This story was beautifully written and I know that I will read it many more times and have already convinced a few other people to read it. It amazed me at how many tales he managed to incorporate and still keep the story easy to follow. When you’re growing up and adults are reading you the nursery rhymes, they only teach you the morals of the stories, but as you get older, you’re able to realize at how violent they actually are. This story makes me want to read the Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales even more. Am I the only one that walked away with that feeling?

    I would like to thank Jasper Fforde for one quote in the book. I when Lola Vavoom said, “What you see is what I am. I’ve not had my boobs done or my arse lifted, no nips, no tucks. No ribs removed, nothing. Those little strumpets we see on the silver screen today are mostly bathroom sealant. They buy their breasts over the counter. ‘What would you like, honey, small, medium or large?’ They give us stick insects and tell us it’s beauty. If someone of their size went for an audition in my day, she’d have been shown a square meal and told to come back when she was a stone heavier. What’s wrong with curves? Anyone over a ten these days is regarded not as an average-sized woman but a marketing opportunity. Cream for this, pills for that, superfluous hair, collagen injection, quick-weight-loss diets. Where’s it going to end? We’re pressured to expend so much money and effort to be the ‘perfect’ shape, when that shape is physically attainable by only one woman in a million. It’s the cold face of capitalism, boy and girls, preying on misguided expectations. Besides, I always found perfection an overrated commodity.” I was teased a lot in school and this quote says so much of what I always wanted to say to everyone but never had the courage to do so. So thank you Jasper Fforde.

    My question to both Joe and Jasper Fforde is have you ever read the Grimm Brother Fairy Tales?

    And just for the record, the three little pigs were guilty of killing Mr. Wolff, in my opinion. Even as a kid, I had that suspicion.

  14. @das:

    I got my copy of ‘Spider-Man Extra’ #2 today. I skipped the first story and went straight to the Wolverine and Spidey story. The writer’s take on Wolverine vs. alcohol was interesting. It was good for some laughs but not really how I imagine his healing factor works. Still, I liked the story and it made me a little sad for Wolverine. Peter felt, well, young. I know they retconned a lot of his story but did they de-age him as well? He sounded a little like Ultimate Spider-Man while he was talking about Mary Jane. Thanks for suggesting it. I used to pick up everything that had Wolverine in the description but backed off of that a year or two ago when I ended up with a lot of things that were pretty crappy. Nice to see some gems pop up from time to time.

  15. *As a side note I wrote this post on a pad I ganked from a Marriott while sitting for several hours on a tarmac waiting for it to stop raining in Atlanta*

    The Big Over Easy was definitely an interesting read. I admit I was expecting a simple nursery rhyme-themed murder mystery. I figured there would be witty dialogue with a few inside jokes and some name dropping. Instead I got a complex story with rich characters that were surprisingly human despite their eccentric candy coating. I also got a fast-paced, twisty story that was very rarely predictable (and I’m pretty good at predicting this sort of thing).

    I’ll start with the characters, although there are so many of note it is hard to know where to begin. There are those characters that I love for being just that, a character. The ones that come to mind are Audrey, the alien, and Lord Spongg’s butler twins (I can’t remember their name and my copy of the book was lost with my luggage). The were really important or well-characterized, but the sight of their names on the page made me smile because their dialogue was going to be interesting.

    The other types of characters were those that were fundamentally human, despite their exterior. Humpty was the best example of this. The people in this book, when asked of Humpty, noted his charitable acts, his womanizing, his scheming, but the fact that he was an egg was a non-issue. As a reader, it reminded me to view him that way and allowed me to see the rich characterization.

    It is very rare that my favorite character in a book is actually the main character. I love Jack Spratt. As a character he is completely relatable. He isn’t flashy or quirky. He has a stable family, a great supporting staff, and is a brilliant detective in the face of it. A couple things really stuck out to me. His simple faith that Mary would never truly betray him or that in the end when he understood Chymes’ point of view and how he became the way he was, despite the fact that Chymes was a douchebag. His empathy and faith in the outcome are what really won me over.

    Also of note, I was definitely impressed by the composition of the book. The last couple of chapters in particular were a whirlwind of jumping plots that could have easily become so tangled as to be incomprehensible. However I had no trouble keeping up. It was like watching that last scene in the movie Clue with all the different versions. Everything was a red herring.

    A few additional minor comments.

    I loved the mini-articles at the beginning of each chapter. Actually the whole Guild of Detectives plot was spectacular, mostly because it is so true. The public eats up these angsty detectives that make spectacular stories, but it doesn’t work that way in real life.

    The whole Sacred Gonga and Jellyman story line left me with a lot of questions. I hope he goes back to them in later books.

    I seem to have forgotten all of my nursery rhymes. I think the information was lost in favor of remembering the equation for the fourier transform and all of Doctor Who’s companions. God bless wikipedia.

    Questions for Jasper Fforde:

    1) In the book Jack talks about how most nursery characters don’t even realize they are one until something strange happens. So is Jack a nursery character, himself, or are his senses merely attuned to the nature of nursery crimes? Basically, did Jack, in cutting down the beanstaqlk fulfill some nursery destiny or was he just an awesome detective?

    2) You have a very complex “world” with a large amount of geo-politics factored into the story (which you incorporated beautifully). Did you develop the world before the characters or was it vice versa?

    3) Was there any particular person upon whom you based the Jellyman or is he just your idealized version of a politician?

    4) Why a veruca, of all the foot ailments? Was it just because it sounded the coolest?

  16. Ok, so I was just looking at the FAQ on that like you provided, Joe and one of the questions was “My book has no chapter 13. Why is this?” And Jasper responded with, “None of my books have a chapter 13.” So I looked in The Big Over Easy and sure enough it doesn’t. It’s listed in the index at the beginning of the book, but it’s not where the index says it should be. That’s hilarious.

    That just brings up two things I never understood.
    (1.) What is wrong with the number 13?
    (2.) Why are so many people afraid of a number, just as some people are scared of the star surrounded by a circle (a.k.a. a pentagram) that I wear with pride around my neck?

    And I’m not saying that Jasper Fforde is afraid of the number 13. I just think it’s funny that he doesn’t write a chapter 13.

  17. Hello Joe, I read the Big Over Easy and for the most part it was a fun read, I agree at the end it was a tad bumpy to finish, all of a sudden or something, not sure how to describe it,.Is that all there is? I thought the beanstalk would play a bigger part, with all the giant killing talk.(ok 1 giant), It was pleasant to see the great Chymes get his comeuppance.. I was glad that Mary Mary stayed with DCI Spratt, the grass is not always greener. I would have liked to see the house(castle) that Mr Spongg lived in. This had everything from aliens to greek characters(Prometheus) a suitable variety, for a nursery crime. It was hard for me to imagine Humpty as a lady’s man, but to each his own. Must have been the shell. And now I am reading the special features section of the website, might keep me busy a bit over here.
    — and am reading the 316?’s already asked of him, so I will have to think a spell to see if I can come up with one not on the list,hmmmm. check back with you again. oh and if that won’t keep me busy the pool needs cleaned b4 I can let it go much longer. DE filters and saltwater, oh boy can’t wait,.

  18. Re the mystery fun to write for character-
    I gotta go with either Todd or Woolsey but I’d just love it if it was Zelenka!

  19. Excellently written review of an excellent book, Joe! I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so continuously while reading a novel. You’re right about the humor coming so fast it’s dizzying. I’m also amazed by Fforde’s faith in his readers to jump on board a parallel universe and keep up. We need more such writers!

    I think my favorite parts were all the asides and minor things, like the fact that anagrams have been disallowed as proof of a crime, or that the aliens who came to Earth were judged boring because they are “prone to put high importance on inconsequential minutiae” and are “easily distracted from important issues,” yet for unknown reasons they integrated into our society easily. Ha! Also loved that the “locked room” mystery device was going to be put to rest for good until it died in a locked room.

    I also loved the lack of self-awareness, or maybe lack of strange-awareness of the characters. Humpty (cumberbund or cravat?) had human wives and no one seemed to think anything of it, etc. Wonderful.

    I think Jasper Fforde has been asked just about everything possible… I’ll try anyway:

    — Has the book been translated to other languages, and were there any in which the nursery story references just couldn’t be translated sensibly?

    — In the world of the book, is everyone in the society obsessed with true crime stories, as for example the way our society obsesses about actors? Or is the book just focused on that aspect of the society?

  20. Interesting developments afoot that could see me posting behind-the-scenes pics and vids from the sets of Stargate: Universe much sooner than expected. Hopefully, we can work out the details this week…


    That is all, for now. I’ll hafta read through the FAQ’s before I come up with any new exciting questions to ask Jasper Fforde 😉

  21. I’m wondering if the character you’re talking about isn’t one of the main cast, but perhaps a side character. But then, you probably won’t tell us, so I’m not wondering too hard.

  22. The Big Over Easy: Thanks to a rainy Easter Sunday, I was able to read this book in time. Because I’m actually in Vancouver and there are so many other things to do. 😉

    I don’t think I understood every joke/allusive hint, because I’m not so familiar with nursery rhymes. Nevertheless, it was a funny and entertaining read. I liked how Jasper Fforde put all the different themes (like nursery rhymes, Greek mythology) together in this story. That’s an interesting and unique idea. All the characters were well-characterized and described. The criminal case and its bit by bit solution with unexpected twists and turns was thrilling. Maybe it was a little bit too much in the end. But it didn’t spoil the fun.

    I’d like to read more such stories.

  23. Hey Mr. M,
    Hope all is well… its midnight and you haven’t posted today blog yet!

    Did you go into a food coma?

    Hope you are okay!

    BTW is Brie your new puppy or is she just visiting?

    Patricia Lee

  24. Mr. Fforde:

    Were you aware of a short play called Nursery Crimes: Four And Twenty written by Damian Trasler, David Lovesy and Steve Clark when you wrote your book? I found the plots of both stories very unique in their treatment of childhood Nursery Rhyme characters. Why did you pick this genre for your novel?

    To Joe M: I’m sure that Rodney McKay must be the most interesting character to write. I would love to write Rodney.

    Patricia (AG)

  25. Hello, Joe – I wanted to say thank you for all the book recommendations. After a considerable period of not really reading books at all unless I had to, I find myself reading a great deal now, catching up on all kinds of books I’ve passed by.

    Just a couple of questions for Mr. Fforde.

    1. One aspect of the book I really enjoyed was the setting. As a resident of Caversham during the 60/70s (we lived over the bank where my father was manager. The front door used to blow open and we’d have a policeman ringing the doorbell to let us know.) I have to say I can’t think of a better place to set that part of the story. I went to school up on the Heights, and it is, in my imagination, just as you describe it. Did the setting help to generate some of the ideas for the story, or was it simply a familiar place?

    2. I have a feeling we had some Friedland Chimes – I’m sure our front door bell played a tune. I recognise the allusion – do you ever envisage a scholar going through all the references and writing notes – or indeed, doing them yourself? Perhaps something like “Pale Fire” – or is that taking the whole thing too seriously? I expect it is.

    Anyway, I enjoyed the book very much – thanks especially for making Jack such a sympathetic and humane character.

  26. Hi there Mr M!

    First off, a belated thanks to Kate for the Q and A! Many thanks!

    Had a pseudo-off-line weekend ( did sneak in to check on one or two things) I am tinkering with the idea of getting a notebook, although I already spend quite a bit of time on-line, I fear that I would suffer on the matrimonial/paternal front if I did…Anyhoo…

    The Jeffrey Fforde book looks great, and another addition to the Summer 09 reading list. Plans are afoot for a Spain exrtravaganza…though have yet to sign off on work committments.

    The cast seem to be really gel-ing well, according to David Blue’s twitters. He seems like a really well rounded guy and very enthused by the show. The more I hear about SGU, the better I like it..can’t wait to see it.

    Any sign of the PDL or Joel Goldsmith Q and A? Have you had a listen to the SGU theme?

    Thanks again Mr M! and regards to all at The Bridge!


  27. @ Lisa S. – I loved the writer’s take on Wolverine and alcohol! I’ve seen both Bendis and Claremont write Wolverine as fall-down drunk, while others say he’s resistant and sometimes even immune to the effects of alcohol. No one seems to get it just right. But I loved this guy’s take on it – it was quite amusing, and probably my favorite interpretation yet! And yeah, Parker did seem young in this, but it worked for me. Oh, and it wasn’t Mary Jane he was talking about, but another girl. I think the retcon has made Peter seem a bit younger…or, maybe it would be better to say a bit more innocent. Loved all his scrunchy-eye facial expressions, too!

    And, yeah…you do feel for Logan at the end of the story. That’s the thing that always makes a story worthwhile to me – if it just gives me a glimpse into the inner workings of the man.

    Yeah – I’ve passed on some books where Wolverine makes an appearance but doesn’t add a thing to the story, and some – like his appearance in the Sub-Mariner mini – are downright ridiculous. One book I did enjoy was Penance mini. I almost didn’t pick that one up, but I did…and I liked the little bit with Wolverine midway through the story. But what made it really work for me was the ending…not sure if you read it so I won’t spoil it (it’s a couple years old).

    Two very good Wolverine one-shot stories I’ve read recently are Saudade (a story first published in Europe that finally made it to this side of the Atlantic), and Chop Shop. I was very pleased with both. In fact, sometimes I like the one-shots better. Sure, some don’t quite thrill me, but more oft than not those one-shot stories (and sometimes the minis, like Netsuke), really stick with me.


  28. PS @ Lisa – I also loved Flies to a Spider – Christmas, Wolverine style! 😉 And Switchback was good, but for some reason I found it really, really creepy.


  29. I would have guessed Rodney for sure but for your “…not who you think.” bit.

    Backup guess would be Zalenka. He’s great.

  30. Questions for Jasper Fforde:

    1. Jack Spratt makes an appearance in “The Well of Lost Plots” a couple of years before “The Big Over Easy” was published. At what point did you decide to give Jack his own book?

    2. I enjoy the Nursery Crime books more than the Thursday Next series probably because I at least have an inkling about the nursery rhymes being referenced. Unfortunately I haven’t read most of the literature generally visited by Thursday so I feel I’m missing a lot of the humour. Have you considered referencing more modern works of fiction in forthcoming Thursday Next books?

    3. I created the Jasper Fforde Page on Facebook many moons ago and it now has over 4000 fans. I’d be pleased to switch ownership of the Page to you if you’re interested.

  31. Okay well I hope that I have this right; Mr. Coolidge(spelling?). That dude no one like from the IOA.

  32. What’s the difference between IOA and… IOC i think?? The one they reference in Outcast. The guys Bates works for.

  33. I am excited to hear your accomplishment on the SGA script. Keep it up. Of course, we are probably all thinking McKay, but I am hoping Sheppard too. The two together are a huge asset.

  34. Hey Joe, I was wondering if you’ve ever read any of the Harry Dresden books? You might find his humor appealing.

    Cheers and happy Easter!

  35. Hi, Joe —

    Great to hear about the progress on the Atlantis script. After hearing BW, RC and NJS at the con, I was feeling a little down about the movie’s prospects.

    Hoping the character you’re loving to write for is Lorne. I worry that there may not be time for the wonderful secondary characters in the movie format. And I miss my doses of Kavan Smith cuteness.

  36. The Big Over Easy. My deepest regret in reading this book was that I’m no good with the Spock-eyebrow-raised thing. This book would have rated at least a dozen such moments. Beyond that, it earned at least fifty outright grins, 70 close lipped smiles, and 18 chuckles. This has to be one of the funnest books I’ve ever read. Placing mythical/fantastical/comic/nursery characters in a “real world” setting is always a bit of a gamble. And it’s always very easy to fail, for the writer to break the thin thread of magical wordcraft that keeps the reader in the work. In the case of this book, Mr. Fforde pulls off the attempt with seemingly effortless ease.
    Given the supurb review already posted by Mr. M. I’ll just touch on a few points. One, Mr. Spratt and Mary Mary(love that name). Such wonderful protananists, the low key, unsung hero deprived of his rightful laurels by lesser, jealous rivals. Who is not embittered, but content to continue to do the job he knows must be done. Mary Mary, the competent and ambitious newcomer, who faces and deals with her life changing moment of decision with suprising calm. Chymes, so wonderfully hateful. Humpty himself, a suprising well rounded(pun intended) character for someone who is dead at the start of the novel. The whole concept of career based on publication. Something out of academia juxtapositioned onto a job where you would not expect it to fit so well. The opening paragraphs of each chapter, adding a bit of flavor, foreshadowing, or background to the pages to follow.
    Following the investigation was akin to riding a mechanical bull, hanging on for dear life as some madman makes the machine twist and buck and throw you off balance with increasing fervor. A better ride than most roller coasters, and at half the cost.
    Thanks to this selection, Mr. Fforde is another addition to my “must read” list. All I ask that if anyone hears about a sudden spate of bank robberies in central Virginia, please do not rat me out. This book club is getting to be an expensive hobby…
    Given Mr. Fforde’s FAQ list, I’ll simply sit back this go round and enjoy the answers to the questions already asked.
    Mr. M. thanks for this selection, and the great streak you have going over the last couple of months.

  37. Oh, Mr Fforde— in chapter 44, the paragraph beginning, “It was a cloud, clearless night and the stars brinkled twightly…” a cute way to see if I was still awake for the end eh?? or the thieves got to the beginning of the paragraph first.. I caught the br ak-in at print rs.. I could t ll right off th r what was missing. thanks. Joe has a similiar thing going for him with missing I’s in a previous post.

  38. @das:

    Yeah, I’ve read those Wolverine one-shots. Really liked them. I kinda wish they’d throw a one-shot or two in between the big storylines to give a little breathing room (and I mean that for all the comics and not just Wolverine.) I really like the contained stories. Switchback *was* a bit creepy. More so than Chop Shop. It’s funny because I’ve seen more than one fanfic with a similarity to Chop Shop not that I’m thinking that’s where the writer got the idea; it’s more of a twist on urban legends.

  39. Too many books to quickly!!! I wish i could read them all but i haven’t even read one yet. Behind the scenes photos and videos!!I CAN HARDLY WAIT!!!!! So a couple questions.

    1. Do you think the Atlantis movie will be released before or after the SG-1 movie is released?

    2. If i wanted to write to one of the actors what address should i send it to?

    3. What episode are you currently filming and how is it going?

    Now i have to go breathe into a paper bag in order not to hyperventilate. Other wise I will lay down and die just from pure excitement.

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  40. Someone who we wouldn’t think of… Elizabeth Weir? Just joking.

    Fantastic news on possibly getting the okay to post some pictures. The fans must be fed at a regular interval in order to keep their interest. I would say that would be smart on their part. I don’t see the harm of posting some pictures. Even some of just the cast goofing off outside would be fun.

    Hey all, I could use some good positive thoughts coming this way. Our school district has decided to play hardball about summer school for my kiddo with many disabilities. Instead of giving me the additional 24 hours I’d be willing to negotiate down to (which might cost them $360 total), they’ve decided to pay their attorney to come to our meeting on April 24th to play the intimidation game, and you know that attorney is making much more of that. Our hard tax dollars at work. I told my husband if I die while my son is in this district, I want on my gravestone: CISD killed her. I WILL get the last word! LOL.

  41. @ Lisa – Funny thing about Chop Shop was that I read it while hubby and I were sitting around in the lounge of a hotel during an overnight getaway. The beginning, where…well…you know, with the gal and all…well, that just kinda reminded me of hubby and I since the setting was the same. The next morning when he read it, I just gave him this evil look and asked if he was sure he wasn’t missing anything. 😈

    And yes – I do wish there were more single issue stories in comics, too. Will continue this later, hubby just came to pick me up!


  42. Hey Joe,

    Hope all is well. I woke up to massive tornado warnings and that oddly-colored sky. I thought by the end of the day I’d end up in Oz with my house ontop of some person wearing stripped socks. But all is well in the end. 🙂

    @Rose: I’m still going through massive SGA withdrawls. Rodney wasn’t just my favorite character on the show. He was my favorite character probably EVER! Well… I can’t decide if he’s tied with Tom Baker as the Doctor or maybe slightly ahead (just because the age factor between Tom Baker and me is icky to imagine 😉 ). Trust me when I say I’m horribly upset about the cancellation. I’m sure I’ll be telling my great-grandbabies all about it in another 60 years. And I’m certainly a *prepare for the worst but hope for the best* kinda girl. That does, in some ways, mean thinking the SGA movie will never happen. But after learning what I did while I was in Vancouver, I now am going to be more realistic and say I believe we’ll get our movie. To be honest I never thought we’d get a second SG-1 movie. Now we’re getting our third. So, see? There’s the tunnel and way down at the end there is a nice, shiny bright light. 🙂

    In other news…
    I just figured out that strange feeling in my stomach is because I never had lunch. 😯 Now it’s after 7pm. I’m gonna go grab some dinner. Or is it Linner? Dunch, maybe?

    Trish 😀

  43. I love sleep. I just wish we could hang out more often.

    The Big Over Easy
    Before reading The Big Over Easy I’d read the first four of the Thursday Next books. Initially I found The Big Over Easy a little more difficult to get started on, but once I got back into the easy flow of Mr Fforde’s writing it was yet another Fforde book I couldn’t put down.

    Immediately I was drawing parallels between Jack Spratt of Nursery Crimes and Spike of the Thursday Next series, Mary, Mary and Thursday Next, Ashley the alien and Roger from American Dad and I agree with Sylvia that Chymes was very Gilderoy Lockhardt. While great detail about the appearance of the characters was not gone into, or I just wasn’t paying that close attention, it did give the reader the artistic license to work some of their childhood imagery into the storyline. It took me a while to work out who Jack Spratt was in the realm of nursery rhymes. Needless to say when he received his beans the penny dropped, or the beanstalk grew, whichever works.

    The nonchalant way in which Nursery Rhyme characters exist in this society I loved and taking a trait from their native nursery rhyme predicated the role they had in our society. As we get older and understand the true meaning of Nursery Rhymes you can see they are not exactly good news stories and the stars of our nursery rhymes are usually flawed. The way in which Fforde takes an aspect of a nursery rhyme and entwines it into the storyline as a representation of a part of our society is so brilliantly done. This is something that also exists in the Thursday Next series and probably what has endeared me to Mr Fforde’s writing. Not to mention his kick-arse sense of humour.

    Having the Reader I get people I don’t know or don’t know well asking me what I’m reading as an intro to finding out what the hell that device is. My first thought is always, “So how can I explain this that doesn’t make me sound like a space cadet?” Because, Sci Fi/Fantasy readers out there, you have to admit it’s hard to give a summary of some of the books we read without it sounding like we sit at home all day with foil wrapped around our heads waiting for the visitors to land. But out of the various books I’ve had to try and explain in under 30 seconds, every time the concept of the Thursday Next books and Nursery Crimes has people saying, “That sounds great! Who’s the author?”.

    Questions for Jasper Fforde:
    1. A Thursday Next question if you don’t mind. How difficult is it to write some of the passages which involve waste products of apostrophe’s and ampersands?

    2. Did you find Humpty Dumpty a sad character when you were younger or was it a portrayal that you decided on just because it assisted the storyline?

    3. Lola Vavoom features in both the Nursery Crimes and Thursday Next. Apologies if you’ve already explained this elsewhere, but who is she a representation of? She feels very Zsa Zsa Gabor. Lola seems like she’d have a good right hook or she’d hire someone who has a good right hook to do it for her. And maybe a slapping glove.

    4. Particularly in the Thursday Next series you incorporate jumping into classic titles, time travel, alternate history, just for starters. Are you a writer that has a full concept of where the book will go and what it will cover before you start writing or do you partly “use the force” as you go?

    Thank you so much Mr Fforde for producing some of the most entertaining books I’ve had the privilege of reading.
    All the best.

  44. Mmmm…

    Just got back from an unexpected dinner. After Mr. Das picked me up from work, we went over to a friend’s house for dinner. Her husband and daughter are away visiting family in Jordan, and so she invited us to join her and her sons for a nice big bowl of homemade lentil soup, with a little fresh squeezed lemon for an added zing… mmmmmm!!! Mr. Das learned a little Arabic, and I got to brush up on the 6 words I know, and then we talked food. I learned that cumin supposedly helps prevent gas, and lentils make you relaxed and sleepy. Time will tell… 😉


  45. @Trish – I really, truly hope you’re right and the movie is made. I don’t have any confidence in Brad Wright so I guess I’ll have to pay more attention to you and Joe. : )


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.