Uit: One of our Thursdays is Missing
“I stood up and noticed for the first time that my living room seemed that little bit more realistic. The colours were subtler, and the walls had an increased level of texture. More interestingly, the room seemed to be brighter, and there was light coming in through the windows. It was real light, too, the sort that casts shadows, and not the pretend stuff we were used to. I grasped the handle, opened the front door and stepped outside.
The empty inter-book Nothing that had separated the novels and genres had been replaced by fields, hills, rivers, trees and forests, and all around me the countryside opened out into a series of expansive vistas with the welcome novelty of distance. We were now in the South-East corner of an island perhaps a hundred miles by fifty and bounded on all sides by the Text sea, which had been elevated to ‘Grade IV Picturesque’ status by the addition of an azure hue and a soft billowing motion that made the text shimmer in the breeze.
As I looked around I realised that whoever had remade the Bookworld had consid- ered practicalities as much as aesthetics. Unlike the Realworld, which is inconveniently located on the outside of a sphere, the new Bookworld was anchored on the inside of a sphere, thus ensuring that horizons worked in the opposite way to those in Realworld. Further objects were higher in the visual plane than nearer ones. From anywhere in the Bookworld it was possible to view anywhere else. I noticed, too, that we were not alone. Stuck on the inside of the sphere were hundreds of other islands very similar to our own, and each a haven for a category of literature therein.
About ten degrees upslope of Fiction I could see our nearest neighbour: Artistic Criticism. It was an exceptionally beautiful island, yet deeply troubled, confused and suffused with a blanketing layer of almost impenetrable bullshit. Beyond them were Psychology, Philately, and Software Manuals. But the brightest and biggest archipelago I could see upon the closed sea was the scattered group of Genres that made up Nonfiction. They were positioned right on the other side of the inner globe so were almost directly overhead. On one side of the island the cliffs of irrationality were slowly being eroded away, while on the opposite shore the sands of science were slowly reclaiming salt-marsh from the sea.
While I stared upwards, open mouthed, a steady stream of books moved in an endless multi-layered criss-cross high in the sky. But these weren’t books of the small, paper-and-leather variety that one might find in the Outland. »
Jasper Fforde (Londen, 11 januari 1961)