Early Riser

Jasper Fforde
Early Riser Cover

Early Riser


Early Riser is a constrained experience compared to Fforde's more expansive series, but still sparkles with trademark wit and weirdness.

I am contractually obliged to begin all reviews of Jasper Fforde by thanking my mother, who got me in to his writing (and out of a period of teenage pretentiousness in which I thought I only wanted to read "the classics") by sending The Eyre Affair to the Eurasian continental pole of inaccessibility, where I was living at the time. The Thursday Next series, with its blend of whimsical worldbuilding and little England nostalgia, turned out to be a much better prospect than endless rereads of War and Peace, and a combination of further shipments and lucky bookswap finds meant I got to enjoy the entire series at exactly the point where I was most susceptible to its charms. It's with that love for his work that I approach this new volume -- Fforde's first new book in four years -- so to say my expectations were high is something of an understatement.

Fforde's novels are all set in alternate visions of England or Wales, in which a recognisable set of British cultural elements have been broken down, stirred around, reconstituted with a completely different logical framework and a more or less authoritarian atmosphere, and embedded into the overarching "what-if" propelling that particular story. In Early Riser, the skew comes from the fact that humans in this version of Earth, where climate apparently works completely differently, have evolved to hibernate through winter. This single biological change precipitates a massive shift in how human society has developed, with a significantly altered pattern of mortality and technology; yet somehow the path of development has still thrown up such recognisable fundamentals as Mini Rolls, Rick Astley, the class system, and the Welsh seaside village of Mumbles. A few crumbs of worldbuilding hint at how the world outside Wales copes with hibernation, what with weather and seasons still not being the same everywhere, but this isn't very fleshed out: Early Riser isn't a watertight worldbuilding experience, but it's a very fun one.

Full review here: http://www.nerds-feather.com/2018/07/microreview-book-early-riser-by-jasper.html