Friday, November 21, 2014

A peak into The Eye of Zoltar and Last Chance to See

Well, the fates are not being kind to me at all, I still need to work on my conference presentation and instead we got pounded by tons of snow - shutting down everything all week - my kids are driving each other nuts. For this week's Book Beginnings on Friday, hosted by Rose City Reader here is the beginning of The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde ...

(Note that this is the third book, so if you like it, you can't start here. You have to start with The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde followed by The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde.)

The first thing was had to do was catch the Tralfamosaur. The obvious question, other than "What's a Tralfamosaur?" was "Why us?" The answer to the first question was that this was a magical beast, created by some long-forgotten wizard when conjuring up weird and exotic creatures had been briefly fashionable. The Tralfamosaur is about the size and weight of an elephant, has a brain no bigger than a Ping-Pong ball, and can outrun a human. More relevant to anyone trying to catch one, Tralfamosaurs aren't particularly fussy about what they eat. 

For nonfiction, here is a wonderful book that I have to re-read when I get a chance - Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams (yes, that Douglas Adams) and Mark Carwardine ...

This isn't at all what I expected. in 1985, by some sort of journalistic accident, I was sent to Madagascar with Mark Carwardine to look for an almost extinct form of lemur called the aye-aye. None of the three of us had met before. I had never met Mark, Mark had never met me, and no one, apparently, had seen an aye-aye for years.

This was the idea of the Observer Colour Magazine, to throw us all in at the deep end. Mark is an extremely experienced and knowledgeable zoologist who was working at that time for the World Wildlife Fund, and his role, essentially, was to be the one who knew what he was talking about. My role, and one for which I was entirely qualified, was to be an extremely ignorant non-zoologist to whom everything that happened would come as a complete surprise. All the aye-aye had to do was do what aye-ayes have been doing for millions of years; sit in a tree and hide. 

For The Friday 56 hosted at Freda's Voice we pick up The Eye of Zoltar on page 56 ...

The forklift placed the crate in front of me and reversed away. Several of the lifeless drones unlatched the crate and wheeled the two sections apart to reveal the Mighty Shandar himself. 

But is wasn't a flesh-and-blood Shandar. It was Shandar as he spent most of his time these days: stone. 

I don't think we can go any further without getting into possible spoiler territory. Here is something from page 56 of Last Chance to See ... 

Here the man in the blue polyester accosted us once more, but we patiently explained to him that he could f**k off. We needed chocolate, we needed coffee, maybe even a reviving packet of biscuits, and what was more, we intended to have them. We outfaced him, dumped our bags on the ground, walked firmly up to the counter, and hit a major unforeseen snag. 

The girl wouldn't sell us anything. She seemed surprised that we even bothered to raise the subject. With her fists still jammed into her cheekbones, she shook her head slowly at us and continued to watch the flies on the wall. 

The problem, it gradually transpired after a conversation which flowed like gum from a tree, was this. She would only accept Tanzanian currency. She knew without needed to ask that we didn't have any, for the simple reason that no one ever did. This was an international transit lounge, and the airport had no currency-exchange facilities, therefore no one who came in here could possibly have any Tanzanian currency and therefore she couldn't serve them. 

 Have a great weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Both books appeal to me. I will have to check out The Last Dragonslayer... love dragons! Also big on Douglas Adams, so will probably like the second book too.
    Happy weekend! Hope the kids take it easy on you.


Hi! I do read all of the comments and want to let you know that I really appreciate your stopping by and taking the time to leave a note. Work has fallen in on me and I have not had enough time to reply coherently lately so I apologize preemptively but still want to assure you that your comments are valued. I am using comment moderation to avoid using more annoying spam avoidance. Thanks for your patience.