Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

by |January 14, 2010

Shades of Grey We are drifting very slowly but evermore surely toward total annihilation – be it by climate change, terrorism, pandemic, meteor or reality TV.

If you’re anything like me, that is, if you desire to prevent or at least postpone the end of the world but do not have the requisite level of enthusiasm for the human race to enable you to do so, you’ve probably got plenty of time to kill before… well… before we’re all killed.

This gives us ample time to consider how we might face our end. Hmmm…

The biggest problem I have with the end of the world is not its actually happening so much – it’s probably the biggest thing that will happen in my lifetime – no, the problem I have is the feeling that if I go to the loo, or look down at the crossword, or duck out for takeaway, I’ll miss it.

The result is a kind of embarrassed paralysis.

Admittedly, this is no way to live or die.

Apparently paralysis is only one of the many options we have when facing certain death – fight and flight are the two most popular options.

Looking down the full list of options – wetting one’s pants, screaming like a baby girl, hiding under the doona, pretending you’re already dead – I was surprised to find – Laughter.

But then I remembered the phrase – to laugh in the face of death.the big over easy

And I was sold. That would be cool.

Nevertheless, when facing death, not to mention total annihilation of the species, unless you are Clint Eastwood, it is hard to laugh – it’s hard to crack a smile.

Thankfully, this end of the world thing is really slow in coming.

So slow, in fact, we all have time to buy a copy of Jasper Fforde’s new novel Shades of Grey 1: The Road to High Saffron. (Read the review by Booktopia’s Richard Bilkey)

When the end of the world comes I will not wet my pants… Thanks to Jasper Fforde, I will face the end laughing.

the eyre affairlost in a good bookwell of lost plotssomething rottenfirst among sequels

I’ll end this post with a song – an’ a one, an’ a two…

The End of the World

By Bob Geldof

Though it strikes you as seeming a little absurd
I’m here to announce the end of the world
It’ll happen sometime between now and high noon
It doesn’t give you much time as it’s happening real soon
It’ll start with a whimper, it’ll end with a bang
It’ll leave a big hole where we could have sang

This is the end
The end of the world
For five thousand years
You must surely have heard
Nostradamus and Jesus and Buddha and Me
We said it was coming
Now just wait and see

So everyone outside look up at the sky
It’s the last time you’ll see it so wave it goodbye
You took it for granted you thought it was free
Say goodbye to the leaves, the trees, and the sea
There’s nothing more useless than a car that won’t start
But it’s even more useless at the end of the world

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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