[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/thursdaycar2signed.jpg]]

Thursday Next lives in an AlternateHistory. In her world, TimeTravel, cloning, and genetic engineering are commonplace; resurrected dodos are the household pet of choice. The obscenely powerful [[MegaCorp Goliath Corporation,]] which nearly singlehandedly reconstructed England after [[WorldWarTwo World War II,]] now runs the country as a virtual police state. And literature, particularly classic literature, is very, very, ''very'' SeriousBusiness. Writers are revered with nearly spiritual devotion, controversial claims about books and authors can be criminal, and an entire police squad, the [=LiteraTecs=], exist to keep the literary scene in order. Thursday works for just such a unit in Swindon, with her friend and colleague, the exceedingly polite Bowden Cable.

In an effort to rescue her GadgeteerGenius uncle Mycroft from international arch-criminal [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Acheron Hades,]] a [[CardCarryingVillain gleefully evil]] individual with supernatural powers, Thursday discovers the Great Library, a sort of pocket dimension that exists within the pages of all works of literature, where all literary characters live. They're self-aware, acting out their roles when a person reads a book but chilling out and living their own lives as soon as they close it. the Great Library is governed by the Council of Genres and kept in line by Jurisfiction, ''another'' police force whose task it is to make sure the plot of every book stays the same every time someone reads it.

Such is the universe of Creator/JasperFforde's meta-fictional masterpiece, the ''Thursday Next'' series. The author [[LampshadeHanging hangs a lampshade]] on everything and anything relating to classic literature, the tropes of police fiction and spy fiction, and even the relationship between a work of fiction and its audience. Heavy on wordplay and [[HurricaneOfPuns puns,]] the series deals with the tireless heroine's adventures balancing her work as an agent of Jurisfiction in the Great Library and [=LiteraTec=] in the outside world, to say nothing of her responsibilities as a wife and mother.

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: The books in order are: ]]

* ''The Eyre Affair''
* ''Lost in a Good Book''
* ''The Well of Lost Plots''
* ''Something Rotten''
* ''First Among Sequels''
* ''One of Our Thursdays is Missing''
* ''The Woman Who Died a Lot''

In addition, there is an UnInstallment known as ''The Great Samuel Pepys Fiasco'' between the fourth and fifth/sixth books. The book doesn't exist (because of events in ''First Among Sequels'') but it's still listed in "other works by this author".

The books play with [[PostModernism post modern]] ideas, and toy with the [[NoFourthWall fourth wall]], noting how things are written, or their own style. It plays up literary tropes, and their difference with the world. Fictional characters tend to be GenreSavvy, but accepting of the issue. A lot of the action takes place in the Bookworld, where stories are assembled and regulated from behind the scenes, leading to various oddities.

Jasper Fforde has also written the NurseryCrime series, which employs many of the same ideas and has a similar style. (The connection between the series is explained in great detail in ''The Well of Lost Plots''.) In this world, GenreSavvy detectives try to deal with suspicious goings-on, often involving NurseryRhyme characters while trying to be both efficient ''and'' readable. This is a world where it's customary for DaChief to [[TurnInYourBadge suspend a detective]] at least once a case, and detectives gain credibility for having novel cars, lost loves, and drinking habits.

----
!!!This series contains examples of:

* ActionMom: Thursday, in the later books.
* AdaptationDecay: Meta-examples abound, with the film version of Thursday's exploits bombing and her in-universe book adaptations [[{{Flanderization}} flanderising]] her one way or the other.
* AllStoriesAreRealSomewhere: A variant, in that characters from fiction are well aware that they're fictional.
* AmbiguouslyHuman: The fictional characters, notably [[spoiler: Yorrick Kaine.]]
* [[spoiler:AmnesiaLoop]]: In ''First Among Sequels'' with Thursday in regards to Jenny. (This [[spoiler:spreads to the rest of the family]] in ''The Woman Who Died a Lot.''
* AndroidsAndDetectives: Written!Thursday and [[ClockworkCreature Sprockett]] in ''Missing''.
* AnswersToTheNameOfGod: A variation:
-->'''Mycroft:''' May God forgive me!\\
'''Acheron:''' ''I'' forgive you, it's the closest you'll get!
* AnvilOnHead: ''The Eyre Affair'' pays homage to the anvil tradition in the subplot involving the Minotaur who has been tagged with a slapstick marker.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: The twenty-second subbasement of the Well of Lost Plots is described as "a haven for cutthroats, bounty hunters, murderers, thieves, cheats, shape-shifters, scene-stealers, brigands, and ''plagiarists.''
** although in-universe, given the nature of the Well, plagiarism is at least as bad as theft. And cheating.
** Also, Acheron Hades enjoys slow murder, torture, and flower arranging.
** Invoked in this exchange between Thursday and Landen in ''The Eyre Affair'':
---> '''Landen:''' How was your first day?\\
'''Thursday:''' Kidnappings, vampires, shot dead a suspect, lost a witness to a gunman, Goliath tried to have me killed, puncture on the car. Usual shit.\\
'''Landen:''' A puncture? Really?\\
'''Thursday:''' Not really. I made that bit up.
* AudienceParticipation: In-universe, the audience at the performance of ''Theatre/RichardIII'' behaves very much like ours at ''[[TheRockyHorrorPictureShow Rocky Horror]]''.
--> '''Audience:''' ''WHEN'' is the winter of our discontent!?\\
'''Richard III:''' ''Now'' is the winter of our discontent ''[[AndThereWasMuchRejoicing [audience cheers]]]'' made glorious summer by this son of York ''[audience don sunglasses]''...
* BackdoorPilot: ''The Well Of Lost Plots'' spends a lot of time in the novel that is eventually turned into ''[[NurseryCrime The Big Over Easy]]'', the first book of Fforde's second series (and actually his first novel).
* BadassFamily: The Nexts and they have to be considering that the Hades family also qualifies.
* BadassNormal: Thursday.
* BerserkButton: Do ''not'' call Acheron Hades "mad".
* BiggerOnTheInside: The Jurisfiction travelbook Thursday is given contains recesses far deeper than the book can actually contain.
* BlackMarketProduce: Characters from the [=BookWorld=] want things from the Outland (the real world), and those things include foodstuffs. In response to requests and along with other non-food items, Thursday brings back a jar of Marmite, Moggilicious cat food (for The Cat Formerly Known as Cheshire), and Mintolas (for Marianne Dashwood, who describes them as, "A bit like like Munchies but minty").
** In the Outland itself, partly due to the tight borders England has with the Socialist Republic of Wales and partly due to an exorbitant tax to pay for the Crimean War, cheese has become expensive enough for a black market for the stuff to become profitable, under the Cheese Mafia. Then again, considering the cheeses you can get...
* BlessedAreTheCheesemakers: There's cheese so strong it can be used as a weapon, and needs to be encased in lead.
* BlondesAreEvil: [[spoiler:Aornis Hades and Cindy Stoker]] both have blond hair.
* BluenoseBowdlerizer: A hated terrorist group in the BookWorld, responsible for the destruction of half of the writings of Chaucer. Then again, what they do is basically the equivalent of assault or murder.
* BookSafe: Thursday's Jurisfiction travelbook contains a few things in it to help out Jurisfiction agents.
* [[ShowWithinAShow Book Within A Book]]: Obviously, but particularly notable in that the book in which Thursday lives in ''The Well Of Lost Plots'', after much tinkering on her part in that story, was eventually published itself as ''[[NurseryCrime The Big Over Easy]]''.
** In ''First Among Sequels'', it gets even more complex. The first four books exist within the context of the story, but as much DarkerAndEdgier versions of the "real" events (i.e. what happened in the books that exist in our world), while another book in the fictional series, ''The Great Samuel Pepys Fiasco'', never existed in the real series. [[spoiler:The events of the book resolve both discrepancies. ''The Great Samuel Pepys Fiasco'' is destroyed in the Bookworld, causing it to cease to exist in the (fictional) real world, and presumably in our world as well. Thursday 1-4, the protagonist of the DarkerAndEdgier in-story books, is killed when the book is destroyed, and the remaining books are remade to be closer to "real" events (i.e. the books we read in our world), starring Thursday5, the protagonist of ''The Great Samuel Pepys Fiasco''.]] It doesn't get any simpler in ''One of Our Thursdays is Missing''.
* BrainyBrunette: Thursday.
** Her daughter Tuesday could be too; although we don't know her hair color, she certainly has the 'brainy' part down.
* CallARabbitASmeerp: Several fictional elements are obvious counterparts to real-world ones - for example, in the sixth book, "getting hyphenated" is tantamount to getting drunk, and "metaphor" is a precious commodity akin to gold.
* CamelCase: So much of it that it's [[DeconstructorFleet surprising]] it doesn't get lampshaded. There's the [=OutWorld=] & the [=BookWorld=], [=SpecOps=] has the [=LiteraTecs=] and the [=ChronoGuard=], and so on.
** Addressed in [[http://www.jasperfforde.com/annotated.html the annotated first chapter of ''The Eyre Affair'' on Fforde's website]]:
--> Incidentally, the huge amount of spellings with capital letters in the middle of words (and the Bookworms, too) relate to my appalling handwriting. As a child - and still now - I always mix large and small letters in my words. Laziness, I assure you. Betty Barnes, my remedial writing teacher, had no end of trouble trying to get me to write properly, all to no avail. Now I can put as maNy capiTals in woRds as I please -fuNny the waY things tUrn out, iSn't it?
* {{Catchphrase}}: A remarkably subtle and somewhat heartwarming version that's never pointed out in the text. When the top secret gathering of elite fictional agents in Bookworld breaks up, does the Bellman utter a bloodthirsty battle cry? No, he always warns his people--
-->[[HillStreetBlues Let's be careful out there]].
* CharacterDevelopment: Two blank "Generic" characters come to stay with Thursday in ''The Well of Lost Plots''. By the end, they're both fully formed characters.
* ChekhovsGun: A number of seemingly unimportant items thrown out early on in the book come back at crucial moments, such as:
** ''The Well Of Lost Plots'': Thursday is given [[spoiler: an unlicenced freeze-dried PlotDevice labelled "Suddenly, a Shot Rang Out!" to file as evidence]], but it's still in her pocket when she needs a distraction later. [[spoiler: She breaks it open...suddenly a shot rings out!]]
** More like [[IncrediblyLamePun Chekhov's long range sniper rifle]]: in the first book, a minor villain is named Yorrick, in the fourth book, {{Hamlet}} is pulled from his namesake play and Yorrick is brought back as a main character. [[spoiler: the obvious joke is made.]]
** For once with a literal gun, though also a Chekhov's Scene: In the first book, Thursday has a brief, odd experience with time travel where she sees herself in trouble. She hides a gun for herself to find when that scene finally plays out in ''Something Rotten''.
** And a [[RunningGag Chekhovs bullet]] in the first book. [[spoiler: The silver bullet given to Thursday by Spike earlier on is in the end what kills Acheron Hades.]]
** The [[spoiler: recipe for unscrambling an egg]] turns out to have crucial importance in ''First Among Sequels''.
** The slapstick marker used for tracing "bookrunners" in ''Something Rotten''.
** The Trans-Genre Taxi in ''First Among Sequels''
* ChildProdigy: [[spoiler:Tuesday had found a solution to Fermat's last theorem when she was nine.]]
* ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve: In ''The Woman Who Died a Lot'', it's discovered that sufficient quantities of human belief can directly alter reality. Hence, when enough people become members of the Church of the Global Standard Deity, the Deity announces his presence and starts smiting the wicked. This also causes a nasty feedback loop regarding HR-6984, the asteroid capable of wiping out humanity. Professional statisticians calculate and publish the probability of HR-6894 striking the Earth, and as more people believe it's going to hit, the calculated probability rises, which causes more people to believe it's going to hit...
* CliffHanger: in ''First Among Sequels'', where in the final chapter we find out that [[spoiler: there was a serial killer loose in the Bookworld!]]
* ClockworkCreature: Delta-5 automata, such as Sprockett, in ''Missing'' -- complete with WindUpKey, though apparently the new model Delta-6's are self-winding. This is apparently the cutting edge of Bookworld robots: [[FanWank perhaps]] RidiculouslyHumanRobots are quite literally confined to the SciFiGhetto.
* CobwebOfDisuse: Thursday mentions the cobwebs at Satis House when she goes there to meet Miss Havisham.
* CoincidenceMagnet: Thursday herself, who saves the day both in the real world and [=BookWorld=] several times, despite being just another [=LiteraTec=] and Jurisfiction agent, respectively. Interestingly, a villain has this as a ''consciously-controlled power'', the ability to manipulate probability. Said villain attempts to kill Thursday numerous times with staggeringly unlikely coincidences.
* CorruptedData: The Mispeling Vyrus. It's a virus in the [=BookWorld=] that causes things to misspell, turning a parrot into a carrot, the floor into flour and other unpleasant consequences. This sounds more amusing than dangerous until you realize it can turn [[BodyHorror your bones into boons, your nose into a noose or your hands into hats]], depending on the severity of the infection. In short, if your body is infected, you are most likely going to die unless you get help ''really'' quickly. It can only be contained by dictionaries.
* {{Crossover}}: An incredibly subtle one-- Thursday talks to [[{{Bones}} Tempe Brennan]] about an attempt on her life during a reading of "Grave Secrets", a few books later in her own series (''Bones to Ashes'') Tempe [[CelebrityParadox reads an unnamed Jasper Fforde novel in an airport]].
* CulturalTranslation: Most of the obscurely British cultural references are changed or explained in the American version, but Landen's name wasn't caught. "Landen Parke-Laine" was supposed to be a MeaningfulName, but Americans don't get that it's a Monopoly reference, as the U.S. version of the game calls that space Park Place.
** North Americans who wound up with the British edition can consult the annotations on Fforde's website: [[http://www.jasperfforde.com/reader/readerjon2.html ''The Eyre Affair'']], [[http://www.jasperfforde.com/reader/readerjon5.html ''Lost in a Good book'']], and [[http://www.jasperfforde.com/reader/readerwolpguide.html ''The Well of Lost Plots'']].
* CyanidePill[=/=]SelfDestructMechanism: Dr. Mueller, one of Hades' colleagues, [[SpontaneousHumanCombustion dies by bursting into flame]] just after blabbing the location of their hideout. It's speculated that Hades put some sort of device in Mueller that he could trigger if Mueller decides to betray Hades.
** In ''The Woman Who Died A Lot'', Goliath has an implant in their employees' brains, which gives them an anurysm if they try to blow the whistle on any of the many things Goliath is up to.
* DayOfTheWeekName: Thursday, her mother Wednesday, and her children Tuesday and Friday.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: In ''One of Our Thursdays is Missing'.
-->"...crimes against humanity, murder, theft, illegal possession of a firearm, the discharge of a weapon in a public place, murder, impersonating a [=SpecOps=] officer, cheese smuggling, assorted motoring offenses and murder."
* DramaPreservingHandicap: DNA technology exists in the [=BookWorld=] - of course it does, people have written about it - but it's legally prohibited anywhere outside of the ForensicDrama genre, because it would ruin the mystery in any other genre.
* DrivesLikeCrazy: [[Literature/GreatExpectations Miss Havisham]] and [[TheWindInTheWillows Mr. Toad]].
* DuetBonding: Thursday and Landen
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: ''The Eyre Affair'' sees Thursday enter ''Jane Eyre'', but it's not until the second book that Thursday enters the [=BookWorld=] and things ''really'' kick off.
* EncyclopediaExposita: ''The Jurisfiction Guide to the Great Library'' by the Unitary Authority of Warrington (formely know as Cheshire) Cat.
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas: [[spoiler: Mr. Delamere, allowed to make any demand, has the government rename a motorway service station after his mother, Leigh Delamere.]]
* EvilTwin : [[spoiler: Thursday1-4]]
* ExtranormalInstitute: Jurisfiction.
* TheFaceless: The Great Panjandrum has no appearance of its own, as everyone viewing it sees what they expect to see (usually, something that looks very much like themselves).
* FamilyThemeNaming: Nearly everyone in the Next family is named after the days of the week. The one exception is Jenny, because [[spoiler:she doesn't actually exist.]]
* FanworkBan: [[invoked]] Subverted! In book six Thursday visits the island of {{fanfiction}}, and is surprised to find it a lively place that's one big party - because it's a celebration of their source material. While the locations and character are described as flat, this is stated to be a side-effect of being copied, with varying degrees of severity depending on the quality of the writer. Plus it tangentially references [[SoCoolItsAwesome Thursday and the Doctor fighting Daleks]].
** (As for ''Thursday Next'' fanfiction, Fforde has said that he doesn't mind, but would rather people spent the time inventing their own creations.)
* FelonyMisdemeanor: Hades's little brother tries to follow in his footsteps. He does things like calling to make appointments to look at people's used cars, and ''never showing up''.
** [[PlayingWith Played with]] by Hades and his henchman Mr. Delamare, who is required to perform one wicked act a day. One day, this act is driving at 73 miles per hour [[spoiler:through a shopping centre]].
** When Mr. Delamare was given the opportunity to have the English government give into any demand he makes, he has [[spoiler: a motorway service station named after his mother]].
* FlatCharacter:
** The Generics, unformed characters who need to undergo CharacterDevelopment to flesh them out into characters. How much development depends on their role; it's easier to train a {{spear carrier}} than a {{protagonist}}.
** spoiler: In the sixth book, the written Thursday visits Fanfiction, where all the characters are of various degrees of flatness, from being three-dimensional to cardboard cut-outs, having been written by other authors who don't know the character as deeply. (Not that Fforde exempts himself here: Thursday realises this explains some of the character in her series.)
* FootnoteFever: The footnoterphone.
* ForTheEvulz: Acheron Hades' stated MO.
* FurryFandom: May be indicated by the fact that Commander Bradshaw is married to an intelligent anthropomorphic gorilla. (Although, supposedly, this fact would have escaped everyone who actually read Bradshaw's books.)
* GenreBusting: So very, very much.
* GilliganCut: At the end of chapter twenty-five of ''The Eyre Affair'', Victor states that there is no way on God's own Earth that Thursday and Bowden are going to get him to pose as an Earthcrosser. Guess what he's doing at the beginning of chapter twenty-six?
* GoldDigger: Levied at Daisy Mutlar, Landen's erstwhile fiancee. It actually saves Thursday from Goliath as she yells it out to the Mutlar family, and she escapes in the chaos.
* GratuitousEnglish: Subverted in story when a series of seemingly random English words on Japanese T-shirts turn out to be part of a code message.
* GreatBigLibraryOfEverything: The great Library has every book that has ever been written or ever will be. It is however inplied that this only counts for English language books and that other language libraries are the same for their literary output.
* GreatWhiteHunter: Commander Trafford Bradshaw is a safari adventurer from a series of boys' adventure novels.
* GreenAesop: The Short Now, caused by convenience in working with natural resources over responsible planning, depleting them, all the while claiming that there is not enough proof that the problem may be man made instead of natural - let's just say it bears some resemblance to political topics of the day. Similarly, the Stupidity Surplus.
* GreyGoo: Well, ''pink'' goo anyway. The world was supposed to end because of an accident by {{nanomachines}} converting all organic matter into artificially flavored strawberry pudding.
* GrillingTheNewbie: Thursday gets grilled by many characters in the unpublished book ''Caversham Heights'' (where she's hiding out from Goliath and Lavosier during her advancing pregnancy) when they find out she's an Outlander. Some of them don't believe she is an Outlander when she admits not knowing things (like "the purpose of alphabet soup"), so she has them leave off their speech descriptors and successfully identifies several speakers in order.
* GroinAttack: Thursday's parents [[IWantGrandkids both want grandchildren]], and her father makes sure Landen hasn't had any accidents that might impede their appearance.
--> '''Colonel Next, Thursday's Father:''' How are you, my boy? Have you had a vasectomy?\\
'''Landen:''' Well, no.\\
'''Col. Next:''' How about a heavy tackle playing rugby?\\
'''Landen:''' No.\\
'''Col. Next:''' Kick from a horse in the nether regions?\\
'''Landen:''' No.\\
'''Col. Next:''' What about a cricket ball in the goolies?\\
'''Landen:''' ''No!''
* HalfHumanHybrid: Explicitly averted in BookWorld, no less.
* HappilyMarried: Thursday and Landen, [[EarnYourHappyEnding eventually.]]
* HideYourChildren: Jenny, for good reason. [[spoiler: She doesn't actually exist, but Aornis made Thursday think she does, and Thursday only remembers this once in a while, for a short time. In the seventh book, Aornis begins to move the Mindworm around so that Thursday, Landen and Tuesday all have periods of imagining her. Eventually, the whole family believes her to be real, and a memory is implanted in all their minds of her death.]]
* HilaritySues: The rules of international croquet are so vague and [[AintNoRule full of loopholes]] that as well as a team of players, each teams fields a team of lawyers (complete with substitutes) who constantly try to bend the rules their way.
* HouseboatHero: Well, House-Seaplane Hero, in ''The Well Of Lost Plots''.
* HunterOfHisOwnKind: [[spoiler: "Spike" Stoker]] hunts vampires (and werewolves, being part of SO-17, "Suckers and Biters") while being a vampire himself. He supresses his vampirism through medication, though.
* ICantBelieveItsNotHeroin: Thursday's cheese-smuggling activities.
* ImmuneToBullets: Acheron Hades, apparently.
* InnocentSwearing: Two-year-old Friday Next in ''Something Rotten'' learns naughty words (notably "bum", "bubbies", "arse" and "pikestaff" [[ForeignLookingFont rendered in an Old English font]]) from St. Zvlkx. Thursday speaks as if she isn't certain what he said the first time he uses them, but the second time she tells her son, "If those are rude Old English words, St. Zvlkx is in a lot of trouble--and so are you, my little fellow."
* InsistentTerminology: Acheron Hades isn't mad, he's just "differently moraled".
* InSpiteOfANail: When Landen gets removed from the timeline, the only detectable change beyond his absence is the literal wallpaper and curtains.
* IShouldWriteABookAboutThis: Played with. By ''First Among Sequels'', Thursday's even meeting the results of doing so.
* ItGetsEasier: Most of the literary characters are extremely blasé about dying or undergoing the many indignities that the narratives puts them through. The drowned girl (who has been dying on and off for about 200 years) from the ''Wreck of Hesperus'''s only complaint was that people keep trying to save her, which just makes it harder for her to die.
** Sometimes, characters do snap under the strain and it is Thursday's job to catch them before they do too much damage and replace them with a body double.
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: Extreme example - while the Next-verse contains things we would consider impossible, such as the Gravitube through the centre of the Earth, but when Thursday is introduced to the idea of mass aeroplane transit and moon landings, she considers that impossible.
* KangarooCourt: Thursday was put on trial for changing the plot of ''Jane Eyre'', which occured in Kafka's ''The Trial'' and the trial of the Knave of Hearts from ''Literature/AliceInWonderland''. Also subverted in that she managed to out-Kafka the judge and prosecution (having read the book beforehand) and got the prosecutor arrested instead.
* LampshadeHanging: Plenty throughout, but especially:
** In ''Well of Lost Plots'', a character is responsible for clearing up narrative mistakes or "bloopholes". One example he gives is an author writing, "the daffodils bloomed in Summer", a mistake Fforde makes in ''The Eyre Affair''. He then says that he is working on a method of covering which involves saying, "Hi, I'm a hole, try not to think about it," both invoking the MST3KMantra, and [[LampshadeHanging hanging a Lampshade]] on LampshadeHanging ''itself''. It really doesn't get more meta than that.
** Sometimes there's a scene where Thursday, looking for some department in the [=BookWorld=], opens the wrong door and finds two people acting out an old joke (or something like that.) When it happens in ''First Among Sequels'' she says to herself "I keep doing that. They should label these doors better."
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: One of the powers of mnemonomorphs like Aornis Hades, she can also plant memories and set up specific mental blocks so that the victim can't recall certain information, even when they are reminded of it.
** There's also a gag with Mycroft's memory erasure device, with Thursday believing that Mycroft hadn't completed it when he already did, and presumably activating it on Thursday.
* TheLawOfConservationOfDetail: [[DoubleSubversion Double Subverted]] in ''Something Rotten'', when a runaway steamroller almost kills Hamlet and Thursday while they're in the [=OutWorld=]. Thursday points that, [[ThisIsReality unlike in books]], sometimes things like that have no meaning and certainly will not turn out to be vitally important at the end of the story. Then it turns out - at the end of the story - [[spoiler:it was an assassination attempt by the Minotaur]].
** Thursday notes that the nice thing about living in [=BookWorld=] is that the little annoyances in real life is generally avoided, the car never needs refueling and the toilet paper never runs out. But there is also a profound lack of breakfast, wallpaper and smells.
* LEGOGenetics: In an effort to perfect cloning extinct animals, some genes are spliced in from other animals. This leads to dodos with flamingo-like features.
* LighthousePoint: Where Thursday faces off against a psychic enemy, except that it is in her mind.
* LikeRealityUnlessNoted: Averted, indeed almost ''inverted''. Every time geopolitics is mentioned, for instance, it sounds radically different to that of our world (Russia is Tsarist, one of the two biggest superpowers is based in Africa, Wales has left the United Kingdom - no word on Scotland) and things like Britain being invaded and occupied by the Nazis during WW2 are casually mentioned out of hand.
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: The entire setup of the series seems to suggest this, especially the article in ''Well of Lost Plots'' that casually mentions that characters fool the author into believing that he or she is writing the story, whereas in reality their role is minimal. Chapters often open with quotes from Thursday and others, written long after the fact. Although it's also subverted - in ''First Among Sequels'', Thursday needs to visit her previous books, so she goes to the sixth floor of the great library, where all the "F" authors are stored...
* MadScientist / BunglingInventor: Thursday's Uncle Mycroft comes up with countless ingenious, insane and downright impossible contraptions, many [[ItRunsOnNonsensoleum running on Nonsensoleum]] such as a doorway into fictional worlds, a brain screensaver, and an early warning sarcasm detector.
* MagicLibrarian: The Cheshire Cat. Well, the Cat formerly known as Cheshire but is now Unitary Authority of Warrington.
* {{Malaproper}}: Mrs. Malaprop herself appears in ''One Of Our Thursdays Is Missing'' as Book!Thursday's housekeeper.
* MaidCorps: There are ''thousands'' of Mrs. Danverses in the [=BookWorld=], having come from multiplying generics sent into ''Literature/{{Rebecca}}''. The Danverclones are used by the Council of Genres as a freestanding army.
* MeaningfulName: Also a PunnyName: Acheron Hades' cohort, Felix Tabularasa. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabula_rasa Tabularasa means "blank slate"]], which is what he does to all future Felixes - wipe their personality and put in the original Felix's. [[FacialHorror As well as Felix's face.]]
* MediumAwareness: The characters in novels act as if they are actors in a film, most of them only maintain character when the book is being read and the camera is on them, so to speak.
* MegaCorp: The Goliath Corporation, which pretty much owns Britain.
* MentorOccupationalHazard: [[spoiler:Miss Havisham]]
* [[MetafictionDemandedThisIndex Metafictional devices]]: Because so much of the plot revolves around dealing with events inside books and with fictional characters, nearly all devices get used to some extent, especially TrappedInTVLand, RefugeeFromTVLand, and MediumAwareness.
* MindControl: Thursday experiences the effects of this at least twice, during the televised debate where Kaine appears and at Goliathopolis with its CEO, John Henry Goliath. Both times she is overcome with an overwhelming desire to fervently agree with Kaine and Goliath.
* MindControlDevice: [[spoiler: The Ovinator,]] whose real function Mycroft and Thursday wonder about.
* MisaimedFandom: An in-universe meta-example, with the author of the ''Emperor Zhark'' books having written them as [[StealthParody a parody of the science fiction genre]] but now has [[SpringtimeForHitler a dedicated and unwanted fandom]]. He plans to kill off Zhark in the last book to spite them, but doesn't reckon on Zhark himself showing up from the [=BookWorld=] to give him a talking to.
* MoralDilemma: A ship on the sea of Oral Tradition is devoted to reenacting the various dilemmas that crop up in philosophy classes one after another to the end of time.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: ''The Eyre Affair'''s villain, Acheron Hades, and his siblings (all of whom are also named after mythological Hellish rivers - Styx, Phlegethon and so on).
* NiceJobFixingItVillain: Aornis Hades plotted Thurday's death by having Thursday commit suicide or have the world be consumed by a flood of nanobots converting all organic matter into dream pudding. Instead, Thurdsay's father brings it back billions of years in the past, turning it into the primordial ooze from where life evolves.
* NoNameGiven: Thursday's father. Also Granny Next, for good reason: [[spoiler:she ultimately turns out to be a time-travelled Thursday.]]
** In the case of Colonel Next (Thursday's father), the name isn't just never mentioned, he literally ''has'' no first name. It's never explained why, but it's a fair guess that it's because the [=ChronoGuard=] tried to erase him from existence.
* NoodleIncident: Books are extremely malleable and any unexpected stress will cause the plotline to change. And once a change establishes itself, it will cause every copy of that book across all of time and space to change along with it and we will never know what the original story was about. For example, ''Theatre/TitusAndronicus'' used to be a romance until the characters therein got bored, and the oeuvre of Creator/ThomasHardy was composed of raunchy comedies until smugglers made off with all the jokes.
* [[OnceAnEpisode Once A Book]]: Thursday will have to help Spike Stoker out with a magical or supernatural mission, usually completely unrelated to the rest of the story - in fact Fforde once described the Spike segments as 'a breather' in the pell-mell plot. [[spoiler:The exception being in the first book - at the end, Thursday discovers that silver can hurt her NighInvulnerable foe, and remembers that she still has an anti-werewolf silver bullet in her pocket from the Spike mission]]. In the sixth book, Spike appears briefly, but there is no mission, and in the seventh he's only mentioned by Thursday's psychiatrist. And it's only a brief flashback in ''Well.''
* OneSteveLimit: The Echolocators are responsible for weeding out accidental repetition from texts, they are also on the lookout of identically named characters. Apparently, they once wiped out an entire Hemingway novel because all seven of the books characters share the same name.
* OnlyAFleshWound: Averted. In ''The Eyre Affair'', Thursday is shot in her gun arm. She notes to the tribunal that she knew she couldn't aim with that arm anymore, and has only seconds before she loses enough blood to make her incapable of aiming entirely, despite moving the gun to her good arm.
* OurSloganIsTerrible: The advertisments at the back of the books for holidays in the People's Socialist Republic of Wales boast the slogan "Not ''always'' raining".
* PaintingTheFourthWall: Used extensively. Characters can communicate between different novels, or from novels to the real world, using footnotes. There is a mispeling vyrus which affects not only the characters burt teh narateev tetx itlesf. Fonts are treated as languages. And so on.
-->The trip back downriver was uneventful and over in only twelve words.
** The most elaborate use of this comes when Emperor Zhark drops in on Thursday in the Outworld, which she describes in a paragraph about ninety words long, ending in a chapter break. The next chapter is titled "Emperor Zhark" and during their discussion, Zhark says he's negotiated a new contract in the [=BookWorld=] that means he has to get two chapter-ending appearances per book, at least eighty words of description for his first appearance and one chapter bearing his name. When he leaves, he's fulfilled all those conditions in the book you're reading, except the second chapter-ending appearance. Then he pops back in for a recipe, ending the chapter again.
** Also when Thursday and Landen get together after some break, they're ready for sex, but:
-->'Wait', I cried out.
-->'What?'
-->'I can't concentrate with all these people-'
-->Landen looked round the empty bedroom. 'What people?'
-->'Those people,' I repeated, waving a hand in the general direction of everywhere, 'the ones ''reading'' us.'
** In ''One Of Our Thursdays Is Missing'', the fictional Thursday talks to a man on the bus about what they'd like to experience in the Outworld, and thinks that she didn't mention the most important thing: a sense of unscripted free will, as even when she's not in her books, she feels that someone is always watching her and reading her thoughts.
* PianoDrop: This happens to [[spoiler:Cindy Stoker]] near the end of ''Something Rotten''.
* PlanetOfSteves: Many people have changed their names to those of famous classical writers, leading to them having a number subscript indicating which, for example, Francis Bacon or Christopher Marlowe they are. No main characters have this sort of name, but it's still part of the setting.
* PokeThePoodle: Styx Hades is evil like his brother Acheron. Unfortunately, his idea of evil is making false offers to people who have cars for sale.
* PointlessCivicProject: The incredibly expensive, country-spanning Anti-Smite Shield commissioned by the British government. However, it actually did serve a function: using up surplus government stupidity with one massive, incredibly stupid project. And then a couple of books later, God starts smiting cities, at which point the only pointless aspect of the Shield becomes that it doesn't work.
* PowerPerversionPotential: In ''One of our Thursdays is Missing'', Professor Plum mentions that when it was still allowed, many BookWorlders visited the Real World for the sex.
* PropheticName / PunnyName / RedShirt: In ''Lost in a Good Book'', Thursday is "protected" by pairs of government agents with names like Kannon and Phodder, Deadman and Walken, etc... they don't last long.
** Subverted in that the last of these pairs (Slaughter and Lamb) turns out to be so inept that the BigBad is willing to ignore them so long as they don't make any progress in the investigation. Thursday in fact suggests this to them, telling them that they don't stand a chance; it's subtly hinted that she may be doing so ''because'' of their names.
** A more meta-example: Thursday's Uncle Mycroft is clearly named after SherlockHolmes' even more intelligent brother Mycroft... then, later in the series, Uncle Mycroft goes into hiding in the Bookworld in a Sherlock Holmes story and ''becomes'' Mycroft Holmes.
** There is Thursday's husband, Landen Parke-Laine, his parents Billden Parke-Laine and Houson Parke-Laine (Park Lane is the second most expensive property on UK Monopoly.
* PunctuationShaker: What happens if you upset the Book Worms.
--->'''Mycroft''': Please! You're Upsetting The Wor'ms! They're Starting to hy-phe-nate!
* PunnyName: Apart from established fictional characters, it's doubtful there's anyone out there who ''doesn't'' have one, and he's a PublicDomainCharacter. The Squire of the High Potternews, the villainous Jack Schitt (with half-brother Brik Schitt-Hause and [[spoiler: wife Anne Wirthlass-Schitt]]) and [[TabletopGame/{{Monopoly}} Landen Parke-Laine]] (with parents Houson and Billden) seem top offenders.
** Though Jack Schitt is a pseudonym given to him by Thursday, as it turns out in ''One of Our Thursdays Is Missing''.
** [[LookOnMyWorksYeMightyAndDespair Oswald Mandias]].
* RealityIsUnrealistic: After ''The Eyre Affair'', Thursday's look becomes the in thing "How can I not have the Thursday Next look? I ''am'' Thursday Next!" (So says Thursday after being featured in a pop magazine and [[YouAreTheNewTrend inspiring a new fashion trend]].)
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: [[spoiler:Cindy Stoker]] in ''Something Rotten'' [[spoiler:''literally'' takes Thursday's place crossing the Styx, saying that Thursday is a better person than she will ever be, and more deserving of a second chance]]. In ''First Among Sequels'' [[spoiler:Evil Thursday uses her final moments to help Thursday to safety, knowing that she herself cannot escape]].
* RenownedSelectiveMentor: Miss Havisham trains Thursday for Jurisfiction in ''Lost in a Good Book''. She's specifically described by Mrs. Dashwood as being highly selective, and she herself says as much, warning Thursday that she could easily lose the privilege of studying with her.
* RetGone: Thursday's husband Landen gets temporarily eradicated - not just killed but written out of history - plus the nonexistent relatives of the attendees at Eradications Anonymous meetings.
** Thursday's father was eradicated, but managed to still exist because of his [=ChronoGuard=] skills. However, he no longer has/never had a first name.
** And in the fifth book, time travel itself becomes retgone, because it never will be discovered.
* RidiculouslyAverageGuy: The generics, the characters in every story that have no personality whatsoever. Every character starts like this.
* RippleEffectProofMemory: Thursday remembers Landen after he is eradicated, and is still pregnant by him. It's a sign that Friday is going to be big in the [=ChronoGuard=].
* RubberBandHistory: An interesting variant - though it isn't set in our world, thanks to TimeTravel, it will be once the [=ChronoGuard=] sort out all the errors.
* RunningGag: In the first part of ''Something Rotten'', Thursday has just come back from her two-year stint in the bookworld, and when she talks to someone she knows, they'd always ask her if she was in prison. When Thursday [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] this by asking Stiggins ''why'' people assumed she was in prison (after Stiggins asked her, again, if she was), he replies that he, at least, expected her to be either incarcerated or dead.
* SaidBookism: Bookworlders are capable of ''forgetting'' who is currently speaking in a conversation if it goes without dialogue tags for too long. Thursday impresses a few of them by knowing who is talking without them.
* SenselessSacrifice: Wirthlass-Schitt dies trying to save the Girl from "The Wreck of Hesperus", who found it rather irritating as the rescue was pointless (she can bring herself back to life after the end of the poem) and counterproductive (she would have been in even more trouble if she ''failed'' to die).
* SeriousBusiness: Works of classic literature. To the extent that [[Franchise/YuGiOh a world revolving around a children's card game]] makes perfect sense in comparison. (Fforde says in interviews that the people in the Literature/ThursdayNext world have the same mass devotion for literature that people in our world have for sport.)
** Sport? Sport and religion ''combined,'' maybe. Bear in mind sports fans don't go door to door ''evangelising'' their favourite athletes. (Have you ever wondered ''how'' Shakespeare wrote all those wonderful plays?)
** Yet... in ''Well of Lost Plots'' the Bellman says that only 30% of the Outland reads fiction on a regular basis.
** They do play and watch one sport, however, with fan clubs and world cup tournaments and all. Namely croquet.
*** Art is also Serious Business. The first book contains a ''riot'' over artistic styles and [=SpecOps=]-24 deals exclusively with art crime.
** Cheese is Serious Business as well, though it's occasionally justified when certain cheeses can knock out a human at ten feet, or even require evacuation if their rubbersealed metal containers come unsealed.
* [[HeWhoMustNotBeSeen She Who Must Not Be Seen]]/TheGhost: Jenny, Thursday's youngest daughter. The recurrent scenes that [[MissedHimByThatMuch Thursday always shows up at precisely the wrong time and miss seeing her]] is played as a rather weak RunningGag, [[spoiler: it was revealed that she is a mindworm left by Aornis Hades and does not actually exist. Her family knows this but pretends she exists and are ready with excuses when Thursday asks where Jenny was. This is to prevent Thursday from having a mental breakdown every time she realizes Jenny does not exist; Aornis created a mental block to prevent her from being able to recall this fact.]]
* ShoutOut: Frequently.
** In ''Lost in a Good Book'', Spike has a powerful vacuum cleaner used to suck up ghosts. He also uses it for his household chores, and says that there's no bag, and therefore no loss of suction. He is quoting, almost word for word, the description of the Dyson line of vacuums, started by inventor James Dyson in the mid-80s. The vacuum in the book, which is set in the mid-80s, was invented by James in R&D.
** In ''The Woman Who Died A Lot'', Tuesday Next's horrible classmate Gavin reads a porn magazine called ''Big & Bouncy'', the same title AdrianMole has hidden under his bed.
** ShoutOut/ToShakespeare: Shakespeare is wildly popular in Thursday's world, and the book ''Something Rotten'' features his works more heavily, what with cases of Shakespeare clones and Thursday having to look after Hamlet after a hostile takeover of the play. The title itself is referencing the line "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark".
* SilverBullet: Used against werewolves, naturally.
* SilverHasMysticPowers: It's one of the few things that can actually hurt Acheron Hades.
* SomeoneToRememberHimBy: Tuesday's defense, at one point
* SoProudOfYou: Thursday tells Landen's parents they would have been this; she also tells Friday that she is.
* SortingAlgorithmOfEvil: Subverted in ''Lost in a Good Book'', where a demon hunter has captured countless beings, all believing themselves to be the ultimate incarnation of Evil on earth.
** Later, we find that all of those beings are kept in jars in the same room and argue about who is the supremest Supreme Evil Being.
* SpeakNowOrForeverHoldYourPeace: As Landen is about to wed Daisy Mutlar, Thursday tries to go and stop the wedding. She doesn't go through with it, but she doesn't have to; courtesy of Edward Rochester, Mr. Briggs is sent to interrupt the wedding.
* StableTimeLoop: At least one is established in ''The Eyre Affair'', in which [[spoiler:Thursday's dad goes back in time and gives William Shakespeare, an out-of-work actor, the plays and poems he later claims to write himself]]. There are others.
* TakeThat: Fforde sometimes slips in a few of those. Like the subplot about a bellicose general convincing the other members of the Council of Genres to invade Racy Novel, a rogue genre member of the Axis of Unreadability, after presenting sketchy intelligence about its development of a dirty bomb of gratuitous sexual content.
** In the seventh book, Thursday tries to think of an example of a huge corporation that isn't trying to take over the world. She names Starbucks and Tesco before giving up.
** The ending of ''Well Of Lost Plots'' boils down to a AnAesop about the evils of heavy handed DRM on literature (which managed to predict the problem with Kindles and e-books about 4 years early)
* TearYourFaceOff: Acheron Hades took the face from his dying {{Mook}} Felix and applied it to a succession of abducted and brainwashed replacements. He later threatened to make Thursday the next Felix.
* {{Technobabble}}
--> '''Thursday:''' We're in the middle of an isolated high-coincidental localized entropic field decreasement.\\
'''Wilbur:''' We're in a ''what?''\\
'''Thursday:''' We're in a pseudoscientific technobabble.
* ThemeNaming
** Thursday's mother is named Wednesday and two of her children [[spoiler:(the only two that really exist)]] are called Friday and Tuesday.
** The Hades siblings are named after the rivers to hell (Acheron, Styx, etc.)
*** Although this has to be fudged a bit to provide appropriately misleading clues in ''Lost in a Good Book''; the river Aornis is purely Fforde's invention.
* ThisIsReality: Thursday repeatedly mentions this to Booklanders in the real world, though frequently events hint that ''her'' world isn't real either.
* TimeTravelTropes: Thursday's [[NoNameGiven unnamed]] father is a rogue [[TimePolice Chronoguard]] agent, causing parodoxes left right and centre, and changing time in whatever way seems suitable. TimeStandsStill whenever he visits. Time in the ''Next'' series is obviously one big TimeyWimeyBall. However, in the fifth book, [[spoiler: the plot engineers it so that time travel won't be invented in the future and therefore people in the present won't have time machines sent to them from the future, essentially killing off any possibility of Time Travel in the future books.]]
** {{Lampshaded}} in the fifth book when [[AuthorAvatar Landen]] talks about the headaches involved in writing about time travel in science fiction, and gives the advice to future authors planning to: "Don't".
** [[spoiler: In the seventh book however, time travel appears to be working and not working simultaneously.]]
* TimeyWimeyBall: Both Thursday's father and her grandmother respond to her confusion over time travel paradoxes by saying "Oh, Thursday. Don't be so ''linear''."
** Granny Next [[spoiler:isn't Thursday's grandmother, she's a future version of Thursday from when Thursday is a granny, using what is basically a perception filter to keep Thursday from realizing it. Thursday's grandmothers are both dead, ''and she knows that''.]]
** Thursday has seen [[spoiler:her father's death]], but continues to interact with him on different points of his timestream.
** Even though [[spoiler: time travel turns out to never have been invented after all, and the Chronoguard and related paraphenalia {{Retcon}} themselves out of history when it becomes apparent that it never will be invented]], many traces are still left behind. For example, a car buried in prehistoric strata, carrying in the glove box a newspaper from the day after its discovery, ''which announces the discovery of the car''.
*** Actually, [[spoiler: with time travel never having been invented, just how did Granny Next wind up dying in front of her younger self? FridgeLogic much?]]
** [[spoiler: Given the events at Kemble Timepark and the existence of the Manchild, time travel hasn't completely gone the way of the dodo ... or more accurately in this universe, it has.]]
** Also consider the way books are written/constructed and the relation between the Outworld and Bookworld. Who exactly is coming up with the narrative? (The first books were supposed to be Thursday's recollections, and the chapter-heading quotes would often be comments from her.)
* TrademarkFavoriteFood: Battenberg cake, as prepared by Thursday's mother, features prominently in one novel (Hamlet and Emperor Zhark both fall hard for it).
* TrappedInTVLand: Polly gets left inside a Wordsworth poem when the prose portal is shut down.
* UnInstallment: The 'also in this series' page at the start of ''First Among Sequels'' mentions an unavailable book in between ''Something Rotten'' and itself, ''The Great Samuel Pepys Fiasco''. The reason why this is the case is revealed towards the end of the book itself: [[spoiler: Thursday destroys the book from under her EvilCounterpart]].
** Also Chapter 13 is missing from each book. (And in the NurseryCrime series). It's listed in the contents with a chapter title and fake page reference, but the chapter itself isn't there.
* TheUnReveal: Often justified thanks to PaintingTheFourthWall. For instance, in ''One Of Our Thursdays Is Missing'', [[spoiler: Written!]]Thursday is able to escape an inescapable death trap simply by later explaining in broad strokes how she escaped. Apparently, it was very clever.
* UnusualEuphemism: [[ADateWithRosiePalms "Bashing the Bishop"]]
* AVillainNamedZrg: Emperor Zhark is the villain of his own pulpy sci-fi series, but in the {{metafiction}}al main story, he's one of the good guys.
* WantonCrueltyToTheCommonComma: Mycroft's bookworms can sometimes randomly spew punctuation everywhere, including ampers&s.
* WeaponsThatSuck: Spike's special vacuum cleaner. Designed to suck up [=SEBs=] (Supreme Evil Beings), which Spike deals with on a near-weekly basis.
* WeCanRuleTogether: [[spoiler:Harris Tweed]] offers Thursday a position at Grand Text Central if she helps him with his plot.
* WelcomeToTheRealWorld: At the end of ''Lost in a Good Book'', Thursday is offered the chance to hide in an AlternateUniverse which sounds suspiciously similar to ours, but she rejects the option.
** In the sixth book, [[spoiler: The written Thursday leaves her book and enters the real world, where she then has to deal with the correct passage of time, gravity, a heartbeat and genuine tears]]
* WhiteSheep: Lethe Hades, according to ''First Among Sequels''.
* WhoYouGonnaCall: Spike Stoker!
* WindsOfDestinyChange: One of the superpowers of Aornis Hades is her ability to cause deadly coincidences.
* WorldOfWeirdness: To name but one small example, at the beginning of ''Lost in a Good Book'', a "Pampas Grass Vigilante Squad", which an SO-32 agent is charged to stop ("Pampas grass might well be an eyesore, but there's nothing illegal in it."), is mentioned, and this is by far a tame example.
** Considering that pampas grass is also an invasive weed, there might actually be [[JustifiedTrope something]] to that one...
* WriterOnBoard: Several parts of ''First Among Sequels''. Jasper Fforde is well-known for being opposed to {{fanfiction}}, so ''FAS'' goes on a half-page detour explaining how ''TheLordOfTheRings'' is being irreparably damaged by fanfiction writers.
** Which is pretty ironic considering the Thursday Next series is about fifty percent crossover fanfiction.
** Even more ironic because the character in question is talking about how more people reading the book damages it (the character's job is to perform maintanance on books as they suffer routine wear and tear from being read). That's right, don't write fan fiction, ''[[FelonyMisdemeanor it causes more people to read the original work]]''.
** The extra "wear" isn't from more readers, but the closer trawling for detail to better establish and collate the {{canon}}, which SF and Fantasy fans do more than other genres.
*** But if you wear one out too much, you have to get a new copy, which ''authors'' should love.
*** But the BookWorld people hate it because they have to devote a disporportionate amount manpower to repairing one book.
** In the sixth book, we actually get to see the Fanfiction area of the Bookworld - and it's as clever as you'd think.
-->“Why is everyone so flat?” I asked.
-->“It’s a natural consequence of being borrowed from somewhere else,” explained the Thursday, who was, I noted, less than half an inch thick but apparently normal in every other way. “It doesn’t make us any less real or lacking in quality. But being written by someone who might not quite understand the subconscious nuance of the character leaves us in varying degrees of flatness.”
* WritersSuck / TakeThatUs: Due to the way fiction is in this world, the least important person involved in storytelling is the '''author''', the spark of inspiration is generated spontaneously by the universe itself, the [=BookWorld=] characters act out the story and maintain the infrastructure required to keep the story intact, while the reader supplies the imaginative potential required to power the whole system. The author is just a convenient pair of hands for typing the story out.
** Like [[WorldOfWeirdness most things in this universe]], though, this isn't always entirely consistent. Characters occasionally speak of their authors as though they were directing their actions (or in Emperor Zhark's case, [[CreatorBacklash threatening his existence]]) and the problems caused by Hamlet's absence from his play could only be solved by Shakespeare himself [[spoiler:(or his clone)]].

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