Evidence that trying to economise on the number of characters in your literary work will always have consequences

The Three Bears - a tragic tale of loss and regret in which a family of bears argue over porridge and muse on their boring lives.  Baby Bear says, 'If only a blonde girl would come and steal our breakfast, break one of our chairs and test out our beds, that would at least liven things up.'  Mummy Bear, who is narked because once again people are moaning about her cooking says, 'Well, that's not going to happen.'  She's right.  It doesn't.  And they find themselves, the day after that and the day after that, arguing over porridge all over again and thinking how like depressing modernist literature their lives are.

Romeo - An Italian youth is infatuated with a girl called Rosaline.  His friend says to him, 'Look, mate. You're obsessed.  Come and gatecrash this party with me tonight and I promise you'll meet someone so stunning that you'll never think about Rosaline again.'  So Romeo gives in and goes to the party where he spends the whole evening looking out for that certain someone ... 'Someone,' he sighs, 'with whom I could talk about pilgrims in sonnet form and maybe even stare at through a fishtank in the film version'.  However, it is not to be, and he marries Rosaline and lives a dull life, void of people who pretend to be dead and interfering friars who can't get a letter to a person with any efficiency.

Of Mice - A family of Californian mice live fairly tedious lives until one says, one day, 'Wouldn't it be fun if a massive guy with special educational needs picked us up, put us in his pocket, and petted us as he walked along?' The others agree, and send one of the more alert mice to be on the lookout just in case such a guy should pass.  He dies while on the lookout, however, because the other mice are too busy reading a book called, 'The Rodent's Life and How to Liven it Up'.  The mice bury their friend with bowed heads, although one or two still sneak hopeful looks towards the dusty road to Salinas, just in case.

Progress - A vivid description of a number of locations including the City of Destruction, the Slough of Despond, the Valley of Humiliation, Doubting Castle and Celestial City, all of which sound extremely interesting.  Into these locations wander minor characters such as Worldly Wiseman, a monster called Apollyon, a giant called Despair, a pilgrim called Talkative and an Evangelist, all looking for something to do or someone to talk to, and ending up disappointed.  They wander off again.  The title ends up ironic.

Cleo was well miffed.  Someone had said  that a hunky Roman guy was just about to turn up,
but there was no sign of him.  How the hell was she going to fill up such a long play
with only milk baths and the odd accident with asps to entertain people?


  1. I would have liked to have read Robinson Crusoe about a man who does as his father says, doesn't go off on a boat and doesn't end up on a desert island. That would have have freed up a couple of weeks at Uni for me.

  2. Hmm, yes, a Silas Marner who never went to church, but stayed in bed watching daytime TV and eating takeaways would have spared me some extreme tedium at exam time.

  3. 22 - a satirical critique of institutional reasoning. At least, it would have been. Everyone knew there was a catch, but no one could figure out where it was.

  4. And then there's "Sense" - one of Jane Austen's more boring novels in which Elinor stays at home and looks after her mother. Hemingway's "The Sea" - a lot of calm descriptions of waves, with the occasional stormy episode and a few fish. Salinger's "The Rye" - similar, but with fields and fewer fish.

    No, no, this is fun but I've got to go to the supermarket.

  5. Would it be 'The Sound' or just 'The Fury'?

    Excellent. I needed the chuckle.

  6. How about "A Tale of One City", "The Pickwick Paper" or the oh-so-boring "Mediocre Expectations"?

  7. Haha! Very clever. Your commenters are clever as well. I had a clever comment, but I have no idea what it was. Perhaps it wasn't.

  8. The Philosopher's Stone: A terrifying tale about an evil wizard who, with no unbelievably lucky children he failed to kill to foil his plan, obtains eternal life and reigns over the world for ever, therefore making the last six books null and void.


  9. The Three Pigs Trainspotting Guide , where three little pigs who'd stayed at home to keep Mummy Pig company in her declining years , share their lifelong interest in locomotives .

  10. Fran, you are brilliant!......and so too are your commenters ( is that the correct word? ) I can't hope to compete!

  11. War and Peace. There was no war. Everyone got on with each other and they all lived happily ever after. The End.

  12. Now I can't stop thinking like this when I pass my bookshelves! Hilarious!

  13. Your creativity boggles my mind. I just sit here thinking, "Why didn't I think of that?". Very clever post!

  14. Steve - I've never read Robinson Crusoe. It's on my list of things to do before I read Twilight.

    Chris - you and Steve ... such shirkers!

    Martin - another book I've never read. This is turning out to be a shameful list of those books I should have read but haven't.

    Isabelle - I love your suggestions ... 'but with fewer fish' made me laugh!

    Mollie - either, but each would be very different books, wouldn't they?!

    fishducky - Great suggestions. I would read them all (obviously once I'd read all the others I haven't yet read, as I say above ..)

    Lesley - I like it too when people join in the game. I don't like it when they have better ideas than I did, though - it's always a risk with this lot.

    Japanese Student - and therefore solving the problem Fran has (as mentioned above)

    SmitandSon - poor, poor Mummy Pig. How can you do that to her?

    Frances - go on, you know you want to ...

    bad penny - and more hours saved for Steve and Chris who both wanted more fun at university and less reading. See above.

    I'm Crayon - that's the idea. Keep thinking ..

    hostage - Thank you! Especially for calling it creativity when it's really Me being very silly. I think I am on my way to ruining just about every classic story there is.


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