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Wednesday 11 April 2012

Flidderbugs by Jonathan Gould


Jonathan is one of the most creative writers I have come across.  This is my third (after Doodling and Magnus Opum) encounter with this talented author and he never ceases to amaze me.
Flidderbugs is about two groups of ‘bugs, the Triplifers and the Quadrigons, who live     divided – in the Krephiloff Tree.  If you thought that politics and devious ‘business’ practices were exclusive to humans, be assured that they find their way into the Flidderbugs’ world too.  A very important and divisive issue separates the two groups – does a leaf have three or four points?  It takes the offspring (Kriffle and Fargeeta) of the elders, who have long held council, to bring a refreshing new outlook to proceedings and to make them see the error of the traditionally held beliefs;  but they have to act quickly – three points or four on a leaf will make no difference when there is a much more serious and urgent dilemma needing immediate attention.

I loved the characterisation of dotty professors, dogmatic seniors, smarmy dodgy ‘business’ characters and homely, doting (Klummerfly soup-making) mothers.  I loved the way the ‘tree’ is the Flidderbugs’ ‘world’ which brings a new dimension to the phrase ‘What in the Tree was I thinking of’.  I loved the portrayal of the wheeler-dealer Flidderbug and his shiny, pristine carapace and sleek, trim antennae, and I especially loved the shambolic professor’s very logical explanation of the impending disaster, “The vectors of pressure bearing down on the indices of the central support elements in regard to the key structural components have reached a point where the proportion of lateral forces henceways in opposition to the lateral forces forthways have exceeded the most preferred ratio, leading to a situation in which vertiginous damage will shortly be unavoidable, resulting in a catastrophic breakdown in said structural components and raising the potential of a near complete collapse of the entire encompassing environment.”   It’s obvious, really, isn’t it?

This is only (sadly) a short, really easy-to-read story, but it’s huge on entertainment, charm, likeability, and genius.

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