(Sorry; a silly idea subjected to *far* too much in-story analysis. I
find metafiction *far* too fascinating. Contains spoilers for "First
Among Sequels" by Jasper Fforde, and is probably baffling to anyone who
hasn't read at least one of that series.)
The Sixth Doctor stalked up to the main desk of Nameless Public Library.
"Can I help you, sir?" asked Dr Faustus pleasantly.
"I am looking for a book, which is clearly listed in your computer
catalogue as both present in your collection, and not currently borrowed,
but which is not at the location its Dewey number would suggest." the
Doctor said, in something that would possibly qualify as a quiet voice if
you knew how loudly he *normally* complained about things. Several
irritated readers looked up briefly, but their glares and tuts bounced
off his Sixth-Doctorness.
"Ah," said Faustus, "I'll just get the head librarian, shall I?"
He disappeared through a door marked "Staff Only". After a moment, a
broadly grinning mouth appeared in front of the Doctor. Gradually a face,
and then a body, materialised around it, until a cat was sitting on the
"Obviously," the Doctor muttered, "I suppose it's just a mercy you're not
"He works Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday," the Cheshire Cat explained.
"What book was it you were asking about?"
"'The Origins of the Universe' by Oolon Colluphid."
The Cat quickly checked the catalogue. "Ah here we are. Yes, the book we
have in stock is 'The Origins of the Universe For Young People' by Oolon
and Lucy Colluphid. It's in Teenage Non-Fiction, which is why you
couldn't find it."
"I see. Well, thank you anyway. Although, if you don't mind my saying,
it's a rather obvious idea to take the Cheshire-Cat-As-Head-Librarian gag
from the Thursday Next novels."
The Cat shook its head. "What makes you think I'm not *actually* the
Unitary Authority of Warrington Cat, head librarian of the Bookworld?"
The Doctor sighed. "Setting aside for a moment that the 'Round/Next
crossover story is deliberately unclear as to whether the Nextiverse is
fictional in relation to Nameless, that doesn't fit with the backstory of
either this library or the Nextiverse. The characters working here exited
from the library's own copies of the books, which in Nextian terms means
that they can't be the 'original' version of the characters, in the same
way as Thursday needed to enter the original manuscript to affect
permanent changes in 'Jane Eyre'. And it would be very uncharacteristic
for the UAoW Cat to leave the Grand Library and become a pagerunner, in
"You misunderstand. I could be the character from the Thursday Next
books, rather than the character from 'Alice'."
"Which raises the previously set-aside question of whether the Nextiverse
is fictional in the Round, surely?"
"Not necessarily; it's been established that the Thursday Next books
exist in the Nextiverse, complete with fictional versions of Thursday
herself. It therefore follows that these books would have duplicate
Bookworlds, with duplicate Grand Libraries, and..."
"...And duplicate Cheshire Cats. Yes, I see. So, either the Nextiverse is
fictional here, in which case you come from the Thursday Next books
written by Jasper Fforde, or the Nextiverse's Bookworld is part of the
same continuum as Outside, in which case you come from the fictionalised
accounts of Thursday's adventures, as described in 'First Among
The Doctor frowned, "Then, since you seem to be the only person in
position to know which of these scenarios is in fact the case, could you
be so kind as to enlighten me?"
The Cat's grin widened. "Whichever you like. They're both mad."
Doctor Who is the property of the BBC
Nameless Library created by Vicky
Cheshire Cat created by Lewis Carroll
Unitary Authority of Warrington Cat created (sort of) by Jasper Fforde
"All those with psychokinesis, raise my hand."
The Room With No Doors, Kate Orman