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The Seven Wonders of Swindon 

Jasper Fforde - Seven Wonders of Swindon
While many people know of the Seven Wonders of the World, few can actually name them.
 
But if you live in Swindon, and happen to be a fan of the weird and wonderful world of one particular bestselling author, then you'll be pleased to know that we've now got seven wonders of our own, right on our doorstep.
 
'Something Rotten', the latest novel that describes the adventures of the cult creation Thursday Next - a female literary detective set in a parallel universe that investigates crimes in Swindon - has once again metamorphosised some of the Town's most famous buildings and places into landmarks you will still recognise but not quite believe.
 
The Tower of Brunel, Swindon - from the Jasper Fforde novel 'Something Rotten'
Number One:
the DMJ building,
Fforde-style
Take the DMJ Tower, for instance. If you thought it was a 26-storey building named in the memory of the town's former chief clerk and first erected in 1976, you'd be wrong. It is now the Tower of Brunel - a collusus of 88 storeys that not only contains offices, several cinemas and a roof garden but also three floors of apartments that are technically Britain's only habitable areas which are located within controlled airspace!
 
And if you didn't think that wasn't bizarre enough, Swindon also boasts another six wonders to dazzle and amuse including the Hanging Gardens of Babylon; The Double Helix of Carfax; The Lighthouse on Alexandra Road; The Statue of Vavoom at the Bus Station; The Cathedral of St Zvlkx (site of) and, best of, The Elgin Llamas.

And it's all the creation of the amazing and constantly evolving imagination of former Marlborough resident Jasper Forde - a true literary genius who we managed to catch up with at Borders book store last Saturday [31 July 2004] where he was making a rare guest appearance as part of a world tour of book signing events.
 
"Swindon is such a creative place to base a book, don't you agree?" he asked back when we posed the ubiquitous question, "Why Swindon?".
 
Jasper Fforde in Swindon - 31 July 04
In Swindon:
Jasper Fforde
"I first visited here back in the early 80s when working on a film nearby and immediately knew it was the ideal place to set a book in. So many writers choose London and other really well know places as locations, but I liked Swindon; it intrigued me, and has proven to be such an inspiration when writing my books."
 
We naturally agreed. And so would nearly half-a-million others judging by the phenomenal book sales recorded since Jasper penned his first Thursday Next novel, The Eyre Affair, in 2001.
 
Indeed, Jasper is most popular in America where, apart from becoming a regular feature on the New York Times bestseller list, his titles have flown off the shelves to the tune of a quarter-of-a-million to date.
 
"The Amercicans love Thursday Next and Swindon," Jasper added. "Which is funny really because nearly all of those who read my books over there have never even heard of Swindon, never mind believe the place actually exists. They all look so surprised when I tell them it does. Some even take time to visit Swindon when their on holiday in the UK!"
 
"I'm doing 12 events in the US next week, so you can expect some hits on your website! [SwindonWeb] (which Jasper has very kindly added prominent links to on his own official website (link below))," the 43-year-old writer concluded before going back to busily signing books and autographs for the packed crowd that turned out to meet him.
 
  Jasper Fforde - website
 
  Swindon Literary Connections - list of
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