31
Jan
10

Automated Alice

Automated Alice by Jeff Noon.

Published 1996, Doubleday. First edition hardback. Dust jacket very faded at the top, as you can see from the scan.

In the book, Alice finds herself in 1998 Manchester when she enters an old grandfather clock, and soon becomes the prime suspect in the puzzling “Jigsaw Murders”. The automated Alice of the title is her doll Celia, who grows to life-size and becomes a sort of cyborg.

The jacket notes:

In the last years of his life, the fantasist Charles Dodgson wrote a third Alice book. This mysterious work was never published or shown to anybody. That’s not quite true. Automated Alice was written by Lewis Carroll, Lewis Carroll was the nom de plume of Charles Dodgson. No, that’s not even slighly true either. Automated Alice was written by Zenith O’Clock, the Writer of Wrongs. Oh dear that’s not at all right. This book was written by Jeff Noon. Zenith O’Clock is only a character invented by Jeff Noon. What Alice encounters in the automated future is mostly accidental; mutant hybrids, sinister gameplay, chaos theory, a robo-Alice, quantum physics, computermites, jigsaw killers, tickling vurt feathers, puzzle poems and an invisible cat called Quark.

Noon has said “I really felt Lewis Carroll was looking over my shoulder, correcting things, giving me ideas…Spooky!”

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