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Home > Culture and Society

TFT Guide to... Condensed Reads

4 October 2005

Recently it was announced that a condensed version of the Bible is being published, which, allegedly, can be read in 100 minutes. TFT wondered what other books might benefit from being condensed?


1) Stories We Could Tell by Tony Parsons:

'At The Paper, a fictional music paper in the late 1970s, Terry is a crude cipher for Tony Parsons. We can tell this because Terry is a twat. Terry believes he has been employed because he looks like a young Marlon Brando. This is incorrect. He looks like a shaven ferret. Terry wins his journalistic spurs with a blistering live review of punk band The Putrid Dagos. Terry falls in love. Terry grows up a bit. Terry is still a twat. The End.'

2) A Brief History of Time by Professor Stephen Hawking:

'Hawking advances the theory that when we combine quantum mechanics with general relativity, it allows for the possibility of space and time forming a finite, four-dimensional space without singularities or boundaries, which explains large-scale uniformity in the universe. The reader advances the theory that they are bored shitless. The reader then postulates an interesting scenario based on two hypotheses: 1. That the book can be left around to impress people, and 2. You don't have to read it because the probability of anyone else having read it is somewhere in the region of 1 in 375,000,000,000. The End.'

3) Bravo Two Zero by Andy McNab:

'An SAS platoon is dropped behind Iraqi lines. They get discovered by a goatherd. They kill some Iraqi farmers, mistaking them for soldiers. One of them gets hypothermia. They get lost. They find a safe hiding place next to a large, heavily-armed Iraqi army camp. They get captured. They refuse to talk. They almost get tortured to death for no good reason. The Iraqis let them go. Andy McNab gets a lucrative publishing deal describing life in the world's greatest fighting force. The End.'

4) Neuromancer (or indeed anything) by William Gibson:

'Cyber-jockey unwisely does 'one last job' for shadowy employers, usually the Yakuza, using the Internet, which is miles better than it is in real life and not just full of porn and recipes for chocolate brownies. Lots of people try to kill him, usually on behalf of evil corporations. The reader becomes confused. An enigmatic lady assassin kills some more people. They have badly-described sex. They escape from the Yakuza/evil corporations by doing something complicated on the Internet. The reader is none the wiser. The End.'

5) Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein:

'Frodo goes somewhere. Frodo gets chased. Frodo escapes. Frodo goes somewhere else. Frodo gets chased. Frodo escapes. Frodo goes somewhere else. Frodo gets chased. Frodo escapes... (repeat for 1,500 pages). The End.'

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