One of the things I love most in the world is nonsense. I love the power of a mind with a lot of imagination to create something absolutely absurd.

I remember feeling this for the first time when I started reading The Phantom Tollbooth when I was in middle school.  I was fascinated by the creation of a world where toy cars could take you past a tollbooth and into lands based on math or letters.  Since then I’ve been a sucker for outlandish world building.

Alice in Wonderland of course is an all time favorite.  See Letter C. But there are other authors who do a great job with this too. 

Jasper Fforde has created worlds that exist inside books where characters have free time when they aren’t being read.  His Tuesday Next series features an alternate England where law enforcement is as concerned about cheese and the English poets’ legacies as they are about more mundane crimes.  

Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere imagines the landmarks of London having near duplicates with a twist in London Underground – for example, Knightsbridge becomes Night’s Bridge (a bridge you have to cross in total darkness).  He also has delightfully polite mass murdering villains who are just charming before they kill you.  

Daniel Jose Older’s Dactyl Hill Squad is a group of orphans who help fight the U.S. Civil War while riding dinosaurs.  

I love any book that can make me laugh out loud at the pure inventiveness of the author.

What are some of your favorites?