Sociologists at the University of London have predicted that the number of novels about academics trying to bring down ancient, clandestine groups which have influence that stretches into the upper echelons of society and are fiercely protective of their secrets, will number around three million by the end of June next year.
‘We looked at the number of these books in publication in June of last year,’ said Professor Lionel Fryer, Dean of the Faculty, ‘and compared this with the number in June of this year. The increase has been exponential and we predict that the number is only going to keep rising. It seems that in these harsh economic times people seek out the escapism offered by predictable, cliché-ridden novels with one-dimensional characters spouting nonsense that somehow manages to be both alarmingly banal and totally incomprehensible at the same time.’
‘Most of the books,’ continued Professor Fryer, ‘will feature some kind of race against time set against a backdrop of libraries, university lecture halls and famous historical sites.’ He added that all of the plots will have at their centre a ‘slightly shambling, but ingenious professor in his forties or fifties who will be aided by an attractive younger female.’ He went on to say that there would probably be some sexual tension between them, but that they would not actually get it on.
‘All of the books,’ Professor Fryer explained, ‘will be rambling, tedious, and about three hundred pages too long.’ He also stated most of the novels would be ‘a blatant attempt’ by publishers to cash in on the success of the Da Vinci Code.
Professor Fryer is now involved in a race against time, set in university campuses and publishers’ offices in London and Paris, to educate readers about the derivative nature of these novels by decoding the elusive formula for commercial success. His book recounting his thrilling adventures will be out in the Spring.