Terry Pratchett's Raising Steam, the 40th Discworld novel, comes out in the US today. I reviewed it back in November for the UK release; here's what I had to say then: it's a tremendous synthesis of everything that makes Pratchett one of the world's most delightful writers. It's a curious thing: a fantasy novel about modernity and reactionaries, a synthesis of technological optimism and a curious sort of romantic mysticism.
Terry Pratchett's Raising Steam is the 40th (!) novel in the Discworld series. It's just come out in the UK (the US edition comes out in March) and it's a tremendous synthesis of everything that makes Pratchett one of the world's most delightful writers. It's a curious thing: a fantasy novel about modernity and reactionaries, a synthesis of technological optimism and a curious sort of romantic mysticism. Read the rest
Terry Pratchett's newly released I Shall Wear Midnight is the fourth volume in the Tiffany Aching books, about a young girl born to be the witch of a chalky, sheep-farming area called, simply, The Chalk (the other three volumes being Wee Free Men, Hatful of Sky and Wintersmith). Tiffany's old gran was the "Wise Woman" of the hills, and her gifts came down to Tiffany, who, at the age of 7 or 8, began to need them -- first to rescue the Baron's son when he was kidnapped by the Queen of Faerie (Tiffany hit her with an iron frying pan) and then to learn proper magic while apprenticed to a real witch, and finally to kiss the Wintersmith during a morris dance, and then have to set the seasons to right.
In Midnight, Tiffany returns. Now she's 16, and she has assumed all the burdens of being The Chalk's witch -- and they are burdensome -- delivering the babies, salving the wounds, clipping the neglected old ladies' toenails, changing the bandages, and using magic to take away the pain of the Baron, who is dying.
As if being thrust into an early maturity wasn't enough, witchery has fallen into disrepute on The Chalk -- and seemingly everywhere. There are old ladies being crushed and drowned by mobs, there are the whispers and the forked fingers to fight the evil eye when Tiffany passes, and then, when the Baron dies while Tiffany eases him into the next world, there is the wildfire rumor that Tiffany killed him. Read the rest
The concluding sequence from Making Money implies that the next project for Moist von Lipwig will be this subway -- that's a book I'm anxious to read.
Ankh-Morpork's Undertaking (Thanks, Daniel!) Pratchett's "Unseen Academicals" - a gift to Discworld lovers and ... Terry Pratchett fan-afghan -- the Pratchgan Terry Pratchett gets a knighthood Read the rest
Making Money is the continued adventures of Moist von Lipwig, the con-artist who was bullied into going straight and re-establishing the Ankh-Morpork post office in Going Postal. The post office is now running like clockwork, and Moist is growing bored, doing stupid, dangerous things with lockpicks and climbing-gear just to convince himself that he's still bent.
But all that changes when he is put in charge of Ankh-Morpork's major bank, in charge of the city's thoroughly disordered monetary supply. Like The Truth, which recapitulates much of the true history of the early days of newspaper publishing as a comic fantasy novel, Making Money tells the tale of the difficult transition from the gold standard to an economy based on fiat currency. And, like The Truth, Making Money manages to extract an enormous amount of humor, pathos, and keen insight from the subject, especially through its use of well-drawn and well-realized characters (the secret to good comedy).
There are 33 Discworld novels out there, and I imagine that being confronted with that many books would be a little daunting (on the other hand, Vernor Vinge told me that when he finally started reading Pratchett, a couple summers back, it was like being 10 and discovering a writer like Baum or Howard with a huge corpus of works, something that hadn't happened since he'd caught up with all those writers, decades before). Read the rest