Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Terry Pratchett: Thud

Thud is the latest novel in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. If you haven't yet read any of them, I think the only advice I can give you is to start with The Colour of Magic and proceed from there. Of course, as with any other writer, it took Pratchett a few books to get really into his stride, but the early ones are still OK. And altogether there are, apparently, thirty of them, so you've got a few treats in store.

A gentle form of humour, based largely upon the eccentricities and peculiarities of English life, is one of Pratchett's strong points, and Thud is one of the funniest of his books so far. The plot concerns a schism between the trolls and the dwarfs -- a row which seems likely to develop into a full-scale war, unless Commander Sam Vimes, head of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, can resolve the matter. And of course he does, though not without considerable difficulty.

Within the first fifty pages alone, Pratchett takes the mickey (as we say in England, if trying to be polite) out of any number of targets: such as the warring factions in Northern Ireland, 'artists' who exhibit untidy piles of clothes, the Da Vinci Code, and a lot more.

I wonder how Mr Pratchett feels about fillums. Because it strikes me that this would make a better fillum than most. I'm sure he must have had enquiries.

This is not the strongest of Pratchett's books in the last five years -- Monstrous Regiment takes that prize, in my opinion -- but it's well up to scratch.

By and large, Pratchett seems to me to be simply the best living UK novelist. Not that you often hear him recognised as such, though he does have one literarily-eminent admirer in A.S. Byatt. You can read her review of Thud in the Times, and in the course of it she rightly maintains that Moving Pictures is one of his rare failures -- well, actually one of his rare less-than-brilliants. Soul Music wasn't all that hot either; but two less than wonderful in thirty isn't bad.

By the way, Thud is not only a pleasure to read in terms of content, it is also very easy on the eye. Happily, the verso of the title page tells us why: it's printed in 11.75 point on 15.5 point Minion, with 33 lines to the page in Royal Octavo size. If that isn't more or less ideal, I don't know what is.

You probably won't find Minion on your word processor. It's new; but it does seem to be possible to buy it, and I just might. It's that good.


Liana Brooks said...

Funny, I don't love Monstrous Regiment but I think Moving Pictures is hilarious. Possibly because I've lived in California where all the nonsense began. I also like Soul Music.

Thud is one of my favorites. :o)

rohit said...

Must be an enjoyable read Thud! by Terry Pratchett. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.