Monday, April 2, 2012

You May have heard of him - his name is Terry Pratchett

I had a long post filled with all sorts of philosophical blatherings in progress (started on Friday before Son #1 came home).... but I've decided it's all a bunch of bunk and won't see the light of day.  Instead, I'm going to pimp a few books and make a push for the writing of a great author.

If you have never read anything by the British author Terry Pratchett -- or if you've never heard of Terry Pratchett,  I'd like to introduce him to you.

Yeah, he's considered an author of Fantasy Fiction (right up my alley, as it were), but in all honesty, he's just a darned good writer and FUNNY too.

If you're a fan of P.G. Wodehouse's style of humor I think you'd find Terry Pratchett to be easy on the ear.  Or, if you're fond of Georgette Heyer's screwball comedies (you know, where the one simple idea that sounds SO plausible and turns into this snowballing mess that involves more and more people and turns into something completely different from all expectation ) then just about any book in the Discworld Series will fill the bill nicely.

The Light Fantastic by Terry Prachett (book 2 in the Discworld Series)

Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of this currently, but one of my very favorites (and it's really hard to choose any favorite from his work)  is called Going Postal.  It's another Discworld book.  Terry Pratchett tends to take a particular subject / hot button issue and work with it until he can see the humorous side to it -- in this case, it's a book about the Discworld Post Office and what would seem to be a very dreary, boring job / subject. 

Going Postal  by Terry Pratchett
The operative word here is SEEMS.... because there's nothing dreary about what happens at the main post office in Discworld.   Caution: Don't read while drinking liquids or eating with other people. The spit-take possibilities are endless.

I hadn't read much of Terry Pratchett's work until a few years ago.  When I was writing for Firsts Magazine, I would pitch ideas to them... and sometimes they would pitch ideas to me.  I'm not sure if an article about Terry Pratchett was one I pitched, or one they did (it blurs together after so many years) and it's most likely that I had stumbled onto some information about the printings / points regarding 1st Editions of his works that inspired the article I did write, but if you'd like some in depth information about plotlines and points for First Edition identification,  here's the basics  of the article I wrote: Terry Pratchett: Fantasy, Humor, and....

Guards! Guards! (another Discworld Novel)

Pratchett doesn't limit himself to Discworld  stories (though they are always snort-worthy , and thoughtful at the same time).  No, he has several other series along with stand alone novels as well. 

The Johnny Maxwell Trilogy (again, by Terry Pratchett)

He's done books that are for young adults and even a couple of picture book  / younger reader books -- always with the same flair and humor.

Only you Can Save Mankind (T. Pratchett)

The unifying theme to all of Pratchett's work, if you want to call it that, is the way he can take a subject, make it funny, and at the same time look at it from all angles -- uncovering all sorts of injustice and prejudices that make our world what it is.  There's no preaching going on  (heaven forbid!) but by the time the book is over, readers have a chance to see the way the world has been carrying on just carrying on, completely sightless to things that need changing.  From the mistreatment of those different from ourselves (done via orcs and dwarves), to the strange and staid strictures of higher education (especially towards females), to, yes, the Postal Service and it's stodgy invisibility.  Pratchett even has something to say about God / Gods and how we as humans view them / need them / neglect them.

Reaper Man (again... Mr. Pratchett)

In the case of the above picture -- Reaper Man is the story about Death (aptly named Mort -- that's the French language geek in me going Squee!)  who decides that he needs to take a break from the job of being the Grim Reaper and finds himself an apprentice.  Funny Stuff, and yet, with a twinge of something that make you as the reader think "hmmmm".

Hopefully I've peaked your interest.   His books are also highly collectable -- which is a plus, as far as I'm concerned. 


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