Monday, September 8, 2014

Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

Raising Steam
"It is hard to understand nothing, but the multiverse is full of it."

Were I a resident of Discworld, I am not entirely sure I wouldn’t be classified a goblin, a troll, or a dwarf. Terry Pratchett has created a satire so rich that we see our lives, successes, failures, and intentions reflected back at us. Pratchett can be biting, but he is never cruel. He retains an equanimity about human failure that inspires us to greater acts of idiocy and splendor.

Now the fortieth entry in the cycle of Discworld brings us "tech-nol-ogy" and the Rail Way by little tinkers who carried on tinkering. It changes everything! "…nothing…hurried to become something even faster."

I am sorry now I did not join Pratchett’s league of admirers earlier. He has a vast body of work on Discworld already that follows along with humankind’s stumbling activities and manages to illuminate our deepest held secrets and most agonizing social issues. Allusions to previous great works of literature and moments in history abound. Was there ever a more wise and humorous critic of our best and our worst tendencies?

A reader does not have to begin at the beginning with this series, though you may find yourself wishing to go back and delve into the riches of Pratchett's vision and humor. While these books can be read as delightful interludes 'twixt more serious fare, you may find yourself wishing there were more folks with Pratchett's understanding guiding our multiverse.

I was given the opportunity to listen to the Random House Audio version of this title narrated by the incomparable Stephen Briggs. He has narrated over thirty of Terry Pratchett’s books and has won numerous awards for his work. There is perhaps no better way to gain entry into the world of Ank-Morpork than listening to Stephen Briggs share his range of voices and interpretations of Terry Pratchett’s memorable saga. This is classic literature for our times.

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