January Books 8) Raising Steam, by Terry Pratchett

Back in November, the day after Doctor Who’s 50th birthday, a lot of people were pointing out that it was the 30th anniversary of the publication of The Colour of Magic, on 24 November 1983. As I’ve been noting elsewhere, there’s nothing like that sort of statement to make you feel old. But here we are – thirty years on, knowing that his own time is running out, Sir Terry is still producing for us.

Raising Steam takes one of the Discworld plot lines that I have tended to find less successful – some aspect of modern culture intruding into the fantasy environment, as in Moving Pictures, Soul Music and Going Postal – and really does something quite interesting. There’s lots here, the major plot line being the mutual interlocking of the Patrician’s statecraft with the new technology, and how this affects a power struggle between the fundamentalists and pragmatists among the Dwarves, but there are plenty of shout-outs to characters and situations from earlier volumes. I liked it.

Once you have invented railway trains, society and economics on Discworld are surely going to be altered for ever; and I wonder if Pratchett now feels at liberty to change his creation so fundamentally because he feels he may be nearing the end of his own engagement with it. We started from a parody of Lankhmar three decades ago, and now appear likely to end with steampunk, after many diversions along the way. Hopefully there will a few more stops before the end of the journey.

The Colour of Magic | The Light Fantastic | Equal Rites | Mort | Sourcery | Wyrd Sisters | Pyramids | Guards! Guards! | Eric | Moving Pictures | Reaper Man | Witches Abroad | Small Gods | Lords and Ladies | Men at Arms | Soul Music | Interesting Times | Maskerade | Feet of Clay | Hogfather | Jingo | The Last Continent | Carpe Jugulum | The Fifth Elephant | The Truth | Thief of Time | The Last Hero | The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents | Night Watch | The Wee Free Men | Monstrous Regiment | A Hat Full of Sky | Going Postal | Thud! | Wintersmith | Making Money | Unseen Academicals | I Shall Wear Midnight | Snuff | Raising Steam | The Shepherd’s Crown

One thought on “January Books 8) Raising Steam, by Terry Pratchett

  1. I may experiment with the first and third of these while my beloved is away in actual Georgia, and then rustle them up as a surprise on her return.

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