Terry Pratchett: Nation







Over the summer, I had the pleasure of hearing Terry Pratchett read an excerpt from his latest novel - Nation. Unlike his well known Discworld series, it might actually described as 'fiction' as opposed to 'fantasy' (if you ignore some of the fantasy riffs). And unlike many of his discword novels, its not a book about something obviously human - such as the movie industry - played to its comic end point in a fantasy background. And when we say 'fantasy' it means we can say 'Troll' as a shorthand version of 'South African', for instance. So even his hardcore 'fantasy' stuff really is nothing but exceptionally good fiction in funny trousers.


Nation is most definately about cargo culture, Victorian society and how humans interact. Its still funnny - I think Pratchett could write a funny IBM Websphere redbook - and the observation is spot on. Religeon comes in for a hard time in terms of unthinking dogma, which is always a good thing. (Republicans: This is not a book for you. I guess Sarah Palin would try to ban this one.)


He mentioned during the Edinburgh Book Festival that when he found out he had Altzheimers, he shuffled the plans around so he could complete Nation. And I can see why. Its an excellent book - I think one of his best. So even if your not a Pratchett fan, or couldnt stand the idea of something thiinking your read 'Fantasy', then this is the book for you.