Friday, April 18, 2014
Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett
The 40th --- believe it or not, the 40th! --- book by Terry Pratchett, the acclaimed British author of some of the funniest fantasy ever written, much of it set on his own creation of the Discworld, an alternate reality universe that operates according to a set of magical principles that mirror the absurdity of our own.
Raising Steam is the third book to focus on the career of ultimate con man Moist von Lipwig, who has been persuaded to put his talents to better use by Lord Vetinari, the Patrician who rules Ankh-Morpork with a velvet-gloved steel touch. Moist is allowed to live under an indefinitely suspended sentence of death so long as he carries out the tasks assigned him by the Patrician. So far these have included reforming the defunct Post Office and rescuing the new clacks service in Going Postal, and reorganizing the Royal Bank and restoring the Royal Mint in Making Money.
Now in Raising Steam Moist is put in charge of shepherding a game-changing technological advance without unraveling the entire social fabric of the Discworld in the process. Dick Simnel has invented steam locomotion, and the world will not be the same again. As if that's not enough, the uber-conseervative elements among the dwarves are stirring up trouble for the Low King, who has championed change and interspecies cooperation.
In the midst of all the fun, Pratchett has tucked in some pithy observations on the inevitability of change, and the pros and cons of embracing technology's mixed blessings. Pratchett is an author who provides a very big payoff for your willing suspension of disbelief. Raising Steam, as Dick Simnel would say, is gradely!
Click HERE to read a review of Raising Steam in the Washington Post.
Click HERE to visit Terry Pratchett's web site and read about Raising Steam.