Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Shall Wear Midnight

Really there is no cooler author alive than Terry Pratchett.  He was just recently knighted.  Sure many people get knighted these days, but how many decide to make their own sword to mark the occasion?   How many dig their own ore for their own sword?  How many decide to add meteoric iron to the mix?  As I said, pure coolness.

Terry is best known for his Discworld series which is a sprawling batch of books that encompasses smaller series with reoccurring characters.  "I Shall Wear Midnight," is the latest in the adventure Tiffany Aching who is a young country witch.  She has already made some reputation for herself and now has her own steading to take care of.  But a reputation can be a bad thing and she and other witches are now in danger.  Can Tiffany take care this growing danger and still take care of her people at the same time?  Can she work out her own feelings about the new Baron?  Will the Nac Mac Feegle (Little blue people on drink and steroids) be a help, or a Lilliputian wrecking crew?  These questions will be answered in due time of course.

This book is a very strong book by Mr. Pratchett.  It is a fine balance of the heartfelt and humor.  It never slows down, but it never stops being thoughtful.  The characters are characters and not just punchlines.  Balance actually is a very important subtheme of the book.  Balance is how Tiffany manages much of what folks call magic.  You can take the pain from someone, but it has to go somewhere.  You can walk through fire, but the heat also has to go somewhere.  Being a witch is not only knowing how to shift things but where to shift them too. 

Another thing that a witch has to understand is what being a witch really means.  It doesn't mean using magic.  The most powerful magic a witch has is being a witch.  It is in the office of being a witch that witches gain much of their power, and it is the type of person who seeks that office where they gain the rest.  It is a theme that Terry has touched on before to good effect.

Look if I haven't been clear enough:  READ HIS BOOKS.  Really they are that good.  Don't worry that there are so many, most can be picked up and read as single books.  In fact, don't even worry about starting at the beginning, in all honestly the beginning books were hit or miss as he found his voice and this wonderful Discworld of his.  So don't be afraid, just go to the library and grab this book or any of his others and dig in. It will be a rich feast.


  1. my favorite author. I just listened to Good Omens. Surely he's the most inventive around. Never disappoints.

    I suppose one of these books must be his last. He's four years younger than I am, but his Alzheimer's is quite advanced. (How is he doing, anyway? I've heard nothing since February, when he was talking about ending it all at a time of his choosing.)

  2. I'll be very sad to report his last book. As to his condition I honestly don't know. There have been strides in treatment for the condition, but I also know from personal experience that the early onset strikes very hard for some reason. Right now by all accounts he seems to be enjoying life.

    Will this be his last book? It could be, but I have my doubts. Even if his condition worsens at an accelerated rate I'm sure he has a book in the drawer somewhere. It's a habit I've noticed among those writers who write just a massive amount. They tend to write even faster than they can be published, they also tend to fear in the back of their mind a dry spell. So they tend to store away manuscripts that were quite good if not first water. I'm sure Mr. Pratchett still has a few choice gems to share with us all.