Monday, 31 August 2015

Not a Pratchett on the Original

Some troll in the Guardian is saying Terry Pratchett was a mediocre writer.

Well, what can I say? "The Colour of Magic" is a book that transformed my teens. Like Douglas Adams, that other genius of spoof fantasy/sci fi, Pratchett went with an idea and drove it to perfection. Opened our imaginations with humour that danced on a beam from that weirdly-calculated sun.

Drove it with more rigour and imagination and more consistently, even relentlessly, than Adams. You can't better the way that the geography and cosmology of the Discworld, with its little sun, elephants and turtle are worked out. It's a little world of utter brilliance, and sustained for so long.

And to compare Pratchett's work with Mansfield Park? Now that's a good novel. But it's basically a story of how good girls, if they keep their noses clean and their traps shut, can make their way in the world through marrying rich vicars.

Is that really the sort of message the Guardian wants its readers to buy into? If so all their other articles have been way off beam these fifty years or so. I mean, it's hardly Equal Rites, is it?

I'm just dispatching a Luggage (with loads of dear little legs and a nasty attitude) off to Grauniad Towers. If it doesn't come back with the right journalist, it can just put itself straight in the Wicker Man ready for Samhain.


  1. Hear, hear! My introduction to Pratchett's work was hearing Equal Rites read aloud on Women's Hour sometime in the late 80s and being so entranced that I immediately went out and got hold of everything he'd written til then. He was a comic genius and a writer of great perception and intelligence and we still read his books with huge enjoyment.

  2. If Colour of Magic had been my first Pratchett I'd never have read a second. Fortunately I was given Pyramids and have never looked back. How the editor allowed that to run given the "haven't read it, won't read it" line is completely beyond me. If anyone's organising a lynch mob, or running him out of town on a rail, I am available.

  3. Small Gods was a seminal work. So many others. I suggest that the Guardian troll is a mediocre person in his own right.

  4. The problem is that comic writers are not generally recognised as geniuses*: Wodehouse, Waugh, Twain, Carroll, ... all fail to make it into the top league by Grauniad standards as they are too obviously having a good time.

    Jane Austen is also humorous, in her own way, but that's her ironic/satirical writing style, which is probably not even noticed by Grauniad journalists.

    N.B. I don't think Edmund is a rich vicar, although he probably doesn't need to appear on Thought for the Day to make ends meet.

    *Except for Stephen Fry, who in fact is neither truly comic, nor a genius.

  5. Anyone who could create an anthropomorphism that speaks entirely in UPPER CASE letters and rides a horse called Binky, has to be teetering on the edge of genious.

  6. I have never read any of Pratchett's fantasy, but if he was the same Terry Pratchett as wrote The Unadulterated Cat with Gray Jolliffe, and I believe he is, then I am all for him. Spot-on comic realism, which any cat or cat-owned human may recognise.

    There is a tendency, driven I believe by insecurity of tenure, for writers, historians and critics to take aim at any well-respected and/or loved figure, once said figure is safely dead (cf UK laws of slander and libel) and either make up a salacious story ("Jane Austen was an incestuous lesbian", and sadly I am not joking, that really was the brainchild of an American "academic"), or claim the victim of their bile wasn't any good at his/her job (Florence Nightingale was a bad nurse because she didn't treat infections with antibiotics. [Check your dates.] Here again, I am not joking). Unlike the live friends of the writer/hisorian/critic, of course....


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