Tag Archives: Terry Pratchett

Book Review: I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

I Shall Wear Midnight

Terry Pratchett is one of those authors that I grew up with as a teenager. He was publishing his first books when I was really getting into things like Fantasy fiction and role-playing games, so his parody of that whole genre really hit the button. The subject area combined a typically English sense of humour, similar in many ways to Blackadder, which was a favourite TV series for kids of my age as well, was perfect reading for me at the time.

I probably read his first 13 or so books in the Discworld series – up to Small Gods I think. After that I stopped. I was at University, had other things on my mind, and frankly I was probably a bit bored with the series by then!

But it’s always nice to come back to an old favourite and recently I’ve been doing that – time to get retro I guess. So I’ve been reading some of the Pratchett books I missed. I picked up I Shall Wear Midnight not knowing anything about it really. My fault – it seem this is the fourth book (?) featuring the young witch Tiffany Aching, AND … I see from the frontmatter that the books featuring her are ‘For Younger Readers’.

I wouldn’t describe myself as young! Would this be for me? Had I stumbled across Terry’s imitation of Twilight?

Yes and No. The plot is fairly predictable – a bit disappointing I thought. There’s an ancient evil that is doing nasty things to all witches (witches in Discworld being similar to magical social workers!) Only Tiffany (I was never really clear why only her) can sort it out. Along the way there’s a bit of a love interest – love triangle – hmm I think this is where the YA comes in. This book, I would suggest is for teenage girls – not boys, who presumably would be reading the regular Discworld stuff. It has a female protagonist – who’s clever, a bit lacking in self-confident, feels a bit put upon, and is in love with one guy, but should be in love with someone else. Feels like a combination of a Jane Austen novel and Twilight to me?

That sounds like I’m being really critical. I’m not. It was a good read and I didn’t mind the character, who was interesting, or the love triangle bit – which produced some humorous moments. The humour wasn’t anything special – I’m sure I used to laugh more when I was reading the earlier books, but perhaps that’s because it was newer then – but I think what I felt let down by a bit was the rather limp plot. The ‘ancient evil’ didn’t really make much of an appearance until a quarter of the way through. The first part of the book seemed more about establishing the character – which was OK, but I didn’t need it that much even though I hadn’t read the other books in this mini-series about Tiffany Aching.

I probably won’t read any other of the books ‘for younger readers’/teenage girls, but I am going to try some of his other more recent books – i.e. stuff that was written this Millenium! Monstrous Regiment is next on my list.


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Back to School Fantasy Fiction – Top 5 Fantasy Novels featuring School or College

Cover of "The Shadow of the Torturer"

A bit of fun for those of you going back to school or college soon – or are parents of those who are!

Here’s my top 5 Fantasy Fiction novels featuring school or college!

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

US Liberal Arts College for wizards – a bit like a grown-up Harry Potter.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

Did we mention Harry Potter – English boarding school for wizards!

The Magicians’ Guild by Trudi Canavan

A guild for magicians, but in essence a college where they learn their stuff.

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

The girls try to break into the wizards’ University!

The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe

Not a school or College for wizards at last. The narrator of Wolfe’s book starts off in a Guild for Torturer’s where he is learning his trade.

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Reissue of the Illustrated Eric by Terry Pratchett out in November

The Illustrated EricThe Illustrated Eric has been out of print, but is now getting an anniversary reissue this autumn, with illustrations from Josh Kirby.

The title is available for pre-order at Amazon, and here’s some more information about the book:

Eric is the Discworld’s only demonology hacker. The trouble is, he’s not very good at it. All he wants is the usual three wishes: to be immortal, rule the world and have the most beautiful woman fall madly in love with him. The usual stuff. But what he gets is Rincewind, the Disc’s most incompetent wizard, and Rincewind’s Luggage (the world’s most dangerous travel accessory) into the bargain. Terry Pratchett’s hilarious take on the Faust legend stars many of the Discworld’s most popular characters in an outrageous adventure that will leave Eric wishing once more – this time, quite fervently – that he’d never been born.

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My Top 5 iPhone App Author Wish List

The Art of Discworld by Terry Pratchett and Pa...
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So now there’s a super duper Iain Banks iPhone App available, which other Science Fiction and Fantasy authors would merit there very own app? Well my top 5 would be:

Dan Simmons

His novels have such a rich background to them  that I am sure there are plenty of background notes which could be digitised and provided as extra features. There’s already iPhone versions of his novels Drood and Terror, but as far as I can tell these don’t have extra features on them.

Jack Vance

A compendium of spells (such as The Spell of Forlorn Encystment) from his Dying Earth stories together with nice illustrations of them would be awesome! I think though this would be a labour of love and I can’t seen anyone except a very dedicated fan producing something like this.

Gene Wolfe

There is an encyclopedia available for his New Sun books already, and something that accessed this information would be a good starting point for an iPhone App. Again not sure anyone would do it now.

Neal Stephenson

Well he does have an interactive App coming for his Mongolaid book, to be published sometime this year I hope. It seems that this will allow fans of the book to submit their own content which will then become part of the App. Sounds amazing!

Terry Pratchett

And lastly the Godfather of comic fantasy. There’s a huge amount of non-fiction material available for his Discworld books already, so I am sure this must be on the cards as well. I have seen what looks like an unauthorised App, which apparently analyses each of the Discworld books, so not exactly special features about the author and his writing, but interesting nevertheless.

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Terry Pratchett interview at SFX and funny comment on Alice in Wonderland

This interview of Terry Pratchett at SFX is quite amusing, especially his comments about Alice in Wonderland. I have to agree with him, it is quite a hard read. I read it about a year ago and struggled with it.

Pratchett says:

“It really is the most awful book and I think it just keeps going because there’s some kind of momentum that keeps it trundling on. Does anyone ever read Alice in Wonderland these days? Really, really read it? Somehow society decides that some titles stay in print, even though they’re pretty awful and nobody reads them anymore. I’m sorry but I hated the book. I thought it was god-awful, creepy Victorian humour.”

Terry Pratchett on the One Show

Great to see Terry Pratchett looking so well on the BBC One Show last night. It was a very moving piece about the problems early-onset Alzheimer sufferers have to get drugs on the NHS – it’s becoming more and more of a problem as the population ages. Terry seemed mentally very eloquent – apparently it is affecting him more physically than mentally, which is a good thing for his writing. I wish him all the best.

I haven’t really read him since the first five or six books – during my idle youth, but I will definitely have to go through the rest of his works. Its a shame he has been sidelined as a supposedly cult writer, when in actual fact he is probably more ‘mainstream’ than that dreadful Rowling. His books tend to be satires on our modern society using Fantasy as a lens.

Link to the One Show on iPlayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/page/item/b00bf008.shtml?src=ip_mlt

And the One Show website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/theoneshow/