Reaction to a valid question on Pratchett

To the earlier post, a comment was made which I started to answer – but got too carried away with it. I figured I can as well make a post of it. Because I do tend to go on raving about this author while many even can’t seem to go through the first book (I’m ashamed to say – I didn’t even finish the first book – gosh!). So here is the question:
Fab, I want to ask a question, and I mean no offense. What is it about Pratchett that is appealing to you? I haven’t read his books, although I’ve been tempted. I did read “Good Omens”, which was drop dead funny and brilliant, but I’ve never been sure how much was Pratchett and how much was Gaiman.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007 9:21:00 PM
No offence in the question what so ever. What appeals to me is how he seems to have such an insight in the human soul, the human condition and how a person’s identity can be limiting in their dealing with things. He writes with humour and pokes fun at genres (fantasy as well), but in a way that makes you question actions/reactions. Every time I read his books (and I confess I don’t like them all – but most), I find myself thinking that behaviour can seem so conditioned. I mean, his characters are odd and ok it has wizards and witches – but they are a sorry lot the bunch of them. They never seem to get things right, let alone done – and they are so focused on their ego’s and misplaced certainties, they become like the everyman you know. You – or either – I sometimes forget it is a fantasy, because the fantastic suddenly becomes “everyday”.

He puts the stories in a pre-industrialized society: no electricity, no cars, … yet introduces elements that refer to the known modern objects of today. Also he plays with social standards and ethnicity in subtle ways, as in Equal Rites (no, no type fault!).

But he plays also with deception and corruption in the stories, politics of power, personal gain and trust issues. all very recognizable things but written with a twist to it. There are suspense elements, thriller elements and sometimes plain ol’ slapstick. And you can find a one liner on almost every page.
It is mostly the characters you fall for. I mean how Death tries to lead a normal life with a butler, tries to crack jokes but unsuccessfully because everything is literal to him. How Death’s adopted granddaughter, Susan, just wants to be an au-pair but gets sucked into doing his handiwork when everything goes pear shaped again…
I do think when reading Good Omens, co-written by Pratchett and Gaiman, you can definitely recognize who wrote which part or character. But it takes a certain amount of recognition skills through reading their separate work. Gaiman is very dark at times, black humour – when to me, Pratchett puts the characters “being” to use. Exploits who they are throughout the story to lead you somewhere.

I must admit you don’t go about reading Pratchett books over night – but once you do – once you’ve read the novel out of the lot that strikes you somehow (for me that was Wyrd Sisters and Small Gods where the god of hangovers envies the god of wine – for the obvious reasons), it is easy to get sucked in.

And FYI, I do read others beside him. But they don’t publish the amount of books he has – so he kind of is in my face all the time at the book store. That’s why.
See links in right side column for authors’ official sites.
And my opinion on the Bourne Ultimatum will follow soon.

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