Scoville Units Unite

02 Apr

Dodger – Terry Pratchett

dodger-cover

Dodger follows on from The Long Earth in being a non-Discworld book. I’m not sure whether this is an attempt to hide Pratchetts changing writers voice when working on Discworld novels or simply a way to leave a non-Discworld legacy with some ideas he has but it is a welcome change. I remember reading a story about an interview with a journalist who seemed incredulous that Pratchett was famous I’ve never heard of you was met with a response along the lines of well I’ve been in the bestsellers list with at least one book constantly for the last 20 years. Unfortunately writing fantasy which satires politics, religion and real people means you are somewhat overlooked. The Long Earth was a really good book which makes you think about limited resources and morality even though it focuses on one super being.

Dodger, unfortunately is not as good. A view of Victorian London from the gutter. The main character, Dodger, feels like he would fit in in the Shades. The constant references to people and Victorian London seem forced and unsubtle. Unlike Discworld where they are peppered throughout but only ever explained in footnotes if explained at all, here they are crow-barred in. One part is essentially, Oh you are telling me about the living conditions of the poor? My friend Charles who recently came here as a refugee is interested in that and is writing books on the subject, I’ll be sure to pass these comments on. The journalist Charles Dickens scribbling little phrases in his book and so on lampshade what would otherwise be passages to cause a smirk. These spoil what would otherwise be an enjoyable tale.

But, taking a break from Ankh-Morpork to write a less funny book set in a place which inspired huge chunks of Ankh-Morpork doesn’t really work. I’d only recommend to completists or those who have a love for pre-20th century literature and it’s parodies. e.g. You love Dickens or enjoy the Pride and Prejudice + Current Popular Meme Monster/Creature books.

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