A Blink of the Screen by Terry Pratchett
With no full-length Discworld books published this year, it is somewhat surprising to know that we in fact received four separate Terry Pratchett-authored books in 2012, though all in various guises: a collaboration, a child’s story, a ‘reference’ book, and this collection of short stories.
Over the past week or so I have been reviewing short stories. In each of those instances they were either published on their own or published as part of an anthology collated from many authors. I understand the penchant to review those anthologies as a whole, but I dislike doing so.
In this case, however, this whole collection is written by one man: Terry Pratchett. (Somehow this makes it OK to review the whole collection as one.)
The first story – ‘The Hades Business’ – was written back in 1963 when Terry was only 13 years old and bears all the amateur tones of a story written at such a young age while still hinting at what we would receive later in his life.
There are some absolute gems in this anthology amidst a general collection of wonderful writing. The wellspring from which sprung ‘The Long Earth’ which Pratchett wrote with Stephen Baxter is in here (‘The High Meggas’) as well as a story written while ‘ideas for the book which was eventually published as ‘Hogfather’ were germinating.
The standout stories include;
- ‘Final Reward’ which literally left me stunned and silent for five minutes as I understood just how little chance I have of ever being as good as Pratchett;
- ‘Turntables of the Night’ which includes an appearance by Death amidst an array of unheard of artists and an obsessive love of collecting;
- ‘#ifdefDEBUG + ‘world/enough’ + ‘time’’, a scarily prescient look at what our lives might look in a few years, written two decades ago;
- ‘Troll Bridge’, a great Discworld story featuring fan-favourite Cohen the Barbarian.
Final Reward is easily my favourite non-Discworld story from this anthology, but my favourite Discworld story is most definitely ‘The Sea and Little Fishes’. Previously published in the ‘Legend’ anthology back in the late 90s, this story takes us to the Witch Trials of Lancre and what happens when Granny Weatherwax is insulted. It’s a real gem of a story and leaves you wanting nothing more for your life than to go back and read ‘Carpe Jugulem’.
For any fan of good writing or short stories, this book is a real gem, and a must-have for any fan of Terry Pratchett.
This A Blink of the Screen book review was written by Joshua S Hill
Have you read A Blink of the Screen?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
A Blink of the Screen reader reviews
Karen from England
Working my way slowly through this, as any Terry Prachett new to me deserves to be savoured... a treat in all ways, although my favourite story up to now has to be Turntables Of The Night (cracking Beatles throwaway one-liner) closely followed by The Sea And Little Fishes and Troll Bridge (an honourable draw).
9.5/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Bartimaeus Trilogy
When the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus is summoned by Nathaniel, a young magician's apprentice, he expects to have to do nothing more taxing than a little levitation...
Meet Thursday Next, literary detective without equal, fear or boyfriend. There is another 1985, where London’s criminal gangs have moved into the lucrative literary m...
Lockwood & Co
When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in... For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A nu...
Son of a Liche
J Zachary Pike
A doubly disgraced dwarven hero. A band of accident-prone adventurers. Giving redemption a second shot may have been a grave mistake…Still bruised and heartbr...
100 Miles and Vampin
C T Phipps
Peter Stone is a poor black vampire who has found undeath isn't all it was promised to be. There's no vast riches, innate cool, or super-sex appeal. No, instead, th...
In a world full to bursting with would-be heroes, Jim couldn't be less interested in saving the day. His fireballs fizzle. He's awfully grumpy. Plus, he's been ...
A Lord of the Rings for the 21st century. Only a lot shorter. And funnier. And completely different. Conor thought he was an average teenager. OK, so his father only had on...
When young Jimbo Mambo books a room with Captain and Mrs Fanshaw in their Northernville lodging house, he is gradually introduced to their bizarre social circle. However, n...
I Was a Teenage Weredeer
C T Phipps
Jane Doe is a weredeer, the least-threatening shapechanger species in the world. Blessed with the ability to turn furry at will and psychically read objects, Jane has done ...
Great fantasy books published in 2012
King of Thorns
To reach greatness you must step on bodies, and many brothers lie trodden in my wake. I’ve walked from pawn to player and I’ll win this game of ours, though the...
The Grimnoir Society’s mission is to protect people with magic, and they’ve done so - successfully and in secret - since the mysterious arrival of the Power in ...
The Woman Who Died a Lot
The BookWorld's leading enforcement officer Thursday Next is four months into an enforced semi-retirement following an assassination attempt. She returns home to Swindo...
Days of Blood and Starlight
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living - one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without re...
The Compleat Ankh-Morpork City Guide
Greetings, adventurer! We lay before you this most comprehensive gazetteer encompassing all the streets of Ankh-Morpork, as well as information on its principal businesses,...
The Wind Through The Keyhole
Visit Mid-World's last gunslinger, Roland Deschain, and his ka-tet as a ferocious storm halts their progress along the Path of the Beam. Roland tells a tale from his ea...
Gareth L Powell
In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque’. The troubl...
The Empire has declared war on the small, were-ruled kingdom of Aydori, capturing five women of the Mage-Pack, including the wife of the were Pack-leader. With the Pack off...
Shadow Ops: Control Point
Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer. Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the d...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: