A Blink of the Screen by Terry Pratchett

(9.0/10)

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.

Review by

1 positive reader review(s) for A Blink of the Screen

12+

More Terry Pratchett reviews

The Long Earth

by Terry Pratchett

1916: the Western Front. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong, and the wind in the leaves in the trees. Where have the m [...]

Series: Long Earth #1
Published: 0000

Score: 88

Our rating: 8.8 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+

The Long War

by Terry Pratchett

A generation after the events of The Long Earth, mankind has spread across the new worlds opened up by Stepping. Where Joshua and Lobsang once pioneered, now fleets of airs [...]

Series: Long Earth #2
Published: 0000

Score: 55

Our rating: 5.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+

The Long Utopia

by Terry Pratchett

2045-2059. After the cataclysmic upheavals of Step Day and the Yellowstone eruption humanity is spreading further into the Long Earth, and society, on a battered Datum Eart [...]

Series: Long Earth #4
Published: 0000

Score: 70

Our rating: 7.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+

Nation

by Terry Pratchett

On the day the world ends... Mau is on his way home from the Boys' Island. Soon he will be a man. And then the wave comes - a huge wave, dragging black night behind it [...]

Series: NA
Published: 2008

Score: 105

Our rating: 9.7 | 8 positive reader reviews

15+

Good Omens

by Terry Pratchett

According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter - the world's only totally reliable guide to the future - the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, [...]

Series: NA
Published: 1990

Score: 100

Our rating: 9.4 | 6 positive reader reviews

15+

The Compleat Ankh-Morpork City Guide

by Terry Pratchett

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, [...]

Series: NA
Published: 2012

Score: 96

Our rating: 9.5 | 1 positive reader reviews

12+

The World of Poo

by Terry Pratchett

From Snuff: 'Vimes' prompt arrival got a nod of approval from Sybil, who gingerly handed him a new book to read to Young Sam. Vimes looked at the cover. The ti [...]

Series: NA
Published: 2012

Score: 90

Our rating: 9.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

9+

Dodger

by Terry Pratchett

Come one come all to greatest city in the world. In London, all men are free, the streets are lined with gold and the naughty ladies are friendly to all. In London there ar [...]

Series: NA
Published: 2012

Score: 93

Our rating: 9.3 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+

The Carpet People

by Terry Pratchett

In the beginning, there was nothing but endless flatness. Then came the Carpet... That's the old story everyone knows and loves. But now the Carpet is home to many diff [...]

Series: NA
Published: 0000

Score: 71

Our rating: 7.0 | 1 positive reader reviews

12+

The Colour Of Magic

by Terry Pratchett

In the beginning there was…a turtle. Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smel [...]

Series: The Discworld Series: Book 1
Published: 1983

Score: 88

Our rating: 8.1 | 7 positive reader reviews

12+

Lords and Ladies

by Terry Pratchett

The fairies are back – but this time they don’t just want your teeth… It's Midsummer Night - no time for dreaming. Because sometimes, when there' [...]

Series: The Discworld Series: Book 14
Published: 1992

Score: 92

Our rating: 9.0 | 2 positive reader reviews

12+

Feet of Clay

by Terry Pratchett

For Commander Vimes, Head of Ankh-Morpork City Watch, life consists of troubling times, linked together by…well, more troubling times. Right now, it’s the latt [...]

Series: The Discworld Series: Book 19
Published: 0000

Score: 79

Our rating: 7.9 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

A Blink of the Screen reader reviews

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

Your rating out of 10

Books you may also enjoy

The Amulet of Samarkand

by Jonathan Stroud

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 [...]

Series: The Bartimaeus Trilogy: Book 1
Published: 2003

Score: 101

Our rating: 9.5 | 6 positive reader reviews

12+

The Princess Bride

by William Goldman

Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. So when she hears that his [...]

Series: NA
Published: 1973

Score: 98

Our rating: 9.5 | 3 positive reader reviews

12+

Son of a Liche

by 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 [...]

Series: The Dark Profit Saga #2
Published: 2018

Score: 93

Our rating: 9.2 | 1 positive reader reviews

12+

The Screaming Staircase

by Jonathan Stroud

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 [...]

Series: Lockwood & Co #1
Published: 2013

Score: 92

Our rating: 9.1 | 1 positive reader reviews

12+