Dodger – Terry Pratchett

A geezer, now, well, a geezer is somebody that everybody knows, and he knows everybody, and maybe he knows something about everyone he knows that maybe you wished he didn’t know. Um, and well, he’s sharp, crafty, um, not exactly a thief but somehow things find their way into their hands. Doesn’t mind a bit of mischief, and wears the street like an overcoat.”

That’s Dodger all right, a proper geezer and a tosher to boot. Which, in case you didn’t know, is a sort of sewers scavenger. To paraphrase the book, toshers look for value in the things people above throw away, the things they don’t care about. Pratchett’s homage to Charles Dickens, a story he has probably wanted to write for a long time, is very much interested in this toshing business, literally and metaphorically. Continue reading

The Long Earth – Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett

When I first read about The Long Earth, this collaborative effort between Terry Pratchett and hard SF writer Stephen Baxter seemed to me… a little odd. As it did to quite a few, I am pretty sure. But now that I have finished the novel, I realize my suspicion was absolutely unwarranted. In fact, now I see clearly that this co-authorship is a match made in heaven. The Discworld series is, if anything, one of the biggest arenas for fictional thought experimentation ever imagined, be it related to technology, society, art, etc. Stephen Baxter, on the other hand, has the know-how to take Pratchett’s skill and panache for world creation to the next level – science fiction and its stricter adherence to mimesis. I am happy to say that the brainchild of the two authors delivers spectacularly. Continue reading

Two promising SF releases today!

Two interesting new books came out today. One is Existence, which I have been expecting for a long time. If it is comparable in scope and ambition to Earth, then it will be a truly great SF novel.

The other one is a curious collaboration between Terry Pratchett and hard sci-fi author Stephen Baxter, called The Long Earth.

If all is well and there is time, I will try to post reviews of the two in the coming weeks. With new novels from Alastair Reynolds and Kim Stanley Robinson already out, and with Rajaniemi’s The Fractal Prince coming out in September, 2012 is shaping up to be a decent year for SF.