NESFA Members' Reviews

coverThe Truth

by Terry Pratchett

A book review by Mark L. Olson

HarperCollins, 2000, 324 pp, $24.00

The Truth is the newest of the many Discworld books. It deals with the newspaper business: some dwarfs set up shop to print with moveable type and a young man who has made his living handwriting a newsletter on Ankh-Morpork politics and social events sees the press as a way to expand his audience. And the Ankh-Morpork Times begins.

I'd call this a middle-weight book. Naturally, it has its funny sections and some jokes which made me laugh out loud, but it doesn't quiet reach either the comic peaks or the deep seriousness of some of the very best Discworld books.

One of the more amusing turns of events is how the Scribe's Guild (with funding from conservative social elements, probably) immediately sees the danger of a newspaper to their livelihood and counters by setting up the Ankh-Morpork Inquirer, every bit as absurd as its namesake in our world. (Of course, on Discworld, you can't be sure that the headlines aren't all true...)

The Truth fits right into the longer-term action in the Discworld books: Ankh-Morpork is undergoing a Renaissance. A medieval, schlock-fantasy city at the start of the series, Ankh-Morpork has evolved a decent police force, has moved towards civil rights (or, at least, toleration) for its non-human inhabitants, and has gained the benefits of a number of new technologies which continue to change it - soon it will be a 19th century city in an 19th century world. And people like Ponder Stibbons are creating a rational, scientific magic.

See also my other Pratchett reviews: The Truth, Terry Pratchett: Guilty of Literature, Carpe Jugulum, The Science of Discworld, The Fifth Elephant, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, The Last Hero, Jingo, Night Watch, The Wee Free Men

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