Thief of Time, by Terry Pratchett

June 14, 2011 at 15:36 (Book Reviews, Comedy, Fantasy, Fiction, Highly Rated Books) (, , , , , , )

7/10

Terry Pratchett writes three types of Discworld books: those that are packed with stale, recycled jokes; original and charming work overflowing with surprising and bombastic set-piece comedy, and those that have genuinely interesting plot concepts that make thrilling novels even without the sly puns and cutting pastiches.

Thief of Time is one of the latter. It might not be the funniest thing he’s ever written, but neither is it boring, and was written before he began to run out of ideas. The plot is genuine fantasy adventure material, and feels something like a collaboration between Douglas Adams and Philip K. Dick. Thief of Time certainly ranks with Small Gods and Thud! in terms of fresh and new characters and creatures being introduced (though of course old favourites surface here and there) and equals Small Gods for making the reader sit up and think. It is deeply refreshing to find an author so keenly dedicated to dreaming up fantastic ideas, but then sticking with them and building them into autonomous creatures that grow and breed naturally and organically. All sorts of philosophical questions are raised, as well as Pratchett’s own delightful brand of pseudoscience, pseudoanatomy, pseudomathematics and such. And besides; when else have you known a writer to devote an entire book to explaining his own plot holes?

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