Thursday, March 19, 2009

Strata, Terry Pratchett (1981)

I quite like Terry Pratchett's writing, and have managed to read all of his Discworld novels, as well as most of his non-Discworld novels. Discworld is a satirical fantasy series set on a flat planet, atop four elephants riding a giant tortoise, by the way, and is quite enjoyable reading. However, Pratchett's two earliest works are science fiction, which leads to my review of his second novel, "Strata" on the "42 Science Fiction Challenge" blog.

Firstly, apologies in advance to everyone whom has not read Discworld or does not enjoy it the way I do, but as Discworld is Pratchett's main body of work, and concerns itself with the same idea that "Strata" does (a flat earth, and what it is like to live there), so it inevitably leads to a comparison between the two.

"Strata" is the story of Kin Arad, a planetary engineer, a job that has her constructing planets for a living, false fossils included. She is then informed of the existence of a flat earth, which, as a planetary engineer, she wishes to investigate. Instigate an adventure to the Discworld, and then an exploration of it.

For those whom have read Discworld, enjoyed it, and expect something in a similar vein here, reading this is something of a dissapointment. It doesn't have the incisive satire of Discworld, much of it's humour, or the writing skill Pratchett displayed in his earlier Discworld books, for that matter. Occasionally, I saw glimmerings of Pratchett's future writing skills here, but I can't enjoy this in the same way that I enjoy Discworld.

For everyone else besides myself who is not addicted to Discworld, I should do something of a proper review of the book. The first part of the story comes off as little more than a poorly-written adventure in space. The characters are not well-fleshed out, the journey in reaching the Discworld is not mentally challenging, or even that exciting. However, upon reaching the Discworld, the story is somewhat more interesting. Although the inhabitants believe that the Discworld is magical, everything is actually explainable by the technologies that the crew are surrounded by in their life. The workings of the actual Discworld itself, from the stars to volcanoes is quite interesting, and the final revelation almost makes "Strata" a worthwhile read. But not quite.

I can only recommend this to fans of Pratchett's writing, and say that you will enjoy this the most if you don't expect to read a science-fiction-flavoured Discworld. 2/5.

1 comment:

=Tamar said...

On the other hand, in my opinion it's a much better version of the constructed universe than Matrix was.