The Tao of Pratchett

Over on Tor.com, a dis­cus­sion of Sir Ter­ry Pratchett’s works, and how there’s more to them—far more—than just sil­ly puns and goofy char­ac­ters.

Ter­ry Pratch­ett is best known for his incom­pe­tent wiz­ards, drag­on-wield­ing police­men, and anthro­po­mor­phic per­son­i­fi­ca­tions who SPEAK LIKE THIS. And we love him for it. Once we’re done chuck­ling at Nan­ny Ogg’s not-so-sub­tle innu­en­dos and the song about the knob on the end of the wizard’s staff, how­ev­er, there’s so much more going on beneath the sur­face of a Pratch­ett nov­el.

Read the whole arti­cle; it’s worth it.

Today’s library haul

I can’t decide which one I want to read first. I real­ly like Join Scalzi’s writ­ing; I loved Son of a Trick­ster and I’m look­ing for­ward to read­ing more of Eden Robinson’s prose; but man, Sara Gran’s last nov­el end­ed on such a cliffhang­er, so I’m lean­ing towards The Infi­nite Black­top.

Review: Son of a Trickster

Son of a Trickster

I read Eden Robinson’s Son of a Trick­ster this week­end.

It’s the sto­ry of six­teen-year-old Jared, who’s doing his best, try­ing to bal­ance bak­ing weed cook­ies, car­ing for his elder­ly neigh­bours, keep­ing his dad from los­ing his home, keep­ing his aggres­sive mom off his case, and gen­er­al­ly just try­ing to not fail grade ten.

It’s not real help­ful that he’s start­ed hear­ing crows talk­ing to him.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Review: Son of a Trick­ster”

The game’s afoot

My copy of Good Omens, signed in Dec. 2009 by Neil Gaiman

A quick quote for Throw­back Thurs­day:

God does not play dice with the uni­verse; He plays an inef­fa­ble game of His own devis­ing, which might be com­pared, from the per­spec­tive of any of the oth­er play­ers, to being involved in an obscure and com­plex ver­sion of pok­er in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infi­nite stakes, with a Deal­er who won’t tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.

From Good Omens, by Ter­ry Pratch­ett and Neil Gaiman

William Gibson: Grand Master

William Gibson

It’s got a nice ring to it.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to William Gib­son, one of my favourite authors, on the announce­ment that he has been named the lat­est Damon Knight Grand Mas­ter by the Sci­ence Fic­tion Writ­ers of Amer­i­ca.

The Damon Knight Memo­r­i­al Grand Mas­ter Award rec­og­nizes “life­time achieve­ment in sci­ence fic­tion and/or fan­ta­sy.” Gib­son joins the Grand Mas­ter ranks along­side such leg­ends as C. J. Cher­ryh, Peter S. Bea­gle, Ursu­la K. Le Guin, Isaac Asi­mov, Ray Brad­bury, and Joe Halde­man. The award will be pre­sent­ed at the 54th Annu­al Neb­u­la Con­fer­ence and Awards Cer­e­mo­ny in Wood­land Hills, CA, May 16th-19th, 2019.

Via Tor.com, here’s the offi­cial announce­ment.

Head­er pho­to by Nik­ki Tysoe, used under a CC-BY license.

Down in Fraggle Rock

Today I learned that…

Den­nis Lee, Cana­di­an poet, author of child­hood favourite “Alli­ga­tor Pie”, was also the co-founder of the ven­er­a­ble Cana­di­an press House of Anan­si Press (which, even though I’m ill-versed in Can­Lit, I’d heard of).

And he wrote the lyrics to the theme song for Frag­gle Rock.

And he co-wrote the sto­ry for the movie Labyrinth.

[Cita­tion need­ed]

The Themis Files review

Only Human image (from thethemisfiles.com)

Thanks to my local library, I read Syl­vain Neu­v­el’s The Themis Files tril­o­gy:

  • Sleep­ing Giants
  • Wak­ing Gods
  • Only Human

As a young girl, Rose Franklin falls into a hole and dis­cov­ers a giant mechan­i­cal hand. As an adult, she goes to work on what has now been named Themis: a giant robot of alien ori­gin, which, for unknown rea­sons, trav­eled to Earth some­time in the dis­tant past, only to be dis­as­sem­bled and scat­tered around the globe.

Along the way she teams up with a cou­ple of mil­i­tary pilots, a man who claims he’s descend­ed more or less direct­ly from aliens, a rogue geneti­cist, and a mys­te­ri­ous stranger who wields more pow­er than lit­er­al­ly any­one else on Earth.

But no one’s ready for what hap­pens when the robot builders show up. Or what hap­pens when a hand­ful of peo­ple are trans­port­ed to the builders’ home­world.

Turns out an invul­ner­a­ble giant robot can have a pro­found effect on the geopo­lit­i­cal land­scape.


The nov­els are epis­to­lary, told in the form of tran­script­ed inter­views, news broad­casts, per­son­al jour­nals, let­ters, and the like. Syl­vain Neu­v­el is a mas­ter of propul­sive storytelling—I read books 2 and 3 in a cou­ple of days apiece (nor­mal­ly it takes me between a week and a month to read a book), and the sto­ry itself had me laugh­ing more than once. I espe­cial­ly enjoyed the tone of the Mys­te­ri­ous Stranger’s dia­logue, even though he was some­times not a very nice per­son. (There are no short­age of not very nice peo­ple here, and everyone’s flawed, just like the real world.)

The sto­ry exam­ines the con­se­quences of dis­cov­er­ing that, not only are we not alone in the uni­verse, but there exist aliens quite capa­ble of wip­ing out the entire human race with­out break­ing a sweat. How do you fight against a threat like that? And what hap­pens when flawed human beings get access to that tech­nol­o­gy?

Well, you’ll have to read the tril­o­gy to find out. Trust me, it’s worth it.

High­ly rec­om­mend­ed, espe­cial­ly if you’re into first-con­tact yarns, sar­don­ic humour, giant robots, or geopol­i­tics. Oh, and lin­guis­tics.