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Back in November, the day after Doctor Who's 50th birthday, a lot of people were pointing out that it was the 30th anniversary of the publication of The Colour of Magic, on 24 November 1983. As I've been noting elsewhere, there's nothing like that sort of statement to make you feel old. But here we are - thirty years on, knowing that his own time is running out, Sir Terry is still producing for us.

Raising Steam takes one of the Discworld plot lines that I have tended to find less successful - some aspect of modern culture intruding into the fantasy environment, as in Moving Pictures, Soul Music and Going Postal - and really does something quite interesting. There's lots here, the major plot line being the mutual interlocking of the Patrician's statecraft with the new technology, and how this affects a power struggle between the fundamentalists and pragmatists among the Dwarves, but there are plenty of shout-outs to characters and situations from earlier volumes. I liked it.

Once you have invented railway trains, society and economics on Discworld are surely going to be altered for ever; and I wonder if Pratchett now feels at liberty to change his creation so fundamentally because he feels he may be nearing the end of his own engagement with it. We started from a parody of Lankhmar three decades ago, and now appear likely to end with steampunk, after many diversions along the way. Hopefully there will a few more stops before the end of the journey.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 21st, 2014 08:47 pm (UTC)
I'm wondering if this is in prep for handing over the reigns to the next generation... I understand his daughter is already heavily involved in the future of the franchise.
Jan. 22nd, 2014 10:41 am (UTC)
Rhianna is going to script-write The Watch (and possibly other things), but reports to the effect that she was going to take over the novel series all come from slightly confusing wording in a single source, and have been strenuously denied.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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