Saturday, February 25, 2006

Reader's Diary #39- Terry Pratchett: Carpe Jugulum (up to page 75)

Carpe Jugulum is the 23rd installment of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. To date there are 33 Discworld novels, the first having been published in 1983. This means that Pratchett has published almost 1 and a half Discworld novels a year. AND he doesn't exclusively write Discworld novels. There are also his three young adult novels, his five children's books , and manuals, etc about Discworld. So forgive me if I'm more than a little skeptical about the quality. Shouldn't there be a little more time in there to perfect the books?

But assembly-line authors aren't a rare thing. Stephen King, Danielle Steel, John Grisham and even our own Canlit goddess, Margaret Atwood could be guilty of mass producing. Incidentally, which of these do you think have published more? See comments for answer. Does this mean the books aren't good? "Good" is a matter of opinion I guess, and if numbers of copies sold are any indication- someone thinks these are good.

So is Carpe Jugulum good? Too soon to tell. But I am enjoying it more than last posting. Vampires are an intriguing bunch aren't they? All that classy evil with a touch of sensuality- they've certainly made their mark (pardon the pun) and Hollywood and book publishers continue to reap the benefits of our fascination. Of the three big vampire books (i.e., Dracula, Interview With the Vampire, and Salem's Lot), I've read them all and was slightly disappointed with them all- all style over substance- yes, even Bram Stoker's Dracula). But Carpe Jugulum isn't going for the horror market and maybe a humorous spin on vampires is just what the bloodsuckers need. That said, Pratchett still seems to keep the vampire's integrity in check; i.e., smooth talking, sensual and dressed classy. But I have enjoyed the upfrontedness of the Carpe Jugulum vampyres- it's a nice touch that they aren't hiding the fact that they are what they are- but hey, if that means using mindtricks to ensure everyone (well, almost everyone) is okay with the idea, then so be it.

And if anyone is interested in reading this book, but you haven't read a Discworld novel before- it doesn't seem to matter. I've jumped in at the 23rd(!) of the series and it doesn't seem to matter in my understanding of the book.


John Mutford said...

It's hard to give actual numbers, because many of these authors have collections, books under pen-names, children's books, etc. But from my research-

Danielle Steele has definitely published the most, followed by Stephen King, then Terry Pratchett, then John Grisham and finally Margaret Atwood.

Scotty said...

I'll defend Pratchett; I think he is a fantastic writer. He produces exactly what he intends: fun, whimsical fantasy.

However, beneath that layer of whimsy, he usually does have a point or two to make regarding his characters. Likewise, the point is made about humanity in general. If he choses to use vampyres, witches and Hedgehogs to make that point, so be it.

By the by, no, it probably doesn't matter where you jump in on the Discworld series. However, in the interest of character development, I do recommend you try to read the Granny Weatherwax story arc in order.

Robert Hiscock said...

Yes, in my admittedly limited Pratchett experience I'd say one of the best things the series has going for it is the amusing characterization. The characters do evolve throughout the books and I'm not sure they'd appear quite as appealing in the middle of the series without knowing how they got there.

Rebecca said...

While it doesn't really matter where you start in the series, there are definitely sub-series within the overall series, where different groups are featured prominently. Carpe Jugulum is a Witches book, and there are also the Night Watch, Death and Wizards. (I'm not wild about the Witches books, so I tend to avoid them.)

And yes, he's prolific, but he's also original. Like Scotty said, he's good at making a point about culture and society using slightly wacky creatures.