Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Terry Pratchett

I know I've mentioned him before and even probably wrote a mini-review for his recent book Nation--amazing, by the by--but I just wanted to take another minute to give him a good plug.

The more I've thought about him, and realized that I've read about a dozen of his books--probably my most read author then, or one of--he's been quite a formative author for this young writer. I remember reading Soul Music and really connecting with it. In fact, it affected me so much that I've been afraid to read it ever since, as I though it would suck. But the more I've read by him, the more and more I've been impressed with his writing.

Granted, we literary types aren't supposed to like genre fiction. We're supposed to turn up our noses and act like it's done nothing for the world--except maybe cheapen it. Yet how are we supposed to write of authors primarily known for their genre fiction: Ray Bradbury, George R.R. Martin, Stephen King, and even Terry Pratchett here. Sure, these folks entertain and write within their genre, but they still have something to say. Pratchett's Nation is one of the best coming of age stories and an examination about faith/beliefs/traditions I've read in a long time. And Bradbury, well, I'm going to rant about him later.

I think these authors walk a fine line between fluff and "deep-thinking" pieces that literary novels are supposed to be.

What I really want to say about this whole thing is that we need to get that stick out of our butts that tells us only to read "literary" works. You'll miss out on some very high-quality fiction. And there are many worse places to start than Pratchett. Give him a go.

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