I, Maybot; by John Crace

I didn’t buy this book; someone gave it to me. Not particularly because they thought I’d enjoy it all that much, but just because… well, it was there, and I’d probably get a chuckle out of it, so why not?

That’s probably an appropriate way to think about the book, as it turns out.

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I don’t think I’m dead…

Normally, after a long hiatus I say something like “I aten’t dead!” just to remind people I haven’t abandoned the blog. But this time… wow. A quarter of the year without a single post! I’ve only read one and a half novels in that time, and I was really slow to review the one book I have read. As always I’ve had various things I’ve been working on, but not quite actually posted…

(besides, it often doesn’t seem worth posting here, since I have so few readers, and literally only one or two responders – so a lot of what I do write just ends up in forum posts instead…)

But, I do think it’s healthy to try to keep the blog running – discipline in one area helps me stay disciplined in others, I do tend to find, so I hope to work out something to put up here before too long…

I Shall Wear Midnight, by Terry Pratchett

Almost at the end of my Complete Discworld Re-Read Project

There’s an inevitable though morbid game that Pratchett fans are playing somewhere in the back of their heads, willingly or unwillingly, when they read his later novels: we can’t but wonder, “how much of the decline is due to the Alzheimer’s?”

Well, within just a page or two of I Shall Wear Midnight, the answer seemed clear to me: whatever perhaps went wrong in Making Money, and certainly went wrong in Unseen Academicals, and was arguably about to go wrong in Snuff, it wasn’t a problem with Pterry’s brain.

The tiredness of those novels, the bluntness of the wit, the familiarity – that’s not here. Here, Pterry is sharp, energised, eager to take on more complex themes. Funny. Reading this, it’s immediately clear that Pratchett, at least in 2010, could still do it when he felt inspired. Indeed, I’d tentatively suggest that, on a technical level, this is better-written than the previous three Tiffany novels, which were themselves well-written. In his ingenuity, his acuity, his observational humour, Pratchett here is as good as ever. Pratchett could still write.

My problems, unfortunately, are with what he could write…

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