``Opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.''
WARNING, WHOPPING SPOILERS AHEAD. I write these pages as notes, records
and reminders to myself of books I have read. You are welcome to peruse these
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Thud by Terry Pratchett
|In ways this is the very best kind of science fiction you can get. Terry creates an alien civilization, imbues the various different lifeforms (dwarfs, trolls, werewolves, vampires, and humans) each with their own characteristics and specializations in society, and then plays out a story that could only happen in this environment.
The story itself is a fairly complicated detective story, with lots of dialogue and interplay between the various actors, making it scan almost like an Ian Rankin novel. A painting goes missing and some dwarfs are killed in a mine in which, it transpires, a troll happened to be lurking. The ensuing investigation is constantly side-lined by racial prejudices and tensions, and the hero of the book is a human policeman who refuses to take sides and battles to maintain a balanced inquiry. Parallels with issues in the real world are obvious, but thankfully they are never elucidated and the book manages to progress with a happy bounce in its stride.
The only problem that I had was that there are a lot of characters, and keeping track of who is _what_ creates more confusion on an already complicated plot.
The book is most notable, however, for its exquisite balance of outlandish fun and deep philosophical depth. Unfortunately both of these come together in a slightly weak and distinctly improbable climax.
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