Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: Eric by Terry Pratchett

When I wrote the other day that it took me a long time to warm up to Neil Gaiman, I neglected to mention one important book: Good Omens, Gaiman's hilarious collaboration with Terry Pratchett. Seriously, Good Omens is one of the funniest books I've ever read.

Pratchett is another of those writers whose fans have scared me away from his work. They talk about the number of books in his Discworld series (40!) with such fervent admiration that I just lose interest. But, there comes a time when you have to try a thing to be sure you won't like it, and when you comes across a book in a used book shop (actually, in the archetypical used book shop), well then you know it's time.

I read Eric, which you know is a retelling of Faust because it has Faust written on the cover.

It wasn't terrible.

Sure, the character Rincewind is obviously a recurring character (subsequent research reveals that Eric is 4th of eleven appearances throughout the series), and Prachett doesn't do much to fill first-timers in on what's going on. It's all bright and flashy and funny and running. I get the jokes, I guess; the Discworld version of the Mayans and the siege of Troy and a journey to meet the Creator of the World (it's the fellow's job title).

Maybe Eric was the wrong book in the series to pick up, or maybe fantasy slapstick doesn't do it for me. If Eric had been much longer than its 200 pages, I might not have finished.

Or maybe it's because my introduction to Pratchett came through Good Omens (seriously, why aren't you reading it yet?). It's a little like watching Empire Strikes Back or Raiders of the Lost Ark, and then being disappointed with Harrison Ford's performance in Air Force One.

I'll read another Terry Pratchett book someday, but you'll have to recommend it.

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