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Raising Steam (Discworld) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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In 2007, just years before he was granted a knighthood for services to literature, Terry Pratchett announced he had been diagnosed with a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Although his illness has limited his ability to use a keyboard, it hasn’t stopped him from using dictating software to create yet another installment, number 39, in his internationally popular Discworld series. Here the invention of a steam-powered locomotive by an ingenious young artificer named Dick Simnel creates a stir among the citizens of Discworld’s prominent metropolis, Ankh-Morpork, as well as disrupting the affairs of assorted dwarfs, trolls, and goblins in the surrounding countryside. To keep Simnel’s invention properly reigned in, Lord Vetinari dispatches Moist von Lipwig, his trusted minister of almost everything, including the Royal Bank, to fund and supervise the construction of a railway. Leavened with Pratchett’s usual puns, philosophical quips, and Discworld in-jokes, the story offers an amusing allegory of Earthly technology’s many seductions and give series fans at least one more visit with their favorite characters. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A 200,000 initial print run, extensive advertising and media appearances, and frenzied online and social media coverage will carry forward the latest in Pratchett’s mega-selling series (more than 80 million copies sold). --Carl Hays --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Consistently funny, wise and clever. . . . Rewarding to both longtime readers and novices, filled with characters who leap off the page and metaphors that make you laugh out loud. . . . Pratchett's appeal isn't just his roller-coaster plots but the depth of his ideas.”
—Sam Thielman, Newsday
“Salted among all the treacle miners and nascent trainspotters are some serious ideas about technology and the irrevocable changes it brings. . . . While exploring questions about the unintended consequences of technology, Pratchett also blasts fundamentalists who resist all progress. But mostly he seems to be having fun with words in the very British strain of absurdist humor that he has made his own. And 40 books in, why not?”
—Sara Sklaroff, The Washington Post
“A delightful fantasy send-up of politics, economics and finance, as the Discworld gets a railway and complications ensue. . . . A lovely homage to the courage at the core of technological advance. . . . Pratchett melds politics, finance and the occasional dark turn with his fantasy and humor, and as ever his footnotes are not to be missed. . . . How many writers are more fun to spend time with?”
—Ken Armstrong, The Seattle Times
“A spectacular novel, and a gift from a beloved writer to his millions of fans. . . . A tremendous synthesis of everything that makes Pratchett one of the world’s most delightful writers.”
—Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
“What began with a farcical satire of pseudomedieval fantasy has become a Dickensian mirror of contemporary western society. . . . Raising Steam is the latest transformation of a remarkable fictional world that has evolved and grown with its creator—and it shows how, in the way of many things invested with devotion on the Disc itself, the Discworld has taken on a life of its own.”
—Karin L. Kross, Tor.com
“From the first, the novels demonstrated Pratchett's eye for telling detail and the absurdities of the human condition. . . . He remains one of the most consistently funny writers around; a master of the stealth simile, the time-delay pun and the deflationary three-part list. . . . I could tell which of my fellow tube passengers had downloaded it to their e-readers by the bouts of spontaneous laughter.”
—Ben Aaronovitch, The Guardian
"Terry Pratchett’s creation is still going strong after 30 years. . . . Most aficionados, however, will be on the look-out for in-jokes and references from previous novels—of which there is no shortage. Discworld’s success, like that of Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster stories, has never been driven by the plots. . . . It is at the level of the sentence that Pratchett wins his fans.”
—Andrew McKie, The Times (London)
“A brash new invention brings social upheaval, deadly intrigues, and plenty of wry humor to the 40th installment of Pratchett’s best-selling Discworld fantasy series. . . . As always, Pratchett’s unforgettable characters and lively story mirror the best, the worst, and the oddest bits of our own world, entertaining readers while skewering social and political foibles in a melting pot of humanity, dwarfs, trolls, goblins, vampires, and a werewolf or two.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Brimming with Pratchett’s trademark wit, a yarn with a serious point made with style and elegance.”
“Leavened with Pratchett’s usual puns, philosophical quips, and Discworld in-jokes, the story offers an amusing allegory of Earthly technology’s many seductions.”
Praise for Terry Pratchett
“Terry Pratchett may still be pegged as a comic novelist, but . . . he’s a lot more. In his range of invented characters, his adroit storytelling, and his clear-eyed acceptance of humankind’s foibles, he reminds me of no one in English literature as much as Geoffrey Chaucer. No kidding.”
—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World
“Given his prolificacy and breezy style, it’s easy to underestimate Pratchett. . . . He’s far more than a talented jokesmith, though. His books are almost always better than they have to be.”
—Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle
“Nonstop wit. . . . Pratchett is a master of juggling multiple plotlines and multiplying punchlines.”
—Ken Barnes, USA Today
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Top customer reviews
Also, the body count is weirdly high and the deaths are described in a sort of gruesome detail that's at odds with the tone of most of the Discworld books (there's a difference between body HUMOR and body HORROR). And while Sir Terry may have made a lot of jokes about death, he never treated deaths so carelessly (whoever wrote this book even mocks a mother's grief at the violent deaths of her two sons). Raising Steam centers and lionizes things like industrialization, financial success, and fighting skills, rather than the relationships and personal growth that are centered in most of Discworld. I feel like if this author wrote Jingo, Vimes would have valiantly led a tiny band of Watch to slaughter the entire Klatchian army.
On the deepest level, there's none of the fundamental wisdom that I expect from Terry Pratchett. Whenever I finish a Discworld book, I feel like I have a slightly better understanding of the world - even on re-reads! When I finished Raising Steam, I was like "Finally, that's over."
Ok, now I'm gonna go re-read the whole Discworld series however many times it takes to erase the memory of this thing.
Randomly at page 277: "Vimes said to Moist... "Grags, delvers, whatever they call themselves, the modus operandi is to find some innocent dwarf with the right connections and let it be known to him or her that that if they do not toe the line and do what they are told, then perhaps all their family will simply disappear in the Gap.' He smiled and said, 'Come to think of it, that's exactly what I do, but I'm a teddy bear by comparison and on the right side.'" That is NOT the voice of Sam Vimes! Next thing we know, he'll be exulting at the discovery of a clue!
Disappointing and horrible to read,
And like the other people who made this claim, I never imagined I would ever write a bad review for a Terry Pratchett book.
But I've come to the conclusion that someone else wrote this book. As soon as this thought struck me (around page 80) I found myself reading on and wondering how I could ever have believed this was Pratchett's voice at all. No, someone else has taken over the shop. His daughter is the most likely suspect, since he said he was handing the Discworld on to her. (By the way, a note for the copyright page detectives: The books have been copyrighted in the names of both Terry and Lyn Pratchett for years... long before his illness. And Lyn is his wife, not his daughter.)
Assuming that whoever wrote Raising Steam goes on writing, I want to offer him/her a few tips:
- You need to know two things about Vetinari. He's always in control of any situation, and we are never shown what he's thinking. Never.
- All right, you need to know a third thing about him. We are constantly told he's ruthless, but he's not. He's got way more ruth than most people.
- Oh, and a fourth thing. He's the king of understatement. When Vetinari threatens you, he raises an eyebrow. He may or may not make some comment along the lines of "Indeed?" He does not give detailed, repeated, re-repeated descriptions of what he's going to do to you.
- The members of the City Watch call Vimes "Mister Vimes".
- The dwarves do not represent Muslims.
- Dwarves refer to female dwarves as "he".
- Death is a good guy. He's sympathetic and takes a long view of human foibles. He's not going to threaten anyone with retribution, nor be particularly horrified by the sin of trying to blow up an unoccupied locomotive. Believe me, he's seen worse.
- Pratchett's later stuff was always suitable for children. There were no four-letter words, no direct, overt references to sex, and animals were almost never killed. Innocent bystanders were seldom killed, and when they were, it was never played for laughs. It's not that these things bother me particularly, except that they totally scotch any pretense that this is Pratchett writing.
- You can't be as funny as Pratchett was. And it's embarrassing when you try. So just drop the humor, drop the footnotes, and we'll all feel better.
Rereading it, I can't believe it. The book just plods on, giving me no reason to finish.
This is the one Discworld book that I would recommend people to skip. No character development. The plot at times feels like it's an excuse for cameo appearances of well known characters like Dobby Nobbs and Fred - who show up only to show their ignorance.
I won't go into the debate of whether Pratchett wrote this himself, or someone else did. I don't know. I do know that this book is no reason to skip the last Discworld book: The Shepherds Crown is right back on form. I love it and feel it's a great end to the series.