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Wednesday, December 02, 2015

When You Can't Get Back To Sleep... lie in bed, as I'm doing now, and write something. Too early to get up, too late to sleep again. The first trams have rattled past below and soon my clock radio will play what I hope will be soothing classical music...

My bedside table is piled high with books I have already read, because I can't get to sleep if I want to know  what's happening next. So I reread, for comfort.  Tonight's reread is Terry Pratchett's Wintersmith, the third Tiffany Aching novel. I find myself very comfortable with the Tiffany books. They are terrific Discworld novels in their own right, but have characters I love from other Discworld novels, Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, and in this book they play a major role. And Granny gets a cat, a small white kitten she calls You. She doesn't, the author tells us, do fancy. You is small, sweet and white, but scares Greebo, Nanny's cat, who scares wolves just by grinning at them.

In this novel, Tiffany makes the mistake of dancing with the spirit of winter when she's supposed to be just watching, and disasters happen. Fortunately she has the Feegles to help, those tiny Scottish-accented warriors.

I haven't been able to bring myself, yet, to read the final Pratchett novel. Because, you see, it is the last. Apparently he died with lots of ideas and outlines, and his daughter had permission to continue the series, but won't, perhaps wisely.

Think about all those books coming out these days that are finished versions of manuscripts left unfinished or sequels to hugely popular books. I haven't read many, can't bring myself to. Of those I have... Well, there was Stephen Baxter's Timeships, the official sequel to H.G Wells' The Time Machine. I found it very entertaining, but you know what? I've gone back and reread The Time Machine, but never Timeships, though I do admire Stephen Baxter. David Lake's The Man Who Loved Morlocks is a classic in its own right(pity it's long out of print! I wonder if there's an ebook), a wonderful book, and his "The Truth About Weena", in the first Dreaming Down Under Anthology, is delightful. But neither of them is H.G Wells.

The sixth Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy book, written after Douglas Adams' death, had everything going for it. It was based on his notes. His widow approved the choice of author, Eoin Colfer, author of the wonderful Artemis Fowl series. And yet, for me, it just didn't work. Colfer perhaps tried too hard to imitate Adams' style and couldn't quite get it right. In all fairness, I don't think Douglas Adams himself quite got it right after The Restaurant At The End Of  The Universe. There are some Hitcher's purists who hate everything after  the first novel, but I don't. In fact, I think the second was really just part of the first, only he missed the deadline for the umpteenth time and they just snatched the MS off him and published the damn thing.

I shudder at the thought of someone , even Terry Pratchett's daughter, trying to imitate his style and write more Discworld, even using his notes.

So the Discworld novels we do have will have to do me as comfort reading, late at night when I can't sleep. Fortunately there are plenty of them and I have most of them.


Lan said...

That's very understandable. Not wanting to read books that you think might not live up to the books you love. That's why I haven't read the latest Harper Lee novel. I would rather not have it change my opinion of one of my favourite books.

Sue Bursztynski said...

I confess I've downloaded the Harper Lee. I wasn't going to, but I did. I won't let myself read it until I've reread Mockingbird. Then I'll look on it as a "first draft" rather than a sequel, which it isn't, really, since she wrote it first, and reread Mockingbird again. ;-)