Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

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The Tuesday "Late Lunch Review": The Last Hero

A few books back I felt Terry Pratchett had jumped the shark. Sure, the books were still funny, but they were missing something - some vital spark that needed to be there to turn them into vital, living things. It took me a while to realise what it was: a sense of righteous anger. I have this vision of a Victorian Terry at a pulpit in a tin hut chapel preaching "The're ain't no butter in hell!".

But it looks like he's angry again. The Truth was a cracking story, dealing with the role of the press in society in a new and refreshing way. And now, the paperback of The Last Hero is out, in a lavishly illustrated format. Don't go expecting a long read though, as this is a novella - though the glorious full page Paul Kidby pieces expand the book to healthy size.

This is a story about story, and the rules of story. An aged barbarian is ready to return the proceeds of the first theft ever to the gods. Though perhaps in not quite the form it was originally stolen. Accompanied by the remnants of his Silver Horde, Cohen the Barbarian is climbing the mountain at the heart of the discworld, ready to fulfil his destiny as the last hero. But when the wizards of the Unseen University discover what's happening, they realise that this will mean the end of the world. Carrot, Rincewind and Leonard of Quirm must journey around the Discworld in a wooden spacecraft to save the day...

Pratchett tells a neat, well constructed story. It's not laugh out loud, more the subtle humour of his latest works, where satire and cynicism take the place of jokes and slapstick. This is a mature work, which has a much to say about the nature and the role of story (along with science and curiosity) as Neil Gaiman's work on Sandman.

A short, but sweet read.

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