Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Strata by Terry Pratchet

Strata, by Terry Pratchet, is the book that calls itself (according to the blurb), an "early exploration of the idea that was to become the bestselling Discworld series". Which is why I borrowed the book from the library(: But sometimes, such titles may unintentionally harm the book.

Strata is placed in a universe where humans have learnt how to create planets. Kin Arad (the protagonist), comes across a man who talks about a flat earth (that is the early version of Discworld). Through a series of events, she and two friends/acquaintances are trapped into a flat version of earth, way in the past.

Because this book supposedly inspired Discworld, I was actually expecting a world very similar to Discworld, not earth. Earth is cool, but it's not Discworld. Therein lies the problem. The story is good (relatively) but because I was expecting something as funny as one of the Discworld novels, I was disappointed.

The story itself, is interesting but doesn't seem very plot-centric. Well, plot does feature heavily, but I had this strange feeling that this was more of a character exploration than a story. And unlike his later novels, this book doesn't have as many funny moments.

The last point I have to make is basically about the ending of the story. While most stories by Terry Pratchet don't have satisfactory endings, it's fine with me because these stories take place in a larger world, where each character will appear here and there, and so, we'll be able to find their stories (even if it's in a haphazard way, because I don't read in chronological order). But in this story, I had this feeling of loose ends, such as "Why does Kin say she knew this already?" Even the explanation of the plot isn't very well done, because it admits that not all the information is known (because she suppressed it). This, in my opinion, greatly weakens the book.

But still, it's actually very interesting, as an exploration of how other worlds like ours would be like, and it raises valid ideas about the meaning of "cosmopolitan". I don't like it as much as his other books though...

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