Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Review - Terry Pratchett's The Truth

The Truth by Terry Pratchett
Published by: Harper Torch
Publication Date: 2000
Format: Paperback, 368 Pages
Rating: ★★★★
To Buy
Movable type has come to Ankh Morpork. No longer are writers at the whims of the engravers guild. The element of time has changed. News is new! Instead of having to laboriously carve out a plate, just get the dwarves to slap together some letters and viola. William De Worde has always made his way in the world by collecting interesting information and sending it on to people of interest located in Discworld's vast countryside. Just the latest gossip about a duke or the latest bar brawl or the latest rumor about Lord Vetinari. Nonsense, but paying nonsense. Till one day an accident leads him to the dwarves and they show him that with their press and movable type, he can have his letters now.

With time spreading before him William doesn't know what to do. Soon he's back at the Dwarves little printing shed. The Dwarves reckon that perhaps the man on the street would like to read these bits of info that William is accumulating for his wealthy patrons in the provinces. The dwarves appear to be right. There is a demand. In fact, such a demand that soon he hires the daughter of his irate engraver, Sacharissa Cripslock as a cub reporter and Otto, a vampire with a good photographic eye.

Soon a rival newspaper springs up, a newspaper not so much into truth as sensation. When Lord Vetinari is accused of attempted murder, will the truth out? Or will people just believe what they want to believe. Perhaps Lord Vetinari was right when he told William that giving people what they thought they wanted was a dangerous thing.

The advent of movable type changed our world forever. I would not have been able to read this book if not for it's invention. Just think of the impact this had on the world. Anyone could have access to books and bibles. Learning and reading was no longer just for those who could afford it but for anyone! Terry Pratchett has distilled this down, as only he can, into a comedic tour de force that shows, not just what news can do to a community, but what sensation and speculation can do. Terry has sped up the evolution of type from the first newspaper to the gaudy celebrity hunters of today. He has shown us, not just what we are, but the dangers of what we are. 24 hour news channels and gossip whores....


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