Book #82: Raising Steam (2013)

RaisingSteamAuthor: Terry Pratchett
Language: English
Length: 475 pages
Finished reading on: March 15 2015

I’ve been a bit lax on actual reading recently, preferring to use audiobooks as they allow me to multitask. Thus I spent quite a long time reading this, probably in the region of months. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve become a bit bored by Pratchett’s books, as recently I’ve found them thematically repetitive.

But perhaps what finally spurred me into finishing this was Pratchett’s death back in March. I don’t even know whether to call it untimely – it’s certainly young, as he was still only in his sixties, but Pratchett’s fans have known he was on the way out for the past nigh-on eight years, and have had the time to come to terms with it to some degree. Even then, I was kind of expecting him to power through it like the machine he’s been so far, so I still couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I read it.

Before I continue, I should mention that Raising Steam was fairly average for a Discworld novel – it’s not an instant classic, anyway. It is basically, I the vein of recent Discworld novels, about the rise of modern and industrial technology from the real world, in this case trains. The book shows that its author had a real love of trains, and alongside the rise of trains, there was also the rise of trainspotting, practically immediately.

I guess I was more expecting to get some kind of background to the development of the train, more than we do get in this book, anyway. It springs into the book basically fully formed, which allows the story to examine the effects of the new technology on the Discworld society. But it sort of felt like it had just been imported directly from the real world, and given a character.

Speaking of Discworld society, though, it feels by this time like it’s taken on its own life, what with the sheer amount of in jokes and references to various previous happenings. I feel like the time and effort that I’ve invested in the series is paying off.

It is thus with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to Terry Pratchett. I’d like to thank him for all the books that have been such a big part of my life during my teenage years and will presumably continue to be in the years to come. This isn’t even his last book: there’s another Long Earth book coming out later this month, and a final Discworld novel to be released in November or so. I’m sure I’ll have a chance to review them here later.


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