I'm wondering how I'm going to feel when I have no Terry Pratchett left to read. I think the Bromeliad is the last of his series that I haven't read, I still have a couple of the Sam Vimes books, and several of his latest novels. I'm saving them and savouring them as I honestly don't want to be in a position where I can't pick up a Pratchett I haven't already read. Oh well, I reckon it won't be such a terrible thing to read them all over again. And learning to be patient and wait for new books to come out is not so awful. Much.
Anyway, Truckers is book one of Terry Pratchett's Bromeliad trilogy and my second book for Carl's Once Upon a Time III challenge.
The small group of nomes who live out in the country are struggling. Their numbers are dwindling and, aside from Masklin and Grimma, are all elderly. Masklin is the only male fit enough to hunt and is reaching the point where he just cannot cope. He wants to leave, to find somewhere where life is not so hard but the others won't hear of it. There's a row one night amd Masklin goes off in a strop. While he's sulking the others are attacked by a fox and afterwards reluctantly agree to leave. They end up on a lorry which takes them to a place the like of which they've never seen before: the Store. To be precise: Arnold Bros (est. 1905).
Here they find more nomes than they've ever seen, in one place, before. The big shock is that these nomes do not believe in the existance of the Outside. All they know is the Store and will not believe that Masklin and his friends are Outsiders. The store nomes live in various departments such as Ironmongri, Millineri, Haberdasheri, Del icatessen, or the secretive Stationeri, and seem to live in a state of undeclared war with each other. The Outsiders eventually settle with the Stationeri but things come to a head when The Thing - an artifact they've owned for centuries - warns them that the store is about to be demolished and they'd better get out... fast! How can Masklin get the store nomes to believe him and even worse, work together to solve this terrible problem?
People seem to be divided about this series. Some I know are not struck, others love them. After reading just the first book I fancy I'm going to fall into the latter category. I really did enjoy it. It's classic Pratchett to my mind - a book about another species which really holds up a mirror for us to look at ourselves. You think the stores nomes are ridiculous until you suddenly realise they're exactly like us. It would be sobering if it wasn't so funny. Terry pokes gentle fun at just about everything, I particularly like his use of Arnold Bros. (est. 1905) as a sort of nome god, and the 'bible' quotes at the beginning of each chapter are brilliant.
'iv. On the Moving Stairs, let the sign be: Dogs and Pushchairs must be Carried;'
'v. And Arnold Bros (est. 1905) waxed wroth, for many carried neither dog nor pushchair;
'vi. On the Lifts let the Sign Be: This Lift to Carry Ten Persons;'
'vii. And Arnold Bros (est. 1905) waxed wroth, for oftimes the Lifts carried only two or three;'
'viii. And Arnold Bros (est. 1905) said, Truly Humans are Stupid, who do not understand plain language.'
I giggled all the way through the book to be honest. Every time I read one of his books I'm torn between laughing and marvelling at the man's sheer genius. He's unique; I can't think of another writer who writes like he does. Certainly I think his humour is uniquely British, as are the characters who inhabit his stories... I'm constantly amazed that the books appeal to anyone outside of the UK, but they clearly *do*. Truthfully, I think that one of the best ways for foreigners to understand us Brits is to read Terry Pratchett.
And now I have to wait to read book two, Diggers, because I don't have it. I have to grab it from my eldest daughter next time I see her so I'll just have to be patient. Oh dear.