At some point last November the virtual system of tripwires, bells, and motion-detectors that I have tied to the Internet failed to ring, buzz, or tip over any buckets by way of alerting me to the release of a new Terry Pratchett novel. I had to discover it accidentally, five months after the fact, while shopping for something else. Come to think of it, I wasn't shopping. I was noodling around somewhere, and a banner ad -- an actual banner ad -- notified me that I really needed to be reading something right now.
I could continue to complain about the failure of progress to be progressive in ways that serve me, but that would stretch the joke a bit far, and that's not what I want to do unless I am hoping to devote a lot of time to an explanation of how much better than mine Terry Pratchett's satire is. Which is to say, "much."
So, Raising Steam: Someone on The Disc has invented steam power, and has gotten around to the finer points of not getting himself killed with it. True to his usual, brilliant form, Terry Pratchett takes a complex concept, in this case it's "innovative disruption," and reduced it to a deceptively simple-looking story. This particular story features some of my long-standing favorite characters, including Sam Vimes, Lord Vetinari, and Death, but focuses on the relatively new troublemaking innovator Moist von Lipwig, who finds himself at the pointy end of maintaining the State's interest in steam-powered locomotion.
I loved it. I laughed, I cried, I fretted a bit (but not too much), and I marveled at Pratchett's continued mastery over words. He makes them do all of the things. All! Of the things!
If you've enjoyed Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels in the past, this one is quite good. It's not as dark as Night Watch, and not quite as touching as Snuff, but it's stronger than Unseen Academicals, and right in line with Going Postal and Making Money.
Am I a Terry Pratchett fan? Well, yes. As a fan, I extend this author a line of credit in the shape of "I will buy whatever he writes," and so far nothing he has written has hurt that credit rating. I'll keep reading as long as he keeps writing.