Pratchett, Terry. A Blink of the Screen: Collected Shorter Fiction.

NY: Doubleday, 2012.

The late Sir Terry was best known, of course, for his forty or so Discworld novels (and more than a dozen other books of fiction), but he also produced a fair amount of short work over the years. This volume includes several Discworld “shorter writings” (stories, but also essays and odds and ends produced for conventions, introductions to online games, and so on), as well as twenty non-Discworld pieces —

including “The Hades Business,” the first story Pratchett actually sold for money, when he was thirteen. (Several more sales followed before he was old enough to vote, all of which are also included here.) Many of these pieces appeared in the 2004 collection Once More, with Footnotes, but most of them are worth rereading. And many of the non-Discworld stories are quite good all on their own, especially the award-winning “Hollywood Chickens,” and “The High Meggas,” which shows the origin of some of the ideas and the setting that later became The Long Earth. And “The Sea and Little Fishes” shows us whole other side of Granny Weatherwax. Other pieces, though, like “Minutes of the Meeting to Form the Proposed Ankh-Morpork Federation of Scouts,” are pretty minor and will be of interest mostly to Pratchett completists — of whom there are many.

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