I’m always suspicious of Pratchett’s non-Discworld books. I’ve read Strata and one of the Johnny books, and they were... okay, but not all that great. So even though I’ve owned Terry Pratchett’s Truckers, Diggers, and Wings , comprising The Bromeliad, I’d never quite gotten around to reading them. Now that I have, I can say that they’re... okay, but not all that great.

The books focus on a tribe of nomes, who are little gnome-like people. The first book is about how one group comes from the Outside into The Store, where a city-mouse/country-mouse dynamic comes into play. This is probably the best part of the series, as Pratchett gets to touch on the religious themes he explored well in Small Gods (the Store nomes worship Arnold Bros (est. 1905), and preach his dictate: “If You Do Not See What You Need, Just Ask”). The second book is a sort of Tehanu-style book, following the daily lives of the nomes as the hero of the first book goes off on A Quest; it’s enjoyable for what it’s not — you know how The Quest is going to go, so it’s intersting to see what’s going on back at the ranch. The third book, disappointingly, covers the same period of time as the second, but focuses on the guys on The Quest.

The overall impression is one of pleasant enjoyability. The books are still, fundamentally, Pratchett books, and feel much more Pratchettian than Strata did, but there’s something missing. Maybe it’s just the non-human main characters — ignorant wee folk make for poor protagonists (which is also one of the problem with much children’s literature...). Whatever it is, it means that these books are about on par with weak Discworld books like The Light Fantastic or Moving Pictures.


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