posted at Monday, January 26th, 2015 at 8:00 AM | Adult, Audiobook Reviews, Reviews
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction by Terry Pratchett
Narrator: Michael Fenton Stevens
Length: 9 hrs, 8 mins
Published by Random House Audio on September 23, 2014
Genres: Humor, Nonfiction
Amazon • The Book Depository • Audible
A collection of essays and other non fiction from Terry Pratchett, spanning the whole of his writing career from his early years to the present day.
Terry Pratchett has earned a place in the hearts of readers the world over with his bestselling Discworld series -- but in recent years he has become equally well-known and respected as an outspoken campaigner for causes including Alzheimer's research and animal rights. A Slip of the Keyboard brings together for the first time the finest examples of Pratchett's non fiction writing, both serious and surreal: from musings on mushrooms to what it means to be a writer (and why banana daiquiris are so important); from memories of Granny Pratchett to speculation about Gandalf's love life, and passionate defences of the causes dear to him.
With all the humour and humanity that have made his novels so enduringly popular, this collection brings Pratchett out from behind the scenes of the Discworld to speak for himself -- man and boy, bibliophile and computer geek, champion of hats, orangutans and Dignity in Dying.
Collected nonfiction is a phrase that would generally send me running for the hills. Sure there’s good nonfiction. I was a freaking history major even, but nonfiction is pretty close to my last choice when it comes to pop culture. However, I make exceptions for really cool people, like Terry Pratchett. I’m not a Discworld fan to the degree that I attend Discworld cons (in fact, tbh, I didn’t know they existed until I listened to this book), but I own quite a few and will own more as soon as I get time to binge a 40 book series. I will not, however, be purchasing a print copy of this book so I can keep it in my collection.
The stories, taken individually, are good. If you enjoy Terry Pratchett’s humor and have the same stance on assisted death, then you’ll enjoy them. Personally, I think he’s hilarious, so that wasn’t the issue. For the casual Discworld fan like myself, there’s some really fascinating stuff about his writing process. Discworld is apparently about 1/3 happenstance, 1/3 random, and 1/3 research into stuff one would not expect.
Pratchett has very interesting things to say on fantasy as a whole as well. He maintains, for one, that ALL fiction is fantasy. I actually agree with this, though I do not share his disdain for the term magical realism. It is true, though, that genre distinctions don’t matter as much as people think they do and that people need to start respecting fantasy and other so-called genre fiction.
The other significant included topic is on Pratchett’s Alzheimer’s disease. I knew he had it, but didn’t know anything about it really. He talks a lot about the future and how it affects him now. This turns into the discussion of Britain and how it should allow doctor assisted suicide, though he hates that term. This subject is a bit of a clunky fit with the rest, which is all writing-based, but I learned the most here.
Taken as a whole, A Slip of the Keyboard is not a good collection. The thing is that Pratchett wrote these speeches and articles over years and for various places. He gets asked to talk about a lot of the same things by different groups. As such, his collected nonfiction is incredibly repetitive. I often feared I’d accidentally rewound my iPod, because I kept hearing the same, slightly modified, stories and arguments over and over again. That’s not fun.
To truly enjoy A Slip of the Keyboard, it would need to be much shorter, cleansed of redundancies, or I would need to have gotten the print and skipped a good deal, which I actually don’t really do.
Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:
I felt like the guy spinning around and around and around.