A short story collection covering the entire career of one of our most prolific, and beloved, fantasy writers.
Pratchett (Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Tales, 2015, etc.) wrote the first story in this collection when he was just a teenager, and it’s astonishing to see how much of the Pratchett-ness is there already. His ability to create a character in a phrase and a plot in a paragraph; his wit; his knowingness—it’s all there. Yes, some of the earlier stories are, though funny, a bit glib. And there are a few bits of Discworld ephemera that are probably for fans only. But then there’s the loner at the outer edges of the multiverse whose peace is shattered by two intruders from the universe next door. There’s the hero who shows up at the door of the writer who just killed him off. There’s a time traveler named Mervin who gets stuck in a not-quite-England in need of a king, a bunch of witches who are pretty tired of Esme always winning the Trials, and a letter to Father Christmas that doesn’t come from the sort of person you’d expect—or from a person at all.
One of the main draws of this collection for serious fans, or aspiring writers, will be the chance to trace the evolution of Pratchett’s craft—but there’s plenty here for readers who have never heard of him to enjoy.