Strata @ Terry Pratchett (1981)

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Coverart by Marc Simonetti

Kin Karad works for the Company. Her job is to oversee the creation of planets. Imagine that: being able to be part of planet-creation. Might make you feel like a supreme being, perhaps even a bit cocky. Add cockiness to a brilliant mind and the road is short to doing something to divert your attention from the incredibly boring task of layering the planet properly. One must remember to place the fossils in the correct layer, thus avoiding confusion with later settlers. Placing a plesiosaur holding a placard reading “End Nuclear Testing Now” in the wrong stratum might seem like a good idea at the time. Newbies! Always so full of themselves.

Kin does remember being exactly like that herself once upon a time, and she is impressed with the inventiveness of the culprit. The Company is not. It expects its employees to follow the regulations come what may. Bureaucracy that strict might get a bit boring after a couple of centuries. Kin is getting tired of her life.

Right on time she receives an invitation to travel with the stranger Jago Jalo. Kin Karad decides to go but when she gets to the spaceship she discovers that she is alone. Companions will be joining her later – a kung called Marco Farfarer, and Silver the Shandi. They are told that they will be going to a flat world. Yes, a flat world with a star system revolving around it.

This trio gets to meet interesting people who all seem to have one aim in their lives – get rid of the weird strangers. Some of the people they meet are as strange as Silver. Although Silver might think humans look pretty strange. All in the eye of the beholder I guess. Some of the people/creatures they come into contact with are more than they appear to be. In fact all of Flat Earth is other than it appears to be.

Humour is a tricky business. Some humour can be extremely funny without my feeling the need to laugh. That is because really great humour – to me – is humour that makes me squirm inside my head. I find Terry Pratchett to be that kind of author. He rips the world and literature apart and puts them back together in a manner that makes sense to me.

As I read Strata at an older and infinitely wiser (cough, cough) age, Pratchett showed me new layers of myself and the world around me. He continues to do so in all of his stories. In Strata I got to meet fun characters, enjoy excellent action and have an interesting philosophical discussion with a dying “world”. While Pratchett has grown as an author since those early days, even WAY back then, Terry Pratchett was a pretty awesome writer.

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Reviews:

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Translations:

  • Bulgarian: Страта; Transl: Светлана Комогорова – Комата; Прозорец, 1999
  • Czech: Strata; Transl: ;Praha, Magnet-Press, 1997
  • Dutch: Delven; Transl: Jaime Martijn; Amsterdam, Meulenhoff-M, 1982; Cover-art: Tom Barber

    • Strata; Transl: Jaime Martijn; Amsterdam, Meulenhoff-M, 1994; Cover-art: Nico Keulers
  • French: Strate-à-gemmes; Transl: Dominique Haas; Paris, Pocket, 1997
  • German: Strata oder die Flachwelt; Transl: Heinz Zwack; München, Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag, 1983

    • Strata; Transl: Andreas Brandhorst; München, Piper Taschenbuch, 1992
  • Polish: Warstwy Wszechświata; Transl: Ewa Siarkiewicz; Warszawa, Oficyna Wydawnicza Almapress, 1992

    • Dysk; Transl: Jarosław Kotarski; Poznań, Dom Wydawniczy Rebis, 1999
  • Russian: Творцы миров; Transl: Олег Колесников
    • Страта; Transl: Л. Щёкотовой; Внецикловые романы, 2004
    • Journal: Если № 3, март 2004; Терри Пратчетт; Страта; Transl: Л. Щёкотовой; стр. 117-222; Art: И. Тарачкова

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Sources

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Audiobook

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About humanitysdarkerside

Bibliophile, small-time activist, ASD, blogger

Posted on 2014-12-07, in Book reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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