For our ninth episode we leave the Discworld again as author Amie Kaufman joins us to discuss Terry Pratchett’s Truckers. One of four novels Pratchett published in 1989, it introduces the Nomes – Pratchett’s second group of tiny folk living at the edges of the human-sized world.
Masklin is the young hunter in a group of Nomes: four-inch tall fast-living people struggling to survive on rats and the scraps they can scavenge from the human world. After two Nomes are killed by a fox, Masklin convinces the group to hitch a ride on one of the humans’ enormous vehicles, and they find themselves in the Store: Arnold Bros (set 1905), a wondrous place filled with food, warmth – and more Nomes than they have ever seen. As they try to adjust to the peculiar ways of life in the Store, its electricity revives “The Thing”, an ancient Nome artefact handed down for generations. It reveals to Masklin that Nomes were stranded on Earth millennia ago, but there’s hardly time to understand what that means before The Thing warns of immediate danger: the Store will be demolished in just fourteen days…
Truckers is a middle grade book – it has chapters and no footnotes! – which is nonetheless charming for “adults of all ages”, as Sir Terry liked to inscribe copies. In Masklin, Grimma, Granny Morkie and the other Nomes are echoes of Pratchett characters we love, and it’s perhaps surprisingly sophisticated in its satire, social commentary and love of wordplay. It forms the first part of “the Bromeliad” trilogy (a name explained by the sequels), but is also a complete and wonderful story all on its own. We’d love to hear what you thought of Truckers: use the hashtag #Pratchat9 on social media to join the conversation. But do try to use small words…
Amie Kaufman is on social media, but if you really want to keep up with what she’s up to, we recommend hitting her web site, amiekaufman.com. Her novels include the The Illuminae Files YA sci-fi trilogy, co-authored with Jay Kristoff, and for younger readers Ice Wolves, the first in a new middle grade fantasy series.
We’ll head back to the Disc next time when we grab a bag of banged grains and take in a few clicks in Moving Pictures! We haven’t currently confirmed our guest, but we’ll be sure to tell you who they are when we can lock in a date! You can still ask questions to be answered on the podcast by sending them in via social media; use the hashtag #Pratchat10 so we can find them!
You’ll find the full notes and errata for this episode on our web site.
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