Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club
A Novel of Discworld
US HarperPrism paperback - 354 pages (left)
UK Corgi paperback - 445 pages
cover art by Josh Kirby (right)
Amy's Summary :
Terry Pratchett - Hogfather
Discworld's cheerless Auditors hire the Assassin's Guild to "inhume" the Hogfather, who at Hogswatch brings gifts to good boys and girls in his sleigh drawn by four large boars. Mister Teatime, an eccentric killer with a funny eye, is assigned the unusual job. He gets hoodlums Banjo, Medium Dave, Chickenwire, Peachy, and Catseye to assist him.
In the Hogfather's absence, Death in steps to do the Hogfather's rounds. Death and his assistant Albert stuff stockings, track chimney soot on carpets, and ask children what they want at the Maul - HO HO HO.
Susan Sto-Helit - governess, wielder of the poker, and Death's granddaughter - investigates the disappearance of the Hogfather along with a raven and Death of Rats.
Meanwhile at Unseen University Archchancellor Ridcully, Ponder Stibbons, the Dean, the Bursar, the Chair of Infinite Studies, Hex, and others are meeting anthropomorphic personifications such as the Verruca Gnome, the Oh God of Hangovers, the Eater of Socks, and the Cheerful Fairy.summary written by
10 Wow! Don't miss it
8-9 Highly recommended
5-6 Mild recommendation
3-4 Take your chances
1-2 Below average; skip it
0 Get out the flamethrower!
U Unfinishable or unreadable
- Skipped or no rating given
Terry Pratchett - Hogfather
Death standing in for Santa Claus is an inspired comic idea, and Pratchett executes it nicely. This book is consistently funny and at times hilarious. My favorite scene is where Death takes over for a department store Santa. The children take it all in stride, while the bewildered store manager tries to convince the police that Santa's an impostor.
Despite the absurd situations, however, there is much more to this book than just slapstick humor. Pratchett blends in his great wit and a wry writing style. I loved lines like the description of a group of carolers, "If you could have taken the lid off the scene, there would have been chocolates inside." He also works in satire, for example when a self-satisfied King tries to show how charitable he is by demanding that a poor man accept gifts from the King that he doesn't really want.
Pratchett manages to make Death an interesting and sympathetic character, completely putting to shame Piers Anthony's On a Pale Horse, which much less successfully attempted to present a sympathetic Death.
Finally, Pratchett's concluding message, that believing in things like Santa and the Tooth Fairy early in life prepares one to believe in elusive notions like justice later on, is nice without being overly sentimental.What do you think? Your comments are welcome. Please send them to