I just finished reading Terry Pratchett’s fantasy novel The Truth. It’s the second Pratchett book I’ve ever read (the first was Going Postal), and I absolutely loved it. I laughed out loud and felt quite jolly, even during the occasional gruesome bits.
Amid all the chuckles and zippy plot threads, Pratchett manages to say sage things about the printed news media and the public’s relationship to those media: what’s important and what’s not, what the people will believe and what they prefer not to believe, what obligations the press have to the truth and what obligations they do and don’t have to those in power, and what might or might not be in the public’s interest.
Something I very much enjoyed in both Going Postal and The Truth is that both protagonists get swept up by events and find themselves building by bits and pieces what we in the real world see as established institutions. Lacking definite plans, the protagonists cleverly stumble onto methods and ideas that are new to them but old to us, progressing from one method or idea to the next in a somehow simultaneously random and inevitable series of cause and effect. In seeing through their eyes, those methods and ideas become new again to readers.
I am definitely going to add more of Pratchett’s novels to my list of books to read.