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Terry Pratchett: Collection of early stories wins over critics

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(Read caption) Terry Pratchett holds his trophy for Best Single Documentary award at the 2007 BAFTA TV Awards.

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Bestselling fantasy author Terry Pratchett has released a collection of some of his early stories.

“Dragons at Crumbling Castle,” which is meant for middle-grade readers and was published on Feb. 3, consists of various tales by Pratchett that were published in the 1960s, long before he became the genre legend that he is today. Pratchett, who is behind such works as “Night Watch,” “The Color of Magic,” and “Raising Steam,” among others, was the bestselling writer in England before J.K. Rowling of “Harry Potter” fame came along, according to NPR.

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Pratchett’s new collection is earning mainly positive reviews so far. Publishers Weekly wrote of the book, “Though these stories lack the perfectly timed wordplay of Pratchett’s later work, they are a charming and funny sample of his early fictional imaginings. Accompanied by Beech’s wiry Quentin Blake-like illustrations, as well as numerous typographical flourishes, this volume will please both its intended audience and older Pratchett completists.”

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Kirkus Reviews was also won over by the book, calling it “rollicking….  The author admits to some minor editorial massaging, but these [stories] feature characters heroic or hiss-worthy, pranks and battles aplenty, sly twists on familiar tropes and his trademark mix of silly humor and acute moral commentary…. Juvenilia from a genius, showing bright signs of future masterworks.”

And NPR writer Tasha Robinson called the book “an enjoyable look at an early talent.”

“The Crumbling Castle stories are still antic and entertaining, with a sense they were written in stream-of-consciousness bursts, as unfettered exercises in imagination and positivity,” Robinson wrote. “They're airy, energetic and goofy.”


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