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A Blink of the Screen: Collected Short Fiction [Hardcover]

Terry Pratchett
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)

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Book Description

11 Oct 2012

In the four decades since his first book appeared in print, Terry Pratchett has become one of the world's best-selling and best-loved authors. Here for the first time are his short stories and other short form fiction collected into one volume. A Blink of the Screen charts the course of Pratchett's long writing career: from his schooldays through to his first writing job on the Bucks Free Press,; to the origins of his debut novel, The Carpet People; and on again to the dizzy mastery of the phenomenally successful Discworld series.

Here are characters both familiar and yet to be discovered; abandoned worlds and others still expanding; adventure, chickens, death, disco and, actually, some quite disturbing ideas about Christmas,all of it shot through with his inimitable brand of humour.

With an introduction by Booker Prize-winning author A.S. Byatt, illustrations by the late Josh Kirby and drawings by the author himself, this is a book to treasure.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (11 Oct 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385618980
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385618984
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.6 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 119,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Terry Pratchett is the acclaimed creator of the global bestselling Discworld series, the first of which, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. In all, he is the author of fifty bestselling books. His novels have been widely adapted for stage and screen, and he is the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, as well as being awarded a knighthood for services to literature. Worldwide sales of his books now stand at 70 million, and they have been translated into thirty-seven languages.

Photography © David Bird

Product Description


"Clever, neatly constructed and funny.Pratchett is one of the great comic writers and storytellers of our time" (Guardian)

Book Description

A collection of shorter fiction from Terry Pratchett, spanning the whole of his writing career from schooldays to Discworld and the present day.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Finished reading this today and thoroughly enjoyed it. It appears to contain almost every one of Terry Pratchett's short stories, except for 'Night Dweller' and 'History in the Faking' (And excluding the Bucks Free Press serialised shorts written as 'Uncle Jim', although it does contain two of those). Contains 10 pre-1980 short stories, 11 non-discworld stories and 12 discworld pieces, including the excellent 'The Sea and Little Fishes'. Each story has a short introduction by the author. Contains 15 illustrations as well - in the kindle version these are near the end between the last story and the Appendix but I'm not sure if that is also the case for the hardback book. The stories range in publication date from 1963 (The Hades Business, written when he was 13) to 2010 and and give an excellent insight into his development as a storyteller over time. I'd recommend this book to any Pratchett fan, or non-fan.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The shorter Pratchetts 28 Oct 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Here in one volume is a collection of many of the shorter works published by Sir Terry Pratchett down the years.

About two thirds of the stories in the book are not anything to do with Discworld. But the final third of the book is nothing but stories in Discworld and related to it.

The book runs for three hundred and eighteen pages. There's an introduction from noted writer A.S. Byatt. And Terry Pratchett himself gives a short introduction to each story, explaining how they came to be.

The earliest story in the book, 'The Hades Business' was something he wrote when he was thirteen. It's a little rough at first but it does get quite good after that once you get used to the writing.

The rest of the first section contains storys that are mostly quite short, no more than a couple of pages to five or six, although there are a couple that go a bit longer. There's also a story that formed the basis for his recent collaboration The Long Earth.

As a whole, this section isn't bad at all. Some of the stories are short one joke ideas, some are poems, and a couple are serious science fiction. It's up to the reader, if you're only used to his Discworld writings, if you'll take to all this or not. It does though show a fascinating picture of how he has developed as a writer over the years.

The Discworld portion of the book contains one short story with Cohen the Barbarian, a short story involving the Nightwatch, then a very long one involving Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. This is a superb story and well worth reading.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As Varied as the Discworld itself 21 Oct 2012
By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
I was disappointed with this years previous release 'Dodger'. The introduction of famous real world characters and a fairytale Dickensian London lacked the usual bite.
So this being so quickly released after that title left me sceptical to say the least. I needn't have worried.

With the exception of A.S Byatt's rather gushing intro this lays out a great smorgasboard of delights, starting with young Mr Pratchett esq. aged 13 taking an early, and not wholly unsuccessful, tilt at the writing business. On to a collection of non-discworld short stories of varying quality. Then finally what we all want, those Discworld short stories. A great collection that underline the beauty of a world impossibly potty peopled by a collection of equally potty characters that through decades of skilful writing have become beloved & cared for.

As well as this very readable collection there is a short personal introduction to each story by the lad himself & two sections of full colour plate illustrations by the superb Josh Kirby. My word how easy it is to forget just how superbly he managed to bring the ideas to life in intricate technicolour detail. An artist sorely missed.

This is not the cash in it appears to be & offers the fan far more than just a perfunctionary 'insight into the artist'. So many of these stories stand up happily in their own right & are well worth the reading. The ideas never less than interesting at worst & hilarious at best.

This offers a collection of short stories to keep the fans happy. Chronologically ordered & although not complete excellent reading & value for money.
Well worth owning & highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not sure! 23 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed quite a lot of the stories and it is fascinating to see how his story telling developed over the years. But not wholly as enjoyable as I had hoped.

Worth a shot if you like Pratchett but not unless you like the non disc world as well as the discworld saga's
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning! 8 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's almost like a quiz, spotting the ideas for future best-selling books, some of them from when Terry was just 13! Whoever researched and pulled together this collection deserves a medal - it's fascinating. And the appended notes from the Master himself are a revelation - you can hear his own re-reading sparking fresh ideas - his thought that more lie somwhere in his office, on long-lost audio disks, is almost unbearable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A curate's egg 8 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If, like me, you are a fan of Terry Pratchett, you will be fascinated by the development of his style over the time covered by these pieces. Some of the titles will be well-known to you, and some are deservedly obscure bits of stuff that began as ideas that nearly developed, but failed. I suppose it would be a shame to waste them, and they give some insight into the creative process, but reading them is a bit like watching your hero come second.

I am in the habit of re-reading the mainstream output, several times in many cases, but as far as this book is concerned; I am glad I have read it, but will only re-visit one or two items.
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