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The Dark Side of the Sun [Hardcover]

Terry Pratchett
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: New York : St. Martins Press (1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312182708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312182700
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,343,857 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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett does SF 15 July 2004
By Jane Aland VINE VOICE
Before the success of the Discoworld novels, Terry Pratchett tried his hands at a couple of science fiction novels. His first, 1976's The Darks Side of the Sun, deals with the oft-tackled idea of a creator race, one (here called the Jokers) which shaped the universe and its inhabitants but have since disappeared.
The novel serves as a travelogue through Pratchett's future universe, and with its cast of well-developed aliens and locations this is a rich journey. Probability maths, quantum physics and evolution are dealt with in a light and readable manner with a small but well drawn cast. The novel isn't laugh out loud funny, but there are elements of Pratchett's trademark humour.
A short but successful piece of sf universe building, recommended even for those who may not enjoy the authors comedic fantasy output. After re-reading this the real mystery is not the whereabouts of the Jokers, but why with his prolific and relentless Discworld output Terry Pratchett has never found either the time or the inclination to produce another science fiction novel - on the evidence of this he certainly has the talent.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars funky and furiously original 2 Mar 2006
This Terry Pratchet novel is a hilarious, coming-of-age romp through a funky and furiously original galaxy populated by 52 intelligent races and beings with endearing quirks. Some of these beings are luckier than others and our hero, Dom Savalos, is one of them. On the eve of his ascension to the chairmanship of his planet, he finds out about something that has preoccupied some of he best minds around - the science of probability maths, which predicts both likely and seemingly inevitable outcomes of individual lives. Dom find himself in the position of being predestined to find the world on which the enigmatic jokers reside - a prehistoric, highly evolved race thought by many to be responsible for most of the other intelligent life in the galaxy. But the story only starts here...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The endless question 5 May 2005
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME
Young Dom Sabalos is about to become Chairman of an entire planet. That means giving up countless adolescent pleasures. He won't be able to make exploratory journeys into the marshes or ponder the mysteries of the Joker Towers. Of Old Earth ancestry, Dom's home is Widdershins, a planet producing a special pharmaceutical - pilac. The demand for this drug has made the Sabalos family powerful and rich beyond calculation. It says much that Dom's godfather is a bank. IS a bank - one that takes up an entire planet.

Being rich and powerful evokes enemies, even when your wealth is gratefully contributed to by all who take pilac. Which is nearly all sentient creatures. There are other species scattered about the universe, but they all appear to be approximately the same duration - four or five million years. Before that, there seem to have been The Jokers. As Dom flees Widdershins to thwart assassination, he seeks answers to the Joker mystery. The quest leads to endless adventures and opens many questions in the reader's mind. The main one being: "Who are we, and where did we come from?"

In today's world, "Dark Side" can occupy only a special niche. Older - sorry! "established" - Pratchett readers may look upon this book as an historical curiosity. The really established SF reader will see the obvious reliance on Isaac Asimov's "Robot" series. In "Dark Side", the very intelligent robot is named "Isaac". Douglas Adams' "probability math" is given place and complex problems are solved by a team of a poet and a "mad computer". The book's themes and characters are very "1970s SciFi". Yet the sparks of the later Discworld books shine brightly here.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A cute parody 2 April 2003
Terry Pratchett wrote this early novel as a parody of Issac Asimov's books, with partial success. It's a nice read one time, if you're a Pratchett fan, but otherwise it's not a very good book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars approach without prejudice 19 Jan 2010
By Ivan Bradley TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I read this shortly after it was published, and of course no-one had heard of Pratchett. Discworld existed only as a twinkle deep in the undug mines of the author's subconscious and, most importantly, I had no preconceived notions of what a Terry Pratchett novel might reasonably contain.

I enjoyed the book immensely, not for the plot - which was certainly adequate and interesting - but for the details. Away from the Discworld expectations, Pratchett presented as a more casual and less angst-ridden Moorcock, painting an involving tripscape which comes into focus in humorous, fine brushstrokes which tickle the ol' funnybone without holding you down and relentlessly tormenting your ribs. This may casuse problems for those reared on the Disc, but if they can put aside expectations of Death strolling in on Binky, I can promise an enjoyable read.

A tiny mechanical spider weaves a web of fine metal wires, wanders off to find a power source and waits for the inevitable mechanical fly to get zapped in a blue-flash as it blunders into the web. The spider dismantles the feebly protesting bug with its own spanner-shaped claws...
Much better in Pratchett's words, of course, and in context, but lovely imagery. If Dune had had this kind of counterpoint imagery, it may well have attracted a wider and younger audience. That, of course will have happened in one of the many universes of alternatives generated by Dark Side's probability maths, but their audience won't be reading the version we all know and love.

The literary cognoscenti will thrill to the misquoted but contextually appropriate parody of Aristophanes, and this, like so much of the fine texture of the story is simply dropped in as a throwaway gag.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Early Pratchett Sci-Fi
Early PTerry but still very readable. If your a Terry Pratchett fan it's got to be worth a try (if only to see how he's improved over the years) :-) .
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting early Pratchett
The Dark Side Of The Sun is the second stand-alone novel by British author, Sir Terry Pratchett. Dom Salabos is about to become Chairman of the Board of the planet Widdershins,... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Cloggie Downunder
3.0 out of 5 stars Weird
Sorry this is the only Pratchett story that I didn't enjoy, too bitty & un-explainable! plus with the footnotes at the back of the book rather than at the foot of the page they... Read more
Published 7 months ago by J.Mike D
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
what more can you say if your a Terry Pratchett fan then your going to like it i often hear complaints about certain of his books but as far as i am concerned some are just better... Read more
Published 8 months ago by MR D J SMITH
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky
Bit like one of his early works(strata) excellent nonetheless as ever with his twists and turns in the plot super!
Published 9 months ago by Jeremy Herrtage
5.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett fan
bought this and lots of other pratchett books when got my first kindle so could read as liked. All the older books haven't read for a while and can not afford the prices for the... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mrs. Deborah L. Ankrett
1.0 out of 5 stars Audio book - Reader has strange style
I am reviewing the audio book only - you can find plenty of reviews of the story on the print version. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Angela
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Not quite in the humour that I expect from Terry Pratchett, felt similar to the Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, good read but not what I was expecting given who it was written by!
Published 14 months ago by Jessica
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Terry's earlier books
I have read and re-read all of the Disc World books and am a huge fan of Terry's work, so I read this anyway and enjoyed it more than a lot of other books that I have read, but it... Read more
Published 14 months ago by A. Rea
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Pratchett Sci-Fi
Definitely one for fans of Terry Pratchett. You can see some early "Disc-world" phrases and ideas, and some of the humour to follow. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mrs S M Gear
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