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Strata
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2003
Strata, by Terry Pratchett (published before the Discworld books), holds the basis of the creation of the original Discworld idea. It reads more like a serious sci-fi novel (albeit with some gags) and is far more thematic than the Discworld series.
The plot is as follows: Kin Arad (a 210-year-old woman) works for the “Company”, a planet building corporation. With in the first few pages she is approached by the stranger Jalo, who tells her that he has discovered a Spindle world (the Spindles were an ancient race of very talented world builders). She is intrigued and later agrees to join him in located the planet (which is flat) again.
This is a very enjoyable book; some times hilarious, other times deadly serious and profound. The plot is not very original, being very similar to Larry Niven’s “Ringworld”, but captures and holds the reader’s attention (well mime anyway). The characters each have individual and very likeable personalities, while the description of the Discworld are fantastic and vivid.
Surprisingly, this novel has a fairly solid theme that builds up towards the end. Highly recommended, especially to Discworld fans.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 19 July 2004
The second of two pre-Discworld science fiction novels, Strata is unfortunately a less enjoyable novel than The Dark Side of the Sun. Its most notable feature is that the novel revolves around a proto-Discworld, and while it isn't quite THE Discworld introduced in The Colour of Magic it's certainly a recognisable first draft.
The novel starts well, with a good build up as the three lead characters are drawn into a trip to the recently discovered Discworld, and the final revelation of what the Discworld is and who built it is satisfying, but there is a definite sag in the middle of the story, as the few Discworld inhabitants the exploration meet are decidedly dull. Thematically this is a sound novel, but the execution is sometimes a little flat.
A reasonably interesting but not wholly successful novel, Strata is best recommended as a curio for those Discworld fans who wish to see how Pratchett developed his ideas.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2007
Readers who criticise this book as disappointing because it isn't of the same calibre as Pratchetts later works are, I think, missing the point. This was Terry Pratchett's first novel, and the reader can trace within it the seeds from which the Discworld grew. I enjoyed it and re-read it from time to time. I would agree that the middle part of the book, when Kin Arad and friends are searching for the answer to their problems, sometimes seems to lack direction - it fragments into a series of vignettes which although entertaining do not always seem to move the plot onwards particularly well. However if such a novel were to be published today by an unknown author, as Pratchett was at that time, I suspect that it would get reasonably good reviews, possibly including some of the comments I have made but almost certainly ending with '...this author has promise and will probably prodice some excellent stuff in the future', and who would say that Terry Pratchett has not done just that?

Criticising this book because it is the product of an unformed talent is the equivalent of rubbishing Equal Rites because the Granny Weatherwax in that book is not at all the same towering character we meet in later books like Witches Abroad, so; read and enjoy, remember it is an early work, and forgive it its imperfections.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2000
The cover is great. That's what made me pick it up in the first place and as I got further into the book I kept turning back to the cover to see what the charecters look like. It generally helps the story along. I have read a lot of Pratchett, and although this isn't his funniest, it is one of the most clever. The story starts with a letter of complaint that modern artifacts have been found in fossils. This is intruiging and makes you want to read the book. I also like the fact that the main charecter is payed in "days" of life that she can exchange for longevity. This gives some indication that the book is set in an advanced civilisation, in fact you find out later that the book is set in the past. The "alien" charecters are interesting in that they do not have human values and you find this difficult to understand, as the writer says often. This book almost introduces the discworld,- featured in his later series and as an avid reader of his books, this interests me. I would reccomend this book to anyone who likes a sharp sence of humor and realistic conversations in Sci-Fi books.
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on 7 March 2009
Strata
It's impossible to read this book without comparing it to his works on the Discworld and very interesting to read because of that. One of his earlier works -this was written in 1981, this was the first appearence of a planet -(a flat disk on the back of 4 elephants, travelling on the back of a giant turtle) which in later books would evolve into the Discworld that we all know and love. It's perhaps not as well polished as the later books but it is worth reading and worth owning- if you are a particularily rabid collector the edition to look for would be the first UK paperback , published by NEL in 82- according to Pratchett's biblography there were only 5000 copies printed.
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on 4 June 2013
While you can still feel the elements Terry Pratchett brings to the table, they are definitely disguised in a silly but less amusing version of his works. While his building of the worlds is still exemplary, this is evidently an early work of his. The characters are less in depth, his traditional humour, evident throughout the disc-world Series, is muffled in this book. Though Strata is an insight into his idea for Discworld before he spent his days looking at it in-depth, the actual storyline of strata is not at all what you expect from the master. Interesting look at the before of disc world, but definitely not a great read in itself.
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on 15 October 2011
This book starts well, introducing interesting characters and an intriguing plot; and it ends well, with an interesting take on the Ultimate Question (you know: Life, The Universe etc.). But the bit in the middle was hard, hard going.

The main characters are not developed any further, but instead pass through a long series of scrapes whose outcome is never in doubt. They meet uninteresting, one-dimensional foes who we just don't care about. The only thing that kept me going was the frequent clever asides and the hope of a decent ending, which was more or less fulfilled.
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on 22 July 2013
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 hard backs (from middle to latest have a hardback collection). Took great pleasure in re-reading this again. The magic is still there and he's still the only author that keeps me glued to page chuckling away. If you haven't read a Pratchett novel before then buy one quick and be prepared for whole other world of entertainment.
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on 19 December 2014
One of the best sci-fi novels I've ever read, and one of Terry Pratchett's best. Also interesting in that it's presumably the acorn from which the mighty Discworld series germinated. The basic message of this tale is of such scope that it truly boggles the mind.
All the characters are inventively formed, and well-fleshed-out. The plot twists and turns as it slowly reveals itself, keeping the reader alert. As always with Terry, it has a superb, thought-provoking ending.
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on 20 March 2014
In the future, people will live long (yes, yes, and prosper). Humankind is able to build planets to order....

One of these planetary architects gets an insight into where we all came from; and has a shattering awakening as to our place in their universe.

There. Now buy it (and "Dark Side Of The Sun") read it and enjoy it. It's froth, but entertaining froth with a great taste and just a hint of disc-shaped worlds to come.
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