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A Blink of the Screen: Collected Short Fiction Hardcover – 11 Oct 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 203 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (11 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385618980
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385618984
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.1 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (203 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 156,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Tapner TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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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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By Friarofdoom TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Oct. 2012
Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I felt an overwhelming sense of crushing disappointment as I started working through the first few stories and articles in this book. I love Pratchett, and had high hopes. However, the pedestrian comic tales I found, with nothing to distinguish them from any decent (but not great) humourist, let me down in a way Pratchett never had before. They weren't stories that really deserved to be collected together - this was obviously a vanity project, riding off his name rather than the worth of the content.

Then, about a 100 pages in, I reached 'The High Meggas', a tale of infinite parallel earths that would later develop further into the novel The Long Earth. It's brilliant. Smart, incisive, funny, exciting, and best of all - it matters. The characters matter. Their struggles matter. It grips. From out of nowhere, the book suddenly stands alongside the best of Pratchett, and it doesn't look back.

With the book arranged to chart Pratchett's career from early, formative stuff that isn't quite 'there yet', to what we recognise instantly as the humanist humourist who gave us the Discworld, a law of expanding returns kicks in. If you're a fan of his novels, you have to wait for that writer to turn up in this book, but when he does he's on top form. I don't recommend that anybody wanting to know why Pratchett is brilliant starts here (they might lose patience, and never find out), but everyone who already knows will enjoy this (eventually).
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