Posted by : atcampbell | On : December 21, 1999

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

This discussion drew a small crowd, apparently due to the holidays. Five people attended in person, and another submitted e-mail comments. Hogfather is the latest volume in the large (over 20 volumes) Discworld saga. In this book, Discworld’s equivalent of Santa Claus mysteriously disappears, and Death fills in for him.

All of us enjoyed the book. We considered it to be excellent light humorous reading, and the topic was appropriate for the holiday season. We liked Pratchett’s take on “Mary Poppins”-esque nannies. The insights into the cultural origins of the Hogfather and other similar entities such as the Tooth Fairy were interesting and entertaining.

Much of the discussion consisted of recounting our favorite bits from the book. These included a very strange bathroom designed by Bloody Stupid Johnson, the strange thinking machine named Hex, and Death’s stint as a department-store Hogfather.

This book did have drawbacks. The book involves characters and plot elements from prior books in the series, and those of us who’d read few or none of the earlier books felt that we were missing out on some of the story. And while the social satire was fun, a lot of it was fairly obvious cheap shots.

Overall we found Hogfather to be a throughly enjoyable book. It was a perfect literary diversion for the busy holiday season.

— A. T. Campbell, III