Strata

StrataStrata by Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Colin Smythe
Released: January 1, 1981
Pages: 285
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The excavation showed that the fossilized plesiosaur had been holding a placard which read, 'End Nuclear Testing Now'.
That was nothing unusual.
But then came a discovery of something which did intrigue Kin Arad.
A flat earth was something new ...

That’s more like it! Reading Pratchett chronologically, I was disappointed by the first two books. They were funny, but chaotic and disjointed. Strata wraps all the chaos and absurdity into a story which successfully holds it together, and stays strong throughout.

Through a set of circumstances, a human planet-builder meets up with two aliens. Without being given that much of a choice they find themselves at a place which really shouldn’t exist. Strange stuff ensues.

Strata does the wonderful British thing of being funny without seeming like it tries to be funny, and consists of a sci-fi, fantasy story with nuggets of wonderful absurdity and understated jokes throughout. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t say much more. But unlike The Dark Side of The Sun, which had a pseudo-philosophical point which was really just silly, Strata concludes on a note which is actually quite profound. At least to me. There are also interesting points scattered throughout which made me stop for a second to think about them.

By Strata it seems like Pratchett had found his groove, and this is only on his third book. I look forward to continuing reading through the groove.

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