The Carpet People was Sir Terry’s first published book. I was interested to note that the copy that I read was rewritten by an adult Pratchett. The original version written by his teenage self is pretty rare so I was left with this hybrid story. It felt very much like it belonged with his Discworld stories but how much of this was his natural style compared with how much was added in for this second version I have no idea. As a young writer myself, I would love to read the original version to see a master’s roots, how his writing grew and changed over the years and what standard he started at.
The story contains everything that I loved from the Discworld books. The characters are amusing and varied, the wit and wonder present and the subtle twisting and questioning of politics and society thread through everything. We see different cultures with different problems that compliment each other well and have a basic but well written narrative that is overall simply charming.
My only issues were small. Mainly, the protagonist, Snibril, is the only character that I didn’t form a real connection to. He was too, well… normal. The other characters have their fun little quirks but Snibril is more a lens through which to view everything else. He is quiet, more rational than everything around him, skilled enough to get by but without becoming some great hero and steps up to take command without any real leadup to it. In later Pratchett books we have equally wacky protagonists such as Rincewind, Moist and Carrot who truly feel like they belong in their worlds but Snibril feels apart from it all.
All in all though, it is a great little book that really does feel like the precursor to Discworld that it is. It made me smile and that is awesome.
“He waved his sword at the mouls. ‘It’s one against four,’ he said. ‘That means I’m four times more likely to hit one of you, and who knows which one it’ll be?’ – Terry Pratchett, The Carpet People.
7.5/10 tiny cucumbers