Reviewed by Steven H Silver
For the first time since 2008, Terry Pratchett has issued a new Discworld Diary, focusing on the Igors. Although Pratchett has been documenting the role of the Igors on the Discworld since Carpe Jugulum was published in 1998, they have generally been in support roles rather than the protagonist of the novels. With this year's diary entry, Pratchett has given himself the opportunity to flesh out the Igors and the role they serve in the Discworld Community.
The focus of the book, once one gets past the stodgy calendar format of eight days a week, is on the Ankh-Morpork Igors. Each double-spread page covers one week, with the eighth day, Octeday, not being assigned a number, but being filled instead with some tidbit about a particular Igor or aspect of Igor work. These notes are generally accompanied by an illustration which may, or may not, have anything to do with the information provided.
The bulk of the information about Igors comes between the months, when Pratchett has larger amounts of real estate to devote to his exploration of the Igors. These take a variety of forms, ranging from the Igors' (rather uninformative) family tree to contracts and rules of behavior for Igors. Most are presented in a faux Victorian style, both in format and in content. The best of these provides information, while many of them simply provide humor, occasionally humor that the reader much really think about to fully appreciate. Not all of the entries work and some of them seem to invite the reader to just glance over them and move on to the next entry, whether it be a bit of Octeday trivia or the longer pieces separating months.
If one presumes that the main point of the Discworld Diary is to allow the reader to track appointments, holidays, and birthdays, however it is arguable that most of the people who purchase the book do so in order to gain a collectible. The book does both quite nicely, and it is to be hoped that Pratchett and his publishers begin publishing the diaries on an annual basis again, especially as, in the past, ideas which initially cropped up in the diaries did manage to find their way into the more "canon" novels.
Pratchett has been quite good about publishing his Discworld novels on a regular schedule, along with additional works based on the main novels, such as Mrs. Bradshaw's Handbook, which provides additional information behind the novel Raising Steam. The Diary, therefore, doesn't fill a necessary gap in time between books, but it is, nevertheless, a welcome addition to the World of the Disc.
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