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Reviews Comments: The end lesson for people who read fantasy and for those who don't Dodger film/book review by Tom With No Numbers

Dodger is the Discworld if it were set in Real Life. That is, it's exactly the same.

In fact the question all fans will be asking is, why isn't this set in the Discworld? Sir Pterry knows his stuff and for years he's brought his world to life with details taken out of Victorian London. Shonky shops, sammies, toshers, ladies of negotiable affection. There is a reason that the man known as Robert Peel is unmistakable for the man known as Sam Vimes. But this is a way of paying back. To take a Pratchett idea, he's never written about reality but instead the way we think about reality. He has taken our experiences and our lives and made a book out of them. He understands that there is truth and there is fog and what we take out of the fog to use to make sense of our world is Truth, but that's not the same thing as what has happened.

And now to prove it, he's written this. For those who dislike fantasy (it's just made up stuff) he has written a book based in reality and it is indistinguishable from everything he has written before and for those who have loved fantasy as a way to get away he's shown that if you run far enough you end up right back where you started. We can't help but think and it's important to never lose sight of that and that even in our escapist fiction there is an opportunity to learn more about who we are and why we do the things we do, and become interested in those in less fortunate circumstances as us and raise ourselves as people. All things Dodger is about. The author has described the book as a fantasy novel, yet almost all the characters are real and doing things they would do in a real place, yet who are we to dispute that? It had to come out of his mind first

In particular there are two characters in the book, Charles Dickens and Henry Mayhew, both went out of their way to learn about the poverty around them but conveniently out of sight, Charles Dickens wrote novels to illustrate it and Henry collected facts and published those. The book is dedicated to Henry Mayhew.

The story itself is fun and happy and lively, although the plot is a little weak, I'm not sure if the plan at the end was meant to be a secret but it was obvious enough that I was frustrated people weren't doing it from the start. I think this works best as your last Discworld novel or your first.


  • TomWithNoNumbers
  • 20th Jan 13
As an aside when I read The Witch Watch, the writing style kept reminding me of Terry Pratchett and because that one was set in Victorian London first, I kept feeling like Dodger had cribbed from it =D
  • nrjxll
  • 5th Feb 13
I'm not sure I like the implication here that fantasy is something to be outgrown.

(Actually, I unquestionably don't like that implication; what I'm not sure about is whether it's unintended).
  • TomWithNoNumbers
  • 6th Feb 13
I didn't mean to suggest that lesson. What the book is a counter-argument to is that Escapism is the be all and end all of fantasy. For the people who dismiss fantasy as escapism, it shows that fantasy can be just as valuable in peoples lives and is ultimately exactly the same as the fiction they read, without the pretense. For people who just want their fantasy to be escapist it shows that there's always opportunities to improve yourself as a person and learna bout the world within it.

I didn't mean 'the last lesson for people who read fantasy' as in 'they read this and then stop reading fantasy', but rather that it validates everything they've read before it and is the end argument on why reading fantasy is a cool thing to do

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