Monday, December 30, 2019

Hogfather (Discworld #20) (Death #4), by Terry Pratchett (author), Nigel Planer (narrator)

ISIS Audio Books, December 2002 (original publication November 1996)

The Auditors, guardians of order and logic in the Discworld cosmos (and really, you've got to have some sympathy for them, with a job like that), and this time the target of their concern is the Hogfather. Children must be stopped from believing in a fat old man who comes down chimneys and delivers toys every Hogswatch!

They need to rid the world of the Hogfather, which will be a neat trick, since the Hogfather isn't a person so much as a consensus figment of the imagination. And yet, he has a personality, and does deliver those toys...

The Auditors go to the Assassins' Guild to take out a contract on the Hogfather, and the head of the Guild realizes he has one Assassin who is crazy enough for the job. If anyone is going to succeed, it will be Mr. Teatime, and if he fails, well, he probably won't survive disappointing the Auditors. Either way, it's a successful outcome.

But, as Death realizes, and eventually gets around to explaining to his granddaughter, Susan, if the Hogfather ceases to exist, the sun won't rise the next morning. There would only be a big ball of burning gasses instead. When Death realized the Hogfather was gone, he saw no option but to take on the job temporarily to maintain belief in the Hogfather, and to tell Susan, very carefully, not to do certain things. He may not have this whole "people" thing down yet, but he does know his granddaughter.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the Discworld, including Unseen University, the disappearance of the Hogfather, and the great quantity of belief freed up thereby, is causing its own interesting problems. New minor gods are arising, to use that excess belief. New minor gods such as the "oh god" of hangovers that Susan encounters while doing the things she was specifically told not to...

This is a lot of fun, as Pratchett reliably is, and there's real thoughtfulness and intelligent commentary, underneath the surface silliness. An excellent read, or listen, for Christmas!


I bought this audiobook.

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