The Bromeliad Trilogy: Truckers, Diggers, and Wings Library Binding – Oct 2003
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About the Author
With sales of over 30 million copies, Terry Pratchett's brilliantly funny and subtly wise books have been translated into more than 25 languages.
In addition to his novels about the fantastic flat planet Discworld, Mr. Pratchett has written several children's books, including The Bromeliad Trilogy and the books about Johnny Maxwell: Only You Can Save Mankind, Johnny and the Bomb, and Johnny and the Dead.
Mr. Pratchett won the Carnegie Medal for his first young adult novel set in Discworld, the amazing maurice and his educated rodents, which was also named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, one of the New York Public Library's 100 Books for Reading and Sharing, and a Bank Street College Children's Book Committee Book of Outstanding Merit.
Mr. Pratchett lives in the English chalk country.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In "Truckers," a small band of tiny nomes, led by the desperate Masklin, have nearly been killed off by the rough life on city streets. But then they find themselves in the vast Store (also called Arnold Bros, est. 1905) where there are even more nomes -- nomes who think that Outside is a legend. But they're about to have a rude awakning -- in less than a month, the store will be demolished. And if the nomes don't get away quickly, they'll be wiped out too.
"Diggers" picks up the tale of the nomes after they escape the doomed Store. They take up resident in an abandoned quarry and start to make new lives there. But when the quarry is set to be reopened, a new, long-term plan must be made -- they must get the Thing (a little talking black box) back to the ship that brought them to Earth in the first place!
"Wings" is a parallel tale to "Diggers," as Masklin struggles to get the Thing back to their ancient ship. To do that, the Thing says, it needs to go to Florida. Masklin and his friends haven't got the faintest idea where Florida is or how to get there. But to save their tiny race, Masklin will venture into the unknown -- a huge flying truck called a Concorde. But will they be successful in finding the ship?
A civilization of tiny people living in a department store sounds like the dorkier juvenile fantasy stories, but Terry Pratchett's unique spin makes it thoroughly entertaining. He sprinkles the books with Bible-like quotations ("And Arnold Bros (est. 1905) said, Let there be Signs, so that all within shall know the proper running of the Store"), and plenty of humor ("You may be interested to know that we've just broken the sound barrier!" "All right, own up. Who broke it?").
He also provides us with the Thing (a computer), which tends to be a bit more human in outlook than the nomes. While "Wings" has somewhat less tension (because we KNOW what's going to happen), it's fun to see the highly improbable schemes of the nomes being put into action. They're so innocent and pleasant that it's impossible not to root for them.
Terry Pratchett's Bromeliad trilogy isn't as complicated or strange as his other works, but it is immensely funny and very well-written. Recommended for kids and adults alike.
Truckers is the story is of a huge bunch of Nomes who live in a massive Department Store called Arnold Bros (est 1905). They have lived there so long that they have forgotten what came before. They have no idea how the human world works and their mysterious talking box only gives them the slightest of clues. But they usually misinterpret what it says. For example, the store often has a mammoth sale, even tho there are no mammoths for sale. After receiving the horrible info that the store will be demolished the Nomes hatch a daring plan to escape in one of the delivery vans.
Diggers (a rather Christmassy story) picks up as soon as the Nomes stop their truck and make a new home in an abandoned quarry. But as soon as they settle in word has it that the quarry is to be re-opened (by order). Their talking box speaks of a spaceship orbiting the earth for thousands of years apparently awaiting their return. So some of them take-off for Florida to stowaway on a shuttle launch while the rest plan an escape in an old Digger (jekub).
Wings is not so much a sequel as it is 'what happened elsewhere during Diggers'. It's the most interesting of all three as it has the most story. The Nomes' plan is so far-fetched and impossible that it's so funny to see it actually work. I really like these stories and perhaps some day I'll start reading the discworld series. But this is fine introduction to the writing of Terry Pratchett.
All the nomes must abandon the Store when it is slated for demolition; "Truckers," contains the story of their escape. The second volume, "Diggers", describes their attempt to carve out a life in an abandoned quarry. In the third volume, "Wings," we discover that the nomes' ancestors once lived in outer space, as their leader ventures to Florida's NASA Space Center to learn how to return his people to their origins.
"Truckers" is as funny as anything Pratchett has ever written; the send-up of religion, supporting the theme of believing in what can't be seen, combines with slapstick farce. (At one point the six-inch-high nomes successfully train themselves to drive a human-size truck only to forget to open the garage door before exiting the garage.) "Diggers" is somewhat witty, whereas "Wings" is a lesser effort. This third volume spends most of its time apart from the various characters that make the nome community entertaining reading.
Still, as always, worth the read!
Their universe, however, is threatened by something worse than "Fire Sale" or "Final Clearance". There's a demolition order issued and "Everything Must Go!" For real. Masklin, who led his little tribe in from Outside, must now lead them and thousands of others back there. The escape from The Store - the abandonment of a known universe - is traumatic. It's also a side-splitter. Just how do 10 cm "people" arrange to drive their own lorry? "Let's have a bit of fast, down there!" doesn't start to convey Pratchett's descriptive powers. Nor the clashes of personalities involved in steering, signalling and achieving "Lots and lots of stop!" The stopping results in the nome community taking up residence in a rural quarry.
The exodus of the nomes from the universe of The Store to a promised land Outside generates a whole range of new problems. Not the least of which is the knowledge that this isn't the end of the journey. Masklin possesses a small "black box" which imparts arcane information about what this "Moses" of nomes must do to return his people to their real home. It's going to take more than nicking a store lorry. They must travel further - to a place called "Florida" - then into Outer Space. It will require planning, daring and ingenuity, but one nome is up to the task. Masklin's sense of purpose would shame a missionary. Yet, even in the face of incredible dangers and novelty, some nomes have to be restrained in their eagerness to explore new universes. Others, of course, hang back in the security of what's known - even when that foundation changes.
Throughout these stories, the implications of scale are paramount. How readily would you perceive 10 cm high "people" scurrying about beneath your feet? If you were that tall, how would you perceive the universe? Gurder, the young Abbott, manages to come to grips with the existence of Outside the Store. But leaving it doesn't mean abandoning Arnold Bros [est. 1905]. He insists that Arnold Bros [est. 1905] is present everywhere, and all the time. With each new reality, Gurder is able to adjust his frame of reference. Sound familiar? At the other end of the scale, Pratchett introduces us to the Amazonian Tree Frog. These tiny creatures inhabit the flowers of the "bromeliads" - plants living in trees instead of the ground. Their universe is one blossom - until one peers over the edge.
Take up this trilogy and peer over the edge. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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