on November 25, 2003
The Carpet People is basically Lord of the Rings on a carpet. A much condensed, and funnier, Lord of the Rings on a carpet. The story takes place among the hairs of the Carpet, where the miniscule Munrungs, a peaceful tribe of simple nomads, have just gotten their village destroyed by the terrible Fray - a destructive force that strikes without warning from the above. The survivors, led by the brothers Snibril and Glurk, Pismire the shaman, and the warrior Bane, set out on a journey across the Carpet in search of safety. On their journey, the heroes visit some of the more impressive places on the Carpet, including a dropped penny (the major source of metal on the Carpet), and a matchstick (the major source of wood), and they encounter some interesting Carpet inhabitants (a termagant, some pones, the wights, and Brocando, the king of the Deftmenes, to mention but a few). The story culminates in an epic battle against the evil mouls. The mouls can sense when Fray is about to strike, and have learned to take advantage of the resulting destruction and confusion to attack and enslave the inhabitants of the Carpet. The benevolent Dumii empire, which dominates the Carpet, is thus about to fall.
Pratchett originally wrote this story when he was 17 (and he got it published). But after the Discworld success, fans started clamoring for this early, and largely unknown, work, which meant it was time for a reissue. And time for a rewrite, as, according to Pratchett himself, the story "had a lot of things wrong with it, mostly to do with being written by someone who was seventeen at the time." I haven't read the original story, so I can't compare this version to the earlier one, but judging from what Pratchett says in the author's note, there are some large differences.
The Carpet People is perhaps aimed at a more younger audience, but I still think the story is too brief. Much more could have been made of the setting (this is, after all, a carpet on a floor somewhere we are talking about), and there sometimes seems to be large gaps in the story. The pace is also much too hurried, with a resulting lack of detail. Some of the things alluded to or mentioned in the story are never really explained (although this is characteristic of Pratchett), for example, it's never really clear what the destructive Fray is (I got the impression that it's someone walking across the Carpet, which would mean that time for the Carpet dwellers flow much faster than what it does for us). All this said, The Carpet People is still an interesting and entertaining story, containing trademark Pratchett observations and humour. For fans of the Discworld, this early sample of the master's work is, of course, essential reading. The Carpet People is, after all, Pratchett's first published novel.
on March 11, 2002
Many readers are familiar with Terry Pratchett's Discworld series and its delicious range of unforgettable characters, satirical creations and dialogue and thought-provoking themes. Less known are his earlier works, including The Carpet People, which Pratchett first wrote as a teenager and had published, then went back to years later and rewrote the book to reflect his change in viewpoint.
The Carpet People feels more like a children's, or young adult story, although if it can be found, it will often be placed with Pratchett's Discworld titles in the fantasy section. The story is a delightful bit of imagination, entire societies coexisting within the world of the Carpet. These tiny creatures go about adventure on the epic scale, with Pratchett's typical ironic observations and humorous interpretations. Our hero, Snibril has to set out on a quest to save a kingdom from enemies and to stop the destruction of a force known only as The Fray.
This is not one of Pratchett's most seamless works by a long shot. I don't think he intended it to be. A lot of the themes and world-building elements he puts into practice for this work are later fulfilled with much more skill and elegance in his Discworld novels and Bromeliad trilogy. For any Pratchett fan, this book is a delight simply from its standpoint in the evolution of Pratchett's writing.
I gave this book four stars because I do not feel it is Pratchett's best work. It shouldn't be, this story was one of his earliest. This is a wonderful way to introduce younger readers to Pratchett, along with his Bromeliad trilogy. If you are discovering Terry Pratchett with this book, be aware that his writing only gets better from here! ^_^
on July 27, 2001
The story takes place between the tall and multicoloured hairs of a carpet, in a place called the Dumii empire.
Under the omnipresent threat of Fray and after the destruction of their village, a group of carpet people decide to march against the evil mouls and snargs. Along the way, they meet other tribes with other ways of living and other points of view, and they know they'll have to ally with them in order to win the battle.
What sort of disappointed me is that Terry Pratchett almost doesn't take any advantage of the setting of his story, i.e. an actual carpet, at all and in the end you realize it could have happened anywhere. However, he approaches many great themes, like proving that in union, there is strength, and in a way this is a pretty good early sketch for his later masterpiece: the Bromeliad.
on September 1, 2000
While I enjoyed this book, I liked Pratchetts Bromeliad (diggers/truckers/wings) trilogy far more. This book has good characterisations, and I don't have any quibbles with the plot, but throughout the story I kept thinking: "OK, they all live in a carpet. Um, is this an abandoned house, or will there be vaccuuming?" Likewise, there is a huge penny in the carpet that has been there for years - will someone pick up this penny? I considered that perhaps miniature people had shorter years, but they experience regular length days. These little problems made it hard for me to really get into the storytelling.
on August 22, 1999
Couldn't find the darn thing anywhere so I finally bought it in Germany, of course in German, and I worked hard for three months to read it with the dictionary. I enjoyed it even so, 'nuff said. Congratulations to Amazon for finding an English version ;-)
on January 25, 1998
The Carpet People is so well written that each word, each page allow you to see in your mind the exact same places, adventures and people of this story. It is the best book that I've ever read that still, after having read it over 10 years ago, that I still can remember the details clearly.