- The Good: Cute and funny story of 4-inch tall Nomes finding their way in the world
- The Bad: Although enjoyable for adults, very middle-grade level; flat characters
- The Literary: Hilarious word-plays
Masklin is hungry and tired and his small band of Nomes is depending on him. Catching rats to eat is getting more difficult with his aging band. Masklin convinces everyone to climb into the back of a truck and leave behind the gas station grass verge they’ve always known. They’re transported to the Store, and find an entirely new world, where thousands of Nomes live under the floorboards, but for whom things like Day and Night, Sun and Rain are just daft old legends.
Truckers is a cute middle-grade story about tiny people who live in a store. Mostly, it’s funny, but what else do you expect from Terry Pratchett? I love the chapter introductions, with excerpts from the holy book of the Store Nomes, which reads a lot like the Bible, and is quite subtly blasphemous.
The world-building is fantastic, and excels at turning something so mundane as a department store into a magical world of Nomish sects (don’t mind the stuck-up Nomes who live in the haberdashery department), scary foreign floors of Customer Accounts, and good and evil spirits to which all Nomes pray, “Bargains Galore” and “Prices Slashed”. Pratchett deftly balances satire and wonder. For the grown-ups, there’s quite a bit about what it means to be a leader, and even project management terms are thrown around, including critical path analysis.
Even though there are thousands of Nomes, the story focuses on just a few. They’re straightforward flat characters, and although enjoyable archetypes, are not emotionally interesting. As mentioned above, the story is aimed at a much younger audience, so don’t expect too much more than a series of good laughs and some great satire.
Truckers is the first of a trilogy about the Nomes, so there are two spoilers in this book that will set up the next in the series. First, is that the Store is closing, and the entire world as they know it will change. Second, is that the Nomes are not from Earth but somewhere amongst the stars, and a small black cube that’s been passed down for generations is actually a small, sentient computer.
Highly recommended for parents of small children! These are great for teaching children to question established beliefs, whether they are scientific, political, religious, or familial.
“Masklin thought hard about this as they walked back. There had never been any religion or politics back home. The world was just too big to worry about things like that. But he had serious doubts about Arnold Bros (est. 1905). After all, if he had built the Store for nomes, why hadn’t he made it nome sized? But, he thought, it was probably not the time to ask questions like that. If you thought hard enough, he’d always considered, you could work out everything. The wind, for example. It had always puzzled him until the day he’d realized that it was caused by all the trees waving about.”