It’s been over five years since the passing of Terry Pratchett, the celebrated author of the Discworld books, among many other things. Since then, there’s not been any sort of outpouring of unfinished material or bits and pieces cut from established works, as Pratchett intended. (A steamroller was involved.) Come September, that will still be true, but the world will get one more collection of short stories, and that’s an amazing, wonderful thing.
The Time-Traveling Caveman, due in September from Doubleday Childrens, collects short stories written for local newspapers when Pratchett was a young journalist, many of which have yet to appear in book form. The Guardian reports that “editions of the newspapers containing the stories sell for hundreds of pounds online,” so this will be considerably cheaper—and since they’re not unfinished works or scraps from other stories, they’re not in the least in contradiction of Pratchett’s wishes.
Here are Ruth Knowles and Tom Rawlinson, Pratchett’s editors for his children’s books, on the collection (again, per The Guardian):
After reading them, we knew we had to create one final book. It is very fitting that some of the first stories he wrote will be in the last collection by him to be published... There is so much in these stories that shows you the germ of an idea, which would go on to become a fully fledged Terry Pratchett novel, and so much hilarity that we know kids will love. That is what makes the stories so special – they are for kids and adults, and kids who want to be adults, and adults who are still really kids. Which is exactly who a Terry Pratchett book should be for.
But wait, there’s more! We once again direct you to The Guardian, which includes in its writeup of the news one of those stories, a gem titled “The Tropnecian Invasion Of Great Britain.” Here’s a tiny excerpt from near the top of the story:
In AD 411, when the last of the Romans had just left, a small Tropnecian sailing ship that happened to be passing spotted the coast of England, and thought it would be a good place to conquer. That was how things were done in history. As soon as you saw a place, you had to conquer it, and usually the English Channel was full of ships queuing up to come and have a good conquer.
‘If you’ve got nothing to do,’ chieftains would tell their sons, ‘go and conquer England.’
Read it in all its glory here, and look for The Time-Traveling Caveman in September.
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