Authorised by Mr Lipwig of the Ankh-Morpork and Sto Plains Hygienic Railway himself, Mrs Georgina Bradshaw's invaluable guide to the destinations and diversions of the railway deserves a place in the luggage of any traveller, or indeed armchair traveller, upon the Disc.
From the twine walk of Great Slack to the souks of Zemphis: edifying sights along the route; Ticketing, nostrums and transporting your swamp dragon: essential hints on the practicalities of travel; Elegant resorts and quaint inns: respectable and sanitary lodgings for all species and heights; and From worm-herding to Fustic Cake: diverting trivia on the crafts, foods and brassica traditions of the many industrious people for whom the railway is now a vital link to the Century of the Anchovy.
Fully illustrated and replete with useful titbits, Mrs Bradshaw's Handbook offers a view of the Sto Plains like no other.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 144 pages, illustrations
- Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
- Publication Date: 09/10/2014
- Category: Fantasy
- ISBN: 9780857522436
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Review by RobertDay
This sharecropped book is a spin-off from 'Raising Steam', the novel about the coming of railways to the Discworld. I actually found it funnier and better constructed than its source novel. It is a very faithful reconstruction of the sort of traveller's guide book that comes from a time when mass long-distance travel was a New Thing. It is such a faithful reconstruction that it actually isn't chock-full of jokes and witticisms, which makes finding the jokes all the more pleasant (though for me, the 'Effing Forest' joke began to get stale just a bit too early). There are also a few jokes in the book which you will have to be a BBC Radio 4 listener to get.Terry Pratchett did a fair amount of research before producing 'Raising Steam', and much of that is carried over into this book (especially the difference between 'spotters' and 'bashers', though he fought shy of introducing the wider public to the term 'gricers', possibly in the belief that no-one would think it was colloquial English instead of a made-up word from the Disc).The physical book itslef is a delight, with a distressed hard cover, nice paper stock and delightful illustrations (the mountain rescue team and the double-deck coach for commuting dwarves are particular favourites). Some of the illustrations of railway ephemera from the Disc are a little reminiscent of the presentation of Carneski's Ghost Train at Blackpool, an attraction that is also recommended.