We have an absolutely HUGE treat for you today: words from Sir Terry Pratchett himself in advance of his newest book, DODGER, publishing tomorrow.
Sir Terry Pratchett on DODGER:
“Dodger was initially undertaken as a tribute to Henry Mayhew, who, in London, in the early years of the Victorian reign, catalogued meticulously the lives, jobs, foods, hygiene, sleeping arrangements, etc., of the poor of the city. He did this simply by walking the streets, getting into conversations with people, and then later recording them in his notebook.
He spoke to everybody, even down to the little flower girls who sold posies for a meagre living and slept in doorways and didn’t even know which country they were living in. His friend Charles Dickens is often said to have made the middle classes of London aware of the appalling circumstances of the under classes of the richest and most influential city at that time. But, in truth, while Dickens did sterling work, Mayhew—and the people he worked with—did it the hard way: by piling up the dreadful statistics until they could not be ignored. In so doing, they compiled a startling and wonderful body of knowledge about what was happening beyond the city lights.
This record is available as the book London Labour and the London Poor. And it is a heavyweight document, as Mr. Mayhew speaks of the sick, the neglected elderly, and, not least, the ladies of negotiable affection (a polite way of putting it—the phrasing, incidentally, originated in the United States).
I read London Labour and the London Poor in my teens shortly after reading The Lord of the Rings. And I thought that one day it might be great to do a real fantasy in the world of Mayhew, picking out a street urchin of the time, winding him up, and dropping him in the middle of a thunder storm to begin his own personal odyssey. He would meet Mayhew, Dickens, and number of other prominent Victorians, while at the same time telling it like it was in those days. That is how Dodger was born, and he did most of the work for me—coming alive on the page and quickly running off with the story itself.
Thank you for reading about him.”
And for more on DODGER, watch Terry speak to his “chums” here: