Yes, another Pratchett review. That’s what fanboys do, you know.
Dragons at Crumbling Castle is a collection of short stories Terry Pratchett wrote when he was young. As many of you know, Pratchett hates the stuff he wrote when he was young. Well, there is some good stuff here.
The first story is the also the title of the book. It’s about King Arthur hearing that there are castles occupying a castle. Problem is, his knights are away and the only one available is a boy named Ralph. So King Arthur tells the boy to go and kill the dragon. This is actually a pretty funny story, especially once you consider it’s a King Arthur story. Since ths is Pratchett, the ending is unexpected.
In fact, most of the stories are worth reading. Some of the best are Hercules the Tortoise, Dok the Cavemen and Hunt the Snory.
Of course, this collection also has two early version of The Carpet People: Tales of the Carpet People and Another Tale of the Carpet people. Both are the longest stories in the collection. They’re not bad stories, but if you’ve read The Carpet People you know what to expect. If you’ve read my review of The Carpet People, you know my stance.
One thing these stories have are illustrations by Mark Beech. These same illustrations appear in The Carpet People. They may just look like silly pencil sketches, but when you realize what kind of stories these are, they fit perfectly.
Should you read these stories? Of course. Why? As the name implies, these are stories. A novelist should write short stories to strengthen their writing prowess in order to write longer fiction. If they can write a good story in just a few pages, they can write one in a few hundred. There are other short story collections of Terry Pratchett’s work, and I have every intention of reading them.