2008/05/01

Terry Pratchett: Truckers

'Go home and be safe'*

There is a world under the floor of the Store, Arnold Bros. (est. 1905) where live the families of Nomes in luxury and security. Humans live around them but they never can see them because Nomes are about four inches high and they move too fast for the Human eyes.

They've lived there for a long time so they think the Store was always there and Outside became a legend. As their religion says the Store has 'everything under the roof'.
The owner of the Store becomes their God and signs around the Store are their religious rules.

It is a great surprise when a small group of Nomes come to the Store from the Outside. They have a strange black box, called the Thing, which is able to communicate with them when they put it near the electricity. It tells wonderful things about their origin (they came from another world). But as Fate always knocks on your door the Store will be destroyed in twenty-one human days.

Most of the Nomes believe in Masklin, one of the Outsiders, who finds out the way of escape: they have to learn to read, learn the highway code, learn to drive and steal a truck from the Humans.

And all the Nomes have to learn to work together for a new and strange life somewhere Outside.

Truckers by Terry Pratchett is the first book of The Bromeliad (or the Books of the Nomes ).

The first time I read the story I found the life of Nomes really strange in a human size world. They think Humans are stupid and slow creatures who don't do anything important but actually Nomes have similar habits and society where different departments (Haberdasheri, Corsetri, Stationeri, etc.) represent their families and social classes.

At the same time Nomes are like children. They can't abstract so they don't understand neither the words of the Thing when they hear about their future nor the words in the Human's books after they learn to read.

The main character, Masklin is also a simple Nome but he is the only one who try to find out a solution to the most important question of their life, reach the spacecraft and go home so he becomes a saviour.

During their escape a new social class is born, Truckers are Nomes who drive the truck to freedom and become the new leaders of the society, which gives the book its title.

At the end of the story the Store, Arnold Bros. (est. 1905) burnt down so Nomes can't return to their lives, they have to find the way to their original home somewhere in an other world.

This story is full of events and makes the reader laugh and think about the world around them. Maybe the book is for children but because of the many word-plays and allusions to our real life I can also recommend it to adults.


* One of the most famous quotations in Nome history

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