Ah. Pratchett – the crazy Discworld genius from the UK who writes some of the best social commentaries in print.
This time he wrote a novel set in a world similar to our own – abet in a parallel universe. Nation is a look into different cultures, human nature, religion, and science.
The book starts off with a huge tidal wave destroying the human population of a small South Pacific island – save one young boy named Mau. Yet, as the book cover states, when something is taken away, something else is always given.
I don’t want to give away too much of the story line as it is a good book – especially the first half in which we find ourselves watching the meeting of two vastly different cultures.
My only issues with the book is the ending – which I didn’t care for… well, actually it is with the whole second half of the book. =/
Namely, Pratchett, who is an atheist, promotes fairly heavily the concept that the only real “truth” in the world is that of science. Religion is just a coping mechanism for those people who are unwilling recognize that is science and the intellect of humans who will “save” the world.
I.E. people should disregard their old gods, spirits, and traditions and pursue knowledge.
It is an age old debate that comes to light once again in this book… yet, while I disagree with the premise, Pratchett does have a point in that we must be careful not to blindly follow any religion, tradition or viewpoint. We need to ask questions, poke around a bit, and see if it holds up.
On a personally level, that is why I follow the Man from Galilee. He’s teachings are sure and trustworthy. They do hold up under pressure, testing, questioning and the like. Now, if only more of His followers who obey His teachings….then things might be a tad different. =/