The Bromeliad Trilogy by Terry Pratchett is also known as Truckers, Diggers and Wings. They are a fabulous little set of books and take a serious look at religion and it’s beginnings. They’re aimed at kids but are readable by any age. Truckers was made into a TV series and I saw that with my kids…when I say with I actually mean without as they wandered off totally bored and I was transfixed. The series is made in stop-motion and is really well done so when you then read the books you find the only major difference is going from visual to print. I read these as part of the Terry Pratchett Challenge 2010 on The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader, there’s still time to join us as it doesn’t finish until 30th November 2010!
The premise of the story is that nomes live on Earth with us, they arrive many thousands of years ago and have forgotten where they come from. They are small enough to fade into the background and live with us without being seen by us. A group of Nomes live in The Store and think the owners of The Store, Arnold Bros, are God. They’ve taught themselves to read using the signs hanging in The Store and have a religion based on everything around them. One day some Nomes from ‘outside’ come into The Store and upset everyone’s notions, then ‘The Thing’ wakes up and tells them The Store is to be closed and they have to make some big decisions. ‘The Thing’ is a little black box that’s been carried by the Outside Nomes since forever and for the first time has started to talk. They decide to leave The Store and it’s a wonderful story of co-operation and argument, learning and opening of minds.
In Truckers they actually leave The Store and find their way to the Quarry. In Diggers they’re living in the Quarry and Masklin decides it’s not where they need to live forever so he asks ‘The Thing’ lots of questions, watches the aeroplanes and then makes a decision that they have to get onto an aeroplane so he takes a couple of Nomes and off they go leaving the rest behind to argue and then defend their Quarry against humans. In Wings Masklin takes the Nomes on the ultimate trip.
You need to know more about Masklin at this point. He’s the youngest of the Outside Nomes and was used to doing all the hunting and all the hard stuff and found himself at the head of the decision to leave The Store. It was an interesting transition and it happened as he was the most vocal of the Outsiders and kept asking questions. He also feels it’s time to get married and tells this to Grimma but she takes exception to the way she is ‘told’ and not ‘asked’ so she gives him a piece of her mind and when he comes back at the end of Wings he brings her a present.
There are so many different transitions in the this series. There’s the transition the Abbot makes from being a total believe in Arnold Bros to being a very pragmatic person who is constantly challenging his own beliefs. There’s the transition Masklin makes in going from a hunter and collector to a thinker and manager. Grimma goes from being a young female who organises everyone and everything in the home to someone who challenges others and makes them constantly think.
I can’t recommend this series enough. Yes, there is death and dying but they’re dealt with in a matter-of-fact way and shows they are a part of life. The books constantly indicate that you should be aware of other people’s traditions and let them continue even if you don’t actually agree with them. They are beautifully written and they withstand many re-readings.