|Check disclaimer or links or archive of books read or best books read.|
log of books read
the Booker Prizes.
Mental Health of George W. Bush
Alphabetic list of Pratchett books read, with reviews and quotations.
Best Pratchett books read, ranked by preference.
Chronological list of Pratchett books.
People of Pratchett's Discworld.
|The Bromeliad Trilogy (1998) by Terry Pratchett.|
Just like the Iliad before it, a tale of bravery and battle, the great and the small, and many possible gods. Nomes turn out to be as brave as but a more clever and intelligent species than Wee Free Men.
Also see blog of The Bromeliad Trilogy.
Its three parts were originally published separately:
by Terry Pratchett.
Part 2 of The Bromeliad Trilogy (1998).
Also see blog of The Bromeliad Trilogy.
|Carpe Jugulum (1999) by Terry Pratchett.|
Also see blog of Carpe Jugulum.
This is one of the more scary of the Pratchett books. The vampires in this book are the baddest of the bad and sadly King Verence of Lancre is the weakest of the weak. Verence does Mistake Number One in dealing with vampires: he invites them in.
So the book gets off to a dismal start and the puns and the interest do not pick up till a third of the way through. But eventually there is enough momentum that Interestin' Things Start Happening. And along the way, there is considerable discussion about what religion is and what a religious symbols are and how (see this being done on p.281; don't try this at home) you create them.
The feeble Verence does get a little spine in him toward the end, thanks to a potient from the Nac mac Feegle pixies, any one of which:
|(p.143) On a scale of ethereal from one to ten ... looked as if he was on some other scale, probably one buried in deep ocean sludge.|
Pratchett is a pun maniac, so it is little surprise that he has some bad ones, including this gem toward the end of a discussion of a religious splits and schisms in the house of Om:
"Blood spilled?" said Agnes.
She wasn't really interested, but it took her mind off whatever might be waking up in a minute.
"No, but there were some fisticuffs and a deacon had ink spilled on him."
"I can see that was pretty bad."
"There was some serious pulling of beards."
"Gosh. Sects maniacs", said Perdita.
See p.243 for Esme's definition of what religion is to her. Oats, the priest of Om, does get his own religion in the end:
"The world is . . . different. ... Everywhere I look I see something holy."
For the first time since he'd met her, he saw Granny Weatherwax smile properly. Normally her mouth went up at the corners just before something unpleasant was going to happen to someone who deserved it, but this time she appeared to be pleased with what she heard.
"That's a start, then," she said.
Throughout it all, Granny Weatherwax may, or may not, have a plan for success, though she certainly has lots of plans:
|(p.281) "If I've got a fault," she said, contriving to suggest that this was only a theoretical possibility, "it's not knowing when to turn and run. And I tend to bluff with a weak hand."|
There is not only a cameo from the Death of Rats but there are several from DEATH, including one encounter with Esmerelda Weatherwax and another with Igor's dog, Thcrapth:
Lightning scribbled across the sky ... and ... raised little balls of glowing light
on the big telescopic iron spike as, taking care to stand on his portable rubber mat, he [Igor]
patiently wound it upward. At the foot of the apparatus, which was already humming with high tension,
was a bundle wrapped in a blanket.
THERE'S A SATISFACTORY DOG. NOW ... DROP. LET GO, PLEASE. DID YOU HEAR ME SAY LET GO? LET GO THIS MINUTE!
There was a soft chiming from within his robe. Death ... brought out a lifetimer, its sand all pooled in the bottom of the bulb ... and, as Death watched, it filled up with crackling blue light.
Normally Death was against this sort of thing but, he reasoned as he snapped his fingers, at the moment it looked as though it was the only way he'd get his scythe back.
|Equal Rites (1987) by Terry Pratchett.|
Also see blog of Equal Rites.
One of Pratchett's earliest (book 3) Diskworld books, it introduces and centers on Esmerelda 'Granny' Weatherwax and Unseen University's Archchancellor Cutangle over whether a female (specifically the girl called Esk) can become a wizard. The book is a bit plodding until the Pratchett humor quotient reaches critical mass, about halfway through.
One of the wisest quotes is from Unseen University's housekeeper, Mrs. Whitlow, who does not entirely match the low wit suggested by her name:
"a white magician is just a black magician with a good housekeeper."
[Equal Rites, p.137]
[Here and elsewhere the page numbers are from a Harpertorch paperback printed in 1987.]
|Feet of Clay (1996) by Terry Pratchett.|
Also see blog of Feet of Clay.
As well as the hijinks of tracking down a golem the causes of four murders and an attempt on Vetinari, interesting implications about royalty, breeding, and manipulation.
Centers on Sam Vimes, officer of the Watch, assisted by the tall, handsome dwarf-raised Captain Carrot (probable descendent of King Carrot I), his girlfriend, the werewolf Angua, and the new dwarf Cheri (ne´ Cheery, alchemist, given a defunct lavatory room for her new forensics lab), with special guest the golem Dorfl. The Patrician Vetinari puts in a death-defying act. Also:
Vetinari riffled through the papers again. "Workshop owners, assassins, priests, butchers ... you seem to have infuriated most of the leading figures in the city." He sighed. "Really, it seems I have no choice. As of this week, I'm giving you a pay raise."
Vimes blinked. "Sir?"
Almost as good as Monstrous Regiment.
|The Fifth Elephant (2000) by Terry Pratchett.|
Also see blog of The Fifth Elephant.
Commander Sam Vimes, aided by his wife Lady Sybil, puts the country of Ankh-Morpork in to the Embassy in Uberwald.
In a book that is so much about breeding and ancestry and reverting to type, the comment of the street dog Gaspode is timely:
"I could've bin a wolf, you know. With diff'rent parents, of course."
|Going Postal (2004) by Terry Pratchett.|
Also see blog of Going Postal.
This book has got good press.
The Patrician Vetinari recognizes the thief and swindler Moist von Lipwig as a Machiavellian not unlike himself. So Vetinari sends an unstoppable and indestructible Golem to capture Moist. Then he offers the captive Moist a simple choice: die or resurrect the Ankh-Morpork Post Office.
The book is primarily an exploration of technical serfdom - for down-sized Grand Trunk clacks engineers, read down-sized anyone.
The deus ex machina that involves a city's supply of sail cloth is not credible. I mean significantly less credible than Pratchett usually is.
The moral center of the book is the gradual realization (thanks to a series of 'let me hit you on the head' insights) by Moist of the consequences of his previously rationalized crimes.
Moist struggles but passes the initiation ceremony (e.g., ability to control mogrel dogs that can bite through legs), and is awarded the golden wingéd hat of the Post Master, and gets some very old letters delivered.
Moist's rival is Reacher Gilt, a predatory capitalist, whose reach exceeds his guilt, but not the showmanship of Moist:
THE RACE IS ON!
"Flying Postman" vs. Grand Trunk
...Vetinari tapped the floor once or twice with his cane. "Would it surprise you to know that the feeling of the city this morning is that you'll win? The Trunk has never been out of commission for longer than a week, a clacks message can get to Genua in a few hours, and yet, Mr. Lipwig, people think you can do this. Don't you find that amazing?"
"But, of course, you are the man of the moment, Mr. Lipwig," said Vetinari, suddenly jovial. "You are the golden messenger!" His smile was reptilian. "I hope you know what you are doing. You do know what you are doing, don't you, Mr. Lipwig?"
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (1990) by Terry Pratchett, written with Neil Gaiman.
Also see blog of Good Omens.
The end of the world comes in fours -- also in threes and twos.
A Hat Full of Sky (2004) by Terry Pratchett.
Also see blog of A Hat Full of Sky.
Written for younger readers, it's a story about how a young girl learns to see things from other people's points of view and to use and develop control of her emotions. It's also an introduction to what witchcraft is; as arch-witch Mistress Weatherwax says:
"cosmic balances and stars and circles and colors and wands and ... and toys, nothing but toys." She sniffed. "Oh, I daresay they're all very well as decoration, ... but the start and the finish, the start and the finish, is helpin' people when life is on the edge. Even people you don't like. Stars is easy, people is hard."
It's also a story about the recognition of death:
"Haven't any of you been there when old folks are dying?" There were one or two nods but everyone was watching the dust.
"Sometimes things go wrong," said Petulia again. "Sometimes they're dying but they can't leave because they don't know the Way. She said that's when they need you to be there, close to them, to help them find the door so they don't get lost in the dark."
While it's not as funny as Pratchett's hilarious Hogfather, or the ironic Jingo, or his Thief of Time, it does have some good moments, particularly thanks to the Nac Mac Feegle, the most disastrous fairies know to witches.
|Listened to a multi-accented reading (by British actor Nigel Planer) of Hogfather (1999) by Terry Pratchett.|
Also see blog of Hogfather.
This is the funniest book I've had read to me. Its humor is a little under-graduate-student, but so are the works of Douglas Adams and Monty Python, i.e., a quaint mixture of really stupid and really intelligent, interwoven with interesting satire.
There is a plot, appropriate to the Winter Solstice, or Hogwatch Night, which is the night that the plump Hogfather in his red suit and white beard climbs into his sleigh pulled by four pigs (Gouger, Tusker, Rooter, and Snouter), and delivers gifts to the cargo-cult worshipping (i.e., Capitalist consumer) boys and girls.
This year the Hogfather is missing, and his stand-in is everybody's straight man, Death.
The Assassin's Guild is responsible for the disappearance of the Hogfather, and they have been hired by the humorless Auditors of the Universe. The Auditors, being literal-minded accountants, want people to stop believing in things that aren't real and thus cause cosmic disorder.
It's up to Death's adopted granddaughter Susan (the 'gothic governess') to save chaos, and she is aided by a raven (addicted to eating eyeballs), the small-scythe carrying Death of Rats ('the Grim Squeaker'), and Bilious, the God (actually the Oh God) of Hangovers:
|"I have certain God-like powers in the presence of alcohol."|
There is various help and hindrance from Archchancellor Ridcully and fellow wizards at UU (Unseen University) of not only a practical but also a philosophical nature:
|The UU Professor of Anthropics had developed the Special and Inevitable Anthropic Principle, which was that the entire reason for the existence of the universe was the eventual evolution of the UU Professor of Anthropics. But this was only a formal statement of the theory which absolutely everyone, with only some minor details of a 'Fill in name here' nature, secretly believes to be true.|
|"That statement is either so deep it would take a lifetime to fully comprehend every particle of its meaning, or it is a load of absolute tosh. Which is it, I wonder?"|
Ridcully: "I'm just saying man is naturally a mythopoeic creature."
Senior Wrangler: "What's that mean?"
Dean: "Means we make things up as we go along."
|Interesting Times (1994) by Terry Pratchett.|
Also see blog of Interesting Times.
Very rich plot, with at least five different groups plotting to overthrow the evil Emperor of "the Counterweight continent ... Where five noble families have fought one another for centuries ... The Hongs, the Sungs, the Tangs, the McSweeneys, and the Fangs" which is what the parallel universe we inhabit might call 'Ancient China'.
Vetinari handles the wizarding community with his usual diplomacy:
|(p. 10) "I cherish my ignorance on that subject."|
as does Ridcully:
(p. 12) "Round up everyone. My Study. Ten minutes,"
He was a great believer in this approach.
A less direct Archchancellor would have wandered around looking for everyone.
His policy was to find one person and make their life difficult until everything
happened the way he wanted it to.
[A policy adopted by almost all managers and
several notable gods.]
(p. 15) "Well, we are wizards," said Ridcully. "We're supposed to meddle with things we don't understand. If we hung around waitin' till we understood things we'd never get anything done."
But most of the action takes place far away, in the hands of the amazingly inept (though sometimes ept) Great Wizzard Rincewind
had been very specific.
He'd spent all his adult life--at least those parts of it when he wasn't being chased
by things with more legs than teeth--in
and he felt he knew what he was talking about here.
Don't tell people anything, he said.
Don't tell them.
You didn't get to survive as a wizard in
by believing what people told you.
You believed what you were not told.
Because Rincewind knew very well that when the Four rather small and nasty Horsemen of Panic ride out there is a good job done by Misinformation, Rumor, and Gossip, but they are as nothing compared to the fourth horseman, whose name is Denial.
After an hour Rincewind felt quite unnecessary.
and the being-educated Ghengiz Cohen the Barbarian (and his Silver Horde), a master leader and swordsman who also recognizes the truth about Rincewind:
|(p. 283) Rincewind's a weasel, but he's our weasel.|
The wily and complex plot is too delightfully baroque to summarize here, so read the book for the characters, the plot, and the hilarious richness of puns.
by Terry Pratchett.
[For clarity, the image shown is different from that on the CD.]
Also see blog of Jingo.
Jingo: (noun) A person who boasts of patriotism and favors an aggressive foreign policy. Of uncertain origin, possibly from the nonsense words of magicians.
Terry Pratchett's Jingo is a hilarious satire of war mongers, and very timely. Despite the delicious wit of the book, it addresses serious topics: nationalism, militarism, sexism, and racism.
It is now the funniest book so far this year, which means that it slightly beats Terry Pratchett's Thief of Time. In fact it is almost as good as his Hogfather.
This recording of Jingo is read by Nigel Planer, who read Hogfather so brilliantly. In Jingo he uses a range of voices that Peter Sellers might admire, including a military man who sounds like Sergeant Bloodnock and the Demon Pocket Organizer (or Dis-organizer, an arrogant and interfering little pocket computer that says things like "Two o'clock pee em! Hello, Insert Name Here!"), which (who?) sounds like Bluebottle. The Dis-organizer is the vehicle through which Pratchett probes his favorite concept: Time, and its many paths.
The war is between the western Ankh-Morpork and the middle-eastern Klatch. As an Amazon reviewer commented, Jingo, "was written in the finest tradition of the City Watch series, which seem to always show that true duty and realism tend to win out over the insanity that the majority of the world engages in. Watch out for 71-Hour Ahmed and the rest of the D'Regs, but even they seem weak next to the power of Corporal Nobbs in a dress."
|The Last Continent (1997) by Terry Pratchett.|
Also see blog of The Last Continent.
Centers on Unseen University Rincewind and Mustrum Ridcully and his mob, in a midwinter expedition in search of sun, sea, and youth. Good cameos from a midget god of evolution and from the evilly named Mrs. Whitlow.
"Once upon a time the plural of 'wizard' was 'war.'" Now they get into other kinds of trouble.
The Last Continent has its own university with the motto over its entrance of arched sheets of corrugated iron: "NULLUS ANXIETAS" - no worries.
|The Last Hero (2001) by Terry Pratchett, with illustrations by Paul Kidby.|
A blast, as much due to the delightful illustrations. Leonard of Quirm invents and pilots Discworld's first space ship. Captain Carrot goes with him to arrest the last hero, Cohen the Barbarian and his Horde, before they blow up the Gods at the Hub.
The Gods play dice with men - but indirectly rather than directly, especially after their experience with Cohen. They wager belief and the outcome is vital:
|"To lose all believers is, for a god, the end. But a believer who survives the game gains honour [British spelling] and extra belief. Who wins with the most believers lives."|
Captain Carrot saves the day, thanks to Cohen's appreciation of the Code:
|"Without the Code, you weren't a hero. You were just a thug in a loin cloth. The code was quite clear. One brave man [i.e., Carrot] against seven ... won."|
|The Long Earth (2012)|
Written with Stephen Baxter.
Interesting plot; weak characters; multiple earths.
p. 316 quotation: Shi-mi (a cat-like avatar of the electronic consciousness Lobsang):
|"the rubbish we speak is like froth on the water; actions are drops of gold."|
Also see blog of The Long Earth.
|Lords and Ladies (1992)|
Also see blog of Lords and Ladies.
|Making Money (2007)|
The main characters (apart from the vibrant Mr. Fusspot) are characters we have seen before: Moist ("I wonder ... am I really a bastard or am I just really good at thinking like one?" p. 151), Lord Vetinari, and Igor ('an' Igor), who comes into his own on p. 196:
"What are you doing to this poor man,"
"Changing hith mind, thur," said Igor, pulling a huge knife switch.
The pivotal new character is that poor man, ha-ha-HA-HAHA Hubert:
|In Hubert's head, the rising terror of crowds was overturned by the urge to impart knowledge to the ignorant, which meant everyone except him. ... He cleared his throat.|
The verbal play is not quite as thick underfoot as in, for example, Interesting Times. But we try:
"The smell of banks is always pleasing, don't you think?" said
Vetinari. "A mix of polish, ink, and wealth."
"And ursery," said Moist.
"The would be cruelty to bears. You mean usury, I suspect," said Vetinari.
And Adora Belle (Moist's fiancée) and Vetinari take on the head of the Fool's Guild:
[Dr. Whiteface, head of the Fool's Guild said,] "whatever the Jokes for Women group says,
women are just not funny."
"It is a terrible affliction," said Adora Belle.
"An interesting dichotomy, in fact, since neither are clowns," said Vetinari.
"I've always thought so," said Adora Belle.
The plot is a delightfully multibraided ribbon.
The goddess Anoia (unsticks stuck kitchen draws) is invoked and thanked. And Golems put themselves in their place.
Also see blog of Making Money.
|Monstrous Regiment (2003) by Terry Pratchett.|
Also see blog of Monstrous Regiment.
Rich with Pratchett's hallmark puns, Monstrous Regiment explores gender identity and our reasons for marching to war. The setting may be based on the region of Yugoslavia.
The tiny, belligerent Borogravia has an unending series of war with its neighbor Zlobenia. Guided by Nuggan (one of the world's idiot gods, to whom 89% of all possible behaviors are "an abomination unto Nuggan") Borogravia has used up most of her able-bodied young men, including the brother of Polly Perks, an inn-keeper's daughter. To look for her missing brother, she enlists in the army, in what becomes the Monstrous Regiment. Her co-soldiers include:
|A bundle of suppressed instincts held together by spit and coffee.|
[Maladict said] "The captain looked bad. What did he try to
do to poor little you?"
"Patronize me", Polly said, glaring at the vampire.
The amount of cross-dressing, as well as the sometime-laugh-out-loud humor and the serious undertones show that Pratchett has read his W. Shakespeare.
Sam Vimes, as always, shows what a good chief can be: intelligent, ahead of the politicians, funny, caring, and tough:
|He [Vimes] thought war was simply another crime, like murder.|
There is also a pleasant cameo from DEATH, who walks beside the heroine (as he walks besides all soldiers) for a while - until she asks him to walk more invisibly (he disappears but keeps talking) and more silently (he shuts up).
|Night Watch (2002) by Terry Pratchett.|
One of Pratchett's weaker books. Commander Sam Vimes jumps back in time, with Carcer, one of the nastiest sociopaths of Discworld. Vimes is inventive and wise, but the surrounding characters are just a bit too sincere. Several missed chances of character development.
However, there are some delight of the book. One is the explanation of the cemetery of Small Gods as being "for people who didn't know what happened next. They didn't know what they believed in or if there was life after death. ... where people were interred in the glorious expectation of nothing very much."
Another is to see the young Vetinari as a peerless assassin.
And then there's Reg, who is a zombie in the modern Ankh-Morpork. These are the last minutes of his conventional life:
Reg had stood up, was waving the flag back and forth, was clambering over the barricade ...
He held the flag like a banner of defiance.
"You can take our lives but you'll never take our freedom!" he screamed.
Carcer's men looked at one another, puzzled by what sounded like the most badly thought-out war cry in the history of the universe. Vimes could see their lips moving as they tried to work it out.
Carcer raised his bow, gestured to his men, and said: "Wrong!"
Reg was hit by five heavy bolts, so that he did a little dance before falling to his knees. It happened within seconds.
Vimes opened his mouth to give the order to charge, and shut it when he saw Reg raise his head. In silence, using the flagpole as an aid, Reg got back to his feet.
Three more arrows hit him. He looked down at his skinny chest bristling with feathers and took a step forward. And another.
One of the crossbowmen drew his sword and ran at the stricken man, and was knocked in the air by a blow from Reg that must have come at him like a sledgehammer.
|Small Gods (1992) by Terry Pratchett.|
Also see blog of Small Gods.
After a VERY slow start, this becomes an intriguing meditation on philosophy and religion.
The basic plot is that a god requires at least one believer to exist. But if a turtle (a.k.a. the Great God Om) can bite the eagle carrying it at just the right time, a miracle can increase his believers and thus his powers.
DEATH shows up in his traditional role, sitting around a fire smoking with soldiers during a storm-induced battle pause while:
Borvorius tried to smile. "Gods, eh?" he said. "Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em."
|Snuff (2011) by Terry Pratchett.|
Also see blog of Snuff.
Good solid work, focusing in Commander Sam Vimes and his attempt to take a vacation. The appreciation of gnomes (and the more serious aspect of categorizing those different from us as non-human and the enslaving and trafficking in those others).
|Soul Music (1994) by Terry Pratchett.|
Quite funny. DEATH (claiming he is called Beau Nidle) joins the Foreign Legion, where everything can be forgotten, including by a sergeant, who
pulled out a match, reached down, and produced a cheroot. Then he pulled out a match, reached down, and struck it on something sticking out of the sand, which said:
"I expect you've had enough, eh, soldier?" said the sergeant.
"ENOUGH WHAT, SERGEANT?"
"Two days in the sun, no food, no water ... I expect you are delirious with thirst and are just begging to be dug out, eh?"
"YES. IT IS CERTAINLY VERY DULL."
... "Dull? It's not meant to be dull! It's the Pit! It's meant to be a horrible physical and mental torture! After one day of it you're supposed to be a ..." The sergeant glanced surreptitiously at some writing on his wrist, "... a raving madman!. I've been watching you all day! You haven't even groaned! I can't sit in my ... thing, you sit in it, there's papers and things ..."
"OFFICE. ... THIS ASSISTS PEOPLE TO FORGET, DOES IT?"
"Forget? People forget everything when they're given ... er ..."
"Yes! That's it!"
DEATH leaves his granddaughter in charge:
There was the sound of another horse approaching. The watchmen flattened themselves against the wall as it thundered past.
It was big, and white. The rider's black cloak streamed in the wind, as did here hair. There was a rush of wind and then they were gone, out onto the plains.
Nobby stared after her.
"That was her," he said.
Gives more context for DEATH, the Hogfather, and C.M.O.T. Dibbler.
The bulk of the story is about Music With Rocks In. But DEATH and the many gloriously bad puns are better than mad-bad-and-dangerous-to-know music.
|Recording of Thief of Time (2001) by Terry Pratchett.|
Also see blog of Thief of Time.
This is a very funny book. It's a witty and inventive fantasy, almost as good as Terry Pratchett's Hogfather.
This recording of Thief of Time is by a 5-person reading team, plus the 'guest appearance by Harlan Ellison'. Its humor is (as with Hogfather) a quaint mixture of really stupid and really intelligent, interwoven with interesting satire.
Again, trouble in Paradise is caused by the Auditors, the literal-minded accountants who want to get rid of the messiness caused by life. They create the ultimate solution - they freeze time. Fortunately, Death gets his three traditional riding companions to ride out with him against the bad guys. They make little headway, till they are joined by the Fifth Rider of the Apocalypse ... Meanwhile, Death's adopted granddaughter Susan is sorting out the rest of the known universe by using her ultimate weapon - very smooth, very luscious, very heart-stopping chocolate. [Death, time, and chocolate - sounds like a Hospice training!]
The Amazon comments (February 26, 2004) by Dr. Christopher Coleman are among my favorites:
"In Thief of Time Pratchett strikes a unique balance between many different types of humor (from silly take-offs
of oriental martial arts names (okidoki) to literate inside jokes (the raven named 'Quoth') and far beyond)
with a complex and even philosophical plot.
It's truly an amazing bit of writing that admittedly might fall flat for those looking for lighter entertainment,
but I was delighted.
... there are plot twists aplenty, all of which make 'sense'. Especially nice are the scenes dealing with the revelation of the identity of the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse, and the Zen Buddhist humor. So do yourself a favor, read this book and make your life better."
by Terry Pratchett.
Part 1 of The Bromeliad Trilogy (1998).
Also see blog of The Bromeliad Trilogy.
|The Truth (2000) by Terry Pratchett.|
William De Worde (escaped younger son of aristocracy) makes a career by writing a newsletter for the rich. But he meets a gang of dwarves with a movable-type printing press that they have souped up:
|"The dwarfs found out how to turn lead into gold by doing it the hard way. The difference between that and the easy way is that the hard way works."|
After the press gets away from the dwarfs ("Stop the press!"), De Worde allies with them and creates the Ankh-Morpork Times. He is just in time because Mr. Tulip and Mr. Pin (two of Pratchett's funniest psychopaths) are trying to discredit Lord Vetinari so he will be replaced. Mr Tulip, art connoisseur and murderer, has an indiscriminate drug habit:
|"He wanted to have a drug habit. What he had was a stupidity habit, which cut in whenever he found anything that was sold in little bags, and this resulted in Mr. Tulip seeking heaven in flour, salt, baking powder, and pickled beef sandwiches."|
As for Mr. Pin:
|"Mr. Pin lit a cigar. Smoking was his one vice. At least it was his only vice that he thought of as a vice. The others were just job skills."|
De Worde is soon joined by his chief reporter (and potential love interest) Sacharissa and his photographer, the black-ribboner vampire Otto ("Do not be alarmed") Chriek.
To the annoyance of Commander Sam Vimes and others, De Worde solves the mystery and saves Vetinari his job.
Says a lot about a free press. As opposed to one manipulated by politicians.
Also see blog of The Truth.
|Recording of Thud! (2005) by Terry Pratchett.|
Also see blog of Thud!.
The book has two arcs: (1) The ethnic war between Trolls and Dwarves; (2) Sam Vimes's determination to get home every day at six pee em to read "Where's My Cow?" to his baby son. The climax of the book is when the two collide.
Along the way, a newer version of the disorganizer (comedic highlight of Jingo) turns out to be an improvement, once its imp thinks outside the box (as it were):
The circling, swooping papers snapped back into piles.
The green haze shrank with a faint zzzzp noise,
and there was the little imp, ready to burst with pride.
"An extra one-point-one dunny carts a night over six months ago!" it announced. "Thank you, Insert Name Here! Cogito ergo sum, Insert Name Here! I exist, therefore I do sums!"
Sally, the new vampire, is a welcome additional character: more elegant than (though not quite as funny as) Maladict in Monstrous Regiment but great on a girl's night out:
"We've struck a blow for womanhood," Sally declared loudly. "Shoes, men, coffins ... never accept the first one you see."
The notorious Nobby gets the Most Beautiful Girl to be his girlfriend, she's a pole dancer.
DEATH makes yet another cameo appearance:
He ... saw a small but brightly lit chair on the sand. A robed figure was reclining in it, reading a book.
A scythe was stuck in the sand beside it.
A white, skeletal hand turned a page.
"You'll be Death, then?" said Vimes
AH, MISTER VIMES, ASTUTE AS EVER. GOT IT IN ONE, said Death, shutting the book on his finger to keep the place.
"I've see you before. ... And this is it, is it?"
HAS IT NEVER STRUCK YOU THAT THE CONCEPT OF A WRITTEN NARRATIVE IS SOMEWHAT STRANGE? said Death.
Vimes could tell when people were trying to avoid something they really didn't want to say, and it was happening here.
"Is it?" he insistent. "Is this it? This time I die?"
"Could be? What sort of an answer is that?" said Vimes.
... DON'T MIND ME. CARRY ON WITH WHATEVER YOU WERE DOING. I HAVE A BOOK.
Vimes ... heard the sound of a chair being moved.
"Shouldn't you be somewhere else?" he said.
I AM, said Death, sitting down again.
"But you're here!"
[The rest of the conversation is actually a little scary and you better see the book.]
Just one irritation: it's got the most typos of not only any Terry Pratchett I have read but also of any book I read in the last decade. There's enough bad spelling with all these blogs ... maybe the book was written and published just a smidgen too fast.
|Unseen Academicals: A Novel of Discworld (2009) by Terry Pratchett.|
Also see blog of Unseen Academicals.
One of Pratchett's best, with interesting characters (including both known and new), a Romeo-and-Juliet-type story, worth, loyalty, team-building, and pies.
Also soccer, assassins, necromancy, micromail (or micromale?), and pies ... and an ORC!
|The Wee Free Men (2003) by Terry Pratchett.|
Also see blog of The Wee Free Men.
Written for younger readers, it's a story about the 'help' of Scottish pictsies, the Nac Mac Feegle:
[p.202] The Nac Mac Feegle couldn't be trodden on or squeezed. They worked in groups, running up one another's backs to get high enough to punch an elf or, preferably, to bash it with their heads. And once anyone was down, it was all over bar the kicking.
... It took them a little while to realize that they'd run out of people to fight. They went on fighting one another for a bit anyway, since they'd come all this way, and then settled down and began to go through the pockets of the fallen in case there was any loose change.
The core story concerns a young girl (Tiffany) uses her witch powers (like a strong forearm serve with a frying pan) to dispatch evil monsters as well as what the clan leader of the Nac Mac Feegle calls:
"First Sight ... when you can see what's really there, not what your heid [head] tells you ought to be there. ... Second sight is a dull sight, it's seeing only what you expect to see."
Has a lot of similarities to some of the Hogfather elements: Susan dispatches monsters with a poker and Tiffany with a frying pan; both Susan and Tiffany arrive in a fairy-tale world where what is seen is a simplistic 'painting' of the real world; etc.
I hopped over such repetitive aspects because of the amusement and terror caused not only by a toad but more especially by the Nac Mac Feegle pictsies and their WMD, e.g.:
said the toad ... "He's probably their battle poet, too."
"You mean he makes up heroic songs about famous battles?"
"No, no. He recites poems that frighten the enemy. ... when a well-trained gonnagle starts to recite, the enemy's ears explode."
... the clearing was a battlefield. The pictsies were jumping and slashing at the flying creatures ...
Rob struggled ... "Quick, put me doon [down]!" he yelled. "There's gonna be poetry! ... The muse is a terrible thing to have happen to you"
... "That, lad," [William] said proudly, "was some of the worst poetry I have heard for a long time. If was offensive to the ear and a torrrture [torture] to the soul. The last couple of lines need some work, but ye has the groanin' off fiiine [fine]. All in all, a verrry [very] sommendable effort!"
Interesting though late appearance from arch-witch Mistress Weatherwax.
by Terry Pratchett.
Part 3 of The Bromeliad Trilogy (1998).
Also see blog of The Bromeliad Trilogy.
|Witches Abroad (1991) by Terry Pratchett.|
Also see blog of Witches Abroad.
Three witches (the Weatherwax-Ogg-Garlick trio), two fairy godmothers (Garlick again as well as a different Weatherwax), and one swamp witch bring renewed life to zombies and to the city-state of Genua (the New Orleans of Discworld). A highlight is Granny Weatherwax as riverboat gambler.
Beware of giving too much power to a story:
[p. 11] Lilith knows the power of a story. I've done the best I could, but Lilith's got the power. I hear she runs the city now. Changing a whole country just to make a story work!
This book is more full than average of terrible puns, including, when a miffed Granny Weatherwax is complaining that Magrat Garlick has been given a fairy godmother's wand:
[p. 38] "I used to come over here quite often to look at her books," Magrat confessed. "And ... she liked to cook foreign food and no one else around here would eat it, so I'd come up to keep her company."
"Ah-ha! Curryin' favor!," snapped Granny.
Margrat learns ninj, a martial art that she uses to, er, some effect. Nanny Ogg's cat also participates by eating, fighting, and paying attention to the ladies; Nanny describes him:
[p. 210] "This is Greebo. Between you and me, he's a fiend from hell."
"Well, he's a cat," said Mrs. Gogol, generously. "It's only to be expected."
[p. 294] Then he [Greebo] smelled the kitchen. Cats gravitate to kitchens like rocks gravitate to gravity.
Ethical discussions are held, including:
[p. 252] "Yes, but it's wrong," said Granny.
"Not for these parts, it seems," said Nanny.
"Besides," said Magrat virtuously, "it can't be bad if we're doing it. We're the good ones."
"Oh yes, so we is," said Granny, "and there was me forgetting it for a moment there."
Religious discussions include:
[p. 288] There are various forms of voodoo in the multiverse, because it's a religion that can be put together from any ingredients that happen to be lying around. And all of them try, in some way, to call down a god into the body of a human.
That was stupid, Mrs. Gogol thought. That was dangerous.
Mrs. Gogol's voodoo worked the other way about. What was a god? A focus of belief. If people believed, a god began to grow. Feebly at first, but if the swamp taught anything, it taught patience. Anything could be the focus of a god ... and when the time was ripe you opened the path ... backwards. A human could ride the god, rather than the other way around. There would be a price to pay later, but there always was. In Mrs. Gogol's experience, everyone ended up dying.
Balanced political discussions include:
[p. 305] "Then you're nothing but a daft godmother," snapped Granny, still fiddling with the lock. "You can't go around building a better world for people. Only people can build a better world for people. Otherwise it's just a cage. Besides, you don't build a better world by choppin' heads off and giving girls away to frogs."
"But progress --" Magrat began.
"Don't you talk to me about progress. Progress just mean bad things happen faster."
Angua: A were-wolf copper; good at sorting out the were-wolves that go bad (see The Fifth Elephant).
Blind Io. Chief of the Gods and in charge of general thundering. Chief Priest is Hughnon Ridcully.
Carrot Ironfoundersson, Captain of the City Watch: A very tall red-haired human raised by dwarves. He is usually "radiating keenness and a hint of soap" [as in The Last Hero]. Second in command to Commander Sam Vimes. In The Last Hero, blasts into space with Leonard of Quirm, to arrest to last hero, Cohen the Barbarian, before he blows up the Gods at the Hub.
Cheri (née Cheery) Longbottom: Dwarf. Female. Explosive chemist; lost eyebrows. Joins City Watch as its forensics expert at the start of Feet of Clay. Scared of were-wolves till Angua turns were-wolf to save Cheri.
Cohen the Barbarian and his Horde [Posse]: "They were dealing with time as with nearly everything else in their lives, as something you charged at and tried to kill."
DEATH: TALKS LIKE THIS. STRAIGHT MAN. NOT GOOD WITH DOGS.
Dorfl: the first Golem that learns to speak. Very ethical. Joins City Watch at the end of Feet of Clay.
Dwarf: "Dwarfs are so refreshingly open about money." [Vetinari in Night Watch].
Golem: Talks Like This. Ideal Carrier Of Mail and Criminals. Power of speech gained in Feet of Clay.
Hughnon Ridcully. Chief Priest of Blind Io. Different from his brother, Mustrum Ridcully.
Igor: Talkth like thith if male. Femaleth do not affect a lithp. Good at thurgery and thewing. Can appear thuddenly and thilently. Can be thullen if not rethpected.
Leonard of Quirm: Vetinari's pet, kept in a high research tower because: "Lord Vetinari felt that the world was not yet ready for a man who designed unthinkable weapons of war as a happy hobby." [p.30 of The Last Hero.] Vetinari leashes Leonard to invent and pilot Discworld's first submarine (in Jingo) and Discworld's first space ship (in The Last Hero).
Called Leonardo da Quirm by some.
Moist von Lipwig: A surrogate prodigal cousin-one-removed to Lord Vetinari, and the hero of Going Postal and Making Money. Enthusiast of shiny coats and hats and misprints.
Mustrum Ridcully (Unseen University). Archchancellor of U.U. Different from his brother, Hughnon Ridcully. Management policy: "If you get stuck with any of this compl'cated stuff, my door's always open. I am your Archchancellor after all." This is footnoted with "He meant, 'My door is always open because then, when I'm bored, I can fire my crossbow right across the hall and into the target just above the Bursar's desk.'" [Last Continent (p.99)].
Rincewind: Unpaid Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography at U.U. Talks himself into volunteering to go with Leonard of Quirm in the space ship [in The Last Hero]. Also called the Egregious Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography in Last Continent, where he visits the isle of evolution and then saves the land of XXXX by calling down rain. Fast at running. Pursued by his luggage, which sometimes contains his clean clothes.
"In Anhk-Morpork ...
found them lodgings in
an ancient part of the city whose inhabitants were largely nocturnal and
never inquired about one another's business because curiosity not only
killed the cat but threw it in the river with weights tied to its feet.
The lodgings were on the top floor next to the well-guarded premises
of a respectable dealer in stolen property because, as
had heard, good fences make good neighbors.
The Shades, in brief, were an abode of discredited gods and
unlicensed thieves, ladies of the night and peddlers in exotic goods,
alchemists of the mind and strolling mummers;
in short, all the grease on civilization's axle."
Sybil: Wife of Sam Vimes. Good with dragons. Sings dwarf opera. Trade negotiator in Uberwald (see The Fifth Elephant).
U.U. (Unseen University). Directed by Mustrum Ridcully in many books. Last Continent reports: "While UU was currently going through an extended period of peace and quiet, with none of the informal murders that had once made it such a terminally exciting place, a senior wizard always distrusted a young man who was going places since traditionally his route might be via your jugular."
Vampire: sometimes a psychopath; other times a loyal life-saver; sometimes both.
Vetinari, Havelock: Fiendishly clever Patrician and leader of Ankh-Morpork. Probably admires Machiavellian. Night Watch shows the young Vetinari as a peerless assassin.
Vimes, Sam: Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch; shows what a good chief of police can be: ethical, intelligent, ahead of the politicians. Vetinari relentlessly calls Vimes 'Your Grace'. If anyone else attempts to call him 'Your Grace', Vimes has a standard response: "Not Your Grace," he said. "Just Vimes. Sir Samuel if you must." Husband of Lady Sybil.
City Watch: AnhkMorpork coppers, led by Commander Sam Vimes.
Weatherwax, Esmerelda 'Granny': Best and most powerful witch in Discworld. Likes old clothes of black and red silk. When visiting AnhkMorpork likes to live in the Shades. Knows that "Books are only good if the paper is thin" [Equal Rites, p.107] and "Most things most people believe are wrong" [Equal Rites, p.211].
Mrs. Whitlow: Housekeeper. Personal pronoun is "Ai" as in "Ai can't really... Ai would never be able to look you in the face again, sir. Ai hope Ai know my place." [The Last Continent, p.74].
Worde, William de:
Son of aristocrats and fearless around power.
Maybe as fearless as Vimes.
In The Truth
he makes a career by writing a newsletter for the rich.
But soon he meets a gang of dwarves with a souped-up movable-type printing press
and creates the Ankh-Morpork Times.
Also pivotal in Monstrous Regiment.
Books on Buddhism. Books on Learning Spanish.
Poetry - Learn How to Write Your Own. Forests of California and Trees of the World.
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