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  #201  
Old 01-08-2019, 11:17 AM
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I won't disagree and do really like that book, but my gut reaction is "Witches Abroad has moments of excellence within a goofy, fun book but L&L is top-notch cover-to-cover." But it's been a few years since I've read them.

This thread is reminding me that I've either read or reread every main Discworld novel in the past seven or eight years save one -- Small Gods. It's the only one I borrowed instead of bought to read, so it's never been sitting around me. It's one of the first ones I read, so...I'll be damned if it hasn't been nearly twenty years.

I should give myself that treat.
  #202  
Old 01-08-2019, 02:18 PM
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Witches Abroad is a good enough book, but it was Lords and Ladies when I began to think, "I love these people."

City Watch was immediate to me. I loved Carrot from his first pages. It took longer with the witches.
  #203  
Old 01-23-2019, 05:39 PM
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Maskerade

I officially rank the Witches as my second favorites series behind the City Watch. I love the Witches ever since Lords and Ladies and am glad there is another full book with them after this one. This one was highly enjoyable, though not on the level of Lords and Ladies.

It's a joy to enter these books unspoiled. I had no idea this was a Phantom of the Opera parody in part and since I love the Phantom musical, this was a lot of fun.

Not sure what is next.
  #204  
Old 01-23-2019, 06:19 PM
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Maskerade]

...and am glad there is another full book with them after this one.

You should conciser the Tiffany Aching books to be part of the witches arc--while

Granny Weatherwax and crew aren't the stars, they are significant figures.
  #205  
Old 01-23-2019, 06:34 PM
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And Tiffany herself is quite the witch, too, with all that that implies. Though just as Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Magrat, and Perdita are all very different witches, so too is Tiffany herself.
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Old 01-23-2019, 06:38 PM
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You should conciser the Tiffany Aching books to be part of the witches arc--while

Granny Weatherwax and crew aren't the stars, they are significant figures.
I've read two of them before stopping. I may re-read them after I read the core Witches books.
  #207  
Old 01-23-2019, 06:46 PM
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Tiffany is absolutely Granny Weatherwax's successor. Had Pratchett lived, I think we'd have seen Tiffany surpass Granny eventually.
  #208  
Old 01-24-2019, 03:59 PM
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I've read two of them before stopping. I may re-read them after I read the core Witches books.
Definitely do so. Tiffany's books grow "older" as they go, with the last couple really being followups Discworld Witch books, albeit a little more self-contained and a little more serious.

Pratchett obviously wrote those books as a response to Harry Potter, and the morals that run through them really speak to me on a bone-deep level.

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  #209  
Old 02-13-2019, 10:59 PM
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The Truth

Well, there we go. One of the absolute beginning to end best Discworld books out there. Absolutely terrific and is now my #2 book overall. I loved it and recommend it to everyone.

I don't even know how to talk about this one. It's absolute top form from Pratchett. From Mr. Tulip(my new favorite antagonist) to Otto the vampire who dies every time he takes a picture, but who loves photography. This book was amazing and it will be hard to find a better book for me to read in all of 2019.

Just the absolute best.

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  #210  
Old 02-14-2019, 02:08 AM
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I love any scene with Mister Tulip's art criticism:

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“Your friend Mr. Tulip would perhaps like part of your payment to be the harpsichord?" said the chair.
"It's not a --ing harpsichord, it's a --ing virginal," growled Mr. Tulip. "One --ing string to a note instead of two! So called because it was an instrument for --ing young ladies!"
"My word, was it?" said one of the chairs. "I thought it was just of sort of early piano!”

Last edited by Penfeather; 02-14-2019 at 02:10 AM.
  #211  
Old 02-14-2019, 05:23 AM
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Pratchett obviously wrote those books as a response to Harry Potter
Did he? You have a quote from him on that?

Because he was already writing books about young girls learning witchcraft before Harry Potter was even conceived. Tiffany is just a continuation of that. Sure, there's a one-off joke in WFM about magic colleges and broomsticks, but this is a universe with Unseen University...
  #212  
Old 02-14-2019, 01:57 PM
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I love any scene with Mister Tulip's art criticism:

IIRC, Mahaloth mentioned consuming the books as audiobooks? How do the -ing audio books handle the -ing gag in this -ing book?
  #213  
Old 02-15-2019, 10:19 AM
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Did he? You have a quote from him on that?

Because he was already writing books about young girls learning witchcraft before Harry Potter was even conceived. Tiffany is just a continuation of that. Sure, there's a one-off joke in WFM about magic colleges and broomsticks, but this is a universe with Unseen University...
I don't, and I assume it wouldn't have suited him to be that explicit, but I would be shocked if it wasn't at least partly conceived as a bit of a rebuttal.

Pratchett had been the UK's best-selling author for years until Rowling's books surpassed him. Young adult books about kids going to fun and thrilling wizard/witch school where the hero is celebrated and prophesied, magic is used casually and constantly, good and evil are in an explicit conflict, and the good guys always pull together.

He then wrote a young adult book about a witch-in-training with references to "going to witch school" about how learning magic ISN'T fun or thrilling, magic is treated as a deep responsibility and occasional burden, being a hero doesn't always get you fame or recognition, prophecies and stories lie, morality can be grey and much harder to determine, and sometimes you're going to on your own and still expected to do the right thing.

It's not a beat-for-beat mirror, because Pratchett was way too talented for that and Tiffany's story is much bigger and has a huge life of its own, but it's always just felt clear as day to me that Pratchett was purposefully responding to some of the thinking that runs through HP.
  #214  
Old 02-15-2019, 11:39 AM
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book about a witch-in-training with references to "going to witch school" about how learning magic ISN'T fun or thrilling, magic is treated as a deep responsibility and occasional burden, being a hero doesn't always get you fame or recognition, prophecies and stories lie, morality can be grey and much harder to determine, and sometimes you're going to on your own and still expected to do the right thing.

But enough about Lords and Ladies...
  #215  
Old 02-15-2019, 12:29 PM
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Well, of course he's going to be influenced by (and to some degree disagreeing with) the Harry Potter books. An artist is going to be influenced, to some degree, by everything in his culture. But I think his rebuttal to Disney is even stronger: "Just remember: If you dream big, and follow your heart, and wish upon stars... you'll still get your butt kicked by someone who went out and worked hard for it."
  #216  
Old 02-15-2019, 01:41 PM
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I don't, and I assume it wouldn't have suited him to be that explicit
He had no problem giving his opinion about HP when it came out, and what you're describing just doesn't strike me as Pterry's style. If he'd intended what you're suggesting, he'd have been a lot more upfront about it. He didn't need to write a response to Rowling - well, he didn't need to write it again. He'd already written it - more than once.
  #217  
Old 02-15-2019, 01:47 PM
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IIRC, Mahaloth mentioned consuming the books as audiobooks? How do the -ing audio books handle the -ing gag in this -ing book?
It was hilarious. Stephen Briggs did this one and he did a full glottal-stop(I think) type thing and said "ing". I entirely understood the joke and and got the reference to old-timey newspaper censoring without having to read it.

Find an audio clip of it if you can. He did a great job. In fact, probably his best read I've heard so far.
  #218  
Old 02-15-2019, 03:00 PM
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He then wrote a young adult book about a witch-in-training with references to "going to witch school" about how learning magic ISN'T fun or thrilling, magic is treated as a deep responsibility and occasional burden, being a hero doesn't always get you fame or recognition, prophecies and stories lie, morality can be grey and much harder to determine, and sometimes you're going to on your own and still expected to do the right thing.
Like A Wizard Of Earthsea, you mean? And I'm not suggesting that Pratchett was responding to Le Guin, but deconstructing the idea of a "chosen one" isn't new in YA fantasy fiction: Ged was a dick, and he had to learn not to be.
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Old 02-15-2019, 05:39 PM
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So, what did Pratchett say publicly about Harry Potter?
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Old 02-15-2019, 06:38 PM
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So, what did Pratchett say publicly about Harry Potter?
He said that "J. K. Rowling said no." The man was pretty humble.
  #221  
Old 02-16-2019, 11:03 AM
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So, what did Pratchett say publicly about Harry Potter?
Well, here's a post he made to the alt.fan.harry-potter newsgroup in 2005 after a BBC article. Most relevant quote, which matches my take (my emphasis):

But I will pick up on the comments about Tiffany Aching and 'the school for witches'. As he Discworld take on Witch v. Wizard magic has been in place for a very long time. Tiffany's daydream of a magical school' *could *be Hogwarts --or Unseen University or Miss Cackle's Academy or any fantasy school or all or none. It might even be five seconds of Tiffany's wishful thinking. So what? Granny Weatherwax's often voiced distrust of books, magical tools goes all the way back to 'Equal Rites' in 1987. Why should she suddenly be talking about another author's creations?

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  #222  
Old 05-21-2019, 07:22 PM
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Carpe Jugulum

My final main witches book, though I will now re-read the Tiffany books I had read(the first two).

This book had amazing theological discussions, but was only an OK book for me. I guess I should say it is an OK Discworld-book, which means it is still really good. Mightily Oats is a great character and of all characters in any Discworld book, he really is like me.

This book contains my favorite single passage so far. It's Mightily Oats' thoughts about God, belief, and whether any of it is true or not.

This passage is like Terry Pratchett read my mind and then wrote it out. I'll spoiler-box it since I am pushing the edge of quote-length.

SPOILER:


They had been warned about it.

Don’t expect it, they’d said. It doesn’t happen to anyone except the prophets. Om doesn’t work like that. Om works from inside. —but he’d hoped that, just once, that Om would make himself known in some obvious and unequivocal way that couldn’t be mistaken for wind or a guilty conscience. Just once, he’d like the clouds to part for the space of ten seconds and a voice to cry out, “YES, MIGHTILY-PRAISEWORTHY-ARE-YE-WHO-EXALTETH-OM OATS! IT’S ALL COMPLETELY TRUE! INCIDENTALLY, THAT WAS A VERY THOUGHTFUL PAPER YOU WROTE ON THE CRISIS OF RELIGION IN A PLURALISTIC SOCIETY!”

It wasn’t that he’d lacked faith. But faith wasn’t enough. He’d wanted knowledge. Right now he’d settle for a reliable manual of vampire disposal. He stood up. Behind him, unheeded, the terrible camp bed sprang shut. He’d found knowledge, and knowledge hadn’t helped. Had not Jotto caused the Leviathan of Terror to throw itself onto the land and the seas to turn red with blood? Had not Orda, strong in his faith, caused a sudden famine throughout the land of Smale? They certainly had. He believed it utterly. But a part of him also couldn’t forget reading about the tiny little creatures that caused the rare red tides off the coast of Urt and the effect this apparently had on local sea life, and about the odd wind cycle that sometimes kept rain clouds away from Smale for years at a time. This had been… worrying.

.....

Because he was, he knew, in two minds about everything. At one point he’d considered asking to be exorcised but had drawn back from this because the Church traditionally used fairly terminal methods for this and in any case serious men who seldom smiled would not be amused to hear that the invasive spirit he wanted exorcised was his own.

He called the voices the Good Oats and the Bad Oats. The trouble was, each of them agreed with the terminology but applied it in different ways. Even when he was small there’d been a part of him that thought the temple was a silly boring place, and tried to make him laugh when he was supposed to be listening to sermons. It had grown up with him. It was the Oats that read avidly and always remembered those passages which cast doubt on the literal truth of the Book of Om— and nudged him and said, if this isn’t true, what can you believe?

And the other half of him would say: there must be other kinds of truth.

And he’d reply: other kinds than the kind that is actually true, you mean?

And he’d say: define actually!

And he’d shout: well, actually Omnians would have tortured you to death, not long ago, for even thinking like this. Remember that? Remember how many died for using the brain which, you seem to think, their god gave them? What kind of truth excuses all that pain? He’d never quite worked out how to put the answer into words. And then the headaches would start, and the sleepless nights. The Church schismed all the time these days, and this was surely the ultimate one, starting a war inside one’s head. To think he’d been sent here for his health, because Brother Melchio had got worried about his shaky hands and the way he talked to himself!

He did not gird his loins, because he wasn’t certain how you did that and had never dared ask, but he adjusted his hat and stepped out into the wild night under the thick, uncommunicative clouds.




I made a google document of it so I can read it over and over. I love it so much, I have no words.

Last edited by Mahaloth; 05-21-2019 at 07:22 PM.
  #223  
Old 05-22-2019, 05:05 AM
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Nice. My favourite Pratchett passage remains the discussion of the nature of fantasy and big and little lies, between Susan and Death, in Hogfather
  #224  
Old 05-22-2019, 08:09 AM
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My favorite passage is when Tiffany Aching threw an abusive father down a flight of stairs................................... which says a LOT more about me than about Discworld or Pratchett.

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  #225  
Old 05-28-2019, 01:26 PM
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The passage I quote most frequently is "Sam Vimes' Theory of Socio-Economic Unfairness." It's part of my lecture notes for high school Economics.
  #226  
Old 05-28-2019, 01:38 PM
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Nice. My favourite Pratchett passage remains the discussion of the nature of fantasy and big and little lies, between Susan and Death, in Hogfather
Same here.
  #227  
Old 05-28-2019, 02:24 PM
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Nice. My favourite Pratchett passage remains the discussion of the nature of fantasy and big and little lies, between Susan and Death, in Hogfather
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Same here.
I ultimately chose a passage from Good Omens to use as a sig, but I waffled between that and Death’s comment in Hogfather about being the place where the rising ape meets the falling angel. Pratchett’s compassionate humanism did much to shape my own view of ethics and morality.
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  #228  
Old 05-28-2019, 03:43 PM
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So, I finally reread Small Gods, which was one of the first Discworld books I ever read almost twenty years ago and one of the only ones I'd never reread. I'd actually never owned it until recently.

And...I'm the outlier. I don't love it. I get WHY people love it, but I don't. The moments of brilliance are absolutely there, and some of the narrative turns towards the end are engaging, but something just doesn't hold together for me.

Brutha never feels like a real character; he's described as a near-comical simpleton at the outset but portrayed more as average and over-earnest. His eidetic memory is a weird choice. And his eventual turn towards wise competence doesn't really feel earned to me.

It's also not very funny. I don't mind Discworld getting serious, but I think this was specifically a topic which could use more levity.

It's certainly not a bad book, but I'm not sure it even makes my personal top ten. I guess I've realized that what I really love about Pratchett was his skill at developing extremely vivid characters and building a really expansive and "believable" world, and I don't think Small Gods really managed that.
  #229  
Old 05-28-2019, 04:07 PM
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I recommend Going Postal. It's pretty good, and there's even a BBC mini-series starring Richard Coyle and David Suchet which is also excellent.
  #230  
Old 05-28-2019, 05:48 PM
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I think Discworld was harmed by the first few installments being light parody: That set the expectation that Pratchett was writing comedy. There is a lot of humor in the books, but it's not the point of them.

And my favorite passage is Granny Weatherwax playing cards with DEATH, but that can't really be condensed down to a sig (at least, not without losing important context).
  #231  
Old 05-28-2019, 06:05 PM
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I think Discworld was harmed by the first few installments being light parody: That set the expectation that Pratchett was writing comedy. There is a lot of humor in the books, but it's not the point of them.
.
I recommend this podcast where Brandon Sanderson discusses Discworld. I literally made sure I read The Truth next so I could listen to this podcast fully spoiled and ready to go.

He talks about what makes Discworld work as a series and your point is one of his. When you read many funny books, the joke is the point. With Terry Pratchett's books, the joke is not the point. They make you laugh, sometimes really often, but the books have strong stories and characters that stand on their own and the jokes just make the experience more enjoyable.

It's a great listen as a whole if you want to hear another author discuss The Truth and discworld in general. Sanderson obviously loves the series.
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Old 06-05-2019, 08:58 PM
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Moving Pictures

Not my favorite book and one of the lesser Discworld books so far. I have very little to say about it other than, "Yep, that happened." I didn't hate it, but it would not draw me in if I were not already planning to read all of them.

Is this book a favorite of anyone? I love stand-alones, but this was just about the perfect example of a generic Discworld book.
  #233  
Old 06-05-2019, 10:41 PM
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It does have the introductions of a few recurring characters.

But yeah, pretty generic, and with the big reset button at the end common to several early books.
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Old 06-06-2019, 10:49 AM
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Moving Pictures is like the cotton candy of Discworld (should I say candyfloss?). Pleasant enough and inoffensive, but not a meal. I think it's probably the last one before Pratchett really found the defining tones and voices of the best Discworld. It's the last pre-greatness book.

Moving Pictures is, however, where Pratchett started exploring themes that he used much more effectively in Reaper Man and Soul Music, so you can see some groundwork being laid.

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  #235  
Old 06-12-2019, 09:03 PM
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Here is my ranking of the 26 Discworld books I have now read, from best to worst.

Small Gods
The Truth
Lords and Ladies
Night Watch
Reaper Man
Feet of Clay
Men at Arms
Maskerade
Carpe Jugulum
Soul Music
Fifth Elephant
Jingo
Guards! Guards!
Interesting Times
Mort
Wee Free Men
Unseen Academicals
Moving Pictures
A Hat Full of Sky
Witches Abroad
Wyrd Sisters
Sourcery
Colour of Magic
The Light Fantastic
Equal Rites
Faust Eric
  #236  
Old 06-12-2019, 09:38 PM
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For future reference, you can do the strikethrough here:


Faust Eric
  #237  
Old 06-12-2019, 09:51 PM
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You ranked Unseen Academicals ahead of A Hat Full Of Sky? Wow. Okay, I mean, YMMV and all, but I wonder how many other Pratchett fans would agree? Unseen, in my opinion, could have used an editor with a sharper red pencil; it was a little too verbose, a little too tell-rather-than-show, for me. This was where you realized that Terry was dictating, rather than writing.

Whereas the Tiffany Aching series I put with Night Watch as the high points of Pratchett's corpus; these are comic novels about serious ideas, and are the works that rank Pratchett among modern British writers like Salman Rushdie, A.S. Byatt, and Margaret Atwood.

Just my opinion, of course, and in any case, I'm delighted that you've discovered the Discworld. Your thread has inspired me to go back and re-read the novels, so I'd owe you a beer, if we ever met IRL.
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  #238  
Old 06-12-2019, 10:44 PM
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Unseen Academicals isn't dead last? Your list is suspect.
  #239  
Old 06-13-2019, 02:06 AM
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Yes, for me UA is in very last place.
  #240  
Old 06-13-2019, 04:31 AM
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I think Discworld was harmed by the first few installments being light parody: That set the expectation that Pratchett was writing comedy. There is a lot of humor in the books, but it's not the point of them.
I also think this is why Rincewind is not often beloved by the "serious" Discworld readers, that he's most strongly associated with the early parodic works, and somehow isn't seen as "fitting in" with the more "literary" later works.

To which I say bollocks. Rincewind remains a great literary character even if you try and strip the funny away. He's the "only sane man in the room" archetype.
  #241  
Old 06-13-2019, 04:41 AM
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modern British writers like [...] Margaret Atwood.
Atwood is a Canadian writer. Some would say the Canadian writer.
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Unseen Academicals isn't dead last? Your list is suspect.
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Yes, for me UA is in very last place.
No, they definitely got the last one dead right.

The best thing I can say about Eric is it would make a middling Tom Holt book.
  #242  
Old 06-14-2019, 12:40 AM
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There were a couple of scenes in Eric Faust that I enjoyed:
  • The field demon at least taking some pity by skipping some of the subsections of the daily reading of the safety orders.
  • The senior demon getting "promoted" into a locked-away office, and finding his own bizarre satisfaction in writing up the Mission Statement for Hell. "We Are In the Damnation Business."
  #243  
Old 07-14-2019, 04:41 PM
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The Last Continent

This book was the final main Rincewind/Wizards book, though I still have the Last Hero and the Science books, which I understand involved them as well.

I was surprised in the opening 25% or so of this book how much is the wizards at the school instead of Rincewind, but I didn't mind. I almost find the wizards more interesting at time. Still, we got back to Rincewind and the whole thing moved right along.

It was OK, though I found Interesting Times to be the superior and best Rincewind novel. His crew there was the funniest and I found myself enjoying that book all the way through. This one was only OK in parts. The atheist god was a huge hit for me and the wizards back in time was also great.

Anyway, not my favorite, but a good solid Discworld book.
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Old 07-14-2019, 05:49 PM
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The Rincewind books in general are pretty bad, and ones I feel Terry himself didn't really want to write but Rincewind was a popular character (search me for a reason for that, he's so one note...) so I get the idea either he or his editor felt he had to keep writing for him.

To me they mostly feel like a series of "bits" with Rincewind going "would you look at that, that sure is silly ; also my cowardice is never not funny !" at them. Which, granted, is pretty much exactly what TCOM/TLF were but...eh. Sourcery is ok as I remember it (but I haven't reread it in forever), and Interesting Times is actually fun in parts but mostly, meh.
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  #245  
Old 07-14-2019, 06:25 PM
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I think my favorite Rincewind moment ever is actually in The Last Hero.
(very minor spoiler)
SPOILER:
"I just wish to make it known that I don't want to volunteer."
"Then what are you doing here?"
"Sigh... Volunteering. But I don't want to.
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Old 08-30-2019, 04:44 PM
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I'm rather late to the party, but let me put down my favorites, which I've reread a couple times each:

- Interesting times: Rincewind's visit to the Discworld's equivalent of Asia. Having lived in Asia IRL I found a lot of the jokes particularly spot on and hilarious.

- Wyrd Sisters: I enjoyed Pterry's take on witches, magic, and Uberwald, mixed up with Shakespearean tropes (Bubble bubble toil and trouble etc.).

- Pyramids: Don't know why but I found this one a lot of fun and particularly memorable. Son of "Egyptian" king is taking his final exam at the Assassin's Guild in A-M and meanwhile, back at home, his insane dad manages to kill himself kind of by accident. The son is now king...and he's got to go back home and deal with things. Oh, and I think this book is the source of all the Pt... jokes associated with Terry Pratchett.

- The Last Hero: Yes, I like this one, it combines a lot of the enjoyable ideas from the various other books. Stebbins as mission controller? Carrot as an Apollo Astronaut? It works!

I tend to remember and like snippets from different books, forgetting where the snippets are from, which gel into an overall experience. Not all books are equally great; some feel complete while others seem like a collection of good bits and a lot of less interesting stuff.

Last edited by Limmin; 08-30-2019 at 04:47 PM.
  #247  
Old 10-20-2019, 05:53 PM
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Thud!

Been reading other things for awhile, but I was happy to come back to Discworld and even happier to be back with the City Watch.

I...was not a big fan of this book. There are moments and I am always happy to see the Watch crew, but this book is going down the path Night Watch did. It focuses on Sam Vimes so much, everyone else feels like they are doing cameos here and there.

I prefer my Watch books to feature everyone. Anyway, it wasn't just that. I was not as pulled into this story as I hoped to be. It was a lesser Discworld book for me. Not much to say. Decent in parts, but nothing too great.
  #248  
Old 10-20-2019, 07:20 PM
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I will concede that Sam Vimes Has A Holiday About Racism Being Bad And Dumb is not one of the greats, and I don't really remember much about it except the scene with Berserker Vimes killing people while yelling WHERE IS MY COW ?!
Which is admittedly a fantastic mental image. But it's not even the worst Discworld book about Sam Vimes Pointing At Racism And Thinking It's Well Silly...

Also, if you read it as being kinda sorta sideways-like about Palestine/Israel it manages to be both pretty naive AND quite problematic at the same time ^^;

What's next for you, then ? Which ones are left on the to-read list ?
  #249  
Old 10-20-2019, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Kobal2 View Post
I will concede that Sam Vimes Has A Holiday About Racism Being Bad And Dumb is not one of the greats, and I don't really remember much about it except the scene with Berserker Vimes killing people while yelling WHERE IS MY COW ?!
Which is admittedly a fantastic mental image. But it's not even the worst Discworld book about Sam Vimes Pointing At Racism And Thinking It's Well Silly...

Also, if you read it as being kinda sorta sideways-like about Palestine/Israel it manages to be both pretty naive AND quite problematic at the same time ^^;

What's next for you, then ? Which ones are left on the to-read list ?
I have not read the following:

Pyramids
Last Hero
Maurice and His Educated Rodents
Monstrous Regiment
Going Postal
Wintersmith
Making Money
I Shall Wear Midnight
Snuff
Raising Steam
The Shepherd's Crown


I also plan to re-read the first two Tiffany Aching books now that I have read the Witch books.
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Old 10-20-2019, 10:39 PM
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...I somehow never realized that it's specifically about Palestine/Israel. But yeah, it does seem to fit a lot more closely there than to war in general.

And I don't think you'll get much dispute that it's not the worst of the Discworld books, but it's one of the weaker ones.
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