The Great Discworld Thread

Nuomer1

Journeyed there and back again
#21
The scene when they
turn the cat into a man and dress him as a pirate
made me laugh so hard that it instantly became one of my all-time discworlds favorites.
Agreed! I also loved the phrase (haven't got the book with me, so I may not get it dead right)
Vampires have risen from the grave, but never from the cat!
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#22
You haven't got to my favourites yet: Thud, Night Watch, Carpe Jugulum.

Small Gods,
though, is a bit of a one-off. I love it in a different way to the others (and it's my husband's favourite, along with Night Watch).

(Ofer - I think you'll find that that bit comes in Maskerade.)
I believe its first done in WA but repeated in M!!!!

And I fully agreee on Night Watch and Carpe Jugulum being the finest. I might add the Hogfather in Thud's place though.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#23
Review: Soul Music (Discworld 16)
Today I finished Soul Music (Discworld 16) by Terry Pratchett.

This one was quite all right, but for me it lacked the brilliance of some of the other installments in the series.

In Soul Music again the walls between worlds weaken and something pops through the divide. This time the theme that pops through is Rock music, given form as a electric/semi-magical guitar. It ends up in the hands of a troubadour, who immediately restyles himself to 'Buddy Holly' and collects a ragtag band wherewith he starts to tour the venues of the city of Ankh-Morpork. Everyone who comes into contact with this new type of music (Music With Rocks In) gets infected by the otherworldly magnetism. Some start their own bands. Others purchase band t-shirts (just 10 dollars a piece and that's cutting me own throat) and follow their favorite musicians like true groupies. The whole city is shaking their hips and dancing their bums off. The whole city? No, because not quite everyone is happy with this new development. The musician's guild guards it's prerogatives jealously and sets out to put a stop to the Band With Rocks In.

The other storyline revolves around Death. Once again our anthropomorphic embodiment of The End finds himself in an existential crisis. Out to find himself, his duties come to rest on his grand daughter Susan's shoulders, who of course botches things up. She goes on a quest to find her grandfather to try and get him to take up the scythe again and simultaneously to try and find the origins of this famous Rock music. On the way she falls in love with Buddy, which results in a situation where Susan has to make so difficult choices.

In the end these storylines come together and are neatly wrapped up (until the next time Death goes questioning himself again). The story is funny enough, but it doesn't reach the comedy peaks of Lords and Ladies and Men at Arms.

Nevertheless this is once again a good book, with funny jokes and plentiful clever references to the Rock stars and songs from our own world. I rate this book 8.0/10 (****4 GoodReads Stars)
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#24
Review: Interesting Times (Discworld 17)
I'm sitting in the bus, on my way back from work, and I've just finished Interesting Times (Discworld 17) by Terry Pratchett. I was a bit apprehensive about this one, as it is a Rincewind novel and he's not my favorite Discworld character. My fears turned out to be largely unfounded.

Our cowardly wizard is a way better developed character in this book than in the earlier installments. His approach to life -namely to run away from any and all dangers and to try to live as quiet a life as possible- is strangely enough very appealing. Also, in this book Rincewind sometimes unexpectedly divulged nuggets of real world-weary wisdom. This caught me at unawares, as I always found him to be a somewhat silly one-dimensional character. This made me really sympathise with him. The one gripe I have with our Wizzard is that his problems often automatically resolve themselves after he runs away from something. Although the deus ex machinas are tongue in cheek, this starts to irritate after a while. Still, the witty dialogue between Rincewind and the many awesome supporting characters in this book more than makes up for it.

In Interesting Times we follow Rincewind to the Counterweight Continent, where the Agatean Empire is in turmoil. This state, styled on medieval Chinese and Japanese empires, is normally closed off from the outside world (also literally: by a Great Wall designed to keep the inhabitants in, rather than the barbarians out). However, a subversive treatise creates unrest and makes people wonder if there really is no alternative to slaving your life away under the yoke of oppressive lords.

While the ghosts of communism and revolution are roaming the Agatean capital of Hunghung, the empire is also beset by a coterie of barbarian invaders. This 7 headed barbarian rabble, which styles itself as The Horde, is made up out of octogenarian heroes led by the indomitable Ghenghis Cohen. Cohen has set his eyes on the biggest prize of all: the throne of the empire itself.

The story in this book fast-paced. Action scene follows on action scene, which makes it very hard to put the book down. The snappy dialogue between Rincewind, the revolutionary soldiers and the Horde is top notch. This book is by no means profound, but that's okay. The humour in this book is on par with that in the best Witches or Night Watch storylines.

All in all, this was an amusing read, although not the most brilliant book in the series. I rate this book 8.2/10 (****4 GoodReads Stars).
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#25
I've always looked at Interesting Times as a book about Cohen with regrettable but still interesting interruptions for Rincewind. Possibly why it is one of my favourite Discworlds; I wish he'd done more with Cohen as a character, but c'est la vie.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#26
I've always looked at Interesting Times as a book about Cohen with regrettable but still interesting interruptions for Rincewind. Possibly why it is one of my favourite Discworlds; I wish he'd done more with Cohen as a character, but c'est la vie.
Yeah, the Horde was amazingly funny. You're saying they don't feature in future Discworld books?
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#28
Review: Maskerade (Discworld 18)
I just finished Maskerade by Terry Pratchett.

Although the Witches storyline is among my favorites, this book just didn't do it for me. It's still funny, and the characters of Nanny and Granny are still amusing, but somehow the book felt a bit lackluster to me.

This time around the story revolves around an old opera house in Ankh-Morpork. Pratchett has copied the story of the Phantom of the Opera and poured a Discworld sauce over it. Normally the Discworld books are just inspired by real-world themes and stories, but this felt more like a direct copy and therefore somewhat uninspired. Nanny and Granny are seeking to reinstate their coven of three witches and since Margrat became queen they are short 1 woman. They have set their sights on a corpulent young lady names Agnes (or 'Perdita' as she likes to style herself). Agnes is a sensible girl, with a strong personality and great hair. Her only problem is that she's insecure about her weight and station in life. Seeking to escape the bounds of apprenticeship that Granny is trying to leash her with, Agnes joins the opera to make a career of her own. Nanny and Granny follow her trail. In the opera house things are not what they seem. The Ghost of the Opera (yes, I told you it was a straight copy) has haunted the premises for years, but only recently bodies have started to turn up. Dead bodies to be exact. Is this the work of the elusive ghost? The witches set out to investigate the matter.

I don't know, perhaps it's the fact that I couldn't care less about opera that resulted in me not liking the book as much as I liked the previous ones in this storyline. As stated before, the story felt a bit uninspired and I could see the ending coming from miles away.

Despite its faults, I still enjoyed reading this book and it was again good for a few chuckles. However, this doesn't rate nowhere near the top of my favorite Discworld books. I rate this with a rather disappointing (for a Discworld book) 7.2/10 (3***GoodReads Stars).
 
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Bill Door

Firsthanded the newest Caine adventure
#29
Clearly...I'm a fan. :D
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#30
Clearly...I'm a fan. :D
Nice avatar of Death/Bill Door. I've never seen that one before. Do you perhaps have a link to the full pic?
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#32
Don't worry Silvion. You still have some very good ones left. The Fifth Elephant in particular. My favorite after Small Gods. But a break after so many in a row is probably a good idea.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#33
@Bill Door: thanks for that. That's an amazing piece of work.

@kenubrion: Yeah, I really feel this break is a good thing. I want to enjoy the Discworld novels to the fullest extent, and by having this break I'm sure I will recharge so that I'm ready for the remainder of the series.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#34
Bill Door: He's a skelington!

I love that line.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#35
Review: Feet of Clay (Discworld 19)
After a hiatus of some weeks during which I've read a graphic novel and a horror-comedy I re-embarked on my Discworld journey last week. Feet of Clay is the third book in the City Watch storyline. A friend of mine who has read all Discworld novels once told me that the City Watch books get exponentially better (in that the new installment is twice as good as the previous one), and although I believe he was overreacting, I kinda see where he's coming from.

Feet of Clay is the quintessential Discworld novel. It's got everything which I've come to love in Pratchett's oeuvre; humour, wit, eye-openers, romance (no really), mystery and interesting social themes.

This nineteenth Discworld novel is a true whodunit. Dead bodies pop up (figuratively speaking), the Patrician is almost fatally poisoned and it's up to Commander Vimes and his group of 30 Watchmen to figure out who the perpetrators are. The evidence apparently points to the Golems. This race of colossal servant automatons are seen by the Ankh-Morporkians as tireless working machines. They are employed by various companies to do the dirty work. Always without complaint. Never tiring. Unspeaking. They are therefore treated as things, not like sentient beings. But is this just? Don't the Golems have feelings? Are they not tired of serving their masters? Through Vimes' investigations we get a look inside the human (or dwarvish and trollish) psyche. How easy it is to disregard an entire race if we just dehumanise them (or dedwarvise... ah, you catch my drift). Pratchett holds up a mirror and forces us to contemplate how we perceive and treat various groups in society.

The characters in this book are rock solid, and by that I don't just refer to the trolls and Golems. The taciturn Watch Commander Samuel Vimes has become my favorite Discworld character. His Stark philosophy is beautiful in its own special way. I think every town should be blessed with a copper like Vimes. I'd rather not have a Detritus, Colon or Nobby in my local police force, but as cops in the Ankh-Morpork Watch they each fill their own niche. These and other Watchmen are fleshed out more and more as characters and this makes for a rich reading experience. Another favorite of mine is, again, Lord Vetinari. His pragmatic Machiavellian leadership style is amazing to behold. And the bits where Vimes and Vetinari are in dialogue are among the best bits in the entire Discworld series.

As you've probably gathered from this review I was very enthusiastic about this book. No wonder then that I give it a 9.3/10 (5*****GoodReads Stars).
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#36
Think this was the first Discworld i read; or if not the first, the first I fell completely in love with. Truly a masterpiece... and honestly, yes, I think a lot of the later City Watch books are clearly better. No, I don't know how that's possible either.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#37
Review: Hogfather (Discworld 20)
And another one wrapped up. This installment was all about the Discworld version of Christmas and it is therefore a perfect book to read during the Yule-tide season (as @Anti_Quated would put it). As I quite liked the book even now, I'm definitely going for a re-read it during my Christmas break.

This twentieth installment in Pratchett's Discworld series is a book in the Death-storyline. This time around someone has for nefarious reasons put a price on the head of the Hogfather (Santa). A renowned assassin takes up the contract and assembles a group of thugs that have set themselves the objective to kill the jolly old Father Winter. While he is on the run from the coterie of miscreants who are hounding his heels, the Hogfather's task of distributing the Hogswatch gifts to children is taken over by Death. As always, the Grim Reaper is plunged into an existential crisis during which he tries to figure out what makes humans tick and what his place is in the universe. Consecutively Death's sensible granddaughter Susan is sent on a mission to rescue the Hogfather from his assailants. Along the way she gets help from the Daeth of Rats, a talking raven, the God of Hangovers and the Tooth Fairy. Both storylines are interwoven and they meet eachother near the end of the book.

The story is this book is quite simple, but the themes -although described in Pratchett's light and breezy way- are anything but. The most important of these themes revolves around believing. The below quote explains it rather well. It is one of the most striking pieces of dialogue I've ever read in a fantasy book. Here's the excerpt, copied from GoodReads:

“All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need...fantasies to make life bearable."
REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.
"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"
YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.
"So we can believe the big ones?"
YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.
"They're not the same at all!"
YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.
"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—"
MY POINT EXACTLY.”
Next to the interesting themes, it's of course the characters that make this series so amazing. The funny, sparkling dialogue flows straight from the pages and hits your funnybone like a possum hits the fender of a Dodge Ram Van driven by a Trump voter. The wizards, the beggars, Death and Alfred, Susan and her wards (be they undead familiars or human kids); the banter makes you turn the pages at a ridiculous speed and after you've read the final one it leaves you wanting for more.

Eventhough this is not among my top favorite Discworld books, it still is another great installment in this fantastic series. I give it a 8.3/10 (***4 GoodReads Stars).
 

Anti_Quated

Journeyed there and back again
#38
The story is this book is quite simple, but the themes -although described in Pratchett's light and breezy way- are anything but. The most important of these themes revolves around believing. The below quote explains it rather well. It is one of the most striking pieces of dialogue I've ever read in a fantasy book.
This sounds brilliant, and what an engrossing, philosophically astute observation. This is the sort of thing I adore about fantasy literature - the ways in which it can challenge or propagate, cultivate or question the fundamental truths of sentient life. Death is such a fantastic character too, stumbling his way through the intricacies and paradoxical complexities of a mortality he never quite seems to understand (at least from my limited experience and engagement with Discworld).

@Silvion Night, your reviews make me want to delve into this properly. I watched the series of Soul Music and part of the Wyrd Sisters and enjoyed it, though some of the finer nuances of these deeply resonant themes were lost on me in my youth. It would seem I'd do well to rectify that omission. 'The falling angel meets the rising ape'. What a beautifully poignant metaphor, traversing the inherent duality of humanity; all the promise, and all the failure, a synergy of imperfect ambitions. Marvellous. Would that I had but another lifetime to wander through all the great literature, even in this genre alone. Time; the constant, the enemy, the witness, the adjudicator.
 

Theophania

Journeyed there and back again
#39
'The falling angel meets the rising ape'. What a beautifully poignant metaphor, traversing the inherent duality of humanity; all the promise, and all the failure, a synergy of imperfect ambitions. Marvellous.
You bet.

Here are some more:

“The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they’ve found it.” — Monstrous Regiment

“If you trust in yourself…. and believe in your dreams…. and follow your star… you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.” — The Wee Free Men

“The enemy isn’t men, or women, it’s bloody stupid people and no one has the right to be stupid.” — Monstrous Regiment

“Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.” — I Shall Wear Midnight

One of the things I love about Pratchett is his way of turning a phrase that cuts like a knife.

One of my favourites is from Going Postal, the whole section that ends:

It was Grandad who spoke next, after a long pause broken only by the squeaking of the new shutter bars. When he did speak, it was as if something was on his mind. ‘We keep that name moving in the Overhead,’ he said, and it seemed to Princess that the wind in the shutter arrays above her blew more forlornly, and the everlasting clicking of the shutters grew more urgent. ‘He’d never have wanted to go home. He was a real linesman. His name is in the code, in the wind in the rigging and the shutters. Haven’t you ever heard the saying “A man’s not dead while his name is still spoken”?’

It always makes me cry when I read it.