Discworld

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Read: Lords and Ladies

Or A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

With Pratchett and in particular his Lords and Ladies you read more Shakespeare than you may have thought. And it’s fun. It’s even more fun if you get all the references. Unfortunately, I did not get them all. (When I read on the train to pass the time I often do not want to think too much or too hard about what is supposed to be just a pastime.) Fortunately, there is the Annotated Pratchett File (that you and I can read when we are all back home).

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Read: Small Gods

From one perspective Pratchett’s Small Gods is a very accurate depiction of the basic principles of institutionalized religion. Its power stems from its followers. (And [this] power corrupts [its leaders], doesn’t it?) Its original ideals may get distorted over time. If there were any “ideals” to begin with…

That is, however, not the reason why I like the novel (I am not a particular fan of any religion, so maybe it contributed to me liking it); I like all these clever references to philosophy in general. Great ideas explained in very simple terms. And all the other puns as well, of course. A great time filler for any [train] trip.

Read: Reaper Man

And there we are, volume eleven and the second full Death feature in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.

I did not especially care for the city parasite theme; also the undead rights group was just on par. The Death plot, however, was great. There is a deeper philosophy behind Death that seems to speak to me. The romantic end was particularly moving…

The Annotations

Read: Moving Pictures

I liked watching movies a lot. For a brief period in the late nineties I even did it semi-professionally, writing for an online mag. Nowadays I just have this slightly grown-out-of-proportion private collection of non-dubbed movies – I cannot stand dubbed movies. My movie attendance rate has dropped dramatically, though. For the exact same reason; there are just not enough non-dubbed movies shown in local theaters.

Thus, reading discworld novel number 10 was an extra pleasure. Moving Pictures is all about Holy Wood and the film making business. Many of the classics like Gone with the wind, old Disney full length features and Warner cartoon series, Singing in the rain, Blues Brothers, and many more as well as the big studios are spoofed. It is just fun to identify all the references (the annotations help; yet I think that even they missed a few allusions).

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Read: Eric

Once you go Pratchett you never go back. The ninth discworld novel, Faust Eric, is a bit shorter than usual. Yet, it has all the right ingredients for a great one with all its witty references to classical literature. The obvious one is Goethe’s Faust, the more funny one is Dante’s Inferno. I certainly like the link from Hell to bureaucracy… and how the literal interpretation of statements is brought to a new level.

Read: Guards! Guards!

Another lengthy trip means another Terry Pratchett novel to pass the time (at the gate and on the plane) reading. And Pratchett’s comic fantasies are exactly what the doctor recommends… to get into the right, good mood for a vacation.

Guards! Guards! is the first full length feature of the Discworld’s City Watch. It is the first detailed description of the inner workings of Ankh-Morpork and its political arrangement. And, accidentally, it was the first Pratchett novel that I actually bought myself, back then when I still read my books in the German translation.

Already the way the City is run makes the novel well worth reading it. The Patrician is just such a brilliant character.

Incidentally, there is again an annotation available. Some of the finer details may be easily missed otherwise.

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