▸ discworld

Read: Feet of Clay

Feet of Clay must be one the pun-niest Discworld novel in the series so far (that is until book 19). It’s a decent mystery novel and a great installment of the City Watch sub-series.

Discrimination, stereotyping, gender (identity), exploitation of the worker class, politics, governance, and the social contract: All this in a fantasy novel.

Most important (for my personal enjoyment of the novel), however, is that I absolutely loved the stabs at religion.

Read: Maskerade

I do not like opera or musicals that much so I am sure I missed many puns reading Pratchett’s Maskerade. Or maybe not.

The witches make Maskerade a quite enjoyable and entertaining little book. I may have chuckled silently into myself a couple of times.

Read: Interesting Times

Rincewind, a Horde of octogenarian Barbarians and their newest member, a teacher beginning a new career. I laughed out loud several times. ‘Nuff said.

Re-reading all the discworld novels was a brilliant idea.

Read: Soul Music

Travelling means Pratchett. Having something amusing to read on a plane or train is just great. Time flies by (or, needs to fly by).

Unfortunately, despite the many clever references to music and movies and the appearance of Death, my favorite character, Soul Music is utterly unexceptional.

I did enjoy it but the only thing that stuck was a reference to one of my favorite bands. I did not expect that Pratchett would know them. In Europe, They are pretty obscure, not many people would have heard about them. Yet it seems he was actually a fan. ‘We’re Certainly Dwarfs’ made me laugh. It, of course, refers to ‘They might be Giants’. (Which I, finally, will see live in November when They will give a concert in Berlin.)

Read: Men at Arms

Being simple does not mean stupid.

That is the lesson taught by Men at Arms. And I believe Pratchett teaches it most excellently. Of course, the novel is instructive for so many more reasons. Yet I think this is the most important one.

It’s good that I read all Discworld novels again (preferably on my train and plane trips). It may have taken me several years to see this important message: I just noticed that I have read the book before, in the German translation, more than a decade ago. And I did not get it back then. Let’s blame it on the translation.

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).

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).

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.