Sunday, October 23rd, 2011
8:11 pm - Reading Pratchett  
Sorry, teach, still way behind on book reports. Here's all the Pratchett I've read so far this year.
(Note: There's some general description of Snuff, but no real spoilers.)

Faust Eric — Terry Pratchett
Interesting Times — Terry Pratchett


Of all Pratchett's major characters, Rincewind is my least favorite*. After a while I just want to throttle him whilst telling him to just stoop whining already. Both of these are Rincewind books. Eric has its moments, mostly when Rincewind and Eric are in Hell, but is mostly forgettable. Interesting Times is the first Rincewind book I actively liked, and I think it's because Rincewind is is only onstage for about half the book, the rest being devoted to the adventures of Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde as they attack the Agatean Empire.

* It's rather a good thing that I started my Pratchett reading with Thud! instead of The Colour of Magic, because I might never have picked up another.

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Equal Rites — Terry Pratchett
Wyrd Sisters — Terry Pratchett
Witches Abroad — Terry Pratchett
Maskerade — Terry Pratchett
Carpe Jugulum — Terry Pratchett


When I was a lad not much older than young Sam Vimes in Snuff, my mother got me a subscription to Jack and Jill magazine to provide additional reading material for me. I vaguely remember being disappointed that it wasn't Highlights, but eventually I noticed there were copies of Highlights available to read in lots of places (libraries, doctors' offices, my best friend's house), while I never saw a copy of Jack and Jill anywhere but home**.

** It's also possible that I just didn't notice copies anywhere else because I always went straight for Highlights when I saw it.

These days the only thing I remember about Highlights is Goofus and Gallant. I also only remember one thing about Jack and Jill, but what I remember are the series of stories they ran featuring Baba Yaga the witch. I loved those stories as a kid. Sadly, I can't recall any details. I've googled a bit, and it looks like the ones that appeared in the mag when I was reading them (circa 1959) were probably written by someone called Nancy K. Ford, or possibly Katherine K. O'Connor, which may or may not be a pseudonym for Katherine Kurtz. It's not always easy to track down an author at this long a remove***, although with Google, Library Thing, and the ability to buy copies of old magazines on eBay, it's getting easier.

** One such story from my youth that I was able to track down, a science fiction story about space yachts powered by the the solar wind that ran in Boys Life, I later found out was called "Sunjammer", and it helped that it turned out to have been written by Arthur C. Clarke. I found it in an anthology of sports-themed SF stories.

Now, I sort of avoided Pratchett's witch novels because in my mind I associated them with the wizard novels and Rincewind. The silliness of the wizards wears on me after awhile. However, this year I decided to try to go the entire year without a reread, so I didn't have a whole lot of Pratchett left to pick from. I grabbed Equal Rites and there, a couple of pages in, was Baba Yaga, at least what I remember of her, in the form of Granny Weatherwax. Yippee!

Anyway, now I'm sorry I put them off for so long, because they are wonderful, especially the bits with Granny.

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Snuff — Terry Pratchett

"As far as Sam Vimes was concerned, he liked tea, but tea was not tea if, even before drinking, you could see the bottom of the cup."

I drink tea at work, made by nuking water and a tea bag (Earl Grey) for 2:22 in a 12 oz. mug with a periodic table on its side. I usually don't hang around for it to finish, but rather go back to my office, then return to pick it up when I finally remember it. I've gotten better at this over the years. In the past, I've actually come to work in the morning to find my forgotten mug sitting atop the microwave, still steeping since the afternoon before***. That hasn't happened in a long time. Of course there are though who tease me about the strength of the final product, so I plan to post that quote somewhere in my office.

*** And it's perfectly fine. I prefer cold tea. With a little lemon.

Despite my new found love for the witches, Sam Vimes and the City Watch are still my favorites, so I've been really looking forward to Snuff. This time out Sir Terry visits In the Heat of the Night, with side orders of Walking Tall and Amistad, as Vimes and Lady Sybil visit the country with young Sam for a vacation. Meanwhile, back in the city, the rest of the Watch are occupied with the question of what's gotten into Fred Colon. As usual, it's a terrific book.

While reading, I was thinking about the adaptations that SKY1 have done so far, and I really wish they would do one of the Watch novels. We've seen a couple of coppers (Nobby and Visit in Hogfather, Angua in Going Postal), but I would love to see Vimes on screen. The late, great Pete Postlethwaite was the man Pratchett based his image of Vimes on, but it occurred to me that if they did Snuff, Hugh Laurie as Vimes and Steven Fry as Willikins would be practically perfect.

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"The Brain Thief" — hollimichele

And just to tie things all together, I also read holli's Discworld fanfic, "The Brain Thief," a terrific story of a now grown up young Sam investigating the discovery of some gruesome corpses, with the help of Esmerelda Margaret Note Spelling Garlick. It was a lot of fun. Not quite the real thing, but certainly a reasonable facsimile. and the characterizations are quite good. The story brings up something I hadn't really thought about, to wit, who will replace Lord Vetinari when he finally meets Death? Holli's answer make perfect sense, and I wish I'd thought of it.
 
 
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Hecubothecubot on October 24th, 2011 - 03:10 am
Whoa, I read "Sunjammer" in a collected anthology.

I recommend the Tiffany Aching books, starting with The Wee Free Men.
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