Thursday, July 30, 2015

Discworld - As Good as Any Man

Monstrous Regiment is another book that has our favorite characters in it only peripherally.  Even Death appears as only an apparition or hallucination.  But it is another fun read.  It even only has fantasy elements as things that have been established.  Sure there's a vampire and a troll in the regiment, but they're just treated as people.

The end is left a little open ended as to just what is going to happen, and leaves you wondering.

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Recurring themes and characters that appear in this book:

Angua, Sergeant
Black Ribbon – the Uberwald League of Temperance
Borogravia
Buggy Swires, Corporal
Burleigh and Stronginthearm
Cabbage
Death
Havelock Vetinari, Patrician
Jolly Sailor Tobacco
Leonard of Quirm
Lord Ronald Rust
Low King of the Dwarves, Rhys Ryhsson
Nuggan
Offler, the Crocodile-Headed God
Om
Otto Chriek
Reg Shoe, Corporal
Sam Vimes, Knight, Duke, Commander
Tacticus, General
The Ankh-Morpork Times
The Clacks System
The Unorthodox Potato Church
William de Worde

Monday, July 27, 2015

Discworld: Crivens!

With Wee Free Men, Pratchett introduces Tiffany Aching, a nine-year-old girl who will become a witch and will be the main character in his final book which will be coming out soon.  This is another books written for Juveniles, and was originally described as not being part of the Discworld.  However, slowly we hear familiar country names and places. 

There is also the return of the Nac Mac Feegle, the little pictsies from Carpe Jugulum.  These are a different tribe, but they will be the ones we learn so much about.

And other than short stories, I think this is the first Discworld book that doesn't have Death in it.

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Recurring characters and themes that appear in this book:


Big Yan
Daft Wullie
Granny
Granny Aching
Hamish
Jolly Sailor Tobacco
Lancre
Miss Perspicacia Tick
Mrs. Snapperly
Nanny
Not-as-big-as-Medium-Sized-Jock-but-bigger-than-Wee-Jock Jock
Pictsies / Wee Free Men
Quirm College for Young Ladies
Rob Anybody
Roland, son of the Baron
Special Sheep Liniment
The Baron of the chalk
The Goode Childe’s Book of Faerie Tales
The Nac Mac Feegle
The Queen of the Fairies
Tiffany Aching
Wentworth Aching
Yellow sick toad

Discworld - Watching the Past

Night Watch is an immediate parallel sequel to Thief of Time.  The sudden storm that stops the glass clock appears at the beginning of the book, and the fracturing of time is what drops Sam Vimes into the past.  The other part I really like about the book is the cover created by Paul Kidby.

This is one of the first covers that Kidby did for the Discworld.  And he shows that he is as amazing as Alex Ross in his abilities to make a collage of made up people into something that almost looks real.  Kidby took the original Rembrandt painting that has come to be called "The Night Watch" and repopulated the painting with the characters from the book.

Here is the Rembrandt's original painting:


Most people know that it only came to be called "The Night Watch" because of the protective varnishes that were regularly added to it aged and darkened hiding the image.

Now here is Kidby's cover artwork:


And, this being the internet there is a comparison graphic:


All because Pratchett inspired a great modern artist.

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Recurring themes and characters appearing in this book:

“Leggy” Gaskin, corporal
“Mayonnaise” Quirke, Corporal
Angua, Sergeant
Borogravia
Burleigh and Stronginthearm
Cable Street Particulars
Carrot Ironfoundersson, Captain
Cheri Littlebottom, corporal
Clacks
Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler
Dark Empire
Death
Detrtitus, Sergeant
Dolly Sisters
Downey, Assassin’s Guild
Dr. “Mossy” Lawn
Drumknott, secretary
Elm Street
Events of Guards Guards
Events of The Fifth Elephant
Events of Thief of Time
Fred Colon, Sergeant (Corporal)
Harry King
Havelock Vetinari, Patrician, Assassins’ Guild
High Energy Magic Building
Igor, Constable
Lord Ronald Rust
Lord Selachii
Lord Snapcase, Patrician
Lord Venturi
Lord Winder, Patrician
Lu Tze, History Monk
Madam Meserole (Aunt to Vetinari)
Marco Soto, History Monk
Mr. Slant, Lawyers’ Guild
Mrs. Content, midwife
Mrs. Rosey Palm
Mustrum Ridcully, Archchancellor UU
Nobby Nobbs. Corporal
Old Tom, UU bell
Ping, Corporal
Ponder Stibbons
Qu, History Monk
quantum
Reg Shoe
Sam Vimes, Duke, Knight, Commander
Stronginthearm, Sergeant
Swires, Constable
Sybil Ramkins-Vime, duchess
The Agony Aunts
The Ankh-Morpork Times
The Assassins’ Guild
The Broken Drum
The Bursar
The Librarian
The Monks of History
Uberwald
Uberwald League of Temperance
Unseen University
Visit, Constable
Wallace Sonky
Wilikins, butler

Monday, July 20, 2015

Discworld - Oh Rats!

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents was billed as Pratchett's first juvenille book.  Juvenille as in for juniors or marked with a "J" in a library.

IT's a fast read, btu it isn't necessarily just for kids.  Much like Garth Nix and his Abhorsen books, aq good author can put some deep themes into a juvenille book.  Pratchett has sometimes had naive adults use phrases like "Wouldn't it be nice if everyone was nice."  Adn while that's a nice dream, all but the most naive know that'll never happen.

One of Pratchett's recurring themes is racism, but wrapped and disguised as speciesism usually Humans against Dwarves or Trolls.  This time it Humans against Rats.  And while it's a twist on "The Pied Piper of Hamlin", this one is also about getting outside your head and realizing that while life may be a story, it's not always going to follow the narrative.

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Recurring themes and characters appearing in this book:

Death
Death of Rats
Maurice
Rat Kings
Purple Wobbly Bit
Uberwald
Sto Lat
Sgt. Doppelpunkt (Colon)
Cpl. Knopf (Nobby)
Unseen University

Discworld - A Time for Dying

So this is it, Thief of Time is my favorite Discworld book.

It's a book in the Death sereis, and it's has Susan in it.  But it also has the History Monks, and the introduction of "slicing time".  And then just everything about the Auditors learnign about living.  They had a bit of that at the end of Hogfather, but the poroblem is that those that die don't have a chance to warn the remainign Auditors what it's like to be alive.

But the greatest thing about this book is how it showcases Pratchett's skill of the slow, but constant, build as well as the interweaving of story threads.  There are the threads of Susan, Death, Lobsang and Lu Tze, Jeremy, the Auditors, Ronnie, and the story of Wen.  All of these come together neatly, and, literally, the storm hits just over halfway through the book.

And then, the events directly lead to Night Watch, which may be my number two favorite.

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Recurring themes and characters in this book:

“The Hedgehog Song”
Almanack de Gothic
Ankh-Morpork
Binky
Bonsai Mountains
Borogravia
Brutha
Cabbage
Death
Death of Rats
Dhlang (The Things from the Dungeon Dimensions)
Events in Small Gods
Greebo
Igor
Igorina
Koom Valley
Lancre
Leonard of Quirm
Lu Tze
Marco Soto
Mrs. Marietta Cosmopolite
Muntab
Nanny Ogg
Old Man Trouble
Qu
Quoth the Raven
Rule One
Susan Sto Helit
The Apocryphal Apocalypse
The Auditors
The Brothers of Cool
The Bunch of Grapes
The Clacks System
The Dysk
The Four (Five) Horsemen
The History Monks
The Listening Monks
The Opera House
The Quirm School for Young Ladies
The Ramtops
The Royal Art Museum
The Thieves’ Guild
Tooth Fairy
Twurp’s Peerage
Uberwald
Weaver family of Lancre

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Discworld - The Ankh-Morpork Times

In The Truth, much of the underlying theme is seeing characters whose minds we've been inside of in previous books from the perspective of outsiders.  We know Vimes, Angua, and the Patrician, but now it's about how the common person interacts with them.

The Truth also adds additional acceleration to the technology of Ankh-Morpork and the Discworld.  We've had engraving and the printing press, but movable type is a big step.

Of course, we'll be learning why technology is so skewed after the end of Thief of Time.

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Recurring characters and themes in this book:

"Millennium hand and shrimp."
“Sixpence is sixpence.”
“A lie can run around the world while the truth is getting it’s boots on.”
Altogether Andrews
Angua, Sergeant
Ankh-Morpork
Arnold Sideways
Blind Io
Cabbage
Carrot Ironfoundersson, Captain
Carter of Lancre
Cheery LIttlebottom, Corporal
Charlie
Chrysoprase
Coffin Henry
Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler
Death
Death of Rats
Detritus, Sergeant
Dis-organizer
Djelibeybi
Duck man
Events in Jingo
Events in Moving Pictures
Events in Soul Music
Fiddyment, Constable
Foul Ole Ron
Fred Colon, Sergeant
Gaspode
Harga / Harga's House of Ribs
Harry King
Havelock Vetinari, Patrician
Hobson's Livery Stable
Hughnon Ridcully, High Priest of Blind Io
Lady Margolotta of Uberwald
Lady Selachii
Lancre
Mr. Crisplock, Engraver’s Guild (Maskerade)
Mr. Hong and his fish shop
Mr. Slant
Mrs. Palm, Seamstressess’ Guild
Muntab / The Muntab Question
Mustrum Ridcully, Archchancellor UU
Nobby Nobbs, Corporal
Offler the Crocodile-Headed God
Omnia
Otto Chriek
Parrot labeled "Dog"
Queen Molly, Beggars’ Guild
Rufus Drumknott
Sacharisa Crisplock
Sam Vimes, Duke, Commander, Knight
Sto Helit
The Ramtops
Thatcher of Lancre
The Agatean Empire (IT)
The Alchemists’ Guild
The Ankh-Morpork Times
The Assassins’ Guild
The Beggars’ Guild
The Breccia
The Bucket
The Bursar, Dimwiddy
The Clacks
The Dowager Duchess of Quirm (GG)
The Dungeon Dimensions
The Engravers’ Guild
The Mended Drum
The Seamstresses’ Guild
The Thieves’ Guild
The Uberwald Temperance Movement
The Unorthodox Potato Church (named in Monstrous Regiment)
The Unreal Estate
Twurp’s Peerage
Uberwald
Unseen University
Verence II, King of Lancre
Weaver of Lancre
William deWorde
Wuffles

Friday, July 10, 2015

Discworld - Watch the Old World

So we return to international intrigue with The Fifth Elephant.  The excitement level on this one ramps up quickly.  We've heard of Igor before (as the bartender at Biers and helping the Magpyrs), but here we learn of the Igor network and their creed of "What goes around comes around."

There is also the introduction of the Clacks system (semaphore towers) which will play such a big part in the future books.

I think that I'm becoming soft and sentimental in my years.  I know that there are several books to go in the series, but just thinking about the end coming brings tears to my eyes, and the touching bits in the stories seem that much more poignant.  The part in this one that almost brought out a sob was when Angua is asking Carrot to be the one to put her down.

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Recurring characters and themes appearing in this book:

"Hi Ho Song"
"Personal isn't the same as important."
Albrecht Albrechtson
All Jolson
Almanack de Gothic
Angua von Uberwald, Sergeant
Ankh-Morpork
Baron von Uberwald
Baroness Seraphine von Uberwald
B'hrian Bloodaxe
Bluejohn, Corporal
Borogravia
Cabbage
Carrot Ironfounderson, Captain
Cheery “Cheri” LIttlebottom, corporal
Clacks system
Death
Deep Dwarves
Detritus, Sergeant
Done-It Duncan
Dorfl, Constable
Downspout, Constable
Drumknott, secretary
Dwarf Bread Museum
Events of Men at Arms
Flint. Corporal (sergeant temporarily)
Fred Colon, Sergeant (captain temporarily)
Gaspode
Genua
Gimlet / Gimlet's Delicatessan
Havelock Vetinari, Patrician
Igor
Lady Margolotta
Lancre
Leonard of Quirm
Lord Rust
Lord Selachii
Mrs. Content, midwife
Muntab
Nobby Nobbs, corporal
Reg Shoe, constable
Rhys Rhyson, Low King
Sam Vimes, Commander Duke Sir
Stoneface Vimes
Swires, lance-constable
Sybil Ramkin-Vimes, Duchess
The Assassins' Guild
The Bunch of Grapes
The Campaign for Equal Heights
The Dark Clerks
The Fools' Guild
The Marquis of Fantailer
The Ankh-Morpork Opera House
The Prophet Ossory
The Ramtops
The Seamstresses' Guild
Twurp's Peerage
Uberwald
Visit-the-Non-Believer-With-Explantory-Pamplets “Washpot”, constable
Wilikins, butler

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Sick and Twisted with Kevin Kline

So, when I started out with the intent of writing this blog it was going to be about the chain of events that led to Jennifer and me watching "Soapdish" this weekend.  But then I had some additional interesting thoughts.

As it started, we were looking for a movie to watch and came across one with Maggie Smith and Kevin Klein in it called "My Old Lady".  It's about a man who inherits an apartment from his father and learns there is under un viager.  Towards the end there is a possibility the woman he sleeps with is his half-sister, and so when the movie was done and we wanted to watch something else, I said, "Well, since we had the chance of incest in this one, we should watch his other one that almost had incest 'Soapdish'."

And then, I thought he was really great in "A Fish Called Wanda" but... wait.  Wasn't there an incest twist to that one?  Sure, Otto and Wanda weren't really brother and sister, but everyone else thought they were, and there was Wanda's great line about how her intentions wouldn't be different if he really was her brother.

Maybe, I should look through some of his other movies and see if there are any others that have an incest theme in them.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Discworld - Vampires, Pictsies, and Phoenixes

This is last book that Pratchett writes from the perspective of Granny Weatherwax.  We'll see her again a few times, but after this only as Tiffany Aching sees her.

I liked the bit of mystery in this one, as well as following Agnes Nitt.  It's also only the second time we've met an Igor, but the Igor that works at Biers in Ankh-Morpork doesn't have the stereotypical speech impediment of those fresh from Uberwald.  Also the concept of "what comes around goes around" is introduced which I think is pretty amazing way of making Igors a kind of karmic force.

And the cool part is that we get to immediately return to Uberwald in the next book The Fifth Elephant.

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Recurring characters and themes in this book:

Agnes "Perdita" Nitt
Ankh-Morpork
Bad Ass
Beastiality Carter
Bergholdt Stuttley “Bloody Stupid" Johnson
Big Jim Beef, Troll
Binky
Black Aliss / Alison Weatherwax
Blind Io
Borogravia
Brutha
Casanunda
Cena, The Prophet
Events of Small Gods
Granny Esmerelda Weatherwax
Greebo
Hodgesaargh, Falconer
Igor
Jason Ogg
Lancre
Lily Weatherwax
Magrat Garlick, Queen
Millie Chillum
Mrs. Scorbic, Cook
Muntab / The Muntab Question
Offler, the Crocodile-Headed God
Om/Omnia
Ossory, The Prophet
Queen Griminir
Quite Reverend Mightily-Praiseworthy-are-Ye-Who-Exalteth-Om Oats
Shawn Ogg
Simonites (Simony, Sgt.)
Skund
Slake
Spriggins, Butler
Tacticus, general
The Baron of Uberwald
The Death of Rats
The Nac Mac Feegle
The Ramtops
Uberwald
Unseen University
Vaelock Vetinari, The Patrician
Verence II, King
Young Esmerelda

Discworld - Lancre Witch Trials

"The Sea and Little Fishes" first appeared in Legends, a large anthology of stories that authors were asked to contribute to in order to expand their worlds.  It had many great shorts in it, but this one was the primary reason that I bought the book.

In hardback.

That it was a short story set in Lancre as a witches book, I couldn't pass it up.  When I read the tease that Pratchett had taken the idea of witch trials and turned it into something the witches had come up with, then I was more than ready for the book.

And the story doesn't disappoint.  It's a tight short story, almost a novella by Discworld standards, and you learn even more, just how dangerous Granny can be,

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Recurring characters and themes in this book:

Agnes Nitt
Death
Events in Lords and Ladies
Gammer Beavis

Granny Esmerelda Weatherwax
King Verence II
Lancre
Letice Earwig

Nanny Gytha Ogg
Old Mother Dismass
Pewsey Ogg
Poorchick and his cow
Witch Trials
Zakzak Stronginthearm


Discworld - A Wizzard in the Outback

So, I seem to have fallen behind on my posting.  I keep these posts as drafts while I'm reading, and update the recurring portion, but I got more caught up in reading (and the weekend) than posting.

The Last Continent is another book that is okay in my estimation, but not great.  It has lots of fun stuff in it, and the ending once Rincewind gets down to work is good, but otherwise it's a book that's just a compilation of things about Australia.

Otherwise, it's a fun light story.  And again, Rincewind finds a distant relative.

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Recurring characters and themes appearing in this book:

Albert
Galder Weatherwax, archchancellor 
Binky
Bill Rincewind, archchancellor BU
Bonsai Mountains
Bugarup University
Cohen the Barbarian
Death
Doughnut Jimmy
Dried Frog Fills
Dwarf Bread
Events from Eric
Fair-Go Dibbler
Genua
Hex
Lancre (blue cheese)
Mr. Hong’s Fish Restaurant
Mrs. Whitlow
Mustrum Ridcully, Archchancellor UU
Old Tom
Ponder Stibbons
Prophet Ossory
Purple Wobbly Bit
Rincewind
The Bursar
The Chair of Indefinite Studies
The Death of Rats
The Lecturer in Recent Runes
The Librarian
The Lost Wizard Colony
The Luggage
The Senior Wrangler
The Tezumen
Unseen University

XXXX / Ecks Ecks Ecks Ecks

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