Pratchett released Unseen Academicals six weeks ago. If you’re a Pratchett fan, have you read it yet? And if so, what do you think of it?
I liked it, more than I had feared, especially since all I know about Foot-The-Ball I learned from TBoggs and translations of the Japanese manga Whistle. It’s not one of the top five Discworld novels, but it’s still miles ahead of, say, the first two books in the series. The plot construction wasn’t as sinewy and water-tight as we have come to expect. A better acquaintance with British football (Comrade Scrutinizer, for instance, connects the UA to Manchester’s AU, Arsenal United) would certainly improve one’s enjoyment of the usual Prachettian in-jokes and satires. Lord Vetinari talked too much, but then he was supposed to have imbibed at least a dozen strong ales before doing so.
I think Mr. Nutt, Glenda Sugarbean, and especially Pepe are all worthy additions to the Discworld Canon. Your thoughts?
Ahhhh! This thread, she will be full of spoilers, non? I have the book on reserve at the library, but it may be weeks until I read it. I shall have to banish myself.
(And I love Pterry to bits, but quite a few things are better than he first two Discworld novels. Pity.)
I haven’t picked it up yet, so I’m curious about whether it’s worth shelling out 28 bucks for the hardcover or waiting until it goes paperback (or shows up in the used bookstores.)
I was half expecting another Moist von Lipwig story (and I like Moist as a character), but then Pratchett shifting gears to a new storyline is probably a good idea.
Generally, the stories featuring the wizards of UU are not the among the best Discworld novels, IMHO. I like them better in small doses, as characters in a story that isn’t focused just on them. So I haven’t jumped on buying the new book.
I want more Susan Sto Helit, dammit!
I haven’t picked it up yet. Quick, must rescue Pterry streetcred! Um, I have a signed first edition of Thief of Time…
I need more witches. Granny Weatherwax forever!
Arsehole is in North London (Finsbury), not Manchester.
I have enjoyed it so far. I really like the character of Nutt, and the sort of subconcious unease people feel around him, an ancestral leftover.
Maybe I am a minority in this, but I have also enjoyed the prominence given to Mustrum Ridcully. I really enjoy his character. You can see why Granny Weatherwax had a thing for him in their youth.
I tried to extend the enjoyment for as long as possible and forced myself to read only about 30 pages a day. I think that was a mistake, in retrospect.
I will try rereading it in a big gulp soon and I have a feeling I will like it much more than I did originally.
Also, I am watching the Color of Magic movie now. There is some fun casting (Jeremy Irons as Vetinari) but I still don’t think PTerry is filmable though.
Sorry, not Finsbury, should be Holloway. Both in Islington, a borough of London.
@Bostondreams: Agreed on the filmability. I think it’s the footnotes.
Wile E. Quixote
I enjoyed it. I liked Mr. Nutt and Glenda Sugarbean and thought that Pratchett was making a statement about the kind of thuggery associated with British football culture that Bill Buford wrote about in Among the Thugs. I’m waiting for the next novel featuring Moist von Lipwig but this one was still good. It’s not in my DiscWorld Top 5 (Guards Guards, Night Watch, Thud, Met at Arms, Feet of Clay, The Fifth Elephant, Jingo, Going Postal and Making Money) but I still grabbed it off the shelf as soon as it came out and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
Yes! To paraphrase Stephen Colbert, great book or greatest book? Pratchett may have had a few books that fell short of the goal, but he started at good and has surely progressed to great. I can’t think of anyone who has made as great a contribution to fantasy literature, or even English literature. Unseen Academicals has its shortcoming, but it also has strengths that far outweigh those of most popular fiction on the shelves today. If you are a fan of the series I suggest you buy it today, if you are not a fan of the series – start with earlier books and work your way up.
Although, the audio books read by Tony Robinson (of Blackadder fame) are the best audio books I’ve ever heard, hands down. I usually hate audiobooks, actually, but have bought all of the Discworld ones now twice. Once on cassettes now sadly gone and again on itunes. Worth every penny.
Obligatory Discworld Reading Order Guide v1.5
kommrade reproductive vigor
Thanks to Comrade Scrutinizer for the heads up. I knew it was time for a new Pratchett, but the nearest bookstore is worse than a Barnes and Noble. It is a small B&N that contains five million teen vampire bookss with a half-dozen non-teen vampire books squeezed in one corner. I do all my book buying at used bookstores.
It’s unfair to talk about the first Discworld book*. Anyone who reads the first book first is unlikely to read the second. Or they’ll like the first book and think WTF? when they read anything else. The Light Fantastic … meh. And Nation, Eric and Sourcery. Also. You’ve been warned.
*Not including Strata which isn’t all that great but less not great than The Colour of Magic.
@kommrade reproductive vigor: What!? You take that back about Eric right now. Next to Small Gods that might just be my favorite.
Millennium Hand and Shrimp
Can we haz Neil Gaiman Open Thread at some point?
@MikeJ: See? I told you I didn’t know shite about foot-the-ball!
I’m very much a newcomer to Discworld- I enjoyed most of Thud!, but found the ending somewhat contrived. I’ve also read Thief of Time, and liked that well enough.
What books hooked the readers here?
I think that “Hogfather” worked pretty well on film. I agree that “The Colour of Magic” was less successful.
The new book is a good read, very few Pratchett novels aren’t, but I thought it was a bit disjoint and that he was trying to cover too much territory. Parts of it seemed rushed or thrown in without adequate grounding. Definitely thumbs up on the new characters, though.
I want to read it again in a couple of weeks and see how it holds up or improves on a second read.
I’ll wait to read it. I still have Making Money on the shelf, too, unopened.
There will only be a few more, alas. I’m doling the remaining ones out to myself slowly.
Not his best (I’ll put _Night Watch_ there), but not too bad.
First, check the link on comment 13.
I don’t buy books often, so I’ve only read the Pratchett books available at the local library. My out-of-order selection therefore parallels yours. I’ve liked all the Night Watch books I’ve read, as well as Making Money and The Truth. Monstrous Regiment was mediocre, and I couldn’t finish Hogfather or The Colour of Magic.
Hogfather is quite good, and surprizingly true to the book. Particularly Marc Warren as Mr. Teatime, who manages to infuse an amazing sociopathy into a ‘normal-looking’ smallish blonde dude without chewing scenery. Even Knobby Nobbs (& Corporal Visit), and their visit to the Hogfather’s Grotto, come off better than I ever expected. And the DVD includes a long interview with Terry Pratchett that completists will appreciate.
@kommrade reproductive vigor:
Eric – pretty meh, I’ll grant you. But Nation and Sourcery? You shut your dirty little mouth.
“Thief of Time” was one of the best, in my opinion. I think my favorite is “Night Watch.” Others I find myself re-reading include “The Truth,” “The Fifth Elephant,” “Interesting Times,” “The Last Continent,” “Hogfather,” “Maskerade,” “The Wee Free Men,” and “A Hat Full of Sky.”
Read it, and I too found the plot/story not as good as many discworld books. Yet the writing was, to me, very good, excellent Pratchett. His usual puns, plays on words, in-jokes, well executed. I laughed out loud, often. Perhaps a virtuoso playing an inferior score?
And really, who else could coin the word “charisntma”?
All the joy of a Pratchett book aside, I cried when I read the dedication to his typist. Knowing Terry can’t type anymore breaks my heart. When he goes the world will measurably dim.
Regarding filmability: I’ve not read any of his books. Has anybody listened to the BBC adaptations?
(act quickly on those, iPlayer stuff only stays up a week)
A remember Radio 7 had an adaptation of Mort on, uhm, last summer maybe? I think I may have it laying around on a hard drive somewhere but I’ve not listened to it yet.
Always one of my favourite authors. I started with ‘Small Gods’ many years ago and was hooked straight away.
Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett? Two great things that go great together.
Good Omens is one of my favorite books ever.
OMG is anyone watching the Daily Show? Children’s reactions to Going Rogue:
“I’d rather kill myself than read that book”
“I’d jump into water filled with sharks”
“I’d go into an exploding house.”
I think I just about busted a lung laughing.
kommrade reproductive vigor
@Bostondreams: That is an awesome book. Extra points for not having that weird vibe that afflicts many co-authored books.
Although the maggot scene is clearly Gaiman. :~0
I confess that LV is a literary crush of mine–lord only knows what that says about me–so this to me is a good thing. Granted, I have not yet read this book, but plan to and soon.
On a Terry Pratchett thread. I can only assume he’s going to write a book about a very stupid thief, a la
I’ve read almost all of ’em once, and Small Gods three times.
I’d still like one more Rincewind story, though.
— Cut-Me-Own-Throat Bong
This is quite awesome. Remember that, say, in math, “identical” means 1 = 1.
Texas’ gay marriage ban may have banned all marriages
By Dave Montgomery | Fort Worth Star-Telegram | via McClatchy DC
AUSTIN — Texans: Are you really married?
Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer and Democratic candidate for attorney general, says that a 22-word clause in a 2005 constitutional amendment designed to ban gay marriages erroneously endangers the legal status of all marriages in the state.
The amendment, approved by the Legislature and overwhelmingly ratified by voters, declares that “marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.”
But the troublemaking phrase, as Radnofsky sees it, is Subsection B, which declares:
Architects of the amendment included the clause to ban same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. But Radnofsky, who was a member of the powerhouse Vinson & Elkins law firm in Houston for 27 years until retiring in 2006, says the wording of Subsection B effectively “eliminates marriage in Texas,” including common-law marriages.
She calls it a “massive mistake” and blames the current attorney general, Republican Greg Abbott, for allowing the language to become part of the Texas Constitution. Radnofsky called on Abbott to acknowledge the wording as an error and consider an apology. She also said that another constitutional amendment may be necessary to reverse the problem.
I like Night Watch, the new ones good but doesn’t have the same pace as his older ones
For a single-book introduction, I think either Pyramids (which is a stand-alone) or The Truth (which IMO introduces a new point-of-view while still using earlier characters and concepts to great effect).
My personal favorites are the “Witches trilogy” Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, and Lords & Ladies; the two original Watch/Vimes books, Guards! Guards! and Men-At-Arms; Hogfather (my own version of the every-Xmas special read); and the Tiffany Aching books (Wee Free Men, A Hatful of Sky, and Wintersmith) which Pratchett started writing explicitly for his daughter so the love shines through.
Oh, I really, really enjoyed Thief of Time.
Most of what I was going to say about Unseen Academicals has been said already – the story isn’t the strongest of the Discworld books, but the character development (especially Nutt) is strong. It may not be the strongest Discworld book (Night Watch, probably), but certainly is worthty.
I thought Nation was good. Not meant to be humorous, however.
OT – for those who are dog lovers, Berkeley Breathed’s “Flawed Dogs – The Shocking Raid on Westminster” gets a big thumbs up from me. Like “Nation”, it is targets to the youth reader. Don’t let that stop you.
… Boy, I could use an edit function right about now. Apologies for the typos.
I don’t know Pratchett from a hole in the ground, unfortunately. What else is going on?
I’ve just started to read Unseen Academicals. Anything involving the faculty of UU is going to be a big hit, in my opinion. I even liked “The Science of Discworld.”
Best characters = Death, Susan Sto Heilt. Pteppic.
Best Books = Guards! Guards! It was my first. Small Gods.
I have not been as enthralled by the last five or six books, although the prize of my collection is the personally autographed “Monstrous Regiment” my brother got for me.
I found out about Pratchett from all you guys and I just started from the beginning because I like to see how things develop over time. I’ve still got a lot to go and I won’t get to this new one for a while. The Night Watch series is very good. But I like the Death ones a lot as well.. In fact, those may be my favorites so far. But I’m making notes of the ones you’ve all listed that I haven’t gotten to yet.
@Proper Gander: Small Gods, Hogfather, and Feet of Clay are the ones that struck to my heart the most deeply. Cheery Littlebottom is the embodiment of the problems of the female scientist/engineer IMAO.
I think that I got hooked with the Witches and the Guardsmen sub-series.
@El Cid: And here I was just about to post that! Yeah, that’s a small “oops.”
But hey, at least our state is also protecting marriage from (potential) divorce in the process! At last, some ideological consistency at work!
Watching Rachel Maddow on the intertubes. My philosophical question: how do these lobbying people sleep at night? Other than the fact that they have no heart or soul, I can’t come up with anything.
Hey, this reminds me that I should go ahead and re-read Unseen Academicals (especially while football season is still going on and I have found the book again).
It’s quite good — I am sure there are British football-specific jokes that I am not getting, but he captures the fanaticism of the football fan very well. (You could probably drop some of these characters down in any U.S. college or pro football stadium, and they’d fit in just fine. )
The Tiffany Aching books are joy personified. While technically children’s books (or at least, young adult) they are absolutely stellar examples of the craft of writing.
My personal favorites were Small Gods and Reaper Man, although I think Night Watch pushed the off the top.
The man’s writing is simply stellar, and he manages to write thoughtful, insightful books while still remaining blisteringly funny.
OT–so this is what Ubuntu Linux is like this time around. I hadn’t tried it since 6.1. This is 9.1, and it’s much easier for a non-linux type like me to use. I’m pretty technically inclined. I’m a computer support technician for the Air Force in my civilian job, but Ubuntu 6.1 was too hard to use. So far 9.1 works out of the box with very few gotchas.
I’m trying to get another couple of years out of this laptop if I can, so we’ll see what happens. It’s got the chops for Windows 7. I ran the Win7 beta and release candidate on it, but I didn’t want to mess with that now, so I’m trying Ubuntu again.
Since you’re a cool manga person, Anne Laurie, I want to recommend Hiroki Endo’s Eden: It’s an Endless World to you.
It’s a political sci-fi manga, and nobody reads it so it’s had its release schedule delayed. Every single review of it has been absolutely positive. It’s also my personal favorite series ever.
Someday I hope to meet the other four people that are reading it… someday…
Haven’t read this one yet, but I definitely will. I find a bit of Pratchett before bed to be at least as helpful to my personal health and well-being as a session with a good therapist (and much cheaper). My faves include Nightwatch, Men at Arms, Guards! Guards!, and Going Postal. In particular, the ending to that last one left me with more warm, fuzzy tingles than just about any other novel I can think of. Does anybody else feel that way about Going Postal?
You are dissing Nation? It’s one of his best.
Yup, I keep a rotating stash of his books in my nightstand. Makes me feel better about the world.
And yes to Going Postal being the grin-fest. Books like Night Watch and Small Gods are not for rereading when you are down but Moist and Tiffany series fit the bill.
Actually, I am going to get the Truckers/Diggers/Wings from my daughter’s room now. I need something like that to balance out the Palinpalooza.
I have sort of lightly skimmed through the thread so as to avoid potential spoilers, but I will add my two cents before toddling off to an early bed. Have to be at work at the unusual hour of 8:30 a.m. tomorrow. (Usually I’m on the
Night Watchnight shift myself.)
I got onto the Discworld novels because of Balloon Juice (thank you, TattooSydney and others) and have raced through almost all of them in the last six months or so. But I read them in “thread” order, not strict chronological order: first the Night Watch novels, then the Death novels, then the Witches, then Rincewind. Now I am sort of beached in the first third of Moving Pictures. Don’t know if I finally needed a breather or if this book is just not working for me.
The Night Watch thread almost spoiled me for the rest of the books, it is that good. At least the later books are. One problem with reading Pratchett chronologically is that there is a big increase in quality between his early books and his later books. The watershed is at some point roughly around 1991-92. The first entry in each thread is entertaining but slight, but then each series catches fire. Mort (1987), the first novel in the Death thread, is almost embarrassing. (I don’t know if I could have made it through it if I hadn’t already read the Night Watch series.) But the second, Reaper Man (1991), is one of my three favorite Discworld novels. It is genuinely, deeply moving, in addition to being very funny. And the rest of the Death series is great.
In similar fashion, Guards! Guards! (1989) is a slight, Monty Pythonesque bit of fluff–very funny, to be sure, but not much more than that. But the Night Watch series caught fire with Men at Arms (1993), and, as someone mentioned above, the next one, Feet of Clay (1996), is masterly. And that thread just gets better and better from there. Hard to pick a favorite from among them, but one of the Night Watch novels would be the second of my three favorite Discworld novels.
My third favorite is Small Gods (1992), a sort of one-off that is tangentially related to several threads. I think I came to it from Thief of Time and the Death novels. It’s a very strange book, but very touching. All about faith, religion and the idea that gods grow or decline depending on how many people believe in them, and how much. One of the main characters is a once-powerful god, reduced to the body of a turtle and the ability to communicate with one monk, who is trying to make a comeback.
That’s all I’ve got right now. Will check back in tomorrow afternoon when I’ve got more time. I’ll end with this very useful Discworld reading order guide. It helped me a lot. Or, if you want to do that strict chronological thing, there’s this Wikipedia list.
One final point. As I was reading through the different Discworld threads and seeing various characters recur and connections pop up between threads, I could sort of see the attraction of reading all the Discworld novels in strict chronological order and letting the world evolve around you the way it did as originally published.
My only caveat about that is that you would have to plow through a raft of funny but slight books before you get to the really good stuff, and you might have a “I don’t get why he’s supposed to be so great” reaction. I would mark the takeoff point at either Pyramids (number 7, 1989) or Reaper Man (number 11, 1991).
After Reaper Man it’s gold, Jerry, pure gold!
I agree that Night Watch is among PTerry’s best, but to truly enjoy it you have to read the rest of the nightwatch series first – a task to savor since all are excellent: Guards Guards, Men At Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, The Fifth Elephant… Commander Vimes is Pratchett’s everyday hero, an everyman who rises to the occasion. Great character, great books.
But Granny Weatherwax is, for me, PTerry’s most indelible character. Immovable object and irresistible force rolled up into one, she’s an exploration of self-knowledge and mind over matter. Hilarious, stiff-necked, scary and wise. And somehow sort of zen. And her fellow witch Nanny Ogg is sheer joy. So Equal Rites (an early book; Granny is not quite herself yet, but this is still a favorite), Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade and Carpe Jugulum are must-reads. I wish Pterry would write another Granny book, but he might’ve already said all that can be said about her.
Thief of Time
Other PTerry books that are pure pleasure:
The Tiffany Aching books
And The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents: underappreciated and wonderful.
Technically, the ‘cool manga person’ in this household is my Significant Other (I piggyback). He’s even more shojo than I am — we both love CLAMP, but his favorite manga/anime of all time is Maison Ikkoku. Wolf’s Rain and Shakugan no Shana is about as dark as we get together. However, the Amazon/Dark Horse reviews are intriguing, so I’ve put the first volume on my wish list — thanks!
Three years ago I got started on Pratchett and Discworld by going to the local library and reserving some. This was the result.
I didn’t want to contaminate a pet thread with such cravenness, but The recent KSM fear gambit needs to be seen in light of this. Idiot twatwaffles who think balloon boy can fly because they fail at math.
@Anne Laurie: So how do you view GiTS? Did you get a kick out of the recursion sequence in GiTS 2?
Dude you need to address their fears at a level they understand, like, in crayon.
Who could not? As scathing an indictment of the Robber Baron/FYIGM philosophy as has been written in the last decade, and a lovely tribute to the voiceless people who actually keep the machine running as well. If I knew an adolescent who was in the “Hey, I’m just reading the most amazing novel, it’s called Atlas Shrugged” stage, I might even attempt to lock them in a basement with a copy of Going Postal.
Although I also have a great fondness for the other Lipschwitz von Moist novel, Making Money, if only because the concept of a secret society of swashbuckling accountants keeping the world running smoothly tickles me. I am practically innumerate, but a couple of my dearest friends are accountants, and they would be totally at home in that secret society!
Anne Laurie, how are you of all people in mod hell?
Confession time: I haven’t watched Ghost in the Shell yet, not even the first series. My only excuse is that anime is something I usually watch with the Spousal Unit, who doesn’t like dark, and we have several dozen happy cheerful series still waiting to be watched. (There go my ‘cool’ credentials, such as they were.) Although I see that Netflix finally has the originally available for streaming — which I haven’t tried yet, since I’m a techno-idiot.
I blinked at that for a second, mostly because shojo means girl (literally) and it took me a second to realize you were talking about the manga genre. Yeah, massive otaku fail there. I’ll have to ask if my brother has any information on that series available, as he’s like your SO, much more knowledgeable on the latest releases than I am. Then again he adores Princess Tutu, so uhh, yeah, take that for what it’s worth.
Arsenal United? Lawks! A fie upon you, Ms. Laurie!
It’s just Arsenal, or The Arsenal.
@Yutsano: I admit it, I blinked too. If my significant other made me watch CLAMP, I would quite instantly put my eyes out. If there is anything that subverts everything I like about the anime style it’s CLAMP!
That said, finally watching Chevalier d’Eon! Production IG FTW.
One of my least favourite…. suffers (with Soul Music) from being just one (two) too many uses of the “Miscellaneous Horror threatens Discworld with too many puns” gambit.
@MNPundit: CLAMP as an art style is more or less absurd. I will however admit to being a Rayearth whore.
@Tattoosydney: G’day to you stranger!
@Anne Laurie: Maison Ikkoku doesn’t really qualify as shojo; like the rest of Takahashi’s longer shonen works, it’s about a guy who takes an extremely long and complicated road to get (or be gotten by) the girl, but unlike the rest of her works, it’s grounded in the “real” world (of 1980’s-era suburban Tokyo), and has none of the over-the-top martial artist/alien/demon wackiness — still very sitcommish, though.
One of my favorites as well, though at this point it’s a virtual unknown, since they never made an effort to keep the translated DVDs in print, and the series is roughly 20 years old. Maison Ikkoku ended before most modern anime fans were born, which of course makes me feel old. The collected manga is still out there for novices, somewhere around 15 volumes, and is definitely worth a read.
I still need to track down a couple of the DVD boxes (the out-of-print ones, naturally) that will not cost me a kidney to obtain.
Wow I’m barely dipping my toes into GitS and haven’t read any Pratchett, so I think I feel the same way some here do when we have a gamer thread or an OS war.
Hello. Sorry I have been bad at responding. Still trying to recover from pneumonia before the big day on Saturday…
tried going to work today… should have known that was a bad idea when I got puffed walking to the bus stop on my way to work.
So do we! Apart from all the other wonderfulness, who could resist Monsieur Chat, the ballet instructor? (I always hear Tunch’s comments in Monsieur’s voice, the Japanese-audio version of course.) Has he seen Scrapped Princess? Another very… Japanese take on a medieval-European-fairytale universe, combining wild slapstick with pure distilled Buddhist tragedy. And the title song is a Japanese interpretation of Celtic/bluegrass music, which is somehow both ridiculous and very catchy…
@daryljfontaine: I can’t access our DVDs right now, but Maison Ikkoku was re-issued more affordably in the last five years or so, which is when we got ours. Probably because the re-released manga was doing pretty well in the US mall market. Another company released a legal subtitled version of Kimagure Orange Road at about the same time, and if you like Maison Ikkoku, you will like KOR as well, although both the animation and the outfits/scenery are heinously 1980s.
kommrade reproductive vigor
@El Cid: Bwahaha! Wahahaha! Man, I’m glad I checked this thread again.
@El Cid: That is awesome! Truly a fine example of Republican policies… which will doom us all if we’re not careful.
They don’t have clue.
I adore Small Gods and Feet of Clay in particular, but just love Pratchett, period. The footnotes are a great part of the enjoyment. It’s terribly sad about his illness. Though he accomplished much.
I’m influenced by the 800+ page Cheever bio I just got for Kindle, which is very well written… except I’m taking a break from it, because it’s tough experiencing someone who was so miserable and conflicted to the point that he drove away everyone…and there weren’t that many to start with. The Living Death of Closet Living kind of thing.
It is a glimpse of a time when literary achievements were important in publishing. Now… we have Going Rogue. Which is like the apoptosis of literature.
Not much to add to what’s already been said… Nutt and Glenda are fine characters, but otherwise it’s mid-range Pratchett. My own fave is Thief of Time, with Thud, Going Postal, and Monstrous Regiment close behind.
Mentioned this in another thread, but I would gladly replace Timothy Geithner with Moist von Lipwig.
And since no one has mentioned it, I would like to add “Oook.”
I had the chance to read UA a little while ago, and blogged my review.
I haven’t read all of Pratchett’s oeuvre, I have a large chunk to go through, but I couldn’t resist the chance to read this one because I received it as an ARC.
Anyway, I think its good, but not stellar Pratchett. There are bits that don’t work as well as Pratchett at his peak, but there are lovely bits that remind you just why people who read him are quickly hooked…
Comrade Scrutinizer, for instance, connects the UA to Manchester’s AU, Arsenal United
Riot inducing mistakes aside, the UA seem to be a university team more akin to the earliest days of association football than to the professional club system that developed in the latter quarter of the 19th century (and to which Manchester United and Arsenal FC belong).
haven’t gotten yet. but i will, i will.
i have nation on tap, somewhere. but, currently engaged in another trip through earthsea. and wondering where the hell my copy of tehanu is.
I like most any that focus on the Watch and Moist von Lipwig. Death and LV are always treats. Masquerade and Thief of Time both disappointed me though…. Started with “Thud” when I discovered it in a friend’s bathroom (!?!) and have been reading them as I find them in used book stores (for the most part). Just started Soul Music…
Favorite minor character: Death of Rats, The Grim Squeeker!
Great, Japanese media is invading this blog too? Can’t I get away at some place!
Which is to say, I did watch the Whistle! anime pretty recently; only reason I did was because the original creator also put out the only Ice Hockey based manga that I have seen translated (though in this case, by fans) called “Go Ahead”. This manga featured, in the early pages, a bear and a large boar being killed/knocked out by pucks shot by hockey players, which immediately endeared me by how absurd those situations were.
I really need to get into the Discworld books myself. Might be a good reason to just go to the bookstore sometime soon.
From reading excerpts of the book, one conclusion that is unavoidable is the woman’s jaw-dropping shallowness. When telling the story of how she was confronted at one point with news reports that she and her husband Todd were going to divorce, one would think (indeed one would hope) that she would offer for the reader’s contemplation a heartfelt description of her abiding love for her husband; how their union could not be tossed aside like some disposable camera – that she and Todd took their wedding vows seriously. No, there was none of that….
“Dang, I thought. Divorce Todd? Have you SEEN Todd???”
TRANSLATION: If Todd gains fifty pounds, he’s toast.
Thirteen years into their marriage, Eleanor Roosevelt was confronted with her husband’s affair with her social secretary (and distant relative of mine – I come from a long line of home wreckers) Lucy Paige Mercer. After contemplating divorce, it was decided that they would continue their union. Years later, she confided to her friend, Joesph Lash, the reasons for saving their marriage. They were many and complicated. This, I can assure you, was not one of those reasons:
“Dang, I thought. Divorce Franklin? Have you SEEN Franklin???”
Goshen, New York
The Bacon Sandwich of Regret was the funniest sequence I’ve read this year. I also enjoyed the two other “this is so gruesome you’re going to have to work it out for yourself” homework assignments.
Vetinari on X was depressing, and Ponder Stibbons’ evolution from schmendrick to pompous butthead authority figure was Sarah Palin depressing. No real shortage of pompous buttheads in Unseen Academicals, for that matter (Sam! Henry! Madam! Mustrum!), and if you don’t give a crap about football or the self-inflicted British class system, the book is basically Night Watch for Vimes-haters.
Next! And sober up Vetinari, for gods’ sake! It would do a lot for his tyrant cred if he’d personally kill someone in public, which he apparently hasn’t done since he was an undergrad.
I thought it didn’t have a point — it was all Pratchett’s style without the drive to a set end point like Nightwatch or Thud.
My main thought was that it might indicate the progression of his Alzheimer’s.
I did like the development of Ponder into an establishment faculty member.
Much of the above thread will have to go unread for me, as I’m not caught up on Discworld. I made a resolution this year to read my age in books (I hope to do so every year), and I finished around mid-September with “Pyramids”. I’d had Discworld recommended to me some years ago by a friend, who got me “Small Gods” as a gift, saying that it made a good standalone work. Because I’m the sort of person who sat through all of the first season of Babylon 5 and read the first Cerebus phonebook, I started with “The Color of Magic”, finding it pretty amusing but not terribly remarkable, and worked onwards from there. The first one I really enjoyed was “Equal Rites”–I hadn’t expected to enjoy the witches’ stories, but it may be my favorite subseries–and now am most of the way through “Guards, Guards!”.
From what I’d read on Tropes, I’d expected Sam Vimes to be introduced as sort of the Discworld equivalent of Chuck Norris, but the story is so much better than all of that. He’s like a metaphor for the law itself, useless and broken-down at the beginning of the story. And the bit where he tells Wonse that he wasn’t an officer of the kind, or of the Patrician, or even of the city, but of the law… man, I got chills.
It’s always especially tragic when a clever person loses their faculties toward the end of their life, but when they’ve brought that cleverness to so many people, it’s unspeakably so. I find myself hoping that I’ll catch up on the rest of the series while he’s still writing them.
@Kristine: Sir Pterry’s first choice to play him in meatspace is Alan Rickman.
@Boney Baloney: Vetinari is like Granny: His reputation is so immense that he need not exercise the powers that led to it. Just the headology (and a few laps for wrongdoers in the castle cesspool) suffices for the most part.
Terry Pratchett is my favorite author, and I consider his illness a tragedy of international proportions. So I’m glad to say that he hasn’t lost it yet (and I very much hope he won’t before he finishes the fourth Tiffany Aching book – I love her).
Unseen Academicals is very good – as others have said, it’s not one of his very best, but it’s a worthy addition to the series and has some truly excellent stuff in it. Nutt is awesome, as is Glenda (anyone who barges in on Lord Vetinari has too much guts for their own good, really). And despite not being much of a soccer fan (I enjoy watching the game but have no rooting interest), I found myself enjoying those parts (and did get at least some of the references, like Bengo Macarona).
I have a literary mancrush on Lord Vetinari, and love any time he’s onscreen, so I really enjoyed the parts with him and Lady Margolotta. I find that a fascinating dynamic, especially the way in which she keeps wanting him to intervene more directly (and he won’t). I love watching him let everyone else do the work for him. A puppet master who makes you pull your own strings, indeed.
@Boney Baloney: the whole point of Vetinari is that he never does it himself. He puts everyone else in a position where they do it for him, because it’s in their own best interests. He would be much less awesome if he went around killing people himself.
As for the ‘best Discworld books’ thing I’d have to throw my support behind Night Watch and Interesting Times. Night Watch is the quintessential Vimes (plus a fascinating look at a lot of the characters when they were younger), and Interesting Times was my first and is still my favorite Discworld book and has what is probably my favorite Rincewind speech ever (“There are causes worth dying for!” “No there aren’t! Because you only have one life but you can pick up another five causes on any street corner!”).
@grendelkhan: how old are you? and does that apply only to new books, not re-reads?
Question for the day:
Who would win in a contest of wills and manipulation between Lord Vetinari and Granny Weatherwax?
Granny, but Vetinari would get what he wanted anyway..
This is part of what I love about Pratchett… Death is by no means the only anthropomorphic personification in his books.
Vimes is The Law. Vetinari is Politics. Rincewind is Practicality (with a huge dash of Self-Interest thrown in, but he is at his best when he is seeing through the bullshit of society and noticing things like peasant revolts never going well for the peasants, as the revolutionaries generally never bother to consult the peasants on what they actually want) I’m still trying to get Carrot … Decency maybe? Or perhaps the ideal Citizen?
But still, he manages to make all these people real, believable characters, not just cardboard cutouts.
As for Granny, I found the absolute best explanation for who and what Granny represents is in the Tiffany Aching books, where she only actually appears a few times. Tiffany is learning to BE Granny. Witches are concerned with the edges of things … birth and death, but also people on the edges of society, and so on … they represent everybody who would put themselves in harm’s way in order to protect the rest of us, and let us lead normal lives, I think. Very fascinating stuff to me.
@twiffer: Turned twenty-eight this year, and yes, only new books count. I cheated a little by reading some lightweight stuff (Discworld goes by quickly), but there’s some weighty stuff in there too (The Shock Doctrine, Consilience, Harmful to Minors; it’s about two-thirds nonfiction by count). I should have started doing this when I was a teenager.
I’m considering whether or not to start counting entire manga series. A single volume would be ridiculous, but maybe there’s an equivalence in difficulty between all dozen volumes of Death Note and one standard novel.
I wish I read fast enough to afford the luxury of rereading. As it stands, I can barely make it through the new stuff before the to-read pile gets unmanageable.
Alan Rickman would be perfect as Vetinari.
If I could add some football background from its original source… Unseen Academicals, for British fans, is a reference to Hamilton Academical, the spectacularly unsuccessful Scottish league team founded in 1874 and named after the local private school.
‘United Arsenal’ is some horrid Dr Moreau hybrid of teams from London and Manchester, and should be smothered at birth. As any fule kno, the only genuine team in Manchester is Manchester City.
I have just started Unseen Academicals, and there are various in-jokes about the roots of football in village battles (some still going on) where teams try to get a barrel from one pub to another, along with others about the football hooligans of the pre-1990 era. It’s fun, but not the greatest; that for me is probably Reaper Man, followed by Night Watch.
@Phoenix Woman: I have an indifferent-grudging tolerance relationship with Mistress Weatherwax. She did her duty in Genua, she went above and beyond when the Fair Folk invaded, but she deserves every unkind thought the Younger Witch in each trio has ever had about her. Granny Aching is everything Weatherwax isn’t, except for the lack of a giant letter “S” on her dress and cloak and the fact that she’s unfortunately dead.
It’s all fine to say you’re nothing without respect, but street gangs have a similar ethos. It really isn’t necessary to square off against EVERY SINGLE mild irritation or cheeky disrespecter that crosses the path of one’s romper-stomper hobnailed boots. As for knowing what’s better for people than they know for themselves — in the real world, that’s a recipe for disaster, especially if you’re in a position to impose it upon them.
And anyone who isn’t actually made of microchips who spends that much time denigrating the longings of the self and denying the validity of “soppy” emotion has an underlying mental illness, frankly.
@Micah: Yes, Vetinari is the cleverest man in the world and has people killed and plays mind games, and he’s got quick reflexes, but there’s only so ruthless and terrifying you can be when you just glare at people and rely on your underlings to pull your nuts out of the fire EVERY TIME Mr. Slant and the usual suspects decide to kill you off and take over the city.
Unseen Academicals gave me the distinct impression Vetinari was playing a new game: heads, the city burns to the ground and I’m killed by a mob; tails, I remove a minor personal annoyance (via my underlings and a few easily-manipulated proles, natch) and rack up one more I’m Too Sexy point in my secret ledger. Meanwhile, the crossword puzzles are just TOO vexing! WTF is up with that?
I liked UA well enough. I love soccer and Pratchett, but the story was not quite to the level I had hoped for. Not bad and certainly not the worst of Discworld (not that any of it is bad, but I probably liked The Last Continent least) so probably more Spurs than ManU.
Hard to choose a favorite, but probably any of the Watch books, with Jingo currently my favorite.
I usually start new readers to Discworld with Small Gods.
My initial readings of PTerry are now shrouded in the mists of time, although I think I picked up The Light Fantastic shortly after it was published in the US.
Loved it, laughed out loud often. Am a big fan, have read all the books at least 3 times (excpet the latest few).
You read Nightwatch for the soul.
Making Money for the Laughs.
Small Gods for the Insight.
Pray that we see Raising Taxes.
Couldn’t be bothered to read all the preceding comments, but my personal fave Discworld books are, in no particular order: “Lords and Ladies”, “Wyrd Sisters”, “The Truth”, “Maskerade”, the rest of the Lancre books, and all the Sam Vimes books.
About “The Truth” — is it just me, or are Mr Pin and Mr Tulip totally cribbed from Gaiman’s “Neverwhere”, as slightly-less-competent versions of Croup and Vandemar? I think that fact alone contributed a couple dozen laugh-out-loud moments to my first read of that book.
Currently enjoying Unseen Academicals at the moment. However I gotta agree with that Granny Weatherwax fan. I love Lords and Ladies (or anything with our favorite witches in it) and Wee Free Men was notable as well.
Long live Terry Pratchett.