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May 18, 2011 5:53 PM   Subscribe

We all know beloved fantasy author Terry Pratchett has a sword, but did you know he has his own Coat of Arms?
posted by The Whelk (96 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
The official anoucement.
posted by The Whelk at 5:55 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're supposed to add [NOT DEAD] when you post about Sir Pterry.
posted by Gator at 5:56 PM on May 18, 2011 [27 favorites]


Terry Pratchett doesn't fear the reaper
posted by Blasdelb at 5:56 PM on May 18, 2011


I used to walk past the College of Arms every day. It appears as a key location in the 1969 James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
posted by Bwithh at 5:57 PM on May 18, 2011


Did they really put the equivalent of a Blue Oyster Cult song on his coat of arms?

HA! Europeans and their traditions.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:59 PM on May 18, 2011


Aw! Immediately, I thought it would say "Art Brought Forth the Candle," but that is because I am a huge Pratchett nerd.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:01 PM on May 18, 2011 [15 favorites]


Wow Elena, that's the biggest, nerdiest reference I've read in a loooong time.


And I thought it was Along Came A Candle.
posted by The Whelk at 6:02 PM on May 18, 2011


No crest is complete without something rampant on a field of something. I am disappointed.
posted by The World Famous at 6:03 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


The crest doesn't contain a field. DUH.
posted by jtron at 6:05 PM on May 18, 2011


I'm glad the commenters explained the morepork. I was looking, in vain, for some pigs.
posted by pompomtom at 6:06 PM on May 18, 2011


The crest doesn't contain a field. DUH.

That's half the problem.
posted by The World Famous at 6:07 PM on May 18, 2011


I'm going to be that guy.

Pratchett is massively overrated. His shtick was genuinely... moderately amusing... for about six books. Since then he's been trotting out the same tired old shit, over and over again, and because it's cute and geeky everyone loves him for it. He's like the Piers Anthony of sniggery ho-ho-look-at-that-sixth-form-witticism cod-fantasy. He needs to be less prolific. Far less.
posted by Decani at 6:08 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The owl is a New Zealand owl, the Ruru.

You should google it to fully understand the arms.
posted by eriko at 6:08 PM on May 18, 2011


"He needs to be less prolific. Far less."

So that, what, you can continue to not read his books?
posted by Blasdelb at 6:09 PM on May 18, 2011 [47 favorites]


You're supposed to add [HE ATE'NT DEAD] when you post about Sir Pterry.

FTFY.
posted by gauche at 6:11 PM on May 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


Decani, I was with you until Going Postal.

Rarely have I seen a huge leap for an established author. That and Unseen Academicals, it went from Bored Of The Rings with better puns to Dickings with vampires and wizards.
posted by The Whelk at 6:11 PM on May 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Seriously? They couldn't get anyone to translate "I ATEN'T DEAD" into latin?
posted by eriko at 6:13 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Surely " Too Late" is better?
posted by The Whelk at 6:17 PM on May 18, 2011


It should have elephants standing on a turtle. Seriously.

And I think Pratchett got much better after his first few books (although his last couple have been, in my opinion, borderline incoherent). He started off doing wacky fantasy and ho-ho inversions of our world, but then he got used to the idea that the diskworld is a rich enough place that he can actually tell any sort of story he wants to on it.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 6:18 PM on May 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Actually I kind of dislike to hate anything before Guards! Guards! Which is about mid point in the run.

Tiffany Aching never gets any love, they're very together books and steeped in lots of fun Scottish folklore.
posted by The Whelk at 6:21 PM on May 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Er dislike OR hate anything before....
posted by The Whelk at 6:22 PM on May 18, 2011


I feel like his output from about Reaper Man to about Lords & Ladies was a lot of fun (and Wyrd Sisters is an early burst of genius) but then his next dozen books or so seemed like re-treads of the same old territory so I stopped. I read Unseen Academicals this winter and enjoyed it quite a bit, but I think that might have just been feeling like home again after a long time of being too busy to read fiction. I'll have to check out Going Postal.

Is Making Money good, or will it feel like a re-tread?
posted by gauche at 6:24 PM on May 18, 2011


The motto means “Do Not Fear the ReaperIT IS NOT CAT-FLAVOURED
posted by DU at 6:26 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Making Money is ...weird.

Going Postal is going to be fun you've read Unseen Academicals

Thud! Is fun, but kind of assumes you've read The Fifth Elephant. I liked it, and The Watch books are my least favorite series of books.
posted by The Whelk at 6:28 PM on May 18, 2011


The Whelk, Tiffany Aching is an amazing character, and the bastard (the wonderful, wonderful) made me weep like a child with the Wee Free Men (It was a scene that involved a storm, her grandmother, dogs, and a dress). Pratchett liked his ladies strong, and I love him for that.
posted by gc at 6:28 PM on May 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Pratchett is massively overrated. His shtick was genuinely... moderately amusing... for about six books. Since then he's been trotting out the same tired old shit, over and over again, and because it's cute and geeky everyone loves him for it. He's like the Piers Anthony of sniggery ho-ho-look-at-that-sixth-form-witticism cod-fantasy. He needs to be less prolific. Far less.

I disagree - I would say that, from "The Truth" (the 25th Discworld book) onwards his work has been breathtakingly original.

"Nightwatch" was a subtle, dark masterpiece. "Going Postal" was an absolute rollicking good time cloaked in a meditation about the evils of unchecked capitalism.

"Monsterous Regiment" was a an interesting take on gender politics and sexism.

"Nation" was just brilliant.

However, I would agree that his early work was derivative and a bit blah. I can't stand the "Colour of Magic" (or anything with Rincewind), for example, and "Equal Rites" was an abomination. But more recently, he's he's been great.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:28 PM on May 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


He's like the Piers Anthony of sniggery ho-ho-look-at-that-sixth-form-witticism...

I don't think you've actually read any Piers Anthony recently.

That said, I partly agree. To echo, literally, The Whelk, I kind of dislike to hate anything AFTER Guards! Guards!. I think Small Gods is really the zenith.
posted by DU at 6:29 PM on May 18, 2011


I guess I should couch that in Making Money is good-weird. It doesn't read like a typical Prat Jett novel at all, which is why I think I really like the Moist books.
posted by The Whelk at 6:29 PM on May 18, 2011


Oh yeah and anything with Rincewind in a major role is pretty terrible.
posted by DU at 6:29 PM on May 18, 2011


Pratchett liked his ladies strong

"Likes", "LIKES"! Present tense!

HE ATE'NT DEAD, DAMMIT!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:30 PM on May 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'll jump in and say I loved Going Postal too, and I'll rescue a book from The Watch series from a thrift store without a second thought.
posted by gc at 6:30 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


My typos will haunt me forever DU.

Small Gods is kind of a perfect fantasy novel
posted by The Whelk at 6:30 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


HE ATE'NT DEAD, DAMMIT!

Augh! Sorry! I'm tapping away on a phone here.
posted by gc at 6:32 PM on May 18, 2011


"Likes", "LIKES"! Present tense!

HE ATE'NT DEAD, DAMMIT!


We need a website, you know, so we can keep abreast of his status.
posted by Jehan at 6:32 PM on May 18, 2011


HE ATE'NT DEAD, DAMMIT!

Augh! Sorry! I'm tapping away on a phone here.


Sorry, gc - I overreacted. Some guys on the internet told me to drink more coffee so I wouldn't get cancer, and it's making me twitchy.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:37 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's like the Piers Anthony of sniggery ho-ho-look-at-that-sixth-form-witticism cod-fantasy. He needs to be less prolific. Far less.

You are getting your wish relatively soon.

I do agree with you completely about his literary merits but this was an unfortunate turn of phrase under the circumstances.
posted by Justinian at 6:49 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm going to be that guy.

I'm going to be the guy who admits that, for a while, I was also that guy. Eventually, I decided that the magic was there all along, and consistently so, but that as I grew older I had become shrivelled inside, like a cat's bottom. I'm currently reading them all from TCOM right to the end, groaning at every pun, and it's a delight.

Maybe it was having kids that did it, and the thrill of knowing that before long they'll think it's the most brilliant thing ever, as I did when I was a lad. So start practicing those pelvic thrusts and eating plenty of sausages, Decani - it's never too late...
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:53 PM on May 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


I dunno, you don't have to be dead inside to dislike Pratchett. If I'm going to read funny SF or fantasy I'll take Walter Jon Williams over Pratchett any day. Though, admittedly, it's one thing to write 3 wonderfully humorous novels than 3bazillion or however many Pratchett is up to. And, hell, one of the funniest SF novels I've ever read is by Bujold. The dinner scene in A Civil Campaign is brilliant.

The single funniest line in all of SF, though, is in what is otherwise an extremely dark and nihilistic space opera. That line is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by Justinian at 7:01 PM on May 18, 2011


Small Gods is kind of a perfect fantasy novel

This. This one was my first Pratchett, and I have a special place for it. The Death books are my favorites, and the Watch and Wizards are probably tied for my least favorite. And the early books are pretty hard to read at this point.

I'll keep an eye out for Postal, then.

But yeah. Small Gods was perfect. I liked, too, that it was an outlier, not really connected to what he else I'd read of his. I kind of hope he never returns to Omnia.
posted by gauche at 7:03 PM on May 18, 2011


Worst example of humor in SF: Zelazny's shaggy dog story chapter of Lord of Light. My god, how could that be in such a wonderful book? I can't believe he wrote that.
posted by Justinian at 7:05 PM on May 18, 2011


I'm going to be that guy.

And you were That Guy, and, by Offler, you carried out your That Guy obligations without flag or fail. In the grandest That Guy tradition, you unerringly replaced any balanced, nuanced appreciation of Sir Terry's work, its evolution over the course of dozens of books, the gradual move away from sending up various fantasy tropes toward more pointed social satire and a real desire and ability to treat the characters as characters in their own right and not just bearers of those tropes, with your own cursory judgment; and, even though you are certainly entitled to that judgment, as just about every Pratchett fan that's already weighed in on this thread has theirs (personally, I fuckin' hate Rincewind, and think that the latter books that he appears in succeed in spite of his presence), you state it as though it's self-evident, as unworthy of discussion as whether Han shot first.

And so, That Guy, well-played indeed! Fist-shaking and spittle-flecking will no doubt ensue. The next time there's a Joss Whedon thread, I'll remember your example and shall let it inspire me.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:11 PM on May 18, 2011 [27 favorites]


Mefightclub, the Metafilter TINTED game group, created the Ankh-Morpork Opera House in Minecraft

The Minecraft Mefite homeworld actually has an on-going attempt to build Ankh Morpork. I keep meaning to stake my claim on Gleam street.
posted by The Whelk at 7:14 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Watch and Wizard boks are my least favorite, cause in the end, they've got power an authority in their world. I like the Susan and stand-alones and Moist Von books, cause they're normal people living in this big complex universe and just trying to make do. Unseen Academicals is billed as a Wizard book, but it's really about all the people who keep the University running, the candle jacks and maids and Night Kitchen workers.

Actually the very very first Pratchett I read was The Truth, which is a stand-alone and a big burlesque on the newspaper industry and totally, utterly delightful.
posted by The Whelk at 7:19 PM on May 18, 2011


Decani: I'm going to be that guy.

It's okay to not like things.
posted by Kattullus at 7:40 PM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Actually the very very first Pratchett I read was The Truth

Me too! We should form a club.

Also, see the Terry Pratchett Reading Order Guide. Note that there are PLENTY of good places to start.

You can skip anything in the Rincewind storyline. Don't start with The Colo(u)r of Magic, because you probably won't want to read any further. It's not *awful,* but definitely lacks the magic that makes the later books so great. He's arguably gotten better with age -- Going Postal is easily one of the best in the very long series.

Also, read Good Omens -- it's not a Discworld novel, but he co-wrote it with Neil Gaiman, and it's one of the funniest and most iconic modern novels that I've read.
posted by schmod at 7:46 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was quite fond of the Discworld novels I read back in high school, in the mid-nineties, but for a while I found myself rather unimpressed by the books I picked up after. Not that I had read all of the earlier ones, by any means. But they didn't really do it for me for a while. However, I have recently been deleriously pleased to discover that my apparent blindness has passed, and I'm back to really enjoying the novels, early or late. So long as they don't involve Rincewind. And also avoid being Equal Rites. I thought for a time that Sir Pratchett (I *really* need to start hanging out with people who have been knighted, because I need an excuse to use that honorific more frequently) had simply had a period of writing I liked, and what came before and after was less impressive. I was relieved to discover that the problem was actually with me, and there was indeed more joy to be had from the world than I had known. Hooray.

More awesome people need to be knighted. Sir Pratchett sets an example that really, really needs to be followed as to what to do with that sort of thing.

I approve.
posted by Because at 7:54 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pratchett is someone I loved, then fell away from, and think I am just about now back to loving again. And I love them all generally except for the witches -- and the further I get into the series, the more it seems it's specifically Lords and Ladies I don't like.

I love Rincewind, I love the Watch, I love the one-offs, I love the faculty of Unseen University, I think Lord Vetinari is a work of genius, I give a little peep of joy when the Librarian or Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler show up, I love the one-offs, and I love DEATH. Reaper Man, Soul Music and Small Gods are my favorites so far. I haven't read many of the more recent ones, but what I've seen they're also great.
posted by JHarris at 8:03 PM on May 18, 2011


I Skipped school to finish Mort...
Vice Principal to young Mr Groweler: Do you know what you miss when you skip school?
Young Mr Groweler: Do You know what you miss when I skip school?
[10 day detention *]
*Reading MORE TP
posted by mrgroweler at 8:04 PM on May 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


I also grounded my kids from reading Sir Terry to play the damn xBox I pad $400 for.... they didn't listen and I caught them xBox on with novels in hand...
posted by mrgroweler at 8:06 PM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dickings with vampires and wizards.

Pratchett wrote porn?

Or did you mean Dikkens the famous Dutch author?
posted by emjaybee at 8:29 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The single funniest line in all of SF, though, is in what is otherwise an extremely dark and nihilistic space opera. That line is left as an exercise for the reader.

An exercise for the reader? We're supposed to brute-force it by reading every single dark and nihilistic space opera? I don't think I could even catch up with Alastair Reynolds before death at this point.
posted by No-sword at 8:55 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had thought I was tired of Pratchett, but then I read Nightwatch and Going Postal and I realized that I was wrong. Interesting Times was just plain weird, though.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:03 PM on May 18, 2011


I'd read Good Omens half a dozen times, but avoided Discworld for awhile because everything about it just seemed way too silly for me to enjoy.

On a whim I read The Colour of Magic. It was OK. Not great, but OK. I continued to avoid Pratchett (other than Omens) for awhile.

And then one day, whilst searching for something to check out at the library, I picked up Night Watch for no good reason at all. I didn't even know what it was about. The cover intrigued me or something.

I read it. I laughed. I cried. I wanted to read it again. Like anybody Sir Pratchett has his hits and his misses (and everybody seems to have a different opinion about which is which) but when he does hit it's a homerun.
posted by jnrussell at 9:25 PM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I accidentally left Good Omens in the office of the most terrifying, dour, frowning and austerely intellectual profs in my grad program, and was too embarrassed to go back for it.

I later heard from my supervisor, who had an office down the hall, that the fellow kept shrieking with laughter the entire afternoon, and no-one could figure out why. :)

Pratchett is one of the great joys of the universe.
posted by jrochest at 9:35 PM on May 18, 2011 [19 favorites]


Interesting Times is on a par with Sourcery as the great Rincewind book. Sam Vimes and all of the Watch are awesome. Small Gods and Pyramids are awesome.

Since this appears to be "the thread wherein we analyze Terry Pratchett's gifts to literature", there's my contribution. I'd rather hope that he has more to give, until the time that he doesn't.
posted by Errant at 10:33 PM on May 18, 2011


I saw him speak at the Sydney Opera House. The video is online, though I'm not sure if it will play overseas. He was sad and funny and very humane.

I was a bit over his stuff but I read Going Postal and Making Money (in the wrong order) and they were brilliant. It's a rare man who can slip a cyberpunk story into a fantasy novel.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:49 PM on May 18, 2011


I don't mind if you don't like Pratchett, I doubt he does either.

I, on the other hand, adore his books, his imagination, and him. Night Watch, Monstrous Regiment and Jingo are my favourites.

I can't think of any other author who manages to be so entertaining and yet so humane. He's a satirist who actually likes people.

Anyway, continue dismissing him as you like, I'll just look the other way.
posted by jasperella at 11:35 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


so, anyone listened to the audiobooks? the unabridged ones read by Nigel Planer (early novels) and Stephen Briggs? holycrap but they are goodgoodgood.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:58 PM on May 18, 2011


Anyway, continue dismissing him as you like, I'll just look the other way.

Not finding Pratchett one's cup of tea is hardly the same as dismissing him. He doesn't have to be everyone's favorite.
posted by Justinian at 12:52 AM on May 19, 2011


I clicked it to see if there would be an owl.

There was an owl.

That is all.
posted by Sallyfur at 2:00 AM on May 19, 2011


I like the Rincewind books, and I imagine Rincewind being acted by Richard E Grant.

I saw Terry in Melbourne a few weeks ago, and even got a book signed, stamped, and stickered. I have another book he signed a few years ago, and when I compare the signatures I get sad.
posted by Ritchie at 4:23 AM on May 19, 2011


I'm going to be that guy.

Yeah this.

I read the first half dozen books but then met Pratchett at a book signing several years ago and well... he wasn't what I would call the most pleasant individual I've encountered, in particular utterly unhumourous. And at books signings it's been mainly my experience that authors go out of their way to be friendly and welcoming especially to neophyte fans (as a I was at the time) who might be a bit overwhelmed to be in front of Gosh Wow Famous Author. But I gave him the benefit of the doubt - we all have our off days right? But I met him a couple of times later and things were more or less the same. Then, as I got further into fandom, and talking to some other people I found out it wasn't just me... I can't say that was entirely the case but the books became distinctly less funny to me after that and it seemed like I was just reading the same book again with minor variations.

I'm not going to begrudge someone liking something that I don't and I would not wish Alzheimer's on anyone... but if the rumours I've heard from people in publishing are true (like how he has been able to be so prolific in the past and continues to be despite his affliction) well I sometimes find all the hagiography a bit much.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:01 AM on May 19, 2011


The Tiffany Aching books should be required reading BEFORE any young girl can read that Twilight crap. Talk about your compare/contrast for a strong female character. (Although, and I'm saying this as someone who generally doesn't like fiction but has grown to love Pratchett, that the Hunger Games trilogy is kind of interesting, too, from a strong female character perspective).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:16 AM on May 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


IT's interesting that we all seem to disagree about what books are the best. There have been a couple of people who say that they dislike the Watch books. These are typically my favorite. Ditto Rincewind. I have disliked, however, every witches book (with the exception of the Tiffany Aching books).

But I just don't get the love for Unseen Academicals. It seemed like it was written by a different person. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but the pacing seemed really off and I felt that I was being told how to feel about things rather than having those feelings come about naturally.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 7:20 AM on May 19, 2011


I liked how different Unseen Academicals was and how comfortable it seemed in its world.
posted by The Whelk at 7:29 AM on May 19, 2011


I'm going to be that guy.

Pratchett is massively overrated. His shtick was genuinely... moderately amusing... for about six books. Since then he's been trotting out the same tired old shit, over and over again, and because it's cute and geeky everyone loves him for it. He's like the Piers Anthony of sniggery ho-ho-look-at-that-sixth-form-witticism cod-fantasy. He needs to be less prolific. Far less.


As usual, not even wrong.

I'm not going to begrudge someone liking something that I don't and I would not wish Alzheimer's on anyone... but if the rumours I've heard from people in publishing are true (like how he has been able to be so prolific in the past and continues to be despite his affliction) well I sometimes find all the hagiography a bit much.

If you're going to try to spread defamatory rumors, own up to it instead of trying to be cute.
posted by kmz at 7:55 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tiffany Aching is my hero, and now you've all got me buying a bunch of Pratchett books and spending the next few days in bliss.

(Also, um, I hate to be That Person, but a knighted individual is referred to as Sir Firstname OR Sir Firstname Lastname. So he's generally Sir Terry, I think.)
posted by kalimac at 7:56 AM on May 19, 2011


Yeah, fearfulsymmetry, are you saying that you've heard Pratchett uses ghost writers?
posted by Justinian at 7:57 AM on May 19, 2011


I thought it was well known his wife has a strong hand in his books? Unseen Academicals is supposed to have a lot of her in it, which I think accounts for the different tone.
posted by The Whelk at 8:01 AM on May 19, 2011


He and his wife have joint copyright on most/all of his books, but that's for legal reasons. Search for "joint copyright" here.
posted by kmz at 8:19 AM on May 19, 2011


I'm a big Pratchett fan, and I'm also quite critical of some of his early Discworld books; it's not that they're bad, so much, as what comes after them makes them seem like poor sketches of a masterpiece to come.

For my money it's right around Pyramids that he catches his stride and just starts sprinting.

But all that aside, for me the importance of Pratchett's universe is that it's now how I see the fantasy world: Trolls are made of rock, elves are fucking evil, wizards are powerful but witches are powerful and clever, and sometimes Death can stop being an anthropomorphic personification and start taking an interest in the world.

Plus, I love the philosophies he interweaves into his stories have come to guide my own view on the world, but then, I'm not sure that he actually meant that people should use the Nac Mac Feegle as heroic influences.
posted by quin at 8:28 AM on May 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Interestingly, I just read Unseen Academicals, and I *hated* it. I only kept reading because of all my past good experiences with Pratchett.

It is definitely different in tone from the other books, but not in a way I like. (For contrast, my absolute favorite is Thief of Time-- my copy is falling apart.)

Someday I need to get myself a solid list of Pratchett books and mark the ones I've read-- there are so many I'm forever forgetting and never sure if a book is new or I just forgot.
posted by nat at 8:35 AM on May 19, 2011


Ha, I hated Thief Of Time despite my huge fondness for Susan. Different strokes.
posted by The Whelk at 8:37 AM on May 19, 2011


Yeah, I'm obviously the outlier. I really like Rincewind, don't much care for the witches. The Night Watch stuff is okay, but leaves me a bit blah.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:46 AM on May 19, 2011


Since everybody else is doing it: For me the Watch books are number 1, Susan/Death, Witches, Moist are 1A, Rincewind is at the bottom, and the one-offs are somewhere in the middle.

When I think about a timeline of how I rate Discworld books, it starts off not so great, then pretty quickly gets high and stays there, except for dips at almost all the Rincewind-focused ones. (Didn't mind his cameo role in Unseen Academicals, though Interesting Times was actually pretty good.)

Still need to read Nation. I think that's pretty much the only thing of his I haven't read. I'd read all the other non-DW stuff a long time ago.
posted by kmz at 8:52 AM on May 19, 2011


My stepbrother and I spent a lot of middle school sitting on the couch together reading our separate Pratchett novels and reading the choicest bits out loud to one another. Summer weekends, even.

I can't really stand Rincewind anymore, and have no desire to reread any of the early books. I developed an appreciation for the Watch novels in particular later on, I think I like them the same way I like the witches. Something about the wise use of power and careful navigation of complicated situations and people and their foibles and man, I just read Unseen Academicals, and even Ridcully isn't just a loud, outdoorsy buffoon anymore. The characters are turning into people, except for Rincewind, perhaps, who may be beyond recovery.

I can't claim the new ones don't feel awfully familiar, but I don't mind too much. They're familiar but improved, the characters have more depth and the stories are more pointed and the humor is less -- ok, it's still pretty doofy. But it's better balanced by the story, I think.
posted by little cow make small moo at 8:54 AM on May 19, 2011


I thought Making Money was the best thing I read or heard on the economy in years and a great opportunity to tell the "OFF THE GOLD STANDARD!" folks to shove it. I liked it more than Going Postal and it reinterested me in Pratchett after dozing off a bit in the middle there.

But Hogfather was the most influential book I read as I decided to become a parent, so what do I know?
posted by Gucky at 10:03 AM on May 19, 2011


I've written before about having developed a 'meh' reaction to Pratchett after reading the first ten or so books. Then I came back to Lords and Ladies and it was really good and I've been reading him ever since. His characters and stories and humor have made a place in my soul and I will be rereading the Discworld books for the rest of my life. The one I've read most recently, Going Postal was probably the best yet.

But I met him a couple of times later and things were more or less the same.

I went to the North American Discworld Con in Tempe a little while ago. What I saw was Pratchett spending a lot of time wandering about, hanging out in the lobby chatting with people, and generally being extraordinarily approachable.
posted by Zed at 10:27 AM on May 19, 2011


The World Famous: as you are a lawyer I'll use small words. The crest is the bit on top of the shield part, often an animal or segment thereof. The field, to simplify, is the "background color" of the bit on the shield. A crest doesn't have a field for much the same reason as there's no room tone or background noise on a DVD cover. For more information, look up "heraldry" or "heraldic achievement" or consult your local college of arms.

Regards
Jtron (rampant), Paphnuty King of Arms
posted by jtron at 10:48 AM on May 19, 2011


Man, make a joke in a Pratchett thread and suddenly people start insulting you based on a profession and completely miss the joke. Or maybe it's just that Pratchett fans don't listen to You Look Nice Today. Regardless of the reasons, thank you, jtron, for being a dick to me for no good reason.
posted by The World Famous at 10:52 AM on May 19, 2011


should have put a big ole HAMBURGER at the bottom there then, thought my getting all het up at your not knowing the intricacies of my obsolete and basically useless hobby gave the game away :p
posted by jtron at 10:56 AM on May 19, 2011


Sorry for snapping at you, then, jtron. Can you ever forgive me?
posted by The World Famous at 10:59 AM on May 19, 2011


Big manly hugs, then, and a promise to blazon your achievement of arms should you ever want one.
posted by jtron at 11:10 AM on May 19, 2011


It would be an honor, sir. Should the need arise, I shall send a messenger.
posted by The World Famous at 11:30 AM on May 19, 2011


Don't you hippie kids "blazon up" in here! This is Metafilter, not one of your opium dens!
posted by wenestvedt at 11:39 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pterry was lovely when I met him a few years ago in Brisbane. I blethered at him about hats then was terribly embarrassed for a while. The queue for signings wrapped round the block.
posted by Jilder at 11:54 AM on May 19, 2011


One of my favorite quotes is from Going Postal:

What sort of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.
posted by Pendragon at 11:54 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing I enjoy most about the guy is the way he's gone from a couple of very adolescent, ham-fists, and hysterically-funny-to-nerfy-14-year-old-me fantasy parodies to using his funnybooks to muse on theories of government, money, parenting, marriage, war, and a bunch of other stuff, but still kept an eye for the lulz such that the books don't generally become so didactic as to be uninteresting as stories or unfunny. It's pretty impressive.

the fact he's also prepared to chop and change as he thinks groups of characters are getting stale is impressive, too: The Truth and the Moist stories are about getting away from the same old Watch characters, the Witches were mostly retired in favour of telling the bits of those stories via Tiff (and much better than any of the classic witch novels, in my opinion), and Unseen Academicals was really enjoyable as a whole other take on the Unseen U.
posted by rodgerd at 12:10 PM on May 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


My favorite line from his books, and one that I wish I had in Latin so I could tattoo is somewhere delightful or emblazon on my future/hypothetical coat of arms, is, "Even if it's not your fault it's your responsibility."

It applies to so many situations and how much better off would we be? It pops up in my head every now and then when I need reminding to not be a selfish, lazy slacker and to go beyond what is required of me..... and of course we may need the wisdom of Granny Weatherwax to actually pull it off ....but damn. I'd like to live in a world where we all took a little more responsibility for the well-being of each other.
posted by Bibliogeek at 12:16 PM on May 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Good Omens is my favorite book period. I've enjoyed some of the Discworld books more than others, but they're all at least entertaining if not always brilliant. I think he's been on something of a hot streak with his last few.
posted by snottydick at 2:41 PM on May 19, 2011


Dammit, I came in here for heraldry geeking, not Pratchett geeking, and now it's too late to do anything about it.
posted by mendel at 8:58 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's never too late, though be aware, for a lot of us, our primary look into the world of heraldry thus far has been the bit in Feet of Clay, so you may end up just encouraging us...

I'd recommend that you start by telling us that they actually use live animals when composing, because that's too wonderful an idea to be pure fiction.
posted by quin at 9:10 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Great Seal of England has those three lions nailed right on. They don't even need to paint the shield red. Barbarians.
posted by jtron at 9:32 AM on May 20, 2011


My favorite line from his books, and one that I wish I had in Latin so I could tattoo is somewhere delightful or emblazon on my future/hypothetical coat of arms, is, "Even if it's not your fault it's your responsibility."

How's this: etiamsi non culpa tui, tamen adligaris

Translates (more-or-less) literally to "even if the blame is not yours, nevertheless you are obliged". There are other ways to say this but I'm at work right now. Memail me for more.
posted by gauche at 11:52 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Couldn't you share it with the rest of the class?
posted by Kattullus at 12:29 PM on May 20, 2011


Couldn't you share it with the rest of the class?

Fair enough. I actually thought about this over the weekend and I would make a few changes to what I wrote above — so I hope you didn't get that tattoo yet, Bibliogeek!

I would stick with adligo as my verb over the more cognate-to-English obligo. Both verbs can mean "obligate" or "make liable" but obligo has a sense of making guilty which I don't like for the sentiment. Adligo has more of a sense of binding or detaining in a physical, as well as moral, manner.

In the motto above, I put the verb into the present passive indicative, but I think I would move it into the future passive indicative, rendering it "you will be [bound/obliged]" which I think more gets at the sense of what's being said.

I wanted to find a nice parallelism in "etiamsi ... etiamnunc", which can be rendered "although ... still" but I decided against it because — as far as I can tell — etiamnunc means "still" in the temporal, rather than logical sense.

So my revised translation would be

etiamsi non culpa tui, tamen adligaberis — [even if/although] the fault is not yours, nevertheless[,] you will be [bound/obliged].
posted by gauche at 7:00 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


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