WOSSNAME -- AUGUST 2005 -- PART 3 OF 4 (continued)
- WOSSNAME -- AUGUST 2005 -- PART 3 OF 4 (continued)
by Drusilla D'Afanguin
9) DARWIN REVISITED
THE SCIENCE OF DISCWORLD III: Darwin's Watch
by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen
Ebury Press, London, 2005, 344 pp., GBP 17.99
HE SAID, SHE SAID: DARWIN'S WATCH REVISITED
A dialogue in the Penguin Colony
Him: I thought it was the weakest of the three Science of Discworld
books. Good, but nowhere near the quality of the first two.
Her: I thought it was very good! In fact, I liked it better than The
Globe, the second SoD book.
Him: If we take it as two parts - the story part and the science
Her: Yes, I always read them like that. I read the Discworld story,
the Terry Pratchett part, first and then come back and read the
Stewart-and-Cohen science part.
Him: ...I thought the story part felt kind of rushed.
Her: No way! It felt comfortable to me throughout. And I love the way
Rincewind is such a real person in the SoD books. Less of a charming
caricature and more of a real person, with depths and actual force of
Him: The science stuff, on the other hand...it was all over the
place. Undisciplined. They start off talking about one thing in a
chapter and suddenly get off the track. Like discussing evolution and
then with no warning talking about time travel. It felt like they
weren't really focussing.
Her: I did notice that a little, yes. Of course, I've not finished
the science bits yet because you keep nicking the book...
Him: I also have some trepidations about Hex. He - it - seems to be
getting a bit too all-powerful. Godlike. That makes things too easy.
Her: But that's only where Hex interacts with Roundworld! In the main
Discworld books, Hex is still a mysterious machine that works
randomly. See, I've always seen the SoD books as exercises in
problem-solving and expositions of scientific theories, which just
happen to be decorated by a Pratchett cast of characters, and as I
love both Pratchett books and science books, that does fine for me.
Him: I still say it felt rushed.
Her: And I still say no way. There's real character development here.
And the wizards seem to have an actual place, and wield actual power.
In a comically wizardly way, of course. I particularly like the way
Ponder is maturing...and the way Pterry showed him as being banjaxed
by the ever-increasing evidential possibility of intelligent design
...oh wait, better not give that part away.
Him: I liked the bit about Second Breakfast...
Her: Trust you to think about food at a time like this!
Him: Anyway, I'll have to read it again now, and see if I still have
the same opinion.
Her: Well, I liked it. A lot.
Him: It's too expensive, though.
Her: Huh? It was a pressie!
Him: But if I'd bought it, it would have been too expensive. Actually
I hadn't bought it because I thought the price seemed very high. Now
I know I was right.
Her: And I know I'm going to recommend it anyway. But yes, the price
*is* too high. We should complain to the Guild of Booksellers about
that. Um, do we have a guild of booksellers here in XXXX?...
10) MONSTROUS REGIMENT
by Terry Pratchett
HarperCollins, New York, 2003, 353 pp., $24.95
I've just re-read Monstrous Regiment. I originally thought it was a
bloody good book, but not one of the Great Ones in the DW series.
I've changed my mind. It's a bloody excellent book.
It's so very much more layered and incisive than I'd thought. And one
thing that stood out to me was my impression, this time, that the
presence of Vimes and Angua was not at all "gratuitous", as some
persons here (and one male werevampenguin) have claimed. Both
Ankh-Morporkians have a definite purpose in the plot; although
they're secondary characters, I feel strongly that they are
*important* characters to the story. And not just because of the
Also, I'd originally thought the climactic scenes near the end were a
bit too OTT, and now I think they were justified because they drove
the point home with big pointy things and made the whole "you are my
little lads" really stand out!
LETTERS FROM ALL OVER
11) MORE ROWLING HOWLS
To The Editor:
I just have 2 things to say something about.
1) In the puzzles section, I really really do think the other
books should very much be covered. 'Carpet People' should
very definitely be covered. Ooooooo, it's a luvvverlyyyyy tale.
2) As for the Pterry and Rowling debate -- well, all I can say is
-- I am certain Rowling read 'Strata' before she wrote the first
book (hint - the invisibility cloak -- the way it looks to the onlooker),
and 'Men at Arms' before she wrote the red eyes and the resurrection-
speech of Voldemort (hint - Big Fido). Also, I might mention here that
among the little circle I frequent, the opinion is rife that the latest book
is anthology of fanfiction, while the earlier ones were anthologies of
well-known, published literature (Dickens, Poe and so on). Like, you know,
those reviews in scientific journals which summarise all the hitherto known
aspects of the subject being dealt with and citing numerous
Actually, a friend of mine, a scientist, said to me after she read
first potter book --- this was the 4th one of the series --- 'Hey,
where's the references? Should be a massive section at the end ...
It's got the rest, abstract or summary, intro, methods, results, discussion
... only the acknowledgements and the references are missing ...
no figures or tables, of course.'
However, I can personally assert with total conviction that the authoress
of the potter-series doesn't read Aristophanes, or much of Shaw or Wilde.
She should at least try. She should also try reading Robert Graves ---
that might help her sort out the woods of the wands --- it's a mess at the
moment. And if she fails, there's always Pterry and Tolkien and the
Arabian Nights to bail her out, yes?
-- writer's name lost, due to power surge from electrical storm -- please
let us know who you are (yes, that was Hurricane Katrina)
12) DUKE OF SOMEWHERE
To the Editor:
Hah! After going through several pieces of several books, I found it!
Vimes was elevated to er um dukehood at the end of Feet of Clay, but
the actual formal title wasn't mentioned until Jingo, pp. 21-22:
"Oh, I couldn't send the Commander of the City Watch..." (Vetinari
says to Vimes). "I'm sending the Duke of Ankh instead."
See, I was *sure* of that! And I stand on my assertion that "the Duke
of Ankh" is a better choice, since it fits the rhythm of the old Duke
of York nursery rhyme ("...he had 10,000 men..."). What's more, we've
been long since given to understand that the Ankh side of A-M is the
posher (and thus possibly older as a formal city?) side.
So Oi calls all the references to "the Duke of Ankh-Morpork" in THUD
a big mistake, Oi does!
-- Annie Mac
13) DID YOU SAY HNIFLNIFLWHIFLBAFLSNIFLTAFL?
To the Editor:
Quoting Steven D'Aprano <limeguin@...>:
> On Sunday 28 August 2005 19:43, Confusing Manifestation wrote:http://www.thudgame.com - Click on Buy Thud for the different versions.
> > Further to that, I just checked: it's the Gaming Edition of Thud,
> Gaming Edition? Of a game?
> As in "The version you can play, and the version that you can't play"
> sort of thing?
In an obtuse kind of way, you're sort of right. The Gaming Edition is the
cheapest, mass-produced version while the other three editions have
hand-made pieces and more detail. So it's like the difference between the
"eating cutlery" and the "good cutlery" - not that you can't eat with the
good cutlery, just that you're more likely to be careful with it and save
it for special occasions.
[Ed Note: No, I don't know what this all means either.]
End of Part 3, says my computer -- continued on Part 4 of 4
If you did not get all 4 parts, write: jschaum111@...
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