Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

WOSSNAME -- JUNE 2006 -- PART 2 OF 3

Expand Messages
  • JSCHAUM111@aol.com
    WOSSNAME -- JUNE 2006 -- PART 2 OF 3 ... oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo 6) SONG OF THE MONTH SWEET HOME AGATEA (with apologies to
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 30, 2006
      WOSSNAME -- JUNE 2006 -- PART 2 OF 3


      (with apologies to Lynyrd Skynyrd)

      by Weird Alice Lancrevic

      Big rug keep on flying
      Carry me back to dear ol' Bes
      With iconographs and Luggage
      Do I miss HungHung? Well, um, yes
      (Look! A magical chest!)

      Well, I heard Morporkians don't trust us
      Heard their Patrician put us down
      I hope Ankh-Morpork remembers
      Ten rhinu buys up the whole damn town
      (Small change! Wow!)


      Now, in the Court Lord Hong was guv'nor
      Til we did what we had to do
      Cohen as Emperor does not bother me
      Does tradition bother you?
      (Think it through!)


      Now, squishi chefs have got their blowfish
      And they've been cause of a death or two
      But we've far safer foodstuffs
      Like pickled duck's feet and wonton stew
      (They're yummier, too!)



      I'm coming home...


      by Annie Mac

      Terry Pratchett is awful: he inspires awe.
      Terry Pratchett is ridiculous: he ridicules literary pretension.
      Terry Pratchett is extraordinary: he takes the fantastical and
      brings it down to chips-and-a-cuppa ground level.

      Let's face it, being accused of committing literature has a certain
      dire anti-cachet. It's rather akin to having an embarrassing skin
      condition or one of those terrifying elderly relatives who tend to
      demolish parties by scoffing the cooking sherry, climbing on the
      dining room table and reciting Wellington's speech to the troops at
      parade-ground volumes; in other words, being hailed as a Literary
      Great runs contrary to being read, understood and revered by the
      wider public - in *other* other words, being a Literary Great
      usually equals being unpopular. And having your works collect dust
      on forlorn stacks at the rear of the public library, read only by
      members of Macadamia and resentful students under a literature
      geas. Hands up, any of you who've actually voluntarily read a
      Booker Prize-winning novel...? All right, more than one...? Thought
      so. It's a rare thing when acclaimed "serious" novels are also
      bought and cherished by the millions. And it's a rarer thing yet
      when novels bought and cherished by the millions are declared to be
      Serious After All.

      Terry Pratchett the author, then, is a rare thing.

      In a recent issue of this newsletter, I offered you an essay on the
      subject of how Pratchett and the Discworld novels are now being
      increasingly considered as big-L Literature; how universities are
      including these in the curricula for English and Lit degrees; how
      hoity-toity professional critics are being won over and gleefully
      slicing, dicing, subtextually analysing and otherwise endowing with
      portent the very "throwaway fantasy books" they once scorned. I also
      said I'd inflict further such essays on you. And here we are. Hat.
      Hat. Hat.

      So what - apart from the fact that he's a bloody brilliant wordsmith
      - makes Pratchett's writing great? Well, in my opinion, it has much
      to do with the following:

      He mines narrative conventions, turning a well-worn story on its ear
      and enriching it through sideways reinvention.

      He uses cliches as a means of illustrating that every cliche exists
      because it represents a basic truth, a core behaviour, of human
      interaction and the nature of history large and small.

      He makes people into *people* - be they human-shaped, four-legged,
      six inches high, undead or even not strictly ever alive. Consider,
      among myriad other examples, the person-ness of the Golems;
      manufactured creatures, walking lumps of clay, they nonetheless
      speak to our imagination as thinking beings with hopes and desires.
      Consider the way so many of us can relate to the Duck Man, who seems
      "normal" but is so patently living in a private universe slightly
      out of phase with ours (and possibly located in a spot just to
      the left of the average reader's ear). Consider the evolution of
      trollkind - I can think of no other author who could engage my
      sympathetic and empathic interest in the life and times of Detritus:
      I find myself genuinely caring about the state of his marriage and
      career! Even characters who were, by the author's own admission,
      originally created to serve a temporary comedic purpose or to
      advance a one-time-only plotline take on real emotional solidity
      under the loving strokes of Pratchett's pen and keypad.

      Some critics have sneered at Pratchett's way of, as they see it,
      reducing characters great and terrible to the level of just another
      Jo(sephin)e worrying about the shopping and fancying a pint at the
      local; but I firmly believe that it is this very reduction of the
      great-and-terrible to their just-like-us-after-all essentials that
      gives his prose and characters a power, a greater realism, rarely
      seen in any other works of fiction.

      But enough of *my* opinions - here are a few extracts from things
      other people said about Pterry:

      "The Discworld...captures the essential absurdity of existence.
      And yet the true success of these novels owes to a rearrangement
      of the familiar. Pratchett takes a recognisable world and refashions
      and reshapes it so that it appears that we are seeing it anew. As
      such, then, there is an exuberant, childlike innocence to much of
      his work, a delight in the wonder of the world and a fascination
      with the science and mechanics of civilisation."

      "Much of Pratchett's work deals with human agency, of taking
      responsibility for one's lot (whatever that lot may be)...In
      essence, Pratchett is a traditionalist if, of course, we deem such
      virtues as hard work and mutual respect to be "traditional." In
      modern parlance Pratchett would perhaps best be described as a
      "fundamentalist," in the sense that he seems to subscribe to the
      perennial truths of life and language: be that the Biblical 'do
      unto others' or the cliche that 'what goes around comes around'."

      "In his novels Pratchett reminds us that a hackneyed phrase was once
      a truth, and can become so again through a simple tinkering with the
      language...Pratchett has faith in words but he is also acutely aware
      of the independence of their existence."

      "In a time which has lost its sense of community and shared values,
      part of the charm of the Discworld is that it involves a communion
      of souls. They may fight and argue and disagree with one another,
      but there is always a sense of people coming together."
      (Garan Holcombe, from http://www.contemporarywriters.com/authors/)

      "Throughout many of his novels, Pratchett employs what has been
      dubbed "Stealth Philosophy." That is to say, he will subtly (or
      not-so-subtly) hide philosophical struggles, questions, and
      arguments within the texts of his books, without (often) overtly
      stating them. Pratchett is deeply concerned about the philosophy of
      ethics, the philosophy of religion [and] the mind as well as topics
      related to popular science...he presents the notion that to be good
      quite often results in being perceived as bad or evil by the very
      people you're doing good for, and in many of his stories image is
      quite often eventually overcome, without fanfare, by substance...he
      presents the notion that our "world" is subjective, and is
      constructed internally. In particular, that it is constructed out
      of stories. Related to this is the idea that most of our experience
      is filtered out before it reaches consciousness..."

      "His good witch, Granny Weatherwax, takes the form of an
      archetypical evil crone...His good public servant, Lord Havelock
      Vetinari, is an assassin and a tyrant...many of his potential
      villains, such Lord Vetinari and Lord Downey, are too multifaceted
      to be simplistically characterised as "evil," while other more
      standard villains, such as Lord Rust, are depicted merely as
      egocentric dullards...There are however, two groups of villains that
      featured prominently in many of the stories and have, in their own
      ways, come to represent the force of evil in the Discworld. They are
      the Auditors of Reality and the Elves. These two races are, in many
      respects, opposite ends of the same spectrum. The Auditors, cosmic
      bureaucrats who prefer a universe where electrons spin, rocks float
      in space and imagination is dead, represent the perils of handing
      yourself over to a completely materialist and deterministic vision
      of reality, devoid of the myths and stories that make us human. The
      Elves, innately psychopathic beings who seek to dominate us by
      usurping our free will with glamour and false magic, represent the
      dangers of giving yourself over completely to stories and
      superstition. Together they appear to reflect the philosophy
      Pratchett expresses in Hogfather; that while the stories we weave
      may not be true, we still need them to continue our existence."
      (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld)

      Will there be a third part to this essay series? Stay tuned...and
      don't touch that dial.


      To the Editor:

      In Jingo, it is stated that AM doesn't have a standing army, cause a
      lot of armed men standing around tend to get....ideas.

      But then in Monstrous Regiment, Lord Rust is the commander of the AM
      forces - and what little we see of them, they seem to be fairly
      competent - Vimes does the Washerwoman trick,

      -- Paul Godsil

      To the Editor:

      I thought it was Blouse that did the washerwoman trick.

      I think Vimes mentions that that was how the Ankh-Morpork and allies army
      took the fort in the first place - and is quite incredulous that anyone
      could be taken in by that trick. However, as all of my books are packed
      into boxes preparatory to moving, I can't check.

      -- Mogg

      To the Editor:

      While I liked Jingo much more than "Monstrous Regiment,"
      I didn't like it too much as a novel ....well, I found it too easy,
      too previsible is the word?

      -- Gloria Llona

      To the Editor:

      Yeah, I didn't think that one would be in my top ten either. I'm
      guessing the word you were after was predictable - did you mean
      it was too obvious what was going to happen next?

      -- Jase

      To the Editor:

      I've got a question to ask the Wossname group:
      I finally got a friend to agree to start reading the Discworld
      books. Which one should I start him on ? I'm tempted to
      just say start at the first one and go in sequence . But on
      thinking back , it seems the first couple aren't as good as
      the later Witch series , Death series and Guard series.
      Anyone have an insight to offer ?

      -- George Duffield
      somewhere near Lancre

      To the Editor:

      I wish to complain about your Discworld novels. We are avid readers and
      collectors of fine books in our household, and therefore own a considerable
      number of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves; of these, several shelves have
      been exclusively devoted to your published works, particularly the Discworld

      series of novels.

      However, since purchasing our copy of THUD!, we find that there is no
      remaining space in the Pratchett section to place it. This will necessitate
      the purchase of yet another bookcase, and, should you continue to write
      Discworld novels for the next few decades, the purchase of a larger house
      with more available bookshelf space.

      It may be all well and good for the like of you writer chappies,
      who can store entire libraries on your Hex drives, but I feel you
      may not be showing sufficient consideration for the less well-
      heeled among your readers. I may have to raise this issue in the letters
      page of the Times. I am also thinking of writing to the local council.

      -- R. P. Tyler (ret'd)

      [ Ed Note: Congratulations! It is a good thing to have too many
      books and not enough shelves. Would you want to have too many
      shelves and not enough books, or would you want to know
      anyone who does?]
      End of Part 2, says my computer -- continued on Part 3 of 3
      If you did not get all 3 parts, write: jschaum111@...

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.