WOSSNAME -- NOVEMBER 2008 -- PART 4 OF 6
- WOSSNAME -- NOVEMBER 2008 -- PART 4 OF 6 (continued)
====Part 4 -- BU AND ABP
28) BUGARUP UNIVERSITY CAMPUS NEWSROUND
29) ABP BITS
28) AROUND THE BU CAMPUS
It's been a lively month on ozdw@yahoogroups, aka Bugarup
University. Here are a few selections:
28.1 THE GLOOPER
I'm currently reading Electronic Brains/Stories From the Dawn of the
Computer Age and chapter 8: Water on the Brain deals with the
Hydraulic Economics Computer.
This is a fascinating book and I highly recommend it!
28.2 A RACEHORSE RINCEWIND WOULD LOVE?
New Bruce, on the day of the Melbourne Cup:
Unfortunately, he is not racing today but there is a racing
thoroughbred called Ankh Morpork whose sire is Fantastic Light.
28.3 COMMENTS ON THE tCoM FILM:
1. Vetinari is overacted - too much menace.
2. Twoflower - Although the actor does a fine job in the role, I
always saw Twoflower as being oriental.
3. Rincewind - I think David Jason was being selfish in glomming this
role for himself. He's wrong, wrong, wrong. If anything, he would have
been better placed as the arch-chancellor.
4. Tim Curry - perfect casting
5. Cohen - wonderful
1. Disagree. The original Patrician -- who was NOT Vetinari, no
matter how much The Author backpedals and dodges! -- *was* that
menacing! So we got *a* Vetinari that also echoed the *other*
2. Yes, we all did. But I think the decision to play him as a Merkin
tourist was sensible, given that the idea is for the fillum to
appeal to people who didn't already grok Discworld.
3. Disagree. I was totally against DJ as Rincewind, but I think he
worked some magic of his own and made the role his. However, I
shall never, ever forgive him for being wrong wrong wrong as
Albert! Albert should have been played by Warren Mitchell or
Richard Wilson :-(
4. He did a great job in the role, but I don't think he was visually
right. Trymon was supposed to be sleek and oily, not blobby and
5. At least we agree on this one :P
"I vote for Guards, Guards!"
That's as may be, but what you're getting is Moist von Lipwig!
...who BTW should totally, as in TOTALLY, be played by Neil Patrick
Vetinari: Too much menace? Tell that to Moist von Lipwig. I'd
suggest you tell that to Reacher Gilt, except he found out what
happens when you refuse one of Vetinari's very reasonable and
entirely optional one-time-only offers.
Look at it this way: Vetinari has *tamed* Ankh-Morpork, even the
Shades and the Thieves Guild and the Assassins. Admittedly some
places are "tame" more or less in the way insane pit bulls are tame
-- that is, so long as the chain doesn't break, and you never show
fear or turn your back on them. Nevertheless the city is tamed. You
don't tame the Assassins Guild by being less scary than them.
Besides, Vetinari *is* an assassin. Possibly non-practising now,
but that's only because he's so good at it he doesn't need to
I also give you the "discussion" between Ridcully and Vetinari about
the wizards paying taxes. Despite Ridcully rightly pointing out that
he could turn Vetinari into a small lizard and jump around the room
on a pogo-stick, the end result of the discussion is that the
wizards make an "entirely voluntary donation" coincidentally equal
to precisely the tax Vetinari wanted. Vetinari sufficiently
frightens Ridcully to get him to pay de facto taxes, and Ridcully
doesn't have enough imagination to be frightened of monsters and
Things From the Dungeon Dimensions. That should tell you something.
Given all that, I think Jeremy Irons played the role with just the
right amount of menace.
Twoflower: Me too. But the hey-day of the Japanese tourist was 20
years ago, and many people wouldn't get the joke and would think it
was politically incorrect. Although I still think Masi Oka (Hiro
Nakamura from Heroes) would have been PERFECT for the job.
Rincewind: That's what I thought before watching the movie. I
thought that Sir David was going to discover new frontiers of
Wrongness beyond the event horizon, into areas of the universe
where the very laws of physics would be different.
But I grudgingly have to admit he won me over. His Rincewind wasn't
the Rincewind I expected, but it was a perfectly credible Rincewind.
Perhaps not quite as skinny as he should have been, but nevertheless
skinny enough. The Rincewind in the books is ageless, but he's not
young: sort of a past-his-prime over-middle-age ageless, in the same
way that James Bond will always be in his late 30s.
...I love G!G!, but the main reason I'd like to see it filmed is so
that in a couple of years they could film Night Watch.
Vetinari: As aficionados of Pterry's creations, we are well aware
of the sphincter-tightening -- or loosening -- terror that the
Patrician can invoke amongst the denizens of A-M. The great unwashed
(aka the telly audience) -- in their benighted ignorance -- are
not. Therefore it has behooved Mr Irons to go a little over the top
in portraying the ruler in a way that the Patrician himself would
probably think a little overdone.
Twoflower: I agree the part could have been written with Hiro in
mind, given his enthusiasm, extreme likeableness - and initial
naivety. Perhaps Masi should be approached with Interesting Times
Rincewind: Physically, David was wrong for the part. You simply
can't see him as the long-distance runner type. Psychologically, he
was good. He had that down-at-heels, slump-shouldered demeanour that
typifies Rincewind. The W*I*Z*Z*A*R*D on his hat should have been
Trymon: I enjoyed Tim's portrayal -- although he did tend to 'twirl
his moustache' a little too much at times.
Looking at it from both sides...maybe he (or Vadim Jean/Pterry) felt
the character of Trymon had to be fairly panto- ish to win over a
I thought the sets were great although I would have liked the sign
in the market when the credits start to have said "Fruit and
vegetable's". The "(Ices and Creche)" sign next to that pointing to
the Dread Tower of Darkness was a nice touch. The Luggage and the
Octavo were both well done and managed to have personalities. The
iconograph was lovely and I like that the pictures were all signed
The costumes, especially the wizard's hats and pointy shoes were
very well done although Liessa looks like she is wearing a leather
nappy (diaper in some countries). I liked Twoflower's tourist garb
particularly the socks-with-sandals. The glasses were a big
improvement on Josh Kirby's TLF cover where Twoflower is depicted
with four eyes.
I'm wondering if Sean Astin was cast just so we could have the-
actor-formerly-known as-Sam-Gamgee *ask* to go to the home of the
terrifying spider and utter the line "I can hear the potatoes
I loved the bit where Rincewind does the nudge-nudge-wink-wink when
talking to Cohen about Bethan.
I thought Vetinari was too effete. He is cradling a puppy and when
he wishes Rincewind "Good Luck" he puts his hand on Rincewind's arm
in an overly solicitous manner. I would have preferred that scene
to be set in The Oblong Office with a desk between them.
I agree with what others have said about Sir David. He acted the
part very well but isn't the Rincewind from the novels. I adore Tim
Curry and forgive him his blobbiness as some of us find it difficult
to keep blobbiness at bay as we get older (maybe we need to do the
Time Warp for half an hour a day) :)
I'd like to see the Tiffany books done. I don't think Nightwatch is
filmable as so much is inside Vimes' head but the BBC did an
excellent job with the radio play. I don't know why they chose
My goodness Wuffles was very elderly in the later books, so a few years
must have passed very quickly.
As I see it, events in the Discworld more-or-less follow their
publication in Roundworld. For example, Tiffany Aching was nine in "Wee
Free Men" (2003), eleven in "A Hatful of Sky" (2004) and thirteen
in "Wintersmith" (2006). Presumably she'll be sixteen or seventeen by
the time "When I Am Old I Shall Wear Midnight" comes out.
"The Colour of Magic" was published in 1983, and "The Truth" in 2000.
Seventeen years for a little dog like Wuffles is quite respectable.
29) ABP ITEMS OF INTEREST
LEO'S REVIEW OF NATION
Warning: This post contains serious SPOILERS for Nation.
I have been browsing the online reviews and readers' comments for
Nation, and have found myself amused and bemused.
Most reviews are positive to ecstatic, but so many of them seem to
regard this book as a major departure for Terry, cautioning that
long-time fans may not find it to their liking because it is (a) a
YA novel, (b) not set on the Discworld, and (c) not thigh-slappingly
I don't get that. These warnings seem to be addressing a
hypothetical set of Pratchett fans stuck in 1992, still wondering
why Terry stopped writing 100-gags-per-page Rincewind romps.
The rest of us (and really not just the reviewers) have, I like to
think, by now managed to come to grips with the fact that for the
past two decades or so Terry has steadily been moving towards the
more thoughtful end of the literary spectrum, where funny becomes
witty, and the 'serious' themes (which have of course almost always
been present) take a more central role, even (especially?) in the YA
Nation fits perfectly well into that progression. There are some
novelties in the execution, and the seriousness factor is notched up
a little bit higher than what we're used to, but I don't think
there's anything here that should come as a big shock or surprise to
even the more casual fans of Terry's work. But that does *not* mean
Nation isn't Terry's best book in years, because I most certainly
think it is.
If there is one issue I personally have with Terry's more recent
efforts, it is that they tend to get too preachy for my tastes.
Perhaps 'too explanatory' is a better phrase. It is difficult to
describe, but over the years I have found myself increasingly more
impatient and turned off by Terry's growing focus on his characters'
internal monologues and ruminations. We spend so much time inside
the heads of Vimes, Tiffany, Polly -- even Moist von Lipwig, that
overexposure sets in. I feel it upsets the narrative balance -- too
much 'tell', not enough 'show', and in general just a lack of focus
on an actual *story*.
With Nation, we get a tale that is so well-written and well-balanced
that I did not experience any of the above problems, even though the
book is actually quite didactic. I don't pretend to know Terry's
mind, but it certainly *feels* as if he has tried to use Nation as a
definitive exploration/thesis of his thoughts on religion, culture,
science and what it means to be human. Yet neither Mau nor Daphne
feel like puppets or avatars to me, and the philosophy bits ring
true within the context of the story. Put in another way: I may be
getting lectured at again, but it is done in such an expert way that
I hardly notice, and certainly don't mind.
There are many things in Nation that I particularly enjoyed,
but perhaps nothing better than the opening chapter. It already
gets off to great start with Captain Samson and the Gentlemen of
Last Resort. To my mind, that section *is* a more radical
departure for Terry, of a kind I dearly hope we'll see more
often. We are dropped head-first into the action: unknown world,
unknown characters, none of the familiar Discworld land- and
storymarks, the first person we meet doesn't know what's going on
either, and his confusion and panic are pleasantly infectious.
Then, just as you think you are getting your bearings in time and
space, you suddenly realise: no wait, things are wrong, this has
to be an alternate timeline, wow, cool -- but before you get the
chance to fully think that through, the action heats up even
further, with the switch to captain Roberts and the shipwreck
scene, then things go relatively quiet for a few pages with Mau
on Boys' Island, and *then* the Wave happens and Mau escapes and
the Nation gets wiped out -- and at this point we are still only
on page 26! More has actually *happened* here in one chapter than
in the last three Discworld books put together. Well, okay, that
may be exaggerating a tad, but it certainly has been a long time
since reading Terry Pratchett has left me feeling so excited.
The good stuff does not end there, although the pace does slow
down considerably, and the mode of storytelling moves into far
more familiar and predictable territory. There are some great set
pieces (pig milking!), intriguing characters (that I wish we
could have gotten to know better), and many wonderful lines.
Don't let anybody tell you Nation is not a funny book, because
in many places it's downright hilarious -- just perhaps not in a
Twoflower-sets-fire-to-Ankh-Morpork kind of way.
There of course always remain some things to complain about. As
usual for Terry, the villains are mustache-twirlingly,
one-dimensionally eeeevil (even the Priest is not that much
better), which makes them rather uninteresting and the sections
dealing with e.g. Daphne's guilt and subsequent 'trial' not
nearly as intriguing or powerful as they could have been. Killing
people *this* obviously irredeemable is fairly easy to accept,
but it is not very fair with Terry so firmly stacking the deck
against them. Terry rarely designs his heroes to be perfectly
good -- he makes them human, instead. What if he had allowed his
bad guys to be human, too?
I also thought the final chapter was a teensy bit self-indulgent.
Referencing Sagan and Feynman and Einstein and Darwin etc, must
have been great fun to do, but in the final analysis a temptation
that I think should have been resisted, if only because it spoils
the illusion of an alternate reality. But okay, that's a very
minor quibble, and the rest of the chapter is actually quite
touching and fitting. Never mind.
Finally, with respect to the thinking Terry encourages us to do
in his afterword: I still like implicit better than explicit,
and, despite the fact that it manages to do so without annoying
me, Nation does tend to spell things out a lot. As far as I'm
concerned, an unpretentious story like Truckers does a vastly
better job at actually making me think about the relationship
between man and religion than anything I found in Nation. But
as an example of engrossing storytelling done by a master of his
craft at the peak of his powers I think that even Terry is going
to find Nation a very tough act to follow.
-- Leo Breebaart <leo@...>
End of Part 4, continued on Part 5 of 6.
If you did not get all six parts, write: interact@...
Copyright (c) 2008 by Klatchian Foreign Legion