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  • Not A Granny
    WOSSNAME -- NOVEMBER 2008 -- PART 4 OF 6 (continued) ... oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ====Part 4 -- BU AND ABP 28) BUGARUP UNIVERSITY
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 27, 2008
      WOSSNAME -- NOVEMBER 2008 -- PART 4 OF 6 (continued)

      ====Part 4 -- BU AND ABP

      29) ABP BITS



      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!


      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.


      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*
      Patrician :-)

      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
      in mind.

      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
      spelled L*O*Z*Z*E*R.

      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
      newbie audience?

      New Bruce:
      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
      Making Money.

      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.




      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
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