Monday, August 15, 2005

G.W. Bush, Terry Pratchett, and a Wooden Horse

Did I mention Terry Pratchett might be using the Oxter English Dictionary to use words that provide no possible web-based method of verifying? Words related to the construction of models, like:


I'm not even sure he spelled smardgine correctly - as the closest thing I can find is smaragdine - of or relating to the color of emeralds. Keep that one handy for the New York Times crossword puzzle. And shode, well, he says a carefully worked model of a boat is inlaid with it, but it seems to mean waste/rubbish stone. So he's actually using those words to hide a joke. Bastard probably thinks he's funny.

That aside, Pyramids has been one of Pratchett's better Discworld books so far. I would have never thought that mocking Pharaohnic culture would be such rich and fertile literary ground. Portraying an "Egyptian" burial model maker as a geekboy living with his mother and obsessing on his boat models like some Star Wars fanatic - brilliant, right down to the mania for scales (the 1/80th kind, not the weighing kind). I thought the ending was a little soft, but overall it was extremely funny, and though written in 1989, still managed to make pointed fun of George W. Bush:

"It was that bloody wooden cow or whatever," said Xeno. "They've never forgiven us for it."

"If we don't attack them, they'll attack us first," said Ibid.

"S'right," said Xeno, "So we'd better retaliate before they have a chance to strike." (p. 215)


  1. Oddly enough, Pyramids is one of my least favorite Discworld books (I still very much enjoyed it, though). By my reckoning, it's the next book, Guards! Guards! where he really starts to get into a groove. Of course, I'm biased - my favorite theme in his books are those related to the Ankh-Morpork City Watch.

  2. Like I said - I liked everything but the ending. But after coming off the Wyrd Sisters, I think I'd have preferred almost any of his books (that one was my least favorite so far). I think in order of least favorite to favorite, using just general content as a subject, I'd have to say:

    Witches (least favorite)
    Rincewind (favorite consistently)

  3. Well, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, as wrong as it is. I would rate them thusly (from least to most favorite):

    Rincewind (wizards)
    City Watch

  4. I haven't read a city watch one yet - it's sitting on the table at home, waiting for me. You hate Rincewind, eh? I didn't like the last one as much as the first one. I may learn to dislike him in time - there are plenty of books left.

  5. Ahem. No, I don't hate Rincewind - it's just that I enjoy the other characters so much more. And judging by the choices he's made for subject matter as the series goes along, I would daresay Mr. Pratchett agrees with me.

    (as do all right thinking individuals)

  6. I'm a liberal, I think left, not right. Regardless, I'm primarly looking forward to the p0rn-themed books in the series - those "Tiffany Aching" ones. I'm intrigued as to how he's going to make them both witty and sexy.