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 Post subject: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Fri 28 Sep , 2012 12:52 am 
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Just to continue the TOB thread that was so rudely interrupted...

Actually, not less than two books have come out since we were interrupted: The Long Earth, and Dodger.

I just finished Dodger today. I thought it was top-notch Pratchett, and it was a first for him: no magic, no alternate universe, no alternate Earth history, in fact absolutely nothing supernatural at all. In fact, it takes place in Victorian London, and many of the characters were in fact real people.

The Long Earth, on the other hand, took a while to get going. If I remember, it was quite a few chapters before I really got in to the story. But once I did, it made compelling reading. The fact that it was co-authored with Stephen Baxter probably accounts for the fact that I didn't really discern Terry's "voice" until about half-way through, and only fleetingly at that.

What I'd like to know is, how much of it really is Pratchett, and how much is Baxter?


Edit: I just noticed I used "in fact" three times in my third paragraph. How embarrassing :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct , 2012 6:36 pm 

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Well, you already know, I was disappointed in his last two Discworld books, when you weren't. I thought Unseen Academicals was weak, and I could barely finish Snuff.

So I think I'll skip Dodger, especially after looking at the 3-star Amazon reviews.

But I might try The Long Earth, since you think it was worth reading. One of my biggest criticisms of Snuff was that some of the writing seemed amateurish and not up to Pratchett's usual high standards. (getting rid of Willikins-as-thug wouldn't have hurt, either. ;) ) Having a good co-author should fix that.

The only problem is that I'm not much of a science fiction/fantasy fan (with a few exceptions) I read Discworld mostly for the satire, humor and thinly disguised commentary on the real world.

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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct , 2012 7:21 pm 
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Dodger is very different from Snuff and Academicals - you might want to give it a try anyway. Especially if you like his social commentary.

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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Wed 03 Oct , 2012 7:28 pm 

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I don't know. Snuff had plenty of social commentary, but it was heavy-handed and I didn't care for it.
What I liked about Pratchett at his peak was the way he could make you laugh and make a point at the same time.

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Trump Warns That Democrats Would Drag Nation Back to Days of Tolerance and Decorum


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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Sun 28 Oct , 2012 10:44 pm 
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It looks like the Studio Theatre of Oxford is planning to stage Dodger in January 2013: Studio Theatre current plans

I wish it were practical for me to go. I wonder if they'll be putting anything on near the time of the Oxford m00t.

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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Mon 05 Nov , 2012 11:48 am 
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"A Blink of the Screen", a collection of short stories, has just been released today and already has three reviews on amazon - 2 five-star and 1 four-star.

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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Mon 05 Nov , 2012 2:33 pm 

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Interesting, Jude. Are those old short stories now being published, or new ones?


I saw an interesting viewpoint in one of the Dodger reviews on Amazon:
Quote:
"Dodger" is clearly not Terry Pratchett's best work. But for those of us who have enjoyed his novels for twenty odd years (I have them all), we owe him to continue to buy and read whatever he writes with whomever he collaborates.... Me, I will continue to purchase whatever Pratchett writes, irrespective of quality.


I found this position odd. I don't feel obligated to buy something from an author because I enjoyed past works. In fact, when someone's writing goes downhill, I'd rather someone gently suggested that perhaps it was time he/she gave up the writing and went out on a positive note. It must be painful to see increasingly critical reviews of your work.
(though, of course, they have every right to keep writing as long as someone will publish and buy it, if that's what they prefer.)

What do other people think about the "we owe him to continue to buy and read whatever he writes" aspect? (considering any author, not necessarily Pratchett)

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Trump Warns That Democrats Would Drag Nation Back to Days of Tolerance and Decorum


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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Wed 07 Nov , 2012 12:48 am 
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Hmmm, interesting question. I don't think we owe it to the author to buy everything they write regardless of quality. But depending on how much I've enjoyed their works in the past I'll keep reading their stuff unless there are several in a row that I don't like at all. A mere couple of sub-standard books is not enough to make me give up on an author I love.

Case in point: I love Joni Mitchell's stuff from the 1960's and early 1970's. I find her mid-to-late 1970's stuff only mildly good, and for me she's gone steadily downhill from there. I've finally given up on buying any of her new CD's, but this is after buying two that didn't do anything for me at all. I've listened to the CD's previous to these two quite a lot, hoping to get into them. They're ok, but I probably wouldn't have listened to them at all if I hadn't been so taken by her earlier work.

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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Wed 07 Nov , 2012 2:46 pm 

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For me, it seems to be two books in a row, then wait and see what happens. My thinking is "well, one poor book could be a fluke - let's see what the next one's like." Sometimes the author recovers.

I like mysteries, and I've had very different experiences with 3 authors.

Marcia Muller might be my favorite mystery writer. Her earliest books are OK, though not always great, but they gradually got better and better. Then she had one lousy book (A Walk Through the Fire) that made me hesitate to by the next one. After that, she recovered and started writing even better character-driven stories. The characters started getting older and changing, and minor characters developed. So I never stopped stopped reading her.

I also liked early Nevada Barr, but when she started getting "gritty" and trying to shock readers with gruesome descriptions of violence (with increasingly improbable survival by the heroine), mass murders and mentally ill killers, I gave up on her entirely. Took 2 books. Then, not long ago, DH bought me one of her newest books. I guess he remembered the name, but forgot that I'd soured on her. It turned out to be OK, so I might give her books another chance.

Then there were the physical anthropology-related mysteries by Aaron Elkins. Those were great for a while, then he got lazy and started writing to a formula, and the writing got sloppy. I haven't read one since. I once tried a very cheap, used copy of one of his newest books, and decided it was unreadable.



And I agree with you about Joni Mitchell. Though there was a recent remake (of earlier songs) I liked a lot. Probably not all that exciting, though, if you have the original CDs.

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The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

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Trump Warns That Democrats Would Drag Nation Back to Days of Tolerance and Decorum


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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Sun 11 Nov , 2012 10:57 pm 
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More info on the new Short Stories book, from an amazon review:

Quote:
Finished reading this today and thoroughly enjoyed it. It appears to contain almost every one of Terry Pratchett's short stories, except for 'Night Dweller' and 'History in the Faking' (And excluding the Bucks Free Press serialised shorts written as 'Uncle Jim', although it does contain two of those). Contains 10 pre-1980 short stories, 11 non-discworld stories and 12 discworld pieces, including the excellent 'The Sea and Little Fishes'. Each story has a short introduction by the author. Contains 15 illustrations as well - in the kindle version these are near the end between the last story and the Appendix but I'm not sure if that is also the case for the hardback book. The stories range in publication date from 1963 (The Hades Business, written when he was 13) to 2010 and and give an excellent insight into his development as a storyteller over time. I'd recommend this book to any Pratchett fan, or non-fan.


It looks like it has stories from his peak, so even if you don't like his recent stuff, this is probably worth getting.

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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Mon 12 Nov , 2012 1:58 pm 
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aninkling wrote:
What do other people think about the "we owe him to continue to buy and read whatever he writes" aspect? (considering any author, not necessarily Pratchett)

I usually read the books of an authors series if it keeps me engrossed in the tale. When I find a book in the series starts to bog down, I tend not to continue reading the series, or may put the next one aside and pick it back up later after I read something else. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (3 volumes, or 6 'books') is the only complete series I think I read straight through. I've only read the first three of Frank Herbert's Dune series, the first Wheel of Time book by Robert Jordon, and am now giving Steve Erikson a go. Have Game of Thrones here and was thinking of giving it a read here next mainly because I want to read it before watching the DVD, not because of any dis-interest in the Malazan Books of the Fallen.

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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov , 2012 5:21 pm 

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Thanks, Jude. That's great. Looks like I might have to give DH a hint on a good Christmas present. :)


Deumeawyn wrote:
Have Game of Thrones here and was thinking of giving it a read here next mainly because I want to read it before watching the DVD, not because of any dis-interest in the Malazan Books of the Fallen.


And just to osgiliate this thread completely .... ;)
I usually prefer to read the book first, too. Unless I don't realize the book exists until later. I found A Very Long Engagement (Sebastien Japrisot) by complete accident in a used bookstore, years after I saw the movie. It was just as good as the film, but I haven't liked all of his other books as much.

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The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

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Trump Warns That Democrats Would Drag Nation Back to Days of Tolerance and Decorum


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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov , 2012 5:44 pm 
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To osgiliate even further, that's how I discovered my favourite author, Muriel Spark. I saw the movie of "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" with Maggie Smith and was so impressed I headed straight to the library to find the book. It wasn't in, so I grabbed "The Abbess of Crewe", also by her, and was immediately hooked.

When I finally did get my hands on the Jean Brodie book, it wasn't anything like the movie - both great works of art in their own movieish or bookish way.

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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Tue 20 Nov , 2012 12:51 pm 
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To, in a way, osgilliate, and another way bring things back, I saw the great Terry Pratchett outside my department last Wednesday. He was wearing a top hat.

I have to say, I really disliked Unseen Academicals, but I actually loved Snuff. It may be that I love anything with Vimes in it, but I really thought he'd brought it back from the near disaster that was Academicals. I haven't gotten around to reading anything since.

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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Sat 01 Dec , 2012 12:46 am 
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Why yes, it did take me two months to see a PM. :oops:

inkling, I think you might enjoy Dodger. It's not Night Watch, I'd put it maybe on the level of Pyramids, but it suffered from none of the cotton wool stuffing that affected Snuff and to a lesser degree UA.

Crucifer, how cool!

And no, I don't feel I owe it to Pratchett to keep buying his books. But I probably will, because to date I prefer a weak Pratchett to almost anyone else's best.

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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Sat 01 Dec , 2012 1:07 am 
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Yay! I'm not the only one that enjoyed Dodger! :banana:

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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Mon 03 Dec , 2012 4:31 pm 

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Hi Frelga! Nice to see you around. :)

On the level of Pyramids? Sounds like I'd be moderately entertained, but not love it. Still, that's not too bad.

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The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

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Trump Warns That Democrats Would Drag Nation Back to Days of Tolerance and Decorum


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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Sun 30 Dec , 2012 5:03 pm 
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The 4th volume of The Science of Discworld is coming out in April! :banana:

Quote:
The fourth book in the Science of Discworld series, and this time around dealing with THE REALLY BIG QUESTIONS, Terry Pratchett's brilliant new Discworld story Judgement Day is annotated with very big footnotes (the interleaving chapters) by mathematician Ian Stewart and biologist Jack Cohen, to bring you a mind-mangling combination of fiction, cutting-edge science and philosophy.

Marjorie Dawe is a librarian, and takes her job - and indeed the truth of words - very seriously. She doesn't know it, but her world and ours - Roundworld - is in big trouble. On Discworld, a colossal row is brewing.

The Wizards of the Unseen University feel responsible for Roundworld (as one would for a pet gerbil). After all, they brought it into existence by bungling an experiment in Quantum ThaumoDynamics. But legal action is being brought against them by Omnians, who say that the Wizards' god-like actions make a mockery of their noble religion.

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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Sun 30 Dec , 2012 5:48 pm 
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Yeah, I saw that. The US site still doesn't have it. April, that's not far away!

Did you hear that Pratchett said his daughter will take the Discworld over when he is gone?

Terry Pratchett confirms that his daughter will inherit Discworld from him

Inkling, did you read Dodger? What did you think? I didn't mean to say it was like Pyramids, only to peg the overall quality on the Discworld scale, with the footnote that I really like Pyramids.

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 Post subject: Re: Terry Pratchett!
PostPosted: Sun 30 Dec , 2012 6:34 pm 
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Frelga wrote:
Did you hear that Pratchett said his daughter will take the Discworld over when he is gone?

No, that's news to me. And it looks from the article that it means she'll be one of the writers in a BBC series called "The Watch", which will take over where the novels leave off.

Some scary news in that article, too. I haven't been following closely, so I wasn't aware of how advanced his Alzheimers is. :(

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