I’ve finished Equal Rites and have begun (well, I’ve read half of it, but…) Interesting Times, also by Pratchett. A very funny book.
Part of what makes Pratchett’s books so good is his choice of ‘heroes’. Forget about the ‘standard hero’, I’ve read four of his novels so far and the main characters were: 1-2) a (former?) con man, thief ect. 3) a somewhat old, cowardly, completely unskilled wizard who pretty much can’t do any magic, 4) a small girl wizard and an old witch. Of course it also comes down to this whole wonderful universe he’s created for the characters to inhabit.
Some quotes from the book:
“‘Them? I didn’t know they were noble,’ said Io.
‘They’re all very rich and have had millions of people butchered or tortured to death merely for reasons of expediency and pride,’ said the Lady.
The watching gods nodded solemnly. That was certainly noble behaviour. That was exactly what they would have done.”
“It was crowded. The air shimmered over the braziers of chestnut sellers and hot potato merchants and echoed with the traditional street cries of Old Ankh-Morpork.*
… *Such as ‘Ouch!’, ‘Aargh!’, ‘Give me back my money, you scoundrel!’ and ‘You call these chestnuts? I call them little balls of charcoal, that’s what I call them!'”
“Very peaceful place, the Agatean Empire,’ said Ridcully. ‘Very tranquil. Very cultured. They set great store in politeness.’
‘Well, yes,’ said the Lecturer in Recent Runes, ‘I heard it was because people who aren’t tranquil and quiet get serious bits cut off, don’t they? I heard the Empire has a tyrannical and repressive government!’
‘What form of government is that?’ said Ponder Stibbons.
‘A tautology,’ said the Dean, from above” [‘above’ refers to the fact that the Dean refused to come down from the chandelier when the meeting started and is still occupying it at this point]
“Rincewind looked longingly towards the door. It was no distance at all for the experienced coward.”
“The choices seemed very clear to Rincewind. There was the city of Hunghung, under siege, apparently throbbing with revolution and danger, and there was everywhere else.
Therefore it was important to know where Hunghung was so that he didn’t blunder into it by accident. He paid a lot of attention to Mr Saveloy’s instructions, and then rode the other way.”
“‘What happens if I claim immunity because I’m a foreigner?’
‘There’s a special thing they do with a wire-mesh waistcoat and a cheesegrater.’
‘And there are torturers in Hunghung who can keep a man alive for years.’
‘I suppose you’re not talking about healthy early morning runs and a high-fibre diet?’
‘No. So keep quiet and with any luck you’ll be sent to be a slave in the palace.’
‘Luck is my middle name,’ said Rincewind, indistinctly. ‘Mind you, my first name is Bad.’
‘What? But he’s a tax collector! That’s what they’re for!’
‘A firm tax base is the foundation of sound governance, gentlemen. Please trust me.’
‘I understood all of that up to “A firm tax”.’
‘Nevertheless, no useful purpose will be served by killing this hard-working tax gatherer.’
‘He’d be dead. I call that useful.’
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