Thursday, 27 October 2011

REVIEW:- Terry PRATCHETT - “Once More * *with footnotes”

“Once More * *with footnotes
Year Published: - 2004
Where the book was from:- My own copy
ISBN: - 1 886778 57 4
Pages: - 280pp
Genre: - Humour (mixture of fiction and non-fiction)
Location:- Somewhere in Terry's brain
How I came across it: - Sorting out the loft – decided it was time I re-read it.
Rating: - ***** ***** * (Yes, I know my system only goes up to 10 but anything Terry touches can be magical)

One sentence summary:- A selection of Terry's early writings, short stories, speeches and bits and bobs with occasional thoughts about fantasy and more than occasional bits of fantasy.

Describe the plot without giving anything away:- What plot? Although there is a definitely Discworld bias and a lot of witches. SOME CHAP IN A SKULL MASK puts in an appearance as well.

General comments:- Some serious comments on writing and the place of fantasy in entertainment and education together with little glimpses of what Granny Weatherwax does to people when she's nice to them. A must for any Pratchett fan and a darned good read for anyone interested in fantasy writing and mythology – with a little bit of the nuclear power industry thrown in for good measure. Probably the most important four pages are 187-190 – The Orangutans are Dying' but they get rather lost among the humour. Perhaps they would have been better as the last four pages...

Michael has... impressed me by having a sense of humour while nevertheless being an accountant, an achievement of such magnitude that it almost certainly earns him an honorary degree in magic.

History records a great many foolish comments, such as, “It looks perfectly safe”, or “Indians? What Indians?” and Dogger added to the list with an old favourite which has caused more encyclopedias and life insurance policies to be sold than you would have thought possible.
“I suppose, he said, “that you'd better come in.”

It works best if your culture includes at least folk memories of Punch and Judy, a glove puppet show depicting wife-beating, child abuse, cruelty to animals, assault on an officer of the law, murder, and complete and total disrespect of Authority. It is for children, of course, and they laugh themselves sick.... It can only be a matter of time before an anger management consultant is included among the puppets.

If people didn't think very carefully about warning signs, a dead and buried nuclear reactor would make the classic cursed tomb; not long after breaking into it people would dies mysteriously.

The Wind in the Willows... I know now, of course, that it is totally the wrong kind of book for children. There is only one female character and she is a washerwoman. No attempt is made to explain the social conditioning and lack of proper housing that makes the stoats and weasels act they way they do. Mr Badger's house is an insult to all those children not fortunate enough o live in a Wild Wood. The Mole and Rat's domestic arrangements are probably acceptable, but only if they come right out and talk frankly about them...

...the world's second oldest profession (priest) became a growth industry (the oldest is 'flint-knapper' no matter what you may have heard).

Fantasy should present the familiar in a new light... And, at its best, it is truly escapist. But the point about escaping is that you should escape to, as well as from. You should go somewhere worthwhile, and come back the better for the experience.

Go with publishers to a fish and chip supper. Ah, but this is Doyles Fish Restaurant, where they serve barramundi and chips, and a barramundi is what a cod becomes if it's been a good cod in this life.

America got the '50s – all those juke boxes, rock 'n' roll, and Cadillacs with fins... In fact we weren't even allowed any '60s until 1964, when we were allowed to keep them until they were exported to the West coast of the USA in 1968. To be honest, they only happened to about 250 people in London, in any case. The rest of us read about them, and picked up the pieces.

In fact the whole book is so quotable you should go out and buy it!

AUTHOR Notes:- TERRY PRATCHETT OBE - Terry Pratchett, born 1948, is one of the most popular authors writing today. He lives behind a keyboard in Wiltshire and says he 'doesn't want to get a life, because it feels as though he's trying to lead three already'. He was appointed OBE in 1998. He is the author of the phenomenally successful Discworld series and his trilogy for young readers, The Bromeliad, is scheduled to be adapted into a spectacular animated movie. His first Discworld novel for children, The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents”, was awarded the 2001 Carnegie Medal. I have read the whole of the Disworld / Bromeliad and Johnny Maxwell series (in most cases reading them three times).

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