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Apr. 11th, 2009 11:26 pm
timepiececlock: (Origin of Love)
I opened an OpenID on Dreamwidth and imported most of my bio from LJ.

Interests: "freedom truth justice reasonably priced love and a hard boiled egg" was too long for their 50-character limit on Interests, so I shortened it to "reasonably priced love and a hard boiled egg" instead.

I plan to grab a free account when DWth starts and double-post there and here. Sort of feel out the situation. Fandom and my wider circle of flist are entrenched in LJ, as am I, but this is a shine new thing to try and it's the first alternate LJ-style journal system I've been attracted to. I am hoping the purpose of openID is to secure usernames before they get snagged. I could think of a new one...but I've put so much work into Rashaka. I've been Rashaka for seven years.

Note- I think DWth is a simple abbreviation to discuss the site without confusing it with Doctor Who (DW), so that's what I'll be using from here on out. Make it a fad!
timepiececlock: (Origin of Love)
This afternoon I read an interesting and thoughtful literary criticism essay analyzing the Lancre witches of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series from a feminist angle. On the linked page you can scroll down a little and it's available in PDF format:


Abstract:
Terry Pratchett, writer of humorous, satirical fantasy, is very popular in Britain. His Discworld series, which encompasses over 30 novels, has witches as protagonists in one of the major sub-series, currently covering eight novels. His first “witch” novel, Equal Rites, in which he pits organized, misogynist wizards against disorganized witches, led him to being accused of feminist writing. This work investigates this claim by first outlining the development of the historical witch stereotype or discourse and how that relates to the modern, feminist views of witches. Then Pratchett’s treatment of his major witch characters is examined and analyzed in terms of feminist and poststructuralist literary theory. It appears that, while giving the impression of supporting feminism and the feminist views of witches, Pratchett’s witches actually reinforce the patriarchal view of women.

The essay was written in 2006 and therefore encompasses most of the Discworld canon, though it focuses only on the Lancre witches, with no word for characters in the other series, such as Susan, Angua, Cheery, Polly/Oliver, or Sybil. It's significantly spoilery for most of the witch books, but in a general way "things end well, naturally" sort of way that I don't think would particularly ruin the books for you. Nevertheless, you might want to skim the parts for the books you haven't read yet, if you feel strongly about it. I had to skim past the stuff for A Hatful of Sky because that's the only witch novel I haven't read yet.

My thoughts and reactions, longish, no major spoilers )

The consistent and deliberate attention Pratchett gives to the dream or concept of sexual and racial equality in a professional world is worth acknowledging, even if his methods are not purity and rightness beyond all criticism. Having put out more than 30 novels set in the same "world", he's going to make missteps, and having now read everything up to Going Postal (33/35), I can see how his characters and writing have developed and matured. Ironically, Equal Rites (3/35), a novel more overtly about sexism than any other except Monstrous Regiment, is one of his weakest books, and includes concepts about women, men, and magic that he rewrites, ignores, or retcons in later canon.


Cross-posted to [livejournal.com profile] discworld. I would love to hear others' thoughts about this. Please, if you do comment, keep an open mind and respectful tone.
timepiececlock: (Ahiru & Fakir text)
All the little angels rise up, rise up,
all the little angels rise up high!
How do they rise up, rise up, rise up,
How do they rise up, rise up high?

They rise heads up, heads up, heads up, they rise heads up, heads up high!

See the little angels rise up, rise up,
see the little angels rise up high!
See how they rise up, rise up, rise up,
see how they rise up, rise up high?

They rise knees up, knees up, knees up, they rise knees up, knees up high!

All the little angels rise up, rise up,
All the little angels rise up high!
How do they rise up, rise up, rise up,
How do they rise up, rise up high?

They rise feet up, feet up, feet up, they rise feet up, feet up high!

See the little angels rise up, rise up,
see the little angels rise up high!
See how they rise up, rise up, rise up,
see how they rise up, rise up high?

They rise arse up, arse up, arse up, they rise arse up, arse up high!

All the little angels rise up, rise up,
All the little angels rise up high!
How do they rise up, rise up, rise up,
How do they rise up, rise up high?

They rise hands up, hands up, hands up, they rise hands up, hands up high!


All the little angels rise up, rise up,
All the little angels rise up high!


So I finished the book.

I liked it, quite a lot. I read it all today. I started a little last night but I read the last 300 pages today. I couldn't put it down, quite literally. It's moved to be one of my favorites of the Discworld series. I have to read them all before I judge which is "best", but it's certainly in the top tier.

It's also much, much darker than his other books. About 1/5th the normal amount of comedic relief or even general humor. and a lot of it relies on you being familiar with the City Watch books. I wouldn't give this to someone who hasn't read at least one other City Watch book in the series. It'd be...wasted on them. So much of the reader's emotional involvement in the story is dependent on knowing Vimes's character and knowing how he's progressed developed over the many books since Guards! Guards!. He's gone through a significant character arc and in many ways Nightwatch is a resolution to the changes his character has endured, and the changes the city watch itself has endured since Carrot's arrival and subsequent influence. This also gives a lot of background for minor characters that I'd almost consider "spoilery" for the other books (I'm thinking Vetinari and Sybill, mostly), though it's hard to say what constitutes a spoiler in a series that spans years (or decades) and jumps so easily over time gaps and locations.

The cynical side of me can't help but think the book is so popular among DW fans because it is so much more dramatic (and bloody) than previous DW books have been. Because the threat is stronger, you care more about the plot and the fate of characters. However, even if that is true-- so what? It's a bloody good book. And when you've read 30 books that are 60/40 humor to drama, it's an exciting change to read one that's 20/80 humor to drama instead. Also, as I mentioned, there's a lot of character development resolution here, so that's probably another reason it's such a beloved choice among fans.

spoilery content )

So in conclusion...YAY! Also, ::TEAR::.
timepiececlock: (Default)
"FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE."

Harsh words, harsh words.
timepiececlock: (Dragon lives forever-- not so little gir)
NIGHTWATCH, page 274/422

They're building the barricades, and it's getting very exciting, and I can't stop reading! This is darker than all of the other Discworld books so far, and oh Vimes, and it's going to go badly and we'll lose people and... and I hope that grave in the beginning chapter isn't the foreshadowing I'm afraid it is. ::crosses fingers::

It's neat to see all the familiar characters in their younger days. I especially enjoy Nobby, Dibbler, and so forth. I'm amused that a certain young rookie has a resemblence to Carrot.

That's it for now. I'll probably type up something when I get to the end of the book. No spoilers or hints in the comments, please! I'll be done by tomorrow at the latest.
timepiececlock: (Bright Imperious Line - Zuko/Katara)
I was in the grocery store parking lot yesterday listening to my audiobook when spoiler happened ) and I had a tear gather at the corner of my eye.

I've never more book spoilers )

I'm thinking of buying this book (Amazing Maurice) and giving it to my second cousin, who's nine, I think. I hope she'll love it too.


Now I can move onto Nightwatch which I have in paperback form, so I won't be listening to it in audiobook.

That's a good thing, because the last couple audiobooks were narrated by Stephen Briggs, whereas the first 23 books were narrated by Nigel Planer. I liked Nigel Planer better, especially with the Watch characters.
timepiececlock: (Bite me. -Toph)
Apparently it's the 25th of May and that means my flist is making Discworld references. That I do not understand. Yet.

I'M NOT THERE YET! I JUST NEED MORE TIME! OKAY? wait for me?

In the last two months I have listened to 20 Discworld books on audio mp3, plus the 5 that I read previously and the one that I read in the middle of listening to the 20. books. on audio.

In order.

I know this all has something to do with Night Watch, but I can't join, because I haven't read it yet! I'm so close, though. SO CLOSE. I just finished listening to The Truth (book 25), which I loved, and I read The Thief of Time a long time ago so I have to listen to the audiobook to remember what it was about (some died by diving into a vat of chocolate? clocks?), and then it's three more books to Night Watch.

But I'll get there! Give me a bit more time, and I'll be doing whatever flower business y'all seem so focused on. ::waves:: I'll sing, or cheer, or whatever, but i have to listen to four other books first.

It's, you know, a thing. Principals, and such. Got to read them the right way. In order. Narrative causality demands.

I've never listened to this many audiobooks in such a concentrated time in my life. I swear I got to bed listening to this stuff. I usually have to start the segment over again in the morning.

Anyway, this post is just to say, I'm working my way to knowing what you guys are all talking about, and don't spoil me, and I'll join you very soon.

(BTW, I love that The Truth gave Ankh-Morpork the equivalent of the Seattle Underground, ladders and all.)
timepiececlock: (roots are trees)
::browsing Discworld stuff at DevArt::

People...ship...Sunsan/Teatime? From Hogfather?

That's... weird. I wouldn't have guessed that pairing. I would think Susan's character might find the whole idea rather...repulsive and unflattering to her intelligence.
timepiececlock: (Origin of Love)
My second attempt at digital coloring.

Granny Weatherwax of Lancre, resident of Terry Pratchett's Discworld:

http://rashaka.deviantart.com/art/Esme-Weatherwax-Headology-83561951

Comments welcome and appreciated!
timepiececlock: (Bite me. -Toph)
Small Gods is possibly my favorite Discworld novel so far. Usually I prefer stories about Rincewind or the witches, but this one charmed me like few have before. In many ways it's more serious than his other novels, though no less funny. It's just that the topic of religion, faith, and corruption is so incredibly relevant to history and real world events, whether today or three thousand years ago. What Pratchett has in SG is a novel about religious tolerance, freedom of thought, and ethics that could be enjoyed and analyzed by the faithful of any belief.

I thought the climactic scene in this book was more emotionally powerful than Pratchett's novels normally are. And while all of his books deal with morality and philosophy in a greater or lesser analogy, this story seemed buoyed up by something finer than his normal fair. I was moved, genuinely, and that is not something I usually expect from Discworld novels.

In some ways this book reminded me of the seventh novel Pyramids, which was also about a remote culture with an oppressive and primitive religion, but Pyramids was entertaining fluff... not the best Discworld novel, just entertaining and fun. SG, by comparison, soars. Its protagonist is one of Pratchett's most lively, and the gradual transformations he and all the other characters go through over the course of escalating events and religious change makes for a grand allegory of a story. As Brutha changes, so does Om, and so does Omnia. Pratchett always uses prominent themes in each book, but they stood out in Small Gods: sharper, brighter, and more meaningful. Gods dictate religion, but humans shape it. Gods talk through prophets, but it's the prophets that actually do the talking. There's one point where Om says that you [God] never forget your first believer because your first believer shapes what kind of God you will be. And so Brutha shapes the second coming of Om, the new version.

We know Brutha's fate from the first chapter, the first time Om speaks to him, because there's only two possible futures for people who talk to God: madness or prophecy. Watching it unfold is alternatingly amusing, sad, and joyous. You laugh at all the normal cleverness of Pratchett's dialogue and whimsical use of irony, but then you almost want to cry as the protagonist discovers the horror of dogmatic lies, of blood that's shed in the name of a God who doesn't need sacrifices and holds a low opinion of people who committ them, of telling people the truth as loud as you can but no one will listen because they're used to hearing the liars and you're just not mean enough to compete. What I love about Brutha and Om is that Brutha is too good for Om... too honest and moral and fair. These qualities are the reason he has faith and thus the reason Om is alive, and as much as Om tries to change Brutha, it's Om that ends up changing. Not only do the people have to change to be worthy of their god, but their god has to change to be worthy of them again.

I might buy this book in the future; I listened to it on audiobook but I'd love to read it. It's jumped up as my favorite Discworld book. I didn't have a favorite before, but I have one now. I've got 20 books to go, so who knows how long it will hold that spot, but it should be a while. I am surprised this is my favorite, because religion isn't something I read about much. But having a humorous, insightful, and tolerant look at the subject under the hand of a good writer, and what comes out can be particularly precious. Religion affects our world, all lives whether you participate in it directly or not, and I think that's why I liked it.

Small note: I don't think there was a single speaking female character in this book; quite a feat, though understandable since the cast is made up of monks and soldiers. I just came away from Witches Abroad, though, and that didn't have any men in it except a minor zombie, so the wheel turns and the turtle moves, I suppose.
timepiececlock: (Bite me. -Toph)
Seems that the UK is putting out a miniseries verion of The Color of Magic this year.

Sean Astin has been cast as Twoflower, which is brilliant!, but I'm less than thrilled that Rincewind will be played by this guy. He may be a fine actor for all I know, but I keep getting distracted by the fact that he was born in the year NINETEEN HUNDRED AND FORTY. Which makes him 2 years older than the guy playing Cohen the Barbarian, which is just wrong on so many levels.

I can't remember if Rincewind's age is ever explicitly given, but I was always under the impression that he was on the younger side, anywhere between 24 and 40. A few decades less than 60, at least! I mean, what does Rincewind spend most of his time doing? Running. Which isn't to say that there aren't great marahoners who are 66 years old, but that's pretty rare. And Rincewind, well, he doesn't act like an older man, even compared to the other wizards in the books. And according to the series timeline, though I'm somewhat shaky on it, I got the impression that after becoming a wizard he spent some time as the Librarian's Assistant, but these were a few short happy years before Things Happened and people started chasing him for one reason or another.

Am I the only one who thought this? I mean, I remember in the second book I think, The Light Fantastic, that Rincewind looks at and talks to Cohen (a crabby old barbarian hero) as if Cohen were much older than himself. I find the idea very confusing... I always thought that a good actor for something like this would be an actor like David Tennant (for a younger one) or David Thewlis (for an older one)... someone skinny and brown-haired and normalish looking but with a shifty, slither-out-er look. Someone who talks very fast, points at a "monster" behind you, and then runs away as fast as he can. Someone pathetic but very good at surviving, who is terrible as a wizard but worth sticking to if you want to survive to the end of the book. Even that guy from The Office who played Arthur Dent would be a decent Rincewind.

The only reason I'm bent out of shape over this is that Rincewind is one of my very favorite Discworld characters, pretty much tied with the Lancre witches, and while I can adjust my thinking to accomadate different expectations in seeing a literary character cast in a tv show or film, I wasn't (and still am not) quite prepared to imagine him as 67 year old man. It's just... wrong. It's like being told that Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone is being cast with a college-aged man in the role of a 12 year old boy. Maybe he's very short and can fake it?

I dunno... maybe I missed the line in the text that said Rincewind is an older wizard, and have just been falsely imagining him as younger this whole time.

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