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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Reader's Diary #40- Terry Pratchett: Carpe Jugulum (up to p. 125)


It's high time I explained my opinion of Pratchett's humour. I complained about it in an earlier posting. I stick by my initial complaint that it's a little too relentless, but there's another side to his humour that I am appreciating.

An example of what I don't like; when Magrat is listing off the things she wants to take for her baby she says, "And the sponge in the shape of a teddy bear. And the teddy bear in the shape of a sponge." See, I get it. I even vaguely find it amusing. Being the father off two wee ones, I understand the need to take everything on trips, and the preposterous number of toys. But it's a one-liner, a punchline. And there's about 50 on every page. That's what I don't like.

What I do like is the more indirect, situational humour (not the slapstick stuff either, that's pretty annoying too). I'm talking about scenes with the vampires who are trying desperately to overcome their vampire weaknesses. It's pretty comical to hear them use systematic desensitization, flooding, and other techniques to build up an immunity to garlic, sunshine, religions icons and the like. There's also a scene in which the daughter is chided for hanging out with her friends who drink wine instead of blood, give each other names like "Amy", and dress in brightly coloured clothes. I thought this satire of the whole goth "vampire" craze was very amusing, even if it was slightly reminiscent of scenes in the Munsters involving Marilyn the "strange" teenage niece of Lily and Herman.

So rest easy Scotty, I am enjoying the book. It's fun, and even if I'm not rushing out to buy the other Discword novels, I can understand the appeal.

3 comments:

Rebecca said...

Okay, I promised this to you a while back, and now I'm delivering - it's the Annotated Pratchett Files, which are a sort of index of references in all of his works.

http://www.us.lspace.org/books/apf/index.html

In some cases, it helps the reader "get" some of the odd references.

Scotty said...

Thanks for giving Pratchett a try John. He may not appeal to everyone, but he is one of my favorites.

John Mutford said...

Wow Rebecca, it's certainly a thorough list. So if Pratchett's writing almost 1.5 books a year, where in the heck does he have time to research this stuff? (And who in the world compiled that list- sort of obsessive in a way, don't you think?) That said, there's some interesting stuff there. Sort of reminds me of the Simpsons in the 4th through the 6th or 7th season, in which you could watch an episode several times and pick up on some reference you didn't see the first time around. Or Corner Gas. As I say, Pratchett's obscure references are interesting. Usually fun. Though on the off time, they seem to me a little like when modern poets stick Greek mythology references in- if I need to study Greek gods (or in Pratchett's case, say economics) in order to get the reference, I could be annoyed. Fortunately, unlike his jokes, I don't find these references too "in your face". In fact, looking over the references on the site you told me about, I wasn't even aware references were even being made most of the time!