Re: While Ptalking about Pterry Is Still Ptopical

1

Because it comes from a man, no?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 10:25 AM
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Oh. Huh. Yeah, maybe that's it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 10:28 AM
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Do they read Pratchett? Do they read, for that matter, light fantasy? I guess maybe? Seems like there could be genre-within-genre things going on here.

N.B. Never read Pratchett myself, weirdly enough.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 10:28 AM
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I would think that about the same percentage of them (nerds of the type that has a tendency to be aggro about anti-feminism) read a lot as of anyone, and of the ones who read a lot they're likelier to read Pratchett than the general public are, and the general public is pretty likely to read Pratchett. But all of those estimated likelihoods are from pulledoutofmyass.com.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 10:35 AM
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Not that I've looked, but I'm gloomily certain you could find a host of long articles Written. Like. This. that explain why Pratchett was completely wrong about gender issues and you are a bad person for reading him.

I don't think 1 is right - John Scalzi is a man and he got any amount of grief during the whole G*m*rg*t*e business and elsewhere.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 10:35 AM
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Also Pratchett was a knight with a sword forged from meteoric iron. Maybe they were just scared of him?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 10:36 AM
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Also, also, I'd reverse this:

"Pratchett, while broadly popular, was specifically very very popular in what you could call the hardcore nerd community"

... or, rather,

"Pratchett, while specifically very very popular in what you could call the hardcore nerd community, was broadly popular".

In other words, there wasn't so much anger because Pratchett wasn't seen as One Of Us by the (arguendo) antifeminist hardcore nerd audience, because he was also so popular with the population at large. He wasn't a hardcore nerd touchstone in the way that other authors are who are really only popular (and known about) in the nerd community. So him being a feminist wasn't seen as a betrayal.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 10:40 AM
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6 was news to me (the meteorite bit of it). Stylish of him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 10:44 AM
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Yeah, it was pretty much the first thing he did after he heard he was up for his KB. He forged the sword himself (with a bit of help).

"'At the end of last year [2008] I made my own sword. I dug out the iron ore from a field about 10 miles away - I was helped by interested friends. We lugged 80 kilos of iron ore, used clay from the garden and straw to make a kiln, and lit the kiln with wildfire by making it with a bow.' Colin Smythe, his long-term friend and agent, donated some pieces of meteoric iron - 'thunderbolt iron has a special place in magic and we put that in the smelt, and I remember when we sawed the iron apart it looked like silver. Everything about it I touched, handled and so forth ... And everything was as it should have been, it seemed to me.'


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 10:47 AM
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I had no idea Pratchett was broadly popular, I always assumed he was only popular with nerds.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 10:53 AM
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Because he was English? Hence eccentric.

V popular. One of my least nerdy friends, who reads loads of historical fiction, very girly and crafty etc, claimed this week that he is her favourite author. I'm not sure he was last week, but she has read a lot of his books. I've not read any.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 10:58 AM
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I'm tempted to say Pratchett was too smart for the MRA crowd. They're too busy reading gritty fantasy to read him, maybe?

You don't come to Pratchett for the kind of fantasy you get in GRRM -- there's no rape and very little violent on the page murder. No *fake* realism, in other words, of the kind you find in GRRM and writers like Mark Lawrence (Prince of Thorns) and that ilk.

Pratchett looked like he was writing comedy -- which may have caused those very serious fellas to skip him -- but in fact he was always dead serious.

The Truth is my favorite, though I have a special fondness for Night Watch, which was my first Pratchett.

And Feet of Clay, of course. He put words in our head.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:01 AM
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I've only read one Pratchett book and I don't remember it well, but I wonder whether the fantasy setting mitigates things here. That is nerd anti-feminists don't think of themselves as anti-woman in theory or in principal, it's just that they hate the actual real world women (who won't date them). So feminism isn't objectional in a fantasy setting.

I mean there's a certain sort of "feminism" that's quite popular in very similar circles, as best illustrated by Joss Whedon. It most involves hot girls who kick ass and still hang out with nerds. You know, deserving women.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:01 AM
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And oh hell, all the Granny Weatherwax books.

And Tiffany Aching.

I hear there's one more Pratchett yet to come -- the last Tiffany Aching book.

Crivens.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:02 AM
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I think he also escapes because, while he has feminist characters -- Granny Weatherwax, Tiffany Aching -- he also had Sam Vines and Lord Vetenari.

Something for everyone.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:07 AM
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John Scalzi is a man and he got any amount of grief during the whole G*m*rg*t*e business and elsewhere.

But Scalzi gets directly involved in things like that and goes for the jugular. Pratchett tended to let his books speak for themselves and, to judge by some of the stuff I've seen over the last few days, a lot of people read the words and understood nothing.

10. I believe that up to the time of his death he was the richest writer in Britain, significantly ahead of Rowling for example.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:08 AM
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11: I had an incident like that -- a not particularly nerdy co-worker came into my office when I was reading an obituary, and spent ten minutes talking about how much she loved Good Omens


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:14 AM
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Pratchett's feminism doesn't ask men to give anything up, is the thing. It is strikingly egalitarian that he likes and respects women, and admires them for doing the hard labor and being at the sharp end of moral choices... but the witches cut toenails and the wizards have dinners. And servants. And not even Esmeralda Weatherwax thinks she can change that. (Unlike Hermione, for instance.) This is pretty comfy for most masculinist readers, like Victorian fiction about the suffering virtuous poor. Nor is it because Pratchett is male or working in fantasy; Diana Wynne Jones & Henry James do much the same.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:18 AM
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I had never even heard if him until he died, but this thread and Nworb's piece about him have made me want to pick up a book. Maybe there's a transatlantic divide in the broadness of his appeal? Though he also sounds like he would appeal to Anglophiles which is usually a sure winner for UK imports.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:18 AM
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A cheerful thought is that possibly Pratchett's popularity in the nerd community (nerd community? If I keep talking like this I'm going to end up saying something like 'persons of nerdhood'.) is some evidence that the visible antifeminist weirdos aren't the tip of a iceberg of people who feel pretty much the same way but slightly less intensely -- that your prototypical nerd is perfectly happy with pretty seriously feminist light entertainment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:20 AM
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And 18 is depressing. I'm not finding grounds for disagreement, but it's depressing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:22 AM
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I read Nation and thought it was sort of fine. Maybe I should try something else.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:24 AM
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22. Good Omens. If you want to start in on Discworld, try Small Gods, or the first in the Night Watch series: Guards! Guards!


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:27 AM
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None of it is lifechangingly important, and while I'm bad at distinguishing 'great art' from 'things I'm enjoying', probably not great art. But it's clever, fun, light fiction that I didn't get tired of over a series of some ridiculous number of books -- as long as there was more, I wanted more. (This is not entirely true -- the last couple, after his diagnosis, weren't great. But there are literally dozens before that.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:29 AM
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(I think the reaction to Pratchett's death is largely that there's a sense you get from some books and not others that you have a feel for the author as a person, and that you'd like them personally or not. Almost everyone who liked his books, I'd guess, is reacting less out of a sense that the books were terribly important, as out of a feeling that someone they were fond of died.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:32 AM
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Having never read any of his stuff, 18 sounds right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:35 AM
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16.last struck me as totally crazy, and indeed is wrong by more than a factor of 10.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:36 AM
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At around $65 million, Pratchett's wealth was comparable to E L James, which is a lot more than I would have guessed.

There's a lot of stuff that's broadly popular in the UK and niche nerd in the US, right? Like isn't Dr Who broadly popular there?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:40 AM
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Pratchett distinguishes between women's magic and men's magic; women's magic is taken to be wiser, better, more earthy, but the distinction's basically the same as LeGuin's, except he doesn't call it wicked. Granny Weatherwax is not going to be Archmage, Tiffany Aching is going to make cheese and grow up to be Granny, and Monstrous Regiment sucked. The point of Equal Rites was how the girl with the magic gifts should go home rather than try to be a second-rate wizard given that they'd never let her in.


I mean, it's feminist to the extent that the women are mostly interesting characters who are there to do more than either be one-note heroes or moms or rape victims. Which is not nothing!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:42 AM
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The point of Equal Rites was how the girl with the magic gifts should go home rather than try to be a second-rate wizard given that they'd never let her in.

That's what Granny Weatherwax tries to tell her. But she does get in, in the end, because she has saved the day by thinking orthogonally, so they can't keep her out. And we're assured that she makes great original contributions thereafter.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:49 AM
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niche nerd

Knights who say niche nerd.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:50 AM
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I think there's a transatlantic divide. I was as nerdy as they come and read tons of SF/fantasy, but completely missed Pratchett. And Dr. Who. And now, as an adult, I find Pratchett goofy but fun enough. My teenage self would have loved it. On the other hand, I just do not get Dr. Who. Overly melodramatic nonsense with not enough humor or insight to make it worthwhile. Like a bad soap opera that happens to be in space.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:55 AM
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I just pulled Equal Rites off the shelf, and it ends with Esk, the protagonist, getting her wizard's hat, and advancing the academic study of magic ("Esk and Simon went on to develop a whole new type of magic that no one could exactly understand but which nevertheless everyone considered very worthwhile and somehow comforting."), and a discussion about how Unseen University is clearly going to go co-ed, so the Chancellor offers Granny a chair (admittedly, neither of those things show up in later books). Not at all what you said.

I mean, it's feminist to the extent that the women are mostly interesting characters who are there to do more than either be one-note heroes or moms or rape victims. Which is not nothing!

Maybe I overvalue this, but it seems like a lot to me. Books where there are multiple female characters driving plotlines with nothing to do with sex or romance, indicating that women continue to exist in the world even when no one's interested in having sex with them, and vice versa? There's less of that in light fiction than I'm happy with, and it's very noticeable to me when I see it. And very few of them are Strong Female Characters, maybe Angua, but that's about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:55 AM
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30: Doesn't she eventually follow the sourcerer to his pocket universe?

OTOH, one counterargument to 18 and 29 is that his later books have more social change, rising from below, & lower-class women have more freedom of action. He's dragging Discworld from, what, the 14th to late 19th c?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 12:02 PM
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Out of the century of the Fruitbat, as it were.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 12:04 PM
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33: so pwned. It does matter that UU doesn't integrate, I think, not the way we got to see racial integration of humans y dwarves y trolls, with the resentments appertaining thereto.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 12:05 PM
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Books where there are multiple female characters driving plotlines with nothing to do with sex or romance, indicating that women continue to exist in the world even when no one's interested in having sex with them, and vice versa?

Like Clew says, this is the type of thing that demands no sacrifice of men, and like someone else said, probably any sexist reader did not even notice one bit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 12:15 PM
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Also, while Granny Weatherwax may not be going to be Archmage, she does duel the Chancellor of UU to a draw (they get interrupted). Women's magic in LeGuin is both wicked and weak -- Pratchett avoids both.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 12:16 PM
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37: What would it mean for a piece of light fiction to demand sacrifice from men? Male characters? Male readers? I'm not really getting exactly what that means.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 12:18 PM
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It kind of irks me when people insist that popular fiction (art, whatever) can't also be serious fiction.

Only when work and play are one, etc, etc.

Also, I dispute the claims in #29. Tiffany Aching is not (just) going to make cheese. Granny Weatherwax wouldn't be Archemage if you paid her. Pratchett's women characters -- throughout his books -- are actual characters, with actual plots of their own. Angua? Cheery Littlebottom? Susan Sto Helit? Nanny Oggs and Granny Weatherwax and Tiffany Aching*run* that valley.

I'm also very fond of Monstrous Regiment, I will say.



Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 12:23 PM
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39: this.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 12:28 PM
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More seriously, if there were scenes in which a man did something sexist and was reprimanded and lost face over it, that would trigger a shitstorm of MRA anger, I'd think. Something where a sexist person was reading along, identifying with a male figure who was then embarrassed, or lost status, or who was impotently angry at a powerful women who'd gotten the best of him, that kind of thing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 12:30 PM
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Misremembered Equal Rites (my least favorite.) So, she gets a hat, and nothing else changes, and is never spoken of again, and thus an exception -- so, what, the equivalent of the first female doctor?

I didn't say they weren't well-developed characters. But they don't challenge much. It's a kind of feminism, but one that I sort of associate with my grandmother: women are really running things, because they're awesome and capable, but the men are still going to be nominally in charge, silly dears.

That's going to escape the notice of a lot of nerds. Anyhow, I'm not saying it's not feminist or that there aren't awesome characters or that it doesn't work, but if you're wondering why there hasn't been a backlash, it's because Pratchett's version of feminine power leaves the men all in their places running the cities, etc.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 12:33 PM
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leaves the men all in their places running the cities, etc.

Barring Sto Helit, Djelibeybi, whatever the kingdom of the dwarves is called, and I have a feeling I might be missing something, if you're looking for women in positions of ultimate political leadership. Oh, I suppose the Duchess of whatever the country is in Monstrous Regiment. I don't think it's a particularly good metric, but if that's the one you want, Discworld has women with political power.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 12:56 PM
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41: It's 2050 and Werner Herzog is no longer allowed to make documentaries, only provide commentary over reruns of The Golden Girls and Golden Palace. This is where feminism is leading us.

Bring on the feminist dystopia, I say.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:00 PM
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So, she gets a hat, and nothing else changes, and is never spoken of again, and thus an exception -- so, what, the equivalent of the first female doctor?

Well, she gets a hat and an academic career. But yes, the equivalent of the first female doctor sounds about right.

This line of analysis seems off to me, somehow, though. Pratchett's world is a parodic version of our own (and more a warped version of our past than our present). As such, the societies he portrays (wow do I feel as though I'm taking this all too seriously) are naturally not going to be perfectly gender egalitarian -- someone drawing a portrait of feminist utopia would be doing something different than Pratchett's brand of comedy. But you can tell a feminist story set in a sexist society, even if it's not a story about completely successful feminist revolution, and I think Pratchett does.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:02 PM
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Something where a sexist person was reading along, identifying with a male figure who was then embarrassed, or lost status, or who was impotently angry at a powerful women who'd gotten the best of him, that kind of thing.

This is a hard standard to meet, because it's usually pretty easy to spot who the hero is in piece of light genre fiction, and they're not going to ultimately lose. You sound like you're looking for a situation where the reader is identifying with a male protagonist, who is then humbled by a woman in a way that really hurts, and that seems narratively unlikely given the constraints of the genre.

If you just want a high status man bested by a powerful woman, that's easy to find in the books.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:08 PM
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T"R"O - thanks. I second Small Gods as a wonderful piece of funny profundity. I once preached a sermon, an honest to noGod sermon on Small Gods, at I think Wad/ham Col/lege. I was not invited back but one of the congregation threw a pass at me afterwards. This was unusual for Oxford: she was a woman. Must have been because I am a feminist.

Guards Guards, also, is wonderful and the one about cats and evil -- Lords and Ladies, according to wikipedia. The Hogfather is another one with good, dark themes. Pyramids made me laugh a lot, not least for the sequence in a boarding school where "A chap tries to say his prayers at bedtime" by sacrificing a goat in the dormitory.



Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:10 PM
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No, I'm not saying that's the metric, although to be fair, Djelibeybi's a bit of a cul-de-sac (does Ptraci ever show up again? even barely off-stage?), Susan spends most of her time as a governess/Death, and the dwarf king/queen is about as overt as it gets and it's supposed to be mostly secret, so yes, it has women with political power.

I guess if you're wondering why it flies under the radar is that it doesn't force the more misogynist nerds to have to imagine a completely competent woman being in charge in a way that excludes them, which seems to be when the problems/internet outrage show up.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:11 PM
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I think MRA as an ideology outisde a tiny fringe is fairly new. Also, I suspect that there's significant differences between the reading and game-playing audiences. Gamers have had their every whim catered to, so the tiniest amount of push-back feels like an incredible violation. Novels are not so monolithic.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:12 PM
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41: The best part of that is the petty grudges, like the ban on Steely Dan.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:13 PM
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I think 13 pretty much nails it. Only the bitterest of MRA types self-identify as in-principle mysogynists. In their own minds they (nerds that carry around a bunch of resentment towards women) mostly think that they're all for equality. The fantasy is only spoiled when an actual woman in the real world challenges them about something.

I don't think people like that would be bothered at all by a cheery "See? Girls can do cool stuff too!" Message in fantasy novel.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:20 PM
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Here's MY (totally ignorant) hypothesis: Pratchett was simply not read by/popular among the relevant parties, and perhaps was also more popular with, hm, nerds of a certain age, and that that too is an important effect. So it's not that people were ok with his background feminism; he just wasn't on their radar. I guess this is a variant of delagar's 12.1.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:24 PM
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I suppose. Gamergate confused the hell out of me, but I thought a lot of it was resistance to people advocating for, e.g., more, and less sexualized, female characters in games -- if that bothered someone, I'd think the Pratchett books would fall into the same category. I may just be suffering from a complete failure of empathy, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:26 PM
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44: Lady Margolotta?


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:28 PM
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54 to 52, and probably 53 is most of the explanation. One of my underlying premises is that he was popular enough in the nerdier segments of society that almost everyone would have some kind of opinion -- kind of how almost literally everyone has enough awareness of the Harry Potter books to have an opinion of some kind about them. But my sense of their popularity may have been overstated.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:29 PM
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55: That's who I was thinking of. But I can't remember if she rules Uberwald? Maybe it's more of a feudal anarchy?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:30 PM
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I don't think it's made clear in the earlier books, but Wikipedia says "As of Snuff, she is described as the effective ruler of all of Uberwald above ground."


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:38 PM
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57. I just finished "Raising Steam" and there is a bit more feminism in it, without saying too much.

A lot of the books are about other issues, such as racism and jingo-ism (there's even a book called "Jingo") and classism and so on. Each of the non-human races has over time become pretty much accepted and "normal" in Ankh-Morpork, for example. Mostly recently goblins, but previously werewolves (Angua), trolls (Detritus), vampires (Lady Margolotta, for example, who rules Uberwald but not the Dwarves), and on and on and on. Even zombies and golems are treated compassionately.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:40 PM
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I think the gamers of Gamergate were not really the same kind of nerds as the Pratchett-reading nerds of yore.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:41 PM
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Gamergate confused the hell out of me, but I thought a lot of it was resistance to people advocating for, e.g., more, and less sexualized, female characters in games -- if that bothered someone, I'd think the Pratchett books would fall into the same category.

Even though Pratchett's books were pretty feminist in their basic sensibility, he wasn't (as far as I was aware, anyway) out there vocally criticizing the misogyny in other SFF. I think that makes a difference.

||
OT bleg, I'm trying to remember the name of a book of short stories that was recently recommended to me. It came out in the last few years, the author is (I think) female, and the title is a list of three gerunds, separated by commas. Help?
|>


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:42 PM
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60. I think that's pretty much it. The combo of Pratchett being a Brit and writing in a comedic/satirical mode kept him off their radar screens. Gamergaters expect Brits to be weird and don't like comedy all that much. It's all serious world-building and -wrecking for them. "Science Fiction with rivets," as they used to say.

Gamergate is most upset by apostates like Scalzi, whose first big hit was a Heinleinian male wish fulfillment button pusher. When they found out the world he built to house it was closer to a S\J\W teach-in (do teach-ins still exist?) after a sequel or two, there was pretty strong outrage. Not to mention Scalzi's somewhat abrasive on-line persona.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:51 PM
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||
Nevermind, I figured it out. And I misremembered that it was gerunds: Single Carefree, Mellow, by Katherine Heiny.
|>


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:56 PM
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3 to 53


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:58 PM
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Although it could be fairly claimed that 3 was insufficiently clear.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 1:58 PM
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Oh, hey, I forgot that Granny's sister Lily was the ruler of Genua until Granny killed(?ish) her, and replaced her with another queen.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 2:07 PM
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Pratchett got a pass from GamerGate due to his strong advocacy for the cause of ethics in games journalism.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 2:22 PM
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The people who read Pratchett are the people who listen to They Might Be Giants, right?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 2:30 PM
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Possibly also the same people who get really into Pi Day?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 2:31 PM
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68: I feel judged.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 2:32 PM
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Until this thread, I was thinking it was the Terry who did Time Bandits who died. It turns out, Terry Gilliam and Terry Pratchett are two totally different people.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 2:44 PM
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I liked this video by Vi Hart complaining about pi day.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 2:56 PM
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In my more crotchety moments, I get irritated with pi day because, like much online nerd culture, it doesn't actually seem to be interested in or be celebrating any actual existing science or math, but rather it seems to be an excuse for people who have little to no knowledge of science or math to make silly puns all day and feel like they're smarter than they really are.

Then I think, well, at least some significant number of people is showing that they value science and math, and that's not nothing in modern America. Better wannabe nerds than wannabe sports heroes or wannabe titans of industry.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 3:18 PM
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The people who read Pratchett are the people who listen to They Might Be Giants, right?

Yes.

Possibly also the same people who get really into Pi Day?

No.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 3:39 PM
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72: Very nice!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 3:44 PM
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Yes, I think Pratchett was more popular in the UK with general audience - particularly the non-Discworld novels.

Doctor Who, in the UK, is a pop culture thing - but aimed at families. The US thing of Who as sf-for-adults is a bit weird.

I think lots of people just don't read books that closely - I mean, Jingo! is a pretty searing attack on the racism and nationalism involved in the Gulf War, and explicitly argues that politicians should end up in the dock if they start wars, illustrating that argument by reference to a "white" country invading a "non-white" country. But I doubt most people actually read it as such.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 3:47 PM
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Especially given Pratchett maintains a very very fluffy surface and lots of people read Pratchett simply for the fluffy surface-feels - like listening to Stephen Fry simply for the accent and the voice.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 3:49 PM
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73: Relevant.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 3:52 PM
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Pie is tastier than Easter candy.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 3:56 PM
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79 is wrong.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 3:58 PM
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The history of pie turns out to be a lot more interesting than I would have thought.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 4:00 PM
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No Gamergater has ever read anything longer than a 3 line reddit post.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 4:12 PM
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One of the irritating things about Pi Day is the US is (amirite?) one the few countries that uses mm/dd/yy form for dates, so 3/14/15 is pretty parochial.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 4:33 PM
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76: Doctor Who is completely inappropriate for kids like 70% of the time. There was maybe one in the latest series that is kid appropriate.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 4:34 PM
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83: We're also the only country that eats pie (at least under that name), so there's kind of a natural fit.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 4:36 PM
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I would like to stand up and say that I don't actually think Good Omens ages quite as well as I wish it did, so I'm not sure it's a good recommendation for "try something else," but I do think the suggestions of Small Gods or Guards! Guards! as good in-Discworld next tries are good ones.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 4:55 PM
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Cake is better than pie.


Posted by: OutOfTheBlue | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 5:40 PM
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Lies.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 5:44 PM
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Doctor Who, in the UK, is a pop culture thing - but aimed at families. The US thing of Who as sf-for-adults is a bit weird.

Doctor Who, in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, is a pop culture thing aimed at kids. The 21st century thing of Who as sf-for-adults is a bit weird.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 5:54 PM
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84 Maybe British kids have stiffer upper lips than US kids? I think Mary Whitehead used to complain Who was too scary back in the 70s & 80s...


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 5:56 PM
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Obviously there are now adult Who fans who grew up with it, but I think the BBC still sees Who as aimed at the family audience in the UK. In the US & elsewhere it's a weird foreign import that adults like.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 6:02 PM
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To the OP, how long has nerd culture been associated with coherent, ideological anti-feminism? Plenty of background misogyny, and plenty of more specifically problematic stuff like Piers Anthony, but all the MRA-style "activism" and conceptual structures that would lead one to cry misandry at any work that takes women seriously and has some lightly feminist themes? Pretty recent, is my impression, perhaps underinformed.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 6:04 PM
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Dr Who was always scary. That was the tradition. The 'innovation' in the reboot was making it YA, i.e. with all the soapy stuff and/or supposed romantic tension foregrounded, rather than ignored or implicit, or left for adult viewers to decode.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 6:21 PM
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Making it YA being a bad thing, obviously.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 6:21 PM
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I don't know, I watch the current Doctor, and I checked out a few episodes of the guy in the cricket whites with the female sidekick who always wears purple, and can't imagine anyone over 12 enjoying that.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 6:25 PM
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re: 95

I think the consensus largely is that it (pre-reboot) all went down hill after Tom Baker. So, depending on your age, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, and Tom Baker [and to a less extent, Hartnell] may be, for you, the Doctor.

Colin Baker, Peter Davidson, and Sylvester McCoy. No. Just no.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 6:29 PM
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On the other hand, I get the "Can't imagine anyone over 12 enjoying that" response from most sitcoms of the 70s too. Three's Company? Could there be anything more juvenile? Yes, Mama's Family.

But I did think the reboot was aimed at people who remembered it from their own childhood more than a new generation of children. If this is wrong, that's fine.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 6:30 PM
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We'd watch the Baker's on Sunday nights in the early eighties; my wife was more of the fan than I was. After Baker regenerated into Peter Davison we watched a bit but soon lost interest. It really had been about Baker, although we'd meet people who'd been fans of Pertwee, before our time.

My daughter has been a fan of the reboot, certainly at first, often watching UK on her pc before it was released here.

I have a feeling this is all AIMHSHB.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 6:47 PM
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97 - I think it was aimed at a slightly older audience, but not really adults.

I actually think New Who is less scary than Old Who, although that may just be a function of my age. But the Autons? Super scary! The War Games? That was a grim set of episodes... And your villain of the week was often way rougher, I think.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 9:08 PM
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7 o'clock on a Saturday night? And a special on Christmas Day? You couldn't get more aimed-at-families.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 3:27 AM
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48. I wish NW would post the notes for his sermon somewhere. I suppose it must have been delivered to some extent from an Omnian perspective, but as interpreted by Vorbis or Brutha? If the former, I'm not surprised he wasn't asked back: definitely not the modern Anglican outlook.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 4:27 AM
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A whole generation, arguably two generations, of British kids basically grew up watching Dr Who (original) from behind the couch. That was the point.

77 is extremely sound. Such people have been all over the internet this week, making me scream "Why did you even bother!?" at the screen.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 4:33 AM
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I wonder if I still have them.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 4:33 AM
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Turns out I have a pretty complete text. Bung me an an eamil - my first name at the worm book without spaces dot com -- and I will send it through.

(and set up, as I've just realised I need to, an email address on that server for emantsrif at etc.)


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 4:41 AM
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Thanks. Sent.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 4:46 AM
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My kid loves Doctor Who, but we generally error in favor of exposing him to age inappropriate stuff. Like, lately we've been watching Twelve Monkeys as a family.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 4:49 AM
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105: Off blog transaction completed


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 4:55 AM
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106. The Road next?


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 5:03 AM
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I was thinking Mad Max.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 5:08 AM
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The thing you miss is that GamerGate and other such backlashes are very American driven and pTerry fandom is much more UK & European based.

It also been traditionally been very open to and driven by women, through alt.fan.pratchett and the Discworld cons, taking the best aspects of old skool British fandom with them. Lots of trans and genderqueer people hanging around Pratchett fandom too.

All that white nerd rage is also very politically driven, an offshoot of the general Republican culture wars and again, pTerry's politics don't follow that American Republican/Democratic model. You could call him a liberal, but in certain ways his politics are on the conservative side.

And of course the idea that he's specially popular in the "hardcore nerd community" is just wrong; at one point, he was responsible for 1% of all books sold in the UK at any given time. Everybody reads him and the US is an outlier here.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 5:47 AM
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Misremembered Equal Rites (my least favorite.) So, she gets a hat, and nothing else changes, and is never spoken of again,

One of the things about Pratchett is that his politics and ideas evolved over time. He has said that he made mistakes with Equal Rites and he has made amends of a sort with the Tiffany Aching books, espcially I Shall Wear Midnight.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 5:52 AM
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I let my son watch "Blink" and he had nightmares for a month. The worst part is that for most monsters, I can tell him that they're not real, but he already knows that statues are real.

The new Who is actually pretty great, though it's often hit or miss. Moffatt's Who episodes alone are considerably better than Sherlock.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 5:56 AM
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110: The idea that the Earth is 98% Gamegate-free by area is the most beautiful thing I've ever heard.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 6:00 AM
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Two links of interest for people wanting to look into Pratchett more:

Pratchett's women, Tansy Rayner Roberts looking at his most important female characters; contains spoliers.

Terry Pratchett's Discworld Reading Order Guide, a good infographic showing the relationships between his various books.

For people starting it, everything up to Sourcery is on the light side, not nearly as good as what the series would become and may be skipped.

Small Gods is an angry Pratchett book, his first such and somewhat atypical; Pyramids is also a standalone, much more typical and showing off his usual themes. Also recommended as an early starting point is Reaper Man, the second one starring DEATH, which is somewhat poignant in the wake of his own passing and can be read alone.

In his last few novels the effects of the Alzheimer become noticable, as he no longer wrote them but dictated them; they're somewhat simpler than they'd been before. Everything after Making Money, with the exception of I Shall Wear Midnight, suffers from it.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 6:03 AM
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I didn't know about the dictation thing until after he died, but in retrospect it makes a lot of things clearer. Raising Steam read that way, and so did Dodger.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 6:11 AM
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My kid doesn't seem to get scared from TV. He puts it all in a fiction category, and doesn't dwell on it. I don't think 'Blink' phased him, except for curiosity about the timey-wimey bit.

On the other hand, he does get scared from comic books. There was an issue of 'Garfield Comics' that had a Lasagna Monster in it. That gave him nightmares. Go figure.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 6:12 AM
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No, Moffats new who episodes are not good.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 6:29 AM
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There was an issue of 'Garfield Comics' that had a Lasagna Monster in it. That gave him nightmares.

Carbs?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 7:08 AM
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117: I stand corrected.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 7:11 AM
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199: glad to help


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 7:42 AM
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I read 112.1 as "I let my kid read Blink and was like oh God no why would you let your kid read Malcolm Gladwell.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 9:32 AM
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Malcolm Gladwell is the kind of thing my brother buys me for Christmas, and then I have to pretend that I've read.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 9:43 AM
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Blink, like Black Swan, changed a lot in the transition from book to screen.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 10:08 AM
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72 is wonderful. In my own Pi Day crankitude, it never even occurred to me to attack the fundamentally ill-founded number system of dates/times.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 10:10 AM
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http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Life-Money-Everyday-Explained/dp/1782199950/ref=sr_1_1/177-2425409-4151708?ie=UTF8&qid=1426459704&sr=8-1&keywords=daniel+davies

Note the first (and so far only) review.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 3:51 PM
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There's a typo in the title listing for dsquared's book. Or it's a code.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 4:55 PM
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It's a cde.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 5:48 PM
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It is really strange to see 114 refer to Mort as on the light side and can be safely skipped. A novel about Death's apprentice is a pretty good comic idea. I guess I read most of the first dozen books and thought I knew Pratchett pretty well; that there is a whole other readership that focuses on the next dozen sounds weird but is fair enough. I saw him at a book signing once after he had written the first ten and he said Mort was the one most likely to endure, before adding, self-deprecatingly, that he wished he'd known that at the time, as he would have written it more carefully.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 03-16-15 8:52 AM
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92 - Robert Heinlein and especially John W. Campbell were pretty hardcore conservative in many ways (especially Campbell, who didn't think slavery was such a bad thing, really). The group clustered around Baen books and military fiction in general has always been very militaristic/conservative/generally assholish.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 03-16-15 8:10 PM
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I'm halfway through TCOM and mostly struck by how many times "widdershins" is used. It really doesn't come up often in the rest of my life.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-17-15 4:28 AM
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You don't walk around the outside of churches enough.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-17-15 4:36 AM
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I never heard of that superstition outside of here and Dorothy Sayers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-17-15 4:41 AM
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struck by how many times "widdershins" is used. It really doesn't come up often in the rest of my life.

Like herpolhode and polhode. After Goldstein I expected them to come up more often.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-17-15 5:37 AM
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Just finished. Mostly, it seems to be The Hitchhikers Guide to Fantasy. Not bad at all, but it read like Dent and Ford with some traits switched around.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-17-15 9:46 AM
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They really improve a great deal after the first couple -- same jokes, but hanging on much more interesting books.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-15 9:47 AM
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struck by how many times "widdershins" is used. It really doesn't come up often in the rest of my life.

Also in The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland. At first (this was bedtime reading for the girls) I thought, great, interesting words to look up, but before long I was like, this is twee and annoying and fuck off. That may be the only book we didn't finish.

We finally reached the end of Watership Down, btw (I only read them to sleep two nights a week, and there's a lot of backtracking), and man, what a great book, richer than I remembered. My daughters loved it; after they got the dark tone of it, one of them was constantly asking, Fiver doesn't die, right? Tell me Fiver doesn't die.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-17-15 10:08 AM
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I do get a bit compulsive about trying to read things in order.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-17-15 10:12 AM
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136.last: The movie of Watership Down came up at the other place last week (it was part of the Criterion sale) and as I mentioned there, I don't think you could pay me to watch it again. And goddammit, I just read the plot summary of the book on Wikipedia and now I want to cry.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-17-15 10:14 AM
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If the second one isn't very good, I may read it the next time I fly by myself. The first was good for airplane reading.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-17-15 10:18 AM
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138: I don't know much about the movie/TV adaptations, but I'm steering the girls clear of them. In other cases (e.g., Fantastic Mr. Fox), we've watched the movie after reading the book, but this one I want to leave as a purely read experience.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-17-15 10:22 AM
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Yayyyy Watership Down! I love it so.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-17-15 10:25 AM
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We just read the bit near the end where it shifts to the farm girl's perspective. Brilliant!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-17-15 10:32 AM
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140: I don't actually remember the movie that well; I have much stronger memories of the book. I loved it as a kid but (as noted in 138) it makes me desperately sad.

Although ever since I read it there's one part that stuck with me (it's during the winter, and the rabbits are freezing). Paraphrased, it's "humans may say they enjoy the cold, but what they actually enjoy is *proof* against the cold.".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-17-15 10:33 AM
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Oh also: We were talking about how the names of the bucks were mostly botanical and the names of the does were Lapine, and S said that she loved the does' names and wanted to have two girls and name them Hyzenthlay and Nelthilta.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-17-15 10:39 AM
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said that she loved the does' names and wanted to have two girls and name them Hyzenthlay and Nelthilta.

xoxoxoxox!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-17-15 11:13 AM
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JmcQ, what ages are your girls? I loved loved loved Watership Down as a child and also later, it's the first book I can really remember rereading again straight away. I want to buy it for my nieces but I don't know if it'll be right for them.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 03-18-15 3:45 AM
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They're 12 (they were 11 when we started). I think I was about that age, maybe 13, when I read it, and I remember it as one of my favorite books as a kid.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-15 5:07 AM
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(they were 11 when we started)

Skipping the diaper/always waking up years must have been convenient.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-18-15 5:14 AM
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I'm really looking forward to the kinds of books we can read at that age. All-of-a-Kind Family was the biggest hit ever and I finally found a book with essentially no tension. Now we're in In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, which is a little tougher for them. We may have to just do the whole All-of-a-Kind series until they get sick of it, I guess.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-18-15 6:00 AM
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until they get sick of it

I hope that this actually happens, eventually.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-18-15 6:12 AM
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150: Okay, so I'm just hoping it's before the last one, where Ella decides to give up her career on the stage to get married and someday have a family.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-18-15 6:20 AM
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Maybe we could do some of the Melendy books next? I don't remember a lot of drama or stress there, though I'd have to explain golliwogs and cakewalks.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-18-15 6:24 AM
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Moby, I've been blogging various Discworld books (among other things) at The Frumious Consortium.

The second one probably would be good, light airplane reading. It sends up different things than the first one did but remains basically a satire of the genre. In Equal Rites (third) and Mort (fourth) you can see Pratchett realizing that he can take his basic setup, keep the same (or greater) level of funny and do more than just have a larf.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 03-19-15 3:08 AM
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Thanks. I'll have a look at that blog and hold on with Discworld through at least book 3.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-19-15 5:25 AM
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