Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Moving Pictures: a Discworld Novel

I have become so addicted to the audio version of books by Terry Pratchett that, while I own plenty of paper-and-ink books from the series, I've taken to listening to them exclusively.  My very favorite Pratchett narrator is Stephen Briggs, but unfortunately he hasn't (yet!) read every single one.  This one is narrated by Nigel Planer, who does a pretty good job (although I didn't quite get why he gave Ginger such a caustic American accent in this one - it didn't seem, to me, to fit her character).  There is something that just makes my day all-around brighter when I have a Discworld novel going on my iPod - it's like having a parallel world just waiting for me to slip into, whenever I have the time.  I love it!

This one opens up with the death of a little old man who is some sort of guardian living in an isolated place on the beach called Holy Wood.  Death (it's always great when he makes an appearance.  In a Pratchett novel, that is) shows up, and it becomes clear that the old man is the last of the guardians, who has no apprentice to follow him, and with his death, something awful is going to happen, all over again.  What is that something?

Well, it has to do with the alchemists, who have figured out how to do make the Discworld's version of movies.  With the death of the old man, ideas come sweeping up the isolated coast and across the countryside into Ankh-Morpork, and as the technology (using imps to record images) advances, people are mysteriously compelled to go to Holy Wood.  Suddenly a town bursts into life, full of wannabe actors waiting for their big chance, and Holy Wood producers filming all kinds of stories that might seem twistedly familiar to movie fans.  Victor, a drop-out wizard from Unseen University, shows up and becomes a Holy Wood sensation overnight, starring in action/adventure films with his co-star Ginger, and although he is swept up in the movie business, a little voice tells him that something isn't as it should be.  The voice in his head is joined by the caustic voice of a talking dog - and so the adventures begin.

This one is funny, particularly for movie buffs who will be delighted at the many allusions to classic films and film-making in general.  The characters are classic Pratchett, and the narrative is sure to have readers laughing along the way.  It wasn't my favorite Discworld novel - the pacing felt a bit bumpy, and while the characters were certainly interesting and likable, did not feel the strong emotional connection to them that, for instance, I feel with the Tiffany Aching books and some of the others.  Terry Pratchett at his best is unbelievably amazing, and when he's not quite at his best, he's still head and shoulders above just about anyone else.  I'm thoroughly enjoying my journey through this most excellent series, and I have already picked up the next book, Reaper Man, from Audible.com.  We'll see how long I can hold out before I get started on that one.  It will be a very sad day for me when I finally finish this series.  Thank goodness there are so many books, so I can simply start all over again.

Books in the Discworld series:
1. The Color of Magic
2. The Light Fantastic
3. Equal Rites
4. Mort
5. Sourcery
6. Wyrd Sisters
7. Pyramids
8. Guards, Guards
9. Eric
10. Moving Pictures
11. Reaper Man
12. Witches Abroad
13. Small Gods
14. Lords and Ladies
15. Men at Arms
16. Soul Music
17. Interesting Times
18. Maskerade
19. Feet of Clay
20. Hogfather
21. Jingo
22. The Last Continent
23. Carpe Jugulum
24. The Fifth Elephant
25. The Truth
26. The Thief of Time
27. The Last Hero
28. Nightwatch
29. Monstrous Regiment
30. Going Postal
31. Thud
32. Making Money

33. Unseen Academicals

Moving Pictures (#10 in the Discworld series) by Terry Pratchett; narrated by Nigel Planer (Random House Audio Books, 2007)

Also reviewed at:
A Book a Week"This book is extremely enjoyable, the pacing is quite good, the book is very clever and the characters are thoroughly excellent, vintage Pratchett."
The Wertzone"...whilst still entertaining, funny and enjoyable, there's also the feeling that Pratchett simply came up with a cool idea and let it meander around for a bit aimlessly rather than being really fired-up and inspired by the concept."

3 comments:

  1. Yeaaaaargh! You've caught up! I must get back on my reading horse! Perhaps Pratchett will be the way to do that...

    I think you're exactly right about the emotional pull of this one just not being quite up to the standard of some of his others. Still thoroughly enjoyable, though!

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  2. I am a couple of books behind you in this series in my quest to read the whole series in order!

    Need to get back to it soon!

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  3. Kiirstin - Tee hee! Pratchett ought to help you out, though - and the next one is Reaper Man, so you know it will be good!

    Marg - It's a fun one, isn't it? I'm trying not to go through them too quickly, but fast enough that I won't miss out on any important details from book to book.

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