My rather optimistic efforts to read 25 books this year, coupled with the recent news regarding Terry Pratchett's health, demanded I start ploughing my way through the Discworld series. I'm a hack, really. I've spoken of Discworld countless times on LJ over the past few years, but while I know I like it, I've never really found the time to read much of it. The fact Wincanton, my local town, is 'twinned' with Ankh-Morpork, should have been motivation enough, but unfortunately, I am stupidly lazy and far too easily distracted.
...which isn't exactly an Ugly Dude. Rough And Not Exactly Young Dudes are pretty great for this sort of thing (cough Indy/Die Hard 4, anyone?))
Pratchett does this thing where his books are generally comedy with some good / interesting bits in, until the last third of the book. He did it with 'Reaper Man', and 'Mort' and he certainly did it with 'Small Gods' (not to mention 'Good Omens', with the help of Neil Gaiman). The final part of the book managed to absolutely blow me away. It wasn't even in the hard hitting wow way of 'Reaper Man' or 'Mort' (which both contained at least a moment near the end where I sat back and quite literally said 'wow' - pages that have been thumbed through more times than the rest of the book) - though Errol's attack and the entire description of it was amazing. It started getting Really Good when Vimes started getting Really Cool. And it's those ...bits. It's the way Pratchett writes that makes the book a movie in your head... the way he shifts scenes, it plays out perfectly, the direction is perfect, you could cut and paste the words into visualisations on a screen and not have to change a damned thing to make it work, despite its change in media.
It was here...
He stared at nothing. Down below the city was a mass of smoke and steam. He wasn't thinking of that, though.
He was thinking of a running man. And, further back in the fuddled mists of his life, a boy running to keep up.
And under his breath he said, "Any of them get out?"
It was there that the book did that metamorphasis, for me. When it stopped being a good comedy fantasy story and started being something I really, really, really had to finish. It would have worked in a movie, the character's sudden realisation... you can see his thoughts clicking into place, that churning moment in the story when your heart starts racing and you go 'Oh, shit.'
Nobby Nobbs fell completely under my radar, really. In a movie, I'm certain he'd have been the comedy relief, and while he certainly had character, I was far more interested in Vimes and dear old Carrot, who was sweet and, sorry, just plain adorable throughout. Colon was pretty background for me, too. He was there. He had personality, but it was overshadowed. Maybe I'll see more of them both in other Watch!Stories that don't focus mainly on Vimes.
Another quick note is that this is the first time I've read Vetinari's character. I loved him in the first half of the book, but his last appearances rubbed me the wrong way a bit and left me feeling a little cheated. I must read more stuff focused on him, because I'm sure I'm not meant to feel that way. I'd rather feel the way I did at the start of the book.
I think I'm gonna delve right into 'Feet of Clay' next and pretend Vimes isn't fooling around with a matriarchal ratbag who just reminds me of one of those twits who think they're 'upper class' in the countryside because they ride a horse and breed pedigree labradors *breathes*.
Anyway, Christ it's 12:26 already and here was me gonna have an early night. I gotta be at the cafe again in six hours. Fun!