dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #751

Sarah sarah-neko at dove.gen.nz
Wed Nov 19 16:25:58 EST 2003

> Melissa: And while I do think he's been dealing in serious themes for 
> a long time, I
> see a definite difference in the way he handles them and in the kind 
> of plot
> he uses in the most recent two books than in most of the others.  
> _Jingo_,
> for example, is "about" war, but the plot devices are mostly 
> light-hearted,
> like Captain Carrot organizing a football game between two teams of
> bloody-minded idiots.

Do you know that was based on a real incident in World War I, when 
German and English troops on the Somme called a Christmas Day truce and 
played football together? The next day they went back to killing each 
other.  It's also referred to in 'Blackadder Goes Forth' (apparently 
Blackadder was offside) and Michael Forman (sp?) did a beautiful and 
heart-wrenching picture-book about it called 'War Game.'
So... even when it's apparently absurd there is often something serious 
at the back of it. And history can be more Pratchettian than Pratchett 

>> _The Source of Magic_?
> Isn't that Piers Anthony? if read in mistake for a
> Pratchett no wonder it wasn't liked.
> Jon

The first Discworld book is called 'The COLOUR of Magic'... it isn't 
great, but it's better than yer average Piers Anthony. I've read a 
couple of those and he just seems to string puns together and make 
panties jokes. I liked the idea of calling a warrior woman 'Hannah 
Barbarian' but that was about it.

> I was going to comment on how well I think Pratchett does female
> protagonists. He's been doing it for a long time, too. I recently read 
> The
> Wee Free Men as well (which is about a girl), and I thought, is this a 
> new
> thing, but in fact, he has lots of them: Susan, Granny, Nanny,
> Perdita/Agnes and Magrat. All strong, believable heroines.
> Robyn

A nice snippet of information (can't remember my source, might have 
been WOSSNAME): Pterry got some complaints about Tiffany Aching, since 
some readers thought she was entirely too smart, self-aware and 
composed for a girl of nine. But he also got email from a troop of 
Brownies saying 'Thank you for writing a REAL nine-year-old girl!' and 
they sent him a scarf and made him an honorary member. I think the 
experts have spoken. I do know that both my flatmate Katie and I 
identified hugely with Tiffany - that's the sort of little girl we 
were. And I love the thought of reading 'The Wee Free Men' with your 
Brownie troop. I wonder if they all had a copy and did it like an 
adults' book group, or if Brown Owl read aloud to them?
I, too, love Pratchett heroines. I'm particularly impressed by the way 
he writes Agnes, another character with whom I sometimes identify 
almost painfully. (Though thank heaven, I don't have to lose that much 
When I am an old lady, I want to be just like Nanny Ogg, except the 

> Pani:
> Now, admittedly, Rincewind is not my favorite character in general, 
> though
> he's rather likeable in _Interesting Times_. Most of the rest of the 
> time
> he's entirely too much like the men of the SF con circuit that Sharon
> McCrumb would have given her eye-teeth to parody as convincingly in
> _Bimbos of the Death Sun_ (Another ghastly book...)

As a sort of sidelight on Rincewind's character, 'Interesting Times' 
was the first Disc book with him in it that my friend Kevin read, and 
he interpreted him as a 20something slacker character, the Generation X 
of the Discworld, providing a contrast with the ideologically fired 
youth of the Empire. Even after catching up on the other stories he 
still thinks you can read him that way. Although he concedes Rinso may 
be a bit older than he first thought.
Random thought: 'Interesting Times' is what I'd call a newspaper if I 
ever started one.

E you later,
(the artist formerly known as Sarah-neko)

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