Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Book 47 of 2012: Thud!

I originally intended to read Thud! quite some time ago. I got my hands on a copy not long after reading Going Postal and being on a bit of a Pratchett-kick, thought I’d give it ago. Then something else came up… considering the time when it was published I’m fairly certain that something was the Kathy Reichs books which devoured as quickly as I could get my hands on. Thud! sat on my bedside table for a while, then was moved to a different pile of books, which was in turn moved until it surfaced when I was tidying my room and I handed it off to another family member to read.

Until now!

I honestly knew nothing about this book before starting it. I love looking at the covers of Terry Pratchett books and trying to work out what’s going to happen inside. I knew that the game Thud had been mentioned by Vetinari in Going Postal so I guessed from the title and the picture of a giant Thud board on the front that this was going to place a significant part (I’m so good at deducing things, I could probably be in the Watch!) but aside from that, I had little to go on. The blurb told me that it involved Sam Vimes, the on going feud between the dwarfs and the trolls, and a book called Where’s My Cow? all sounded good to me.

I realise I say this every time the subject of Discworld novels comes up, but I’m a) getting low on new Discworld material, and b) now reading Discworld books I’ve never read before. All of the books I have left to read (all, what? six of them) are brand new to me. I might have heard odd things about them, but I will never have read them myself before. It’s kind of thrilling. I feel as though I should be savouring them but I couldn’t help but tear through this one in three days and I suspect that this is going to be the case for the others as well (though the fact that I was using Thud! to avoid actually finishing off my EMA may also have been part of the reason).
*Vimes had never got on with any game much more complex than darts. Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off an slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks round, the whole board couldn’t been a republic in a dozen moves.
Page 86

The Watch books are among my favourite of the series (there are quite a few of them now as well). I love how the character of Sam Vimes has developed. In the course of the books we’ve seen him go from a beaten down alcoholic, to a married man (and Duke to boot) who turns the Watch around and says pretty much what he likes to Vetinari with relatively painless results, and now who has a young son; Young Sam. I love the contrast between Vimes at work and Vimes with his son.

‘I suspect I shall feel the same when when I go out there with a megaphone and should, “Hello boys, welcome to the replay of Koom Valley! Hey, let’s hold it right here in the city!”’
‘I don’t think your should actually put it like that, sir,’ said Carrot.

Page 170

Of course, a large part of Vimes’ relationship with his son revolves around the reading of a particular picture book every evening at six o’clock. The book in question is called Where’s My Cow? and features a farmer looking for his cow but finding virtually every animal but. I do remember being in Greenock and almost buying myself a copy of Where’s My Cow? but deciding against it, now I’m regretting that decision and I think I’ll have to look up a copy from somewhere, just to complete the collection you understand.

I’ve also reworked the story of Where’s My Cow? into a version for Tara regarding our van. Tara loves travelling by car (even if she has decided that she likes eating bits of the car interior just recently) but she likes the van more, and will happily try and get into any vehicle she’s given half a chance. Whereas Where’s My Cow? goes ‘Where’s my cow? Is that my cow? It goes ‘baa’. That’s not my cow. It’s a sheep!’ my version goes along the lines of ‘Where’s my van? Is that my van? It has no roof. That’s not my van. It’s a pickup truck!’ Tara doesn’t seem to appreciate it very much, but it keeps me amused.

And back to Thud!

“‘By the way, how did it go in Turn Again Lane?’ he said, stretching and breathing deeply.
‘Oh wonnerful, sir,’ said Detritus happily. ‘Six alchemists an’ fifty pound o’ fresh Slide. In an’ out, quick an’ sweet, all banged up in the Tanty.’
‘Didn’t know what’d hit ’em, eh?’ said Vimes.
Detritus looked mildly offended at this. ‘Oh no, sir,’ he said, ‘I made sure they knew I hit ’em.’

Page 198

During my review of Cross Bones, I pointed out the connection to The Da Vinci Code (in terms of the whole did Jesus have kids? What happened to his family? thing) which I suspected what trying to cash in on the succession that Dan Brown’s book had generated. Well not even Terry Pratchett can resist joining in the fun, Discworld has it’s own mystery involving The Koom Valley Codex with a painting of the battle of Koom Valley which the painter supposedly hit a clue to the mystery in. Koom Valley, I should note, occurred hundreds of years before, involved the trolls and the dwarfs one of which ambushed the others and which is the cause of a great deal of racial tension in modern day Ankh-Morpork. The painting is by Methodia Rascal who believed that he was either turning into a chicken or being followed by one and who did in fact make a discovery which Vimes finds himself trying to unravel.

That’s what I love about Pratchett’s Discworld books, they’re so clever and convoluted and they parallel the real world so well. I love the little jokes; both the ones which are tied in to the series and the ones which link to our world, especially the latter because I like it when I get them, hehe. Despite being smelly and dangerous, I would love to visit the Disc, although then I wouldn’t get to see the footnotes.

‘Oh, shoes,’ said Cheery. ‘I can talk about shoes. Has anyone seen the new Yan Rockhammer solid copper slingbacks?’
‘Er, we don’t go to a metalworker for our footwear, dear,’ said Sally.

Page 331

What’s a little bit unusual about this copy of Thud! is that it has a preview of the first chapter of Wintersmith, the next Discworld book in the series at the end. Wintersmith is one of the young adult Discworld novels featuring Tiffany Aching (who I’ve not seen since A Hat Full of Sky) and it’s enough of a teaser to make me want to pick it up right now… I’m resisting temptation though, between Thud! and Wintersmith I’ve got Bones To Ashes, Mockingjay and three ebooks to read (and review). Better get started there quickly then…
Page 388

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