Einträge mit dem Tag ‘Discworld’

Frankly, there is nothing borrowed I could write about, but I do have a new and an old book; or at least one I have just finished, and one I have started a few days ago. The former is Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. I have been a bit disappointed with Making Money, but the little blue men made up for that: this is Pratchett at his best. It is not quite as harshly criticising society as the later adult Discworld books are -- but I would not expect that from a children's book. The wee free men are simply loveable characters with their naïve, rash ways, and their Scottish dialect is great.
Apart from that, the book is just like Pratchett. It is a quick and funny read; and if I just said not as harshly criticizing, I do not mean there is no criticism. It is, however, not the main issue, and it is put forth in a somewhat gentler way.

The new book is by Neal Stephenson, one of my favourite authors. I believe I could rather do without Pratchett than without Stephenson: he does not write as many books, but they are much more diverse. Cryptonomicon, my first, is set both in World War II and in the near future (by now, that should probably read the present). It is -- more or less -- about cryptography. Its successor, The Baroque Cycle, shows how Science and modern finance came into being during the Age of Reason. Both books show Stephenson's calm writing, which I am very fond of: he mostly dispenses with classic rising action/falling action and tells a story instead. Often, he includes details that only appeals to geeks: take the dependence of mathematical skills on sexual fulfillment (with equations and diagrams!); or the small day-to-day tasks that were in the seventeenth century quite different than in the twenty-first.

Stephenson's latest book, Anathem, is not set on the Earth at all, but in a strange parallel world: scientist are living like monks and nuns (fraas and suurs) in convents (maths), their life ordered by a huge mechanical clock. Some of them interact with the sæcular world but once a decade, century or even millennium.

This story is being told in a very appropriate language that makes the monastic setting real. I have been enthused from the first page, but I have to admit that Anathem is hard to read because of that language (including quite a few terms invented by Stephenson). However, it promises to be worth it.

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Manche Bücher haben am Anfang eines jeden Kapitels eine stichwortartige Zusammenfassung des Inhalts -- ich erinnere mich an eine Robinson-Ausgabe, bei der das etwa so aussah: 27. Kapitel -- In welchem Robinson dies und jenes findet. Ich habe gerade noch einmal nachgeschlagen und festgestellt, daß meine Ausgabe das nicht hat.

Pratchett hat in den letzten Scheibenwelt-Bänden auch solche Zusammenfassungen geschrieben. Seitdem muß ich am Ende jedes Kapitels wieder zum Anfang zurückblättern, weil ich sie vorher nicht verstehe.

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Through a pink mist his eye caught the line: 'safety is our foremost consideration'. Why hadn't the lead type melted, why hadn't the paper blazed rather than be part of this obscenity? The press should have buckled, the roller should have cleaved unto the platen...
Terry Pratchett hat seine Discworld-Reihe als Fantasy-Parodie begonnen, aber sie ist im Laufe der Zeit auch immer unverblümter gesellschaftskritisch geworden. Going Postal, der jüngste als Taschenbuch erschienene Band, setzt diese Entwicklung fort:
Pratchett fährt einen Frontalangriff gegen die Finanzwelt und ihre volkswirtschaftlich schädlichen Entscheidungen.

Das hindert ihn aber nicht im mindesten daran, all jene Absurditäten in die Geschichte einzubauen, die uns seit dem ersten Band erfreuen. Da gibt es eine Geheimgesellschaft von Postboten — komplett mit Initiationsritual; Hardware-beschädigende Semaphor-Viren; GNU; Pinheads; ...

Außerdem gibt es natürlich den kleinen Trickbetrüger, der am liebsten falsche Diamanten verkaufen würde, stattdessen aber mit (meistens) kühlem Kopfe und seinen people skills den großen Trickbetrügern eins auswischt.

Zusammen sind das fast fünfhundert Seiten Pratchett vom feinsten und einer der besten Discworld-Bände überhaupt.

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