nineveh_uk: photo of lava (volcano)
It appears that a TV production of Good Omens is finally happening! On the upside, the BBC is co-producing it. On the downside, so it Amazon. On the really big downside, it's going to be on the BBC after it is on Amazon. Oh well, I suppose on the plus side if I hold out against Amazon, I'll avoid the fandom wanking.

Meanwhile in news of hell freezing over, Djokavik is out in the second round of the Australian Open. Good news for Murray! Even better news for Uzbekistan wild card Denis Istomin.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
I’d been wondering what to take with me in addition to the first Lymond book, thinking of just loading the Christmas Kindle with Austen (there can never be too much Austen). But now I think that this is not the year to cut down on shoving a load of novels in the rucksack* after all. Along with the books on skiing, Animal Tracks and Signs**, and a small dictionary, it feels like the thing to take is several Terry Pratchetts.

The first Pratchett I read, courtesy of the recommendation of an English teacher who had few merits, but did introduce me to both Pratchett and David Eddings, was Mort, which I think is fairly typical of Prtachett fans of my generation. It’s not that I don’t enjoy its three predecessors, but Mort didn’t actually expect the reader to know anything at all about fantasy to get the most out of it. Re-reading it last year I was struck by how different it was from even ‘early-mid period’ Pratchett, but if it’s a series of jokes strung together it is a series of really, really funny jokes. It is inventive, it's fun, it's tremendously engaging, and it is surprisingly serious beneath it all. Less surprising when one has read the later books.

I love Terry Pratchett’s novels. I haven’t actually read every single one – there’s a lot, and I’ve gone through periods of being less interested, or when his writing changed and I wasn’t up for that, and rediscovered them again later and found that I liked them after all. That’s to my benefit now, I suppose***. He is clever, and witty, and fun, and profound, and often extremely angry. I didn’t always get all the references; I wonder if Soul Music might work beter for me now with an extra decade or so’s general knowledge. At least that experience makes me less annoyed when people completely miss the point of Unseen Academicals, which I love.

I’m not sure that I have a favourite of all, but I always love Carpe Jugulum, which for me stands poised between the more rollicking earlier work, and increasingly dark and serious later. So have a favourite bit of it. Incidentally, one of the pleasure of good writing is the new impression each time. On this occasion I find myself focussed on the full significance of the word “domestics”. Whilst retaining, of course, a due snigger for the final pun.

‘Why, Miss Agnes Nitt,’ )

And then we cut to Granny's wrestling in the dark with Death - and something much worse. That's the other thing about Pratchett, he's not just fun of good ideas, vivid imagery, great characters, he's technically fantastic, too.

*Especially as I have a new rucksack. I have spared you the saga of picking a new skiing rucksack: be grateful.

**Magnificent.

***I have all the Tiffany Aching books awaiting me.
nineveh_uk: Cover illustration for "Strong Poison" in pulp fiction style with vampish Harriet. (Strong Poison)
Having read Raising Steam over new year (and needing to read it again, as I was not exactly on form for concentration), I have since been re-reading every bit of Discworld with mention of Lady Margolotta*. I appreciate that Margolotta is one of those characters who works most effectively when kept off-stage, but I can’t help wishing that weren’t the case. Though having said that I also like the continuing ambiguity of the contemporary, and indeed past, relationship between her and Vetinari – it fits nicely with my enjoyment of maintaining multiple interpretations at once.

Anyway, I felt obliged to compensate a bit, so here follows shortish Vetinari...Margolotta fic. It’s under a cut as there is technically a spoiler for Raising Steam, but it’s really only a spoiler for the basic concept of most of the novel.

*And feeling once again that Unseen Academicals is seriously under-appreciated on LJ. The fact that it is culturally specific for things that LJ isn’t big on doesn’t help – if a person doesn’t recognise (or think to Google when it is the only type on a page) “They think it’s all over”, they are probably not very well equipped to get much of the nuance out of the story. I am similarly under-appreciative of Soul Music, because I am not well informed about Music with Rocks in.

Read more... )
nineveh_uk: Photograph of a bluebell wood (bluebells)
I am enjoying Pratchett’s Going Postal a great deal more on the second read, and can only conclude that I can’t have been in the mood for it the first time round and was mostly disappointed that it wasn’t something more in the Carpe Jugulum vein. I adore Carpe Jugulum, but I’m glad that this time I’m also enjoying Going Postal. I must finally buy The Fifth Elephant, and dig out that idea for Vetinari/Margolotta fanfic.

Department of the old ones are the best: having nearly filled my digibox recorder with old episodes of Frasier (must switch off the series record now I think I've looped round to the beginning again), yesterday I reached the one in which Frasier finds himself backing a candidate for Congress who confesses to having been abducted by aliens. Splendid as ever.

My office is in a converted hospital building, and my particular office is in a converted hospital ward, which dates to 1770 and has graffiti from 1776 on a windowpane to prove it. It is rather nice as a result, with a high ceiling and big windows. It is also rather noisy when windy, with lots of wuthering going on – cue my colleague saying “And when you weren’t in on Monday and it was really windy it was very spooky, and I suddenly remembered that this was a hospital and people must have died in this room”. I suppose it puts a different perspective on annoying emails.

It is the 21st March tomorrow. Alas, it will definitely not be spring.
nineveh_uk: Picture of a wild rabbit with text "I hope your rabbit dies" (Default)
I’ve just finished reading Unseen Academicals, which I enjoyed a lot. I had seen some lukewarm (and that is putting it generously) reviews on LJ (and much more enthusiastic ones elsewhere), but then people on LJ appear to like Moist von Lipwig and I don’t. I enjoyed the football and the complexities around what Vetinari is doing with it, the focus on some new characters, and the glimpse round the back of Unseen University. I always enjoy Unseen University, in this case, the agonies of the Archchancellor having to treat as an equal the treacherous colleague who has actually applied for and got a job* elsewhere, at a different, new, and thus by all that UU holds dear, inherently inferior, institution.

Inevitably I like Lord Vetinari, and inevitably I like Lady Margolotta, and thus, inevitably, I like Vetinari/Margolotta though I am not convinced that they actually are, ahem, these days. So I wrote my first discworld fic. The end contains implicit spoilers for (some of) the end of Unseen Academicals.

*Bear in mind that there are still plenty of people about who don’t think one should have to do anything as vulgar as apply for an Oxford professorship. Interviews only became a requirement in the nineties.

Fic I

The vampire Lady Margolotta did not drink ... wine )

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