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The ultimate in Pratchett nonsense
on August 30, 2001
On the subject of writing, Terry Pratchett was once quoted as having said "I can't imagine any way one person on his own can have more fun" or something similar to that. He's been writing since he learned how to hold a pen, and has (apparently) never stopped. The Fifth Elephant is one of the classic Pratchett masterpieces. Wholly, completely, utterly, inventively insane, irreverent, witty and satirical, it shows why Pratchett is King of the genre.
If you've not yet introduced yourself to any Pratchett books, let me give you a quick history of Discworld. Pratchett's crazy world is supported by four elephants standing on the back of a giant tortoise. Once there was a fifth elephant, but it fell off the tortoise's back and crashed onto Discworld, leaving behind rich deposits of minerals and fat and the interesting philosophical question: when millions of tons of angry elephant come spinning through the sky, and there is no one to hear it, does it, philosophically speaking, make a noise? And that's about as philosophical as Discworld ever gets..... or is it? Pratchett, in a quiet, humorous way, poses questions about, and satirizes just about any subject you can imagine. Anything from opera to the meaning of life, from local government to religion. (Oh dear, I do hope those reviewers who insist on denouncing J.K.Rowling and Philip Pullman as the anti-christ aren't reading this. They'll be chipping away at Terry Pratchett next!)
When I tell you that the famous Samuel Vimes, commander of the Ankh-Morpork city watch, is sent to represent the city at the crowning of the new Dwarvish Low King, you won't be surprised to learn that Vimes hates politics and has no talent for diplomacy whatsoever. His idea of dealing with a diplomatic incident is to head-butt his way through it. It doesn't help that his assistants are a werewolf, a troll, and a dwarf. Meanwhile, Captain Carrot has fallen in love with Corporal Angua (also a werewolf), and a duplicate of a Dwarven artifact is stolen (a piece of stale bread).
Can't get much more ridiculous, can it! Oh yes it can. Pratchett loves the ridiculous as he gently mocks everything in sight (always with a great knowledge of and fondness for his fellow primates, even in their more foolish moments). Consider yourself well and truly ordered to GO AND BUY THIS BOOK.