Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

(book review)

And I’m back with another book in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, after:
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents,Monstrous Regiment ,Interesting Times ,Night Watch ,The Color of Magic ,Thief of Time ,Going Postal , The Truth , and Soul Music.

I gave a rather tepid review of the last Discworld book I read (“Soul Music”) but this book finds Pratchett back with his usual genius.
(Although technically this book was written before “Soul Music”. I’m reading these books out of order again.)

As I mentioned before, one of the interesting things about reading these books out of order is you start to see the pieces gradually fall in together. This is the 9th book in the series, and the one that is responsible for introducing the “Night Watch” of Ankh Morpork. And the characters of the “Night Watch”, go on to pop up in just about every subsequent book since, so it was interesting to see how they got started.

I was once talking to someone in a bar in Japan, and they said “Guards! Guards!” was the funniest book they've ever read.
---I’m not sure I’d go quite that far myself. I’m not sure I’d even say it was the funniest book in the Discworld series. (I mean it’s good, but there are a lot of funny books in the Discworld series). But it was a very entertaining read.

It also managed to make a few insightful comments about human nature in a way that is both morbidly funny and depressing at the same time. At one point in this book, a dragon is crowned king of Ankh Morpork, and the citizens debate the merits of having a dragon as king. The dragon demands a human sacrifice once a month, but the some of the citizens conclude that one human sacrifice a month is actually doing pretty good compared to some of the other rulers they have had in the past.

The dragon itself is appalled when it finds out the true nature of human beings. “We’re dragons,” it says. “We’re supposed to be cruel. But we never kill and torture people and pretend we’re being ethical.”

Link of the Day
Mocking Obama

1 comment:

Whisky Prajer said...

The funniest book in the Discworld series is usually the first one you read -- Mort in my case.