The humor of Terry Pratchett
- From: ctbishop@xxxxxxxxxxxxx (Charles Bishop)
- Date: Mon, 04 Jun 2012 16:46:59 -0800
Someone, somewhere doesn't like to read Terry Pratchett. Fine, de gustubus
and all that. Discussed in another thread.
Coincidently, I just reread a couple of his books, Sourcery, Eric, and
Equal Rites. The first two I read before the mention of Terry P. in the
thread, but I began Equal Rites_ afterwards. As I read, I saw passages
that I found to be examples of his humor. I didn't make note of them at
the time, but was able to go back and find them now. It was easy since
they were withing the first few pages.
1. [Page 2] A wizard is walking in the wild, very rural mountains on his
way to somewhere. He is walking through a storm.
"A few slot-eyed goats watched him with mild interest. It doesn't take a
lot to interest goats."
.. . .
"The storm walked round the hills on lefs of lightning, shouting and grumbling.
The wizard disappeared around the ben in the track and the goats went back
to their damp grazing.
Until something else caused them to look up. They stiffened, their eyes
widening, their nostrils flaring.
This was strange, because there was nothing on the path. But the goats
still watched it pass by until it was out of sight."
2. [Page 3] The wizard is nearly at his destination, a smithy in a very
"Mist curled between the houses as the wizard crossed a narrow bridge over
the swollen stream and made his way to the village smithy, although the
two facts had nothing to do with one another. The mist would have curled
anyway: it was experienced mist and had got curling down to a fine art."
These two examples were in the first few pages. The rest of the novel has
similar ones scattered throughout. These didn't make me laugh out loud,
but are examples of what I consider "descriptive humor". That is
describing scenery or actions with a small fillup in the description that
takes me out of the description just enough and then back in so the flow
isn't interrupted. It's this that I find humorous. It's similar (I find)
to writing by Mark Twain, Wodehouse, and Douglas Adams.
Also, in the second example, the last sentences sets up expectations so
that a few pages later, the reveal brings understanding and from that,
_Equal Rites_ also has, as its major plot, the situation that a small girl
wants to be a wizard (actually is a wizard, but needs training) and is of
course refused by those (other wizards) who are able to grant her request.
This conflict is the setting and a cause of some of the humor.
A quick flip through didn't provide any examples of laugh-out-loud prose,
but I think that I have to have been actually reading rather than just
looking. I know there are a few though. When I read another book, I'll try
to mark pages to report back.
- Prev by Date: Re: Last chance for a century...
- Next by Date: Re: Girl Genius 2012-06-04 Three For One Special
- Previous by thread: Planets blowing Up
- Next by thread: Re: The humor of Terry Pratchett