Pyramids Discussion *Spoilers*

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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:49 pm

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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:14 pm

Cool picture Tony, where's it from?
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:45 pm

I think it's from one of the Discworld calendars. :D
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:48 pm

oooo! purdy! :lol: Who's painted that?

OK - lets leave satire out it now, because that's purely a matter of taste and to some extent upbringing as broad experience plays a part in what people recognise as pastiche, parody or snidey gratuitous insinuations. :wink:

And onto the main event on the basis that most people are agreeable generally that belief (rather than religion) and socio-politico power-mongering are the themes to this and many other of Terry's books 'stand-alone' or not. I haven't got time to go looking at quotes (we're in crisis yet again here as the sat dish is covered with sticky wet snow and so no signal... If I thought I was bad with no PC to play with, the housemate is a thousand times worse without any TV... :evil: ).

I think Tony said that the character development in this is not up to par in that they didn't really care too much what happened to the principal characters once the last page was read. Fine - it's a stand-alone so in a way that's good as the focus is a story that has a finite cut-off point and therefore we don't strictly need to know any more except a general 'happy ever after' forecast...

Or do we? Is Pyramids a 'stand-alone' book? It is and it isn't. The isn't part of that designation is the crucial one, 'cos this book, seen in isolation won a prestigious prize (British Science Fiction Award winner, 1989). Why did it win a prize if the characterisation, by a popular and already best-selling author, so important in any work of fiction isn't that great? Because (in my opinion anyway) the characters are more than good enough and the concept of the book is exceptional in it's satirical repositioning of the mythologies of the Ancient Worlds and also in terms of non-Dr. Who perceptions of dimensons especially that of Time.

I'll come back to the human/character aspects and mythology as a 'science' rather than art in another post as I'm in severe danger of exceeding even my own excesses in posting here. In the Discworld cosmos Magic is King but Time is most definitely Queen and so for that reason alone, Pyramids is ground-breaking and a watershed for the development of Discworld in the same way as CoM and LF were laying the foundation for the series.

However - unlike CoM and LF Terry, by the time he's writing this book, is well into his stride as a writer in more general terms. Most of us will agree on the first 2 Discworld books being 'weaker' than the ones that follow on - I still love them but they're not the best books Terry's written, because he was still experimenting with the concept of magic in an impossible world and also still developing as a writer himself - not yet reaching his fully-developed stylistics. In Pyramids he's well into his stride with the humour and storylining and so this meant that he could start to look around at other areas that he's interested in and how they'd work in Djelibeybi in the first instance, but also, because of his own strong interests in cyclic history and alternative planes of reality/universes he also laid down concepts and themes for future works that were already 'in production' for other parts of the disc - in A-M with the Watch, with Vimes' disorganizer, his own family heritage as a king-killer and even Nightwatch, although that cannot have been an idea even in the rough back when he was writing this book? Or maybe not? Some of the overall Pyramids settings and characterisations naturally re-occur when the History Monks appear 'officially' on the scene (remember Terry had already hinted at that part of discworld in Mort when the abbot dies and asks to be dropped off in the village for his re-incarnation rather than the desert...? :wink: ). Of course the monks deal with Time in a very personal way indeed and Pyramids is where Terry begins to explore the concept seriously.

I'm not too sure whether Small Gods was an embryo idea when Pyramids was written, but it's conception was almost undeniably prepared in respect of the mythic/belief themes he plays with in this, rather than the time perception side of things. I consistently rate Small Gods as one of Terry's best books, but Pyramids is not too far short of that exalted mark when you look at the conceptual side of each book. The only reason Pyramids doesn't compare with the later books that make most peoples top 5 (or whatever) is that Terry's writing and plotting has continued to improve and deepen development of the concepts that he addresses fully in Pyramids for the first time, in a highly original fashion and using satire to challenge how we see the still-forming disc as well as Roundworld.

If Terry hadn't written Pyramids first, the History Monks and the Watch series wouldn't have been half as well realised on a conceptual basis as he's laid all the really important themes for them in this book. The part where the super-pyramid's building phase goes critical in terms of construction and fiscally is superbly creative and Teppics 'inhumation' of the ginormous pyramid is also inspired and something to elaborate on in my next post which will deal with the philosophic and human aspects. In a nutshell with that I'll be suggesting that if Brutha is modelled on Jesus then Teppic is definitely John the Baptist... :twisted:

The formation of the time concepts are more important though and for me Pyramids marks the beginning of Terry's Golden Era where his imagination really begins to soar and make it's own original and insightful contribution to literature - and of course why he received such acclaim for this remarkable book :D
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Postby Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit » Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:17 pm

YaY!! \o/ She's Baaaaaaaack!!
Aha! So, Bob's yer uncle... very clever.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:43 pm

:twisted: Heeeeeeeeeeere's Jannnnnnnny! :lol:
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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:13 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:OK - lets leave satire out of it now, because that's purely a matter of taste and to some extent upbringing as broad experience plays a part in what people recognise as pastiche, parody or snidey gratuitous insinuations. :wink:

Because (in my opinion anyway) the characters are more than good enough and the concept of the book is exceptional in it's satirical repositioning of the mythologies of the Ancient Worlds and also in terms of non-Dr. Who perceptions of dimensons especially that of Time.

The only reason Pyramids doesn't compare with the later books that make most peoples top 5 (or whatever) is that Terry's writing and plotting has continued to improve and deepen development of the concepts that he addresses fully in Pyramids for the first time, in a highly original fashion and [b]using satire[b] to challenge how we see the still-forming disc as well as Roundworld.


YaY!! \o/ She's Baaaaaaaack!! :lol:

Only got half way through so far but just had to laugh. :lol:
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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:21 pm

:shock: Wow! :shock:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:33 pm

Wow what? :lol:

With leaving the satire out I meant leaving out other satirical sources and focussing on what's in the book and Terry's mastery of satire as you v. well know smartypants :wink:
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Postby raisindot » Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:57 am

Jan Van Quirm wrote:The 2 great US sitcoms that stand out for me are Cheers and Frasier and though they're connected (and I think had some of the same writers?) the humour's different and somehow very appropriate and well-observed about 2 very different social and cultural settings.


Whoa! Make statements like that and I may have go "Pooh" on you! :)

To claim that that these two dated and formulaic sitcoms are the best the U.S. had to offer over time-tested classics like "M*A*S*H," "All in the Family," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "The Bob Newhart Show," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Barney Miller," the first couple years of "Scrubs," "The Simpsons," "30 Rock" and "Seinfeld" is the equivalent of a Yank saying that "Good Neighbors" and "Are You Being Served" represent the pinnacle of Brit sitom hilarity.

On a side note--Frasier Crane is the longest running character on any sitcom. Take that, Rowan Atkinson!
:D

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Postby poohcarrot » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:46 am

Have to agree with j-i-b there. Swap Frasier for M*A*S*H. And I liked the early Roseanne.

I've said this before but I'll say it again. In the UK MASH had no canned laughter. I saw an episode in the US and the canned laughter completely ruined it for me. Same with Monty Python (I believe). I don't like canned laughter, it's like I'm being told when to laugh and I'm too stupid to work it out for myself. And it really annoys me when something isn't funny and everyone laughs eg; stuff on the Disney channel.

Rant over. :lol:
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Postby poohcarrot » Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:30 am

Jan Van Quirm wrote:In the Discworld cosmos Magic is King but Time is most definitely Queen


I had never thought about the big part Time plays in all DW books until now. Having a quick calculation I reckon of all 37 DW books, at least 16 (maybe more) feature distortions of time ie; either travelling forward or backward in time, zero time or trousers of time. :shock:
Well-pointed out Jano. :D

BTW If Brutha is Jesus, Teppic is John the Baptist, who is Salome? :lol:

Tony
It seems logical to discuss Small Gods after Pyramids. If nobody objects, any chance of moving it from December 7 this year?
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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:02 am

poohcarrot wrote:
Tony
It seems logical to discuss Small Gods after Pyramids. If nobody objects, any chance of moving it from December 7 this year?


I have no real objection, as long as no one else has. But let's not make a habit of this as 'logic' would suggest that we should read Carpe Jugulum after Small Gods - but that would be quite a jump in the Witches series.

Logically, we should have read the books in order of publication... but we didn't. :roll:

If anyone has any serious objection to reading Small Gods next, then please let me know as soon as possible. :wink:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:43 pm

raisindot wrote:
Jan Van Quirm wrote:The 2 great US sitcoms that stand out for me are Cheers and Frasier and though they're connected (and I think had some of the same writers?) the humour's different and somehow very appropriate and well-observed about 2 very different social and cultural settings.


Whoa! Make statements like that and I may have go "Pooh" on you! :)
J-I-B

*wags finger Boston-wards* :lol: read the qualification guys :wink:

Just for the record - I refuse to acknowledge false poohs :twisted: Once you've had the real thing you can't go back PMSL :wink:

And yes I did know that Frasier was the longest running sit-com character - I adore Kelsey Grammer in everything he does and actually I prefer him more as Crusty and Calculon (and though the Simpsons and Futurama are both excellent, their defaults for slapstick means I don't see those two shows as true satire althought the observational aspects are truly wicked :twisted: ), but Cheers and Frasier, though dated are still well-written and observed and I think may perhaps stand the test of time in later years in the same way that Dad's Army has (not a satire just an example for these purposes) in that it's a snapshot of a certain era in a certain place - post-grunge Seattle has far more appeal for me intellectually than wartime Korea for instance although I really liked M*A*S*H too (without the canned laughter - another point of agreement with pure pooh :P )

I really liked Roseanne and some of the others you listed too, but Cheers and Frasier were my 2 must see progs on Friday nights for years but on the other hand Seinfeld often had me reaching for the remote and Friends consistently never made it to the 1st ad break (the US one as we have less ads than you do over there) - possibly the reason why some people could watch a whole episode in mini-bites but I guess I'm just too sensitive... :wink:

Anyway - we've had enough non-Terry satire debate and I think most of us now accept it's all subjective to your own personal tastes :wink:

Pooh *bows kind of respectfully to true entity* 8) Ptraci is Salome of course (Teppic also being quite a good Ptolemy) but I don't think Chidders fits as Herod or his wife. He makes a good Mark Anthony though :lol:

Does anyone else think Ptraci looks a bit like Amanda Barrie in Carry On Cleo - go on, tell me she doesn't! :lol:
Last edited by Jan Van Quirm on Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:57 pm

Tony - not that fussed about when we discuss Small Gods, but we may have run out of steam in some respects on the similarities between the two and, especially with the beliefs aspects, it may be taxing/aggravating to prolong a great deal of heady debate (and I include myself as one of the usual suspects on that count BTW :oops: ) which could get at least boring if not contentious... :?

On balance I'd err on the side of caution and perhaps give people who don't like their debates blurring the lines and exploding the thermostat too much a rest before we get into SG rather than stretch things out. However, as I love to blur :P I won't complain if the majority want to go straight into the main event as it were :wink:
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