UA - Not Loving it and feeling like traitoress

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UA - Not Loving it and feeling like traitoress

Postby Perdita X » Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:38 pm

Sorry guys - is it just me ?

I am struggling to enjoy UA - it's all over the place - dont feel suitably warmed to the characters - some of them just seem pointless and unexplored and with 30 pages to go I still feel like nothing much has happened.

is this the beginning of the end ?

(nice to be back by the way )

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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:54 pm

Hi Perdita, welcome back! :D

No, not just you - I was very disappointed on my first reading. The second reading was better, but still not great. I certainly don't understand people who claim it's their favourite book in the series. :?

But the key to the book seems to be that you need to know what Terry is alluding to. There are a lot of themes that have little to do (thank the gods) with football. And in some ways the book is quite insightful regarding the way (for example) people seem content to never try to better themselves. To stay in the same neighbourhood doing the same boring job instead of moving on to better, more rewarding places.

The book also speaks of tribalism, not just in the team you support, but the area where you live. Of how people hate other people just because they live in a different area and support a different team.

I suspect this may be a little like Monstrous Regiment for me - I really didn't think much of that one on the first reading, but have come to love it more and more on subsequent readings. :D
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:04 pm

Hi Perdita

While I was thinking about my reply Tony has posted so I'll try not to repeat too much of what he said :)

I have to say I thought it was really funny when I first read it but then I hadn't read any new Pratchett in over a year.

Which characters don't you like?- I thought the night cook (who's name I've forgotten) was very well developed and quite impressive in her attempts to become more than those arround her.

Definitely lots more to it than football - belonging and how it can hold you back despite its importance - as one example

Finally I wouldn't assume its the beginning of the end - I think most fans have at least one book that doesn't click with them.
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Postby Perdita X » Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:18 pm

SPOILERS

Hi Tony :D, Hi Doughnut Jimmy :D ,

Thanks for that - feel slightly better now (although still feel like have been unfaithful to Terryfor not liking his book much!)

Yes I kind of get the whole crab bucket theme and as you say DJ, Glenda is quite well developed - I dont get the point of Pepe and Madame Sharn - except to discover Juliet - no background - maybe it's because they're newbies - possibly I am a bit stuck in my crab bucket re. new characters.

I like Nutt - always like the clever characters - (Vetinari is actually my secret fantasy crush !! DON'T tell anyone).

It's sort of like everyone who is anyone in AM makes a little cameo appearance, which I dont think is necessary - it's like El Tel has put everyone in like Sunday night at the London Palladium, or a Band Aid single - Oh here I go again starting to criticise my betters.

Anyway chaps - thanks for feedback

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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:28 pm

PerditaX wrote:I dont get the point of Pepe and Madame Sharn


My opinion which I'm sure others will disagree with is that they're there so Terry can have fun exploring the world of fashion in his usual twisted way - really could you get anything more incongrous than Dwarves and fashion.

:D
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Postby raisindot » Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:12 pm

It's not you, Perdita.

UA will not go down as one of my personal favorites. There was just something so "everything and the kitchen sink" about it, combined with the central football story--which, really is something I suppose you really need to be from outside the U.S. to really understand and appreciate--that just didn't hit it with me. I didn't find it all that funny. Glenda never clicked with me. Nutt was just not a very compelling protagonist and his central struggle and identify crisis didn't seem so 'earth shattering.' The endless and often disjointed cameos seemed to be a sop for long-time DW readers. There wasn't even a great villain (Andy is just a common thug; he doesn't hold a candle to the great DW street villains like Tea-Time, Pin & Tulip and Carcer).

As readers, we are under no obligation to like everything Pterry writes (witness the recent debates over the merits of Pyramids, Monstrous Regiment, and the early Rincewind books). If we did, we'd be no better than the scientologists who make every "new" L. Ron Hubbard novel a bestseller (even though the man's been dead for 20 years).

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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:40 pm

raisindot wrote:combined with the central football story--which, really is something I suppose you really need to be from outside the U.S. to really understand and appreciate-


Does the USA not have similar sports fans groups then? I thought you guys were big supporters of your American football and baseball teams?

How about other countries?

It's such a basic bit of UK life that even with no interest in sport you are familiar with the supporters.
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:55 pm

It's not just sports teams - it's political alliances as well! :lol:

As to Pepe - well he's an example of someone who DID get out of the bucket. He's not even a dwarf, except maybe a human dwarf. He's very different to all the humans he grew up around and yet he broke with the traditions of the area, that would never fully accept him, and made a name for himself.
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Postby Dotsie » Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:58 pm

raisindot wrote:Andy is just a common thug


That's right. Isn't that the point? Why would Terry make a sophisticated football hooligan?

Can I just say, hopefully without offending anyone, but I've heard "beginning of the end" comments about the last three books. If I were Terry, that would pee me off so much I would stop writing them :?
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Postby Bouncy Castle » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:50 pm

I thought it was OK, though I admit I haven't read it again yet.

It was much better than Hogfather, which, I think, is my least favourite book, and I acquired the DVD last week and watched it at the weekend.

Still not liking it, and as for Marc Warren's ridiculous American accent - what the heck was that all about?
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Postby Danny B » Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:28 pm

While I certainly understand your point, Perdita, different books will engage different people and there are enough points for and against any given novel to write a list as long as your arm to support any given viewpoint; I for one have to disagree with it being the "beginning of the end". I'm of the opinion that he's only just reaching his peak as a writer.

Whilst I loved the machine gun rate of gags and references in his earlier work, along with plots that parodied almost everything of cultural significance in the modern developed world, it was always the flashes brilliant characterization and the streak of cynical wisdom running through his novels which kept me coming back for the next one, I can get gags and parody from Craig Shaw Gardner. I think this element of Mr P's writing is getting stronger with each progressive novel. Some people will love this new direction and others won't. I know I'm in first camp, but understand completely anyone who isn't. I have similar feelings to the ones you expressed about Mr P's writings, about David Gemmell's later works (Troy trilogy excepted.), while other Gemmell fans accused me of being "stuck in the past" and "worshipping at the altar of Druss". Horses for courses, is my way of thinking. ;)

Re Andy: For what it's worth, Andy is one of the most convincing and realistic villains ever to appear in a Discworld novel. I grew up on a pretty rough council estate and spent most of my teens living in fear of the local thuggish psycho. He's currently serving nine years in prison for beating a pizza delivery man half to death with a baseball bat, in order to steal less than forty quid from the poor sod. Andy might be mundane in his villainy, but he's so real it brings up goosebumps for anyone who's had dealings with a bloke like that. :(
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:21 pm

Perdita X wrote:I like Nutt - always like the clever characters - (Vetinari is actually my secret fantasy crush !! DON'T tell anyone).

You are not alone Perdita! :oops: :wink:
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Postby janet » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:01 pm

BEWARE SPOILERS
I read UA twice without a break. The Nutt/Glenda story is the central theme for me. Nutt is the unimaginable beast, the Orc, who has a species heritage of brutality and worse to bear. But he's a relic, a survivor and has had an education by courtesy of Her Ladyship and his need to learn is insatiable. He is the Noble Savage of popular Victorian literature and of 'Brave New World'.
Glenda is caught in the crab bucket, the society she lives in drags her back down if she thinks of escaping, but she begins to find her freedom before she even realises the analogy of the crab bucket.
Glenda is, certainly, as strong a female character as Granny Weatherwax. She is blessed with love, both as a gift and as hers for the giving, as is Granny. They have different ways of proving it. That's all.
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Postby Penfold » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:08 pm

Perdita X wrote:Thanks for that - feel slightly better now (although still feel like have been unfaithful to Terryfor not liking his book much!)

Perdita X (hanging head in shame)

I have to say that there is no shame in not liking all of Terry's works. With an output in excess of over 50 works (including collaborations, non DW, short stories, etc), its not surprising that some don't hit the mark. Even Monty Python or Ronny Barker had their failures and they can arguably be considered amongst the greatest comedy script writers of all time.

Having said that, I did feel that UA was definitely better for the second reading, and I will give it a third go when I have the time. :)
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Postby Quark » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:13 pm

That's funny. Am I really the only one here who liked it; no catches; no misgivings? Sure, I don't understand football and there's still plenty to get to grips with, but I still enjoyed it.

I do agree with Penfold: When Mr Pratchett has written this much, some of it isn't going to be for some people, and sometimes it just might not turn out as expected (Ah, overhype). If there's a Discworld book that I didn't think much of, it was Mort.
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