Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby RolandItwasntmyfault » Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:25 pm

I have just finished my second reading.

Usually (also as matter of respect to the forum community and to the discussion), I first read all of the previous discussion. But, 40 pages, hu, this will tak a time.
So at the moment some ((re)fresh(ed)) impressions.
Apologies if some of these already has been mentioned.
Some of my questions I still have I will defer until reading the discussion (in which perhaps it already is answered).

Although not too bad this book in my opinion still is some way away from a podium place.

Good thing first this book is more touching in the matter of goblins than for example Unseen Academicals (possible little SPOILER ahead) is in the matter of orcs. We literally are much much nearer at goblins and the human's attitude to hate them (albeit from different reasons) and why they nevertheless could be not more or less likeable as the human/troll/dwarf next door/cave/mine (possible SPOILER ending).

Dull things next: This books takes very very very veeeeery long to get drive. Until page 100 we see nice countryship impressions and society smalltalk, then the first time really something happens, not much (a short brawl), but something at least. Then it takes almost another 100 pages to at last come to the "meat", to start the real plot. After this point it still is no rocket but at several points a well trimmed racing car (the damn slam at most!).

And at last, for now: One aspect was rather annoying while first reading. I don't think that I am prude, I even (sometimes) like dirty talk or dirty jokes and I love Nanny Ogg for doing so. :twisted: But this emphasis of every kind of poo... and again... and again... At first reading it really got on my nerves. While second reading it didn't stuck to my eyes so penetrant, it even wasn't a nuisance any more, a mere background detail. Nevertheless I though: What wants Terry to tell us with this detail? :think:
(If discussed before please see this as rhetorical question, I will work through the whole thread the coming week.)


Okay, finished for now, I think I will add questions later on.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby =Tamar » Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:09 am

Here's how I see it. Life is complicated and includes much that we prefer not to think about. Poo is important - it must happen, or we get sick, and and it must be dealt with properly, or we get sick. It is one of the many lessons the child has to learn, and so does the philosopher. Symbolically, studying the parts of life that are less pleasant and must be dealt with is part of the job of the scientist, the doctor, and the policeman. The scientist and the doctor get over the revulsion that is taught, so that they can study carefully. The policeman may become accustomed to it, but he still has the job of cleaning it up.

Vimes's job as the new local lord is to clean up the unacknowledged mess of the country society. To do that, he must first learn about it, see it happening, find out what is healthy (learn the sometimes-good reasons behind the puzzling customs), and clear away what is unhealthy. He has to learn the social customs in every level: the servants, the local lords, the farmers and tradesmen, the sports players, even the poacher and the hermit. He can't do it by watching through a window; he has to be out there talking to people so what he sees won't be too distorted.

The other reason is that Sir Terry always includes more than one kind of humor in his books. He includes high-level character comedy, verbal jokes, situation comedy, and probably others, all the way down to simple body humor and poo jokes. There's something for every sense of humor.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Penfold » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:25 am

I was at the Wetlands Trust a while back, sitting in a hide and watching for something to photograph. A family with a small boy came in and sat nearby. The boy was loudly showing much more interest in the bird droppings than the birds themselves (calling them poo) so I think Terry got the point about what really interests kids pretty spot on. :lol:
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Tonyblack » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:17 am

Poo is interesting stuff. If you are into nature, you can tell a lot by it. Such as what animals have been there and what they eat. One of the reasons that kids find it fascinating is because talking about such things is generally frowned upon by most adults. Such books as Who Pooped in the Sonaran Desert have been popular for years, because it shows kids how to see evidence of the animals that they might never see, because they are nocturnal, tiny or easily frightened by noise. :)
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby RolandItwasntmyfault » Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:10 pm

Yep, I know that childrens of a certain age are really fascinated by poo and I like your explanations on this stuff.
Although poo as a joke, ok, I myself grinned only once, that was about elephants and poo heavens. But as you said, Tamar, there may be something for every sense of humor.
One or two thoughs I had were 1. if this perhaps should underline Young Sams presumed natural scientific abilities. But I think it is rather early to draw such conclusion... whose little child has not one time or the other tinkled on some musical instrument without becoming a musical star when grown up.
But we pretty well see the horror in Sam's face when mentioned to send Young Sam to UU (although if he lacks complete magical skills Alchemist's guild would be more possible, I think, or the forensic department of City Watch, albeit Old Sam doesn't want become him a copper... when Young Sam stays with his fascination on natural "sciences" that is).

(And there are really books about animal poo? Until now I only know this little nice books für nice little childrens with footprints, fur, feather's in it and so on. :lol: )


Half through the thread I have to confess I almost complete missed the Jane-Austen-parody-thingie. Okay, I knew even before reading that there should something be with Jane Austen but expect the first name of the writer and the title of the book mentioned on the second to last page I haven't seen a connection.
Reason is presumbly that I haven't read Austen and presumbly never will do this. After all I heard and read it simply wouldn't be my theme (although I love Patrick O'Brian and the Aubrey-Maturin-series which, as me was told, is set in the same time and in which you also get page after page of natural descriptions or pre-victorian society atmosphere, but on the other hand you always know after that you will go back at sea and throw some iron balls in wooden planks*).

*Well, not throwing balls in planks exactly (strictly speaking this is a rather minor part of the novels), it's rather the life at sea as such which is fascinating as POB describes it.



Therefore the scene with this daughters which apparantly should be a parody on some scene(?) in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice(?) was read by me something along this lines:
Yeah, Sam, really good saying, I agree completely with your meaning.
Okay, Terry, Sam is modernTM, not AM victorianlike modern but 21th century moralizing modern, he is a modern good guyTM, point taken.
Without knowing that exact this scene was meant as parody I simply though: Yep, Sam now is becoming to good for his world.

By reading this forum I have seen one recommendation for "How NOT to write a novel" and bought it immediately. Therein is a paragraph called "the vegetarian viking" and albeit totaly agreeing complete with the content of Sam's sayings I had the feeling it doesn't really fits in the assumed DW-era... Okay, if I would know the original scene from Jane Austen, I also would laugh, I think, like (please excuse the rather flat example, there might be better ones, but it's the only one which comes to my mind at the moment) while reading the gollum scene in Witches Abroad (if you don't know Lord of the rings this parody also would go straight above your head).

So, some of the "dullness" in the first half of the book presumbly is owed to this my ignorance of Jane Austen.
It is noch boring, it is not bad writing, but the plot is floating the pages along without making progress.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby =Tamar » Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:07 pm

RolandItwasntmyfault wrote:1. if this perhaps should underline Young Sams presumed natural scientific abilities. But I think it is rather early to draw such conclusion... whose little child has not one time or the other tinkled on some musical instrument without becoming a musical star when grown up.

:whistle:
Playing the piano used to be described as "tinkling on the ivories" (the white keys used to be ivory-covered and the high notes can make a tinkling sound), but in this context you have also made a pun. (In American English, some families refer to urination as "tinkling.")

RolandItwasntmyfault wrote:(And there are really books about animal poo? Until now I only know this little nice books für nice little childrens with footprints, fur, feather's in it and so on. :lol: )

There are also nice little books about children's poo. One is called Everyone Poops.

RolandItwasntmyfault wrote: I almost complete missed the Jane-Austen-parody-thingie. Okay, I knew even before reading that there should something be with Jane Austen but expect the first name of the writer and the title of the book mentioned on the second to last page I haven't seen a connection.

Except for the first name, the scene in the drawing room, and the title at the end, there isn't much. The scene shows us the kind of society that Vimes has to put up with. Jane Austen's books are still popular enough to be made into television shows, so people are more likely to recognize a parody of Jane Austen than of any other writer from that time.
The scene also shows that even the girls' mother is annoyed with how they behave and wants them to develop differently, though perhaps not as differently as the lumberjack sister. (Luckily for the girls, Terry made it easier for them by giving them Sam's offer of rent-free support to get started in business; it would have been much harder in real life.) Once Terry had established the kind of overly-refined society Sam was trying to understand, he didn't need to show much more of it, so he went on to show other groups.

RolandItwasntmyfault wrote: So, some of the "dullness" in the first half of the book presumbly is owed to this my ignorance of Jane Austen. It is not boring, it is not bad writing, but the plot is floating the pages along without making progress.

I include it as part of setting the scene, but I admit that it might also be Sir Terry expressing his opinion of that whole era in our world, when many women were carefully taught to be useless and to be helpless when their supporters died. One of the themes of the book is the corrupting influence of false pride in a society, as opposed to real pride in real accomplishment.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby RolandItwasntmyfault » Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:32 pm

=Tamar wrote:
RolandItwasntmyfault wrote:1. if this perhaps should underline Young Sams presumed natural scientific abilities. But I think it is rather early to draw such conclusion... whose little child has not one time or the other tinkled on some musical instrument without becoming a musical star when grown up.

:whistle:
Playing the piano used to be described as "tinkling on the ivories" (the white keys used to be ivory-covered and the high notes can make a tinkling sound), but in this context you have also made a pun. (In American English, some families refer to urination as "tinkling.")


Huu, really? No pun intended but. :lol: :lol: ;)
I first thought at the piano but than remembered that perhaps noch every child has a piano (several may have a xylophon) at home and thought a more general term has to do, and weren't conscious about the "tinkle" usually describes the ivories. Thank you for telling so. :)
I hope you still understood my meaning. :whistle:


=Tamar wrote:
RolandItwasntmyfault wrote:(And there are really books about animal poo? Until now I only know this little nice books für nice little childrens with footprints, fur, feather's in it and so on. :lol: )

There are also nice little books about children's poo. One is called Everyone Poops.


Oh, yeah, you live and learn. :lol:


=Tamar wrote:
RolandItwasntmyfault wrote: I almost complete missed the Jane-Austen-parody-thingie. Okay, I knew even before reading that there should something be with Jane Austen but expect the first name of the writer and the title of the book mentioned on the second to last page I haven't seen a connection.

Except for the first name, the scene in the drawing room, and the title at the end, there isn't much. The scene shows us the kind of society that Vimes has to put up with. Jane Austen's books are still popular enough to be made into television shows, so people are more likely to recognize a parody of Jane Austen than of any other writer from that time.
The scene also shows that even the girls' mother is annoyed with how they behave and wants them to develop differently, though perhaps not as differently as the lumberjack sister. (Luckily for the girls, Terry made it easier for them by giving them Sam's offer of rent-free support to get started in business; it would have been much harder in real life.) Once Terry had established the kind of overly-refined society Sam was trying to understand, he didn't need to show much more of it, so he went on to show other groups.


Austen isn't unknown here as well and every time and another in TV, but since it presents a theme which doesn't appeal to myself... but I think I can see the point, yes.



=Tamar wrote:
RolandItwasntmyfault wrote: So, some of the "dullness" in the first half of the book presumbly is owed to this my ignorance of Jane Austen. It is not boring, it is not bad writing, but the plot is floating the pages along without making progress.

I include it as part of setting the scene, but I admit that it might also be Sir Terry expressing his opinion of that whole era in our world, when many women were carefully taught to be useless and to be helpless when their supporters died.


Okay, it belongs to the part of setting the scene, I agree, but it is a setting of the scene which takes very very long without progress or really interesting countryside description. To me that is, other readers may don't think so and this is okay.
Right, reading Patrick O'Brian etc. I am rather familiar with this opion of this particular era. But reading this one scene was reading as if he wanted to moralize. By first reading I have to confess, by secound reading (circa 1 year after the first time) it wasn't longer stucking out at all.


=Tamar wrote:One of the themes of the book is the corrupting influence of false pride in a society, as opposed to real pride in real accomplishment.


Yes, it 100% agree, that's one of the persistent themes of the book, in many and in different facettes.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Peacemoon » Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:16 pm

Do you guys think Sally will make a return in the next watch novel? I see her and Angua as the only way forwards from this point - Carrot is tied to the city, Sam Vimes is an untouchable policeman and so on.
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Re: Watch SPECULATION, was Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby =Tamar » Sat Jun 21, 2014 7:56 pm

Rather than just focusing on Sally and Angua, there needs to be a plot, a crime, and a theme to be mirrored.
Since I believe Sir Terry no longer reads the fan sites, I speculate:

Spoiler: show
that Harry King may be involved. He represents 19th century big business, with its good points and its faults. William de Worde depends on him for the paper he prints The Truth on, so he can't turn muckraker. Someone else will have to get him to clean up his act. Maybe... Mrs. King?
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Tonyblack » Sat Jun 21, 2014 9:18 pm

Sally is really an Uberwald officer,
Spoiler: show
she was Just working undercover with the A-M Watch. Presumably, she went back to Bonk. :)


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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Peacemoon » Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:50 am

Nah, we know that she stayed with the watch - she's a watch captain in the Science of Discworld IV.

Unless, of course, that's been decanonized. Which would be a shame, because I think that she is the key to advancing Angua and Carrot's relationship.

As for the plot of the next Watch novel:

I think it may well be set in Ankh-Morpork, if only partially. This is because Snuff was not, which limited the cast of characters somewhat. I believe that it might involve the newspapers, but this is only a hunch. The problem with the Watch at the moment is that they have turned Vimes into an unstoppable policeman, so a generic criminal won't work.

Edit: and thanks for the welcome!
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Peacemoon » Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:40 pm

I have to admit that I don't like Snuff all that much. One of the reasons why is the way Vimes is portrayed in the book.

Vimes seems to spend a lot of the book talking to an invisible audience, taking ages to get the reader to agree with his opinions. We are expected to believe that Vimes is a paragon of virtue, honorable and a super policeman. This is very much at odds with his character in the rest of the series. He was always flawed, a good policeman perhaps, but still a flawed one. Even in Thud! he still possessed these characteristics - far too blunt (in a bad way), problems with thinking outside of the box ect - even if he was a bit like Batman. But now he is a male Mary Sue (a Garry Stu); an inserted version of the author to spout off political opinions.

The moral problem:

All Discworld books have morals. Like most good stories, they reflect on things in the real world. Terry has always been very good at doing this subtly, the scenes between Colon and Nobby being a prime example, but Snuff seems to beat you over the head with the moral. It is not subtly in any way shape or form, and can be quite jarring if you're used to his more subtly attempts. He usually inserted morals as a joke that got you thinking, but not any more.

The pacing:

I like Terry's works because they had lightning quick plots, getting into the meat of the story very quickly, but Snuff is not like this. There's a lot of background information in the beginning without much actual point to it, the pub being a good example.

The plot just doesn't have the twists and double bluffs we've come to expect (Monstrous Regiment anyone?).

The humor:

It tends to beat you around the head until you get the "joke". Terry was always very funny because of the way the characters reacted to the world around them normally, despite it being insane. There's a lot I could write here, but if I started I would never stop, and I only have a limited amount of time to write this.

I know that humor is not the be all and end all of a book, look at Night Watch, but it is a very important aspect nonetheless.

The endless class warfare:

Vimes' obsession with class and the divide between the rich and poor has been around since Guards! Guards! , but it has always been something of a background note; mentioned a few times (usually in the context of a thought provoking joke) but not brought up every odd page. He's always insisting that he is really one of them, despite this obviously no longer being true. Page after page of the inverted snobbery really got on my nerves, to tell the truth.

All in all, it reminds me more of a Midsummer Murders novel than a Discworld Fantasy.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Tonyblack » Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:57 pm

I haven't read Any of the Science of Discworld books - apart from the first one. So that's news to me.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby raisindot » Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:53 pm

Peacemoon, I agree with you thoroughly. I didn't like it the first reading and now that I'm "listening" to the audiobooks version, the flaws you mention stand out even more when you hear Stephen Briggs' voicing Vimes' endless moralizing and advice. What Pterry was once able to convey in a sentence now takes paragraphs. His ability to drop narrative hints that required the reader to infer the answer has been replaced with direct and clumsy explanations. A perfect example of all of these flaws occurs in the scene when Colon has found the little ungue pot in his cigar and tells Cheery that he's entitled to keep it. In an earlier book, an economical one-liner would have registered Cheery's disgust. Here, she's goes off on a completely uncharacteristic speech detailing the entire history's of Colon's xenophobic nature and ends with an explicit insult.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Peacemoon » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:15 pm

Double post, sorry.
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