Interesting Times is not set in China!

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Interesting Times is not set in China!

Postby poohbcarrot » Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:37 pm

Reading some of the comments on one of these threads, it seems that almost everybody assumes Interesting Times is set in China. (Probably because of the Wall and the Terracota army)

Well it isn't.

It's set in a country that is a cross between China and Japan.

Here are 10 pieces of evidence to justify my claim;

1. The sumo-like wrestlers
2. Lord Hong's origami
3. The baths
4. The ninja
5. The paper walls
6. Lord Hong's sword making
7. The families fighting over control of the empire (Shogun)
8. The nightingale floors
9. Twoflower as a tourist taking photos of everything is stereotypical Japanese
10. The poetry

If I re-read the book I'm sure I could find a lot more references
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:08 pm

I thought it was set on Discworld... :shock:

Yes, I'd agree that Terry has generally lumped together all sorts of Oriental bits and pieces and from China and Japan.

But I think it's important to remember that the Agatean Empire is not China and not Japan, but a fictitious place on a fantasy world that just happens to resemble parts of our world. :lol:

If you take this too seriously you could argue that as there's someone painting a plate, it must be set in Staffordshire. :wink: :P
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:44 pm

Tonyblack wrote: If you take this too seriously you could argue that as there's someone painting a plate, it must be set in Staffordshire. :wink: :P


PMSL :lol:
But surely the Staffordshire potteries were heavily influenced and followed Chinese/Japanese methods in making porcelain/ceramics. They started the whole plate decorating thing off - or was it the Greeks - or the Sumerians - or those nice 2001 missing links.... :twisted:

I love Interesting Times and of course it's a fusion and borrows from many oriental sources - if you take the Agatean Empire as a whole there's Indonesian and even Polynesia connections too. People say that JK Rowling feeds gaily off other author's ideas but so does Terry - there's not a lot that's original out there and to succeed as a writer you inevitably have to work with some concepts and backgrounds that your reader understands simply as a basis for comparison. Terry's just a lot better than most writers at spinning it in a different and intelligently amusing manner :P
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Postby The_Discworldaholic » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:50 pm

every time i re read that book, which i have just finnished it again for the umpteenth time i keep thinking. "Made in Taiwan" for some reason :)
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Postby Who's Wee Dug » Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:00 pm

I definately agree with Poohbcarrot it is stereotypical Japanese ,but one thing you forgot to mention Poohb is the glasses. :)
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Postby Ezekiel000 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:36 pm

It is stereotypical oriental not any specific country, more of a mixmash of all of them.
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Postby chris.ph » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:33 pm

ill agree with tony its definately discworld :lol:
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Postby Dotsie » Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:32 pm

chris.ph wrote:ill agree with tony its definately discworld :lol:


That's right. The boxes on legs definitely give it away :wink:
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Postby Lady Vetinari » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:54 pm

I vaguely remember reading this book ages ago, and I was always under the illusion that it was China! I must have taken it out of the library as I know we don't own that one. But then I don't own half of them and am now taking my Pratchett collecting seriously.

I remember finding it ... well ... interesting! :lol:
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Postby boohoo » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:16 am

For me,in the first chapters the book always reminded me of Japan.Then near the end Terry threw in the terracotta army and it made me think China. But isn't that the point he makes you think, challenge and question.
That's what makes Terry so readable and re-readable. On the idea that it's stereotypical, isn't it your own stereo types that are being brought out and aired for you to look at. With everybody being influenced by a greater and greater media presence and access to all types of cultures writing, anything that someone, somewhere doesn't think has been borrowed/stolen from somewhere else is near imposable.

That is my two $AM worth.
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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:24 am

boohoo wrote:For me,in the first chapters the book always reminded me of Japan.Then near the end Terry threw in the terracotta army and it made me think China. But isn't that the point he makes you think, challenge and question.
That's what makes Terry so readable and re-readable. On the idea that it's stereotypical, isn't it your own stereo types that are being brought out and aired for you to look at. With everybody being influenced by a greater and greater media presence and access to all types of cultures writing, anything that someone, somewhere doesn't think has been borrowed/stolen from somewhere else is near imposable.

That is my two $AM worth.
The best stereotypes that Terry does are 'people' - it doesn't matter if his people are dwarfs, elves, vampires or humans, what he writes about is the way people think and the way they act. That's why his books are so readable - because we recognise those types of people.

I think it's too easy to say 'this is Terry writing about China/Japan/Australia' - yes there are similarities - but what he's really writing about is human nature. :)
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:49 am

Tonyblack wrote:The best stereotypes that Terry does are 'people' - it doesn't matter if his people are dwarfs, elves, vampires or humans, what he writes about is the way people think and the way they act. That's why his books are so readable - because we recognise those types of people.


Yep - that's exactly it Tony. People are always people when it comes down to it. No matter how technically advanced we get we all still need to sleep, eat, socialise and excrete - the Egyptians and Romans did it and we still do it - however different the culture, we're all kin in some ways and most of the spillover is just window-dressing and often very, very funny :P
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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:28 pm

Someone on the Cunning Artificer site posted this link to an excellent blog essay about Terry's writing. The writer has pretty much put into words my own feelings about Terry's genius for storytelling.

It's quite long, but well worth checking out. :)
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Postby Tiffany » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:42 pm

I have read your link, Tony & I agree with you. It is exactly how I feel about Terry's books too.
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Postby Who's Wee Dug » Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:30 pm

BooHoo I love your avatar 8) but then I'm bit biased there ,your not really greeting are you. :mrgreen:
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