whither Discworld?

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whither Discworld?

Postby rockershovel » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:14 pm

Long ago and far away, I used to be a fan of the Larry Niven Known Space stories. Over time, they became increasingly bloated and unintelligible, as Niven became increasingly wrapped up in tying up all sorts of originally unconnected loose ends. Asimov's Foundation stories ended up increasingly metaphysical and uninteresting, and Heinlein was notoriously self-indulgent and flatulent in his later works.

I can't avoid the feeling that Discworld needs to either move on, or draw stumps.

I could envisage a scenario with an older, darker Carrot, no longer in the Watch, as Vetinari's right-hand-man, having been promoted to the role as a servant of the City. Vetinari retains the title and acts as Carrot's adviser and guide; a semi-retired Vimes is also a member of Carrot's inner council. Angua, also no longer in the Watch, acts as Carrot's de-facto consort and as diplomatic intermediary between Ankh-Morpork and Uberwald, supported by the Vetinari/Lady Margolotta connection.

Nobby and Fred Colon, hard to say. Running a pub and drawing their pensions, with Fred's wife doing most of the actual work, most likely. At one time I thought Colon might have a last hurrah as a sort of Discworld Rooster Cogburn, but that opportunity has passed and anyway, I think Sergeant Jackrum pretty much did it in Monstrous Regiment.

I donlt suppose any such book will ever be written, but perhaps one last story to show them "all growed up" would be fun...
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Re: whither Discworld?

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:46 pm

I know where you're coming from rocker - I kind of fell out of besotted love with Discworld around the time of The Truth which was when Terry started with the young adults Discworld series (although Thief of Time and Nightwatch are still 2 of my all time faves). I personally think he was getting bored of it around then too and decided to come at it from a different angle, but his life events with his father dying and then the embuggerance have inevitably had their effect as he's definitely a different writer these days (not better or worse particularly, more diversified?) :shifty:

What will change things though is this new era with The Watch TV series, which will be based in canon but start with new storylines too and develop the Watch that way with A-M encapsulated in the New Era of the Patrician and of Moist and other already written citizenry (hopefully we'll see more of UU and foot-the-ball, The Mended Drum, Biers and Harry King and other notable characters making cameo appearances.) Terry's input will be in the infrastructure with Rhianna and Guy Burt supplying the writing for the screenplay. Reading between the lines of recent statements from Terry, Rhianna and Narrativia the new Discworld production company I think that we'll see a tailing off the books altogether over the next few years as Terry rests on his laurels in the Discworld universe at least with his daughter taking the helm on the live action side of things... :?

Whatever happens in future I think there's enough momentum now with it to carry on after Terry has to stop writing it whether that's sooner or later, so long as people of Rob's, Rhianna's and Guy's calibre are involved. :icon-wink:
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Re: whither Discworld?

Postby rockershovel » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:31 pm

H'mmm. I've never been particularly convinced by the live adaptations; David Jason's notably over-aged Rincewind, for one thing. The least successful parts of Discworld have always been when character arcs that were originally separate, overlapped; I Shall Wear Midnight has a bad case of this at times.

There's also the problem of establishing where things like magic, begin and end. Police procedurals aren't usually comic and don't usually work when they are; even Rowan Atkinson couldn't make anything out of Thin Blue Line. As for comic fantasy, don't let's even MENTION the truly dire Krod Mandoon. It CAN work, as the Pythons proved; but that depended largely on extravagant, schoolboy silliness such as the truly wonderful "coconuts" joke, or the arcane bickering between the various Judean factions.

Personally, I find it difficult to envisage how a series like this would afford the sort of casting needed to walk the very fine line needed to carry off this sort of material.

Another problem tends to be that the heirs and successors aren't the master. Tolkein's heirs produced unreadably obscure stuff; the Rev Awdry's estate have flogged Thomas long past death, and the ongoing Dune books have long since become incomprehensibly obscure and filled with increasingly bizarre and irrelevant characters.
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Re: whither Discworld?

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:06 pm

Agree with you on the Tolkien front (but then to be fair Christopher was really just re-editing from his Dad's various iterations from Unfinished Tales and/or the Silmarillion and the seeming endless History of ME volumes (Lost Tales etc) which are various degrees of unreadable.).

Both Rhianna Pratchett and Guy Burt are more than competent screenplay writers and both 'get' Discworld so far as Terry is concerned and they won't be re-gurgitating the books so much as taking them on in the universe. Narrativia itself is Terry's company and he's keeping a tight hold on production values now so really I'm prepared to give it a chance and hope for good things. Whatever the quality it's fairly obvious though that Terry's not going be writing exclusively for Discworld anymore so the output's most definitely now finite. The venture into serialisations might just be an interesting experiment and seen through fresh eyes that still know what they're talking about. Time will tell as always :)
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Re: whither Discworld?

Postby rockershovel » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:52 am

Only one way to find out. It's certainly time for a new direction on Discworld, so let's see what happens.

The later Dune books were, supposedly, produced from Frank Herbert's notes but the last two or three, those notes appear to have consisted of a post-it stuck to the fridge saying "must write more Dune books"

"Known Space" is an interesting case. There was/is, a gap referred to in canon in the period of the Man/Kzin Wars. Niven seemed uninterested in writing about this period, and a series of anthologies were published by invitation. Some of the stories here were more like the earlier Niven material than his current output, which had moved into self-contained "airport blockbusters" in collaboration with various other writers, and they actually gathered a definite fan-base from long-term fans who didn't take to the new material.
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