Eric Discussion **Spoilers**

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Eric Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Mon Jul 04, 2011 5:22 am

**Warning**

This thread is for discussing Eric in some depth. If you haven’t read the book then read on at your own risk – or, better still, go and read the book and join in the fun.

For those of us that are going to join in the discussion, here are a few guidelines:

Please feel free to make comparisons to other Discworld books, making sure you identify the book and the passage you are referring to. Others may not be as familiar with the book you are referencing, so think before you post.

Sometimes we’ll need to agree to disagree – only Terry knows for sure what he was thinking when he wrote the books and individuals members may have widely different interpretations – so try to keep the discussion friendly.

We may be discussing a book that you don’t much care for – don’t be put off joining in the discussion. If you didn’t care for the book, then that in itself is a good topic for discussion.

Please note: there is no time limit to this discussion. Please feel free to add to it at any time - especially if you've just read the book.

And finally:

Please endeavour to keep the discussion on topic. If necessary I will step in and steer it back to the original topic – so no digressions please!

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Eric by Terry Pratchett
Originally published 1990

Image

Image

Whatever happened to Rincewind?

The last time we saw him he was in Sourcery where he was, apparently, trapped in the Dungeon Dimension. Well, with the help of amateur demonologist, Eric Thursley (or so it would seem) he’s back and ready to grant Eric three wishes. The trouble with wishing for things is that sometimes you get exactly what you thought you wanted.
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I’ll admit that I wasn’t looking forward to this one. It’s what I’d describe as Pratchett Lite and seems to have been written mainly as a vehicle for Josh Kirby’s illustrations. I have to say though, that I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed reading it this time. I think that was partly down to the fact that I wasn’t expecting too much from it.

This was a busy year (1990) for Terry as far as publishing went. Not only Eric, but also Diggers, Moving Pictures and Good Omens. I’m not a fan of Kirby’s covers or illustrations and I really don’t think they add a lot to this book. But the story itself is amusing and even downright funny at times.

But what did you think?
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Want to write the introduction for the next discussion (Interesting Times)? PM me and let me know if you’d like to – first come first served. :wink:
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
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Postby Quatermass » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:02 am

I thought it was the worst Discworld book that I had ever read. Insubstantial, with not enough funny jokes (I'll admit that there were some) and frankly boring, even though it was short.
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Postby ChristianBecker » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:03 am

I like this book very much. It may not be as deep as some of Terry's later work, but it is one of the funniest in my opinion.
I especially like the episode about the Tsortean War.It plays with themes from the Iliad, Odyssee and Aeneid and offers a different perspective to the heroic epics - or heroism in general.
Lavaelus is not a great general who sends his troops in masses against a near impenetrable fortress, but tries to think how all this could be done more elegantly and with less bloodshed.
Also, he casts some doubt on the whole affair of waging a war to get back a woman, which by the time the war is over (the capturing of Troy took 10 years according to Homer (not Simpson)) will be 10 years older and prbably will have settled in nicely.

I'll write more in my lunchbreak... gotta pretend to work now.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:18 am

The twists to the wishes is quite well done, I thought. The idea of wanting to live forever and that being translated to being taken to the beginning of time is a very funny idea.

The Helen or Troy bit is also very good and I like the way Terry asks - what makes a good general? Is it someone who keeps his men alive or someone who sacrifices them for glory? This is a theme he looks at again in Jingo.
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Postby ChristianBecker » Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:46 am

The Eleonor of Tsort part is also very good. Although, I think, I doesn't raise the question what a beautiful woman is. If you look at paintings from different epochs, you'll realize that the sense of "beauty" has changed as much as everything else. For example, in Barock pictures there're mall these rather heavy set women which somewhat conflict with, I dare say, most of today's people's ideas. So, how is the most beautiful woman of all times supposed to look like? Perhaps like Sacharissa Cripslock, who is beautiful viewed over several centuries?
Terry also plays with a typical stylistic feat of the epics, the "epitheta ornantia" or decorating byname, like with the topless towers. When reading for example the Aeneid, you'll often find that Aeneas has the adjective pius (=pious; loyal), even if it is absolutely unnecessary to describe Aeneas as pius in the given context (let alone give him that attribute probably several hundreds of times in the whole work). But it's just a thing you do in the epics (sometimes it is useful to make a hexametric verse to have the epitheton, of course). Therefore, the topless towers of Tsort (there's a nice alliteration there as well) would have been mentioned in the Disc's epics so often that you would automatically append the word topless when you think of the towers of Tsort. The, of course, the towers probably were quite high and epic language threw in a nice hyperbole and made them so high you can't see the tops.

I also like the way Terry played with the wooden horse in Eric. One thing that is hilarious of course is that the latch is in the rear. There's also a nice picture:
Image
The idea of the Trojan Horse is, when you look at it, quite daft in the first place. 10 years of siege, and all of a sudden the Greeks disappear and all they leave behind is a bloody big horse, that is so big the Trojans would have to demolish parts of their city walls to get it into their city. Of course the Trojans ain't THAT stupid and at first don't want to get the horse into their city, but Sinon (allegedly a defected Greek) told them a lie about it (it was a gift to the gods so they would ensure the Greeks a safe travel home, it was so big in order to prevent the Trojans from getting it into their city etc.). But still the plan could have gone terribly wrong (Laokoon warned: "I fear the Greeks even when they bring presents.") hadn't it been for some last minute Deus ex Machina trick by Homer* (Poseidon sent a sea snake that devoured Laokoon and his sons).
The way Terry does it is much more elegant; using the quite obvious Horse trick to distract the military while looking for another way in.
Um... my lunchbreak is over now.

*greatly simplified
On with their heads! I'm the clown prince of fools
if you don't get the joke it's your loss
Love and laughter you see are the new currency
'cause greed's coinage is not worth a toss

Exile yourself to the unforgiving continent of Wraeclast!
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:19 pm

I must admit that the story of the Trojan Horse never made a lot of sense to me either. Terry's version works much better. :D
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Postby Quatermass » Mon Jul 04, 2011 11:54 pm

Tonyblack wrote:I must admit that the story of the Trojan Horse never made a lot of sense to me either. Terry's version works much better. :D


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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:17 am

The...wossisname... parrot annoys me. :twisted:

As far as I can see, this book is purely a device for getting Rincewind out of the Dungeon Dimensions so he can have further adventures, to act as a vehicle for Josh Kirby's artwork (as Tony has already stated), and to copy the idea of one of TP's first published short stories - The Hades Business.

The best way I can describe it, is as a "harmless toilet book" similar to The Unadulterated Cat.

Without the pictures, it loses a lot. :D

ChrisB wrote:It may not be as deep as some of Terry's later work, but it is one of the funniest in my opinion.


It is also not as deep as some of Terry's earlier work. :P
In fact in terms of depth, I am hard pushed to think of a more shallow book. :?
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Postby Quatermass » Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:57 am

poohcarrot wrote:As far as I can see, this book is purely a device for getting Rincewind out of the Dungeon Dimensions so he can have further adventures...

ChrisB wrote:It may not be as deep as some of Terry's later work, but it is one of the funniest in my opinion.


It is also not as deep as some of Terry's earlier work. :P
In fact in terms of depth, I am hard pushed to think of a more shallow book. :?


You know, Poohcarrot, there are times when you just shock me! :shock:






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Postby LilMaibe » Tue Jul 05, 2011 3:18 am

Quatermass wrote:
poohcarrot wrote:As far as I can see, this book is purely a device for getting Rincewind out of the Dungeon Dimensions so he can have further adventures...

ChrisB wrote:It may not be as deep as some of Terry's later work, but it is one of the funniest in my opinion.


It is also not as deep as some of Terry's earlier work. :P
In fact in terms of depth, I am hard pushed to think of a more shallow book. :?


You know, Poohcarrot, there are times when you just shock me! :shock:


Because we are in complete and utter accord on these points!

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Postby Quatermass » Tue Jul 05, 2011 3:51 am

LilMaibe wrote:
Quatermass wrote:
poohcarrot wrote:As far as I can see, this book is purely a device for getting Rincewind out of the Dungeon Dimensions so he can have further adventures...

ChrisB wrote:It may not be as deep as some of Terry's later work, but it is one of the funniest in my opinion.


It is also not as deep as some of Terry's earlier work. :P
In fact in terms of depth, I am hard pushed to think of a more shallow book. :?


You know, Poohcarrot, there are times when you just shock me! :shock:


Because we are in complete and utter accord on these points!

As I believe that they say on the rest of the internets, OMGWTFBBQ!



Oh tshhh! Do you want the universe to hear you?! You know what'll happen if it catches up on you!


Sorry, what? :?
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Postby ChristianBecker » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:35 am

Is there really no love for Eric amongst you? I think it is a great parody of many themes.
On with their heads! I'm the clown prince of fools
if you don't get the joke it's your loss
Love and laughter you see are the new currency
'cause greed's coinage is not worth a toss

Exile yourself to the unforgiving continent of Wraeclast!
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:52 am

ChristianBecker wrote:Is there really no love for Eric amongst you? I think it is a great parody of many themes.
I don't dislike it, I just don't think there's a lot of depth to it.

In some ways it's like The Last Hero - a book written as a vehicle for artwork, a way of digging out some old characters and moving them along and to exercise some jokes and references.

Pooh mentioned The Hades Business, which I haven't read, but have a rough idea what it's about, but I think there are some ideas in Eric that are also used in Good Omens. The idea that humans are far better at torturing themselves than demons are.

I love some of the tortures in the underworld. The idea of having to read through all the health and safety books before you can even begin to push the rock up the hill is genius! :lol:
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Postby Dotsie » Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:26 am

I enjoyed it for what it was, Pratchett Lite as Tony called it. It's got some great one-liners, but I'm probably not going to go away and think about it. Not his worst book by far.

I could really have done without the parrot though - not funny at all, and actually pretty annoying.
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Postby DaveC » Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:43 am

Is Ponce de Quirm meant to be related to Leonard of Quirm? Sure I've mentioned this before but can't remember.
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