Interesting Times Discussion **Spoilers**

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Interesting Times Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:06 am

**Warning**

This thread is for discussing Interesting Times 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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Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett
Originally published 1994

Image

“May you live in interesting times” goes the Oriental curse and the ‘times’ that Rincewind, the incompetent wizard, experiences in this book are certainly ‘interesting’!

When we last met Rincewind he was escaping from Hell along with Eric. What happened to him? Well he ended up on a desert island enjoying the peace and boredom. If only there had been potatoes his life would have been perfect. What happened to Eric is uncertain - maybe the Luggage ate him. :)

But after the Patrician 'doesn't' receive a message from the Agatean Empire demanding that Ankh-Morpork ‘doesn’t’ send them “The Great Wizzard”, Rincewind's peace is soon shattered. He is hurtled to the Empire magically where he is supposed to help start (or maybe stop) the revolution of the Red Army.

Meantime a certain elderly barbarian hero and his cronies are trying to steal something – The Empire!!! :shock:

Add to this mixture the meddlesome gods and quantum weather butterflies and you have a recipe for fun.
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Well Eric was a bit of a damp squib as far as discussions go. That was understandable as there’s not a lot of substance to it. Interesting Times continues the Rincewind story and see him reunited with Twoflower and Cohen.

We see Rincewind at his cynical best in this one I think. I would say that this is possibly my favourite Rincewind book, because we get to see the glorious revolution through those cynical eyes. This book does for the Orient what The Last Continent did for Australia. The book is a series of Oriental references, whether they be Chinese, Japanese or even Mongolian.

But what did you think?
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Want to write the introduction for the next discussion (The Wee Free Men)? PM me and let me know if you’d like to – first come first served. :wink:
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Postby Willem » Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:59 am

My favourite Rincewind book, by far. My (unfair) impression of books he stars in are mostly 'Rincewind runs away from a scene involving stereotypes about whatever country/region this book is playing with, into another scene involving cliches about that country/region. This book actually has a plot! :) The best Discworld books to me are the ones that shed some light on the human condition. In this book we've got the Silver Horde dealing with growing old and Rincewind's view on revolutions that struck a chord with me.

HEX first appears in this book, right?

Favourite bit: Rincewind using his powers of cowardice by denying rumours about the invisible vampire ghosts.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:11 am

You know, I'm not sure aabout Hex - doesn't he/she/it appear in Soul Music? Or is that just the HEM wizards? :?
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Postby The Mad Collector » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:14 am

Willem wrote:HEX first appears in this book, right?


Correct :)

Edit: It's just the HEM building that is mentioned before although they do have a device that is full of ants and can count it is never called Hex in that book and seems to be capable of little more than being a simple calculator so just a precursor to Hex as he/she/it appears in later books.

Edit 2: Add relevant section, the whole point appears to be to get to the punchline :wink:

Terry Pratchett in Soul Music wrote:Rather more puzzling was the huge array of glass tubes behind it. That was where Skazz had been working; there was a litter of bent glassware and jars and bits of cardboard where the student had been sitting. The tubing seemed to be alive.
Ridcully leaned forward. It was full of ants. They scuttled along the tubing and through complex little spirals in their thousands. In the silence of the room, their bodies made a faint, continuous rustling. There was a slot level with the Archchancellor's eyes. The word 'In' was written on a piece of paper that had been pasted onto the glass. And on the bench was an oblong of card which looked just the right shape to go in the slot. It had round holes punched in it. There were two round holes, then a whole pattern of round holes, and then a further two holes. On it, in pencil, someone had scribbled '2 x 2'. Ridcully was the kind of man who'd push any lever, just to see what it did. He put the card in the obvious slot . . .
There was an immediate change in the rustling. Ants trailed in their busy way through the tubing. Some of them appeared to be carrying seeds . . .
There was a small dull sound and a card dropped out of the other end of the glass maze. It had four holes in it. Ridcully was still staring at it when Ponder came up behind him, rubbing his eyes, “'S our ant counter,” he said. “Two plus two equals four,” said Ridcully. “Well, well, I never knew that.”
“It can do other sums as well.”
“You tellin' me ants can count?”
“Oh, no. Not individual ants . . . it's a bit hard to explain . . . the holes in the cards, you see, block up some tubes and let them through others and . . .” Ponder sighed, “we think it might be able to do other things.”
“Like what?” Ridcully demanded.
“Er, that's what we're trying to find out . . .”
“You're trying to find out? Who built it?”
“Skazz.”
“And now you're trying to find out what it does?”
“Well, we think it might be able to do quite complicated maths. If we can get enough bugs in it.”
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Postby meerkat » Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:17 am

Interesting Times is an interesting (no pun intended) view of 'another part' of the Disc. It's mixture of Japanese and Chinese is cleverly depicted, like the Great Wall and the 'nightingale floors'. My favourite pottery is P'gui su (Peggy Sue) vases! Very clever, Sir T!

When it comes to Rincewind 'running away' in the PAlace, it did seem very Harry Lloyd, Buster Keaton-ish. I can see it happening in b/w, silence and with 'talking cards' and over stressing the terror and fear!

Nice to see Cohen and his Silver Hoard enjoying civilisation, but it's a shame Teach cops an unfortunate one from the Barking Dog!

Whilst the book in itself is excellent and a good read, I do not think this is the best book of Rincewind's, I prefer The Last Continent.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:12 am

Yes, I was reminded of the old B&W movies - or possibly Benny Hill with the chase scene. For such a visual scene, it was actually very well written. :D
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Postby ChristianBecker » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:39 am

I dunno if IT is my favourite Rincewind book, but I like it very much. Like some of you already pointed out, it is interesting (and funny) to see the Agatean Empire through the cynic eyes of Rincewind. I particularly like his/ Terry's view of revolutions, which hardly ever change anything much for the "lower classes" but just replace a few leaderheads (and get rid of some previous leaders' heads).
Lord Hong is an interesting character in that he shows what Vetinari would be like if he was bad, because the two are very similar indeed, but for the fact Lord Hong loves himself all too much and thinks so little of others that in the end he fails to recognize that he's losing until it is too late.
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Postby Quatermass » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:46 am

ChristianBecker wrote:I dunno if IT is my favourite Rincewind book, but I like it very much. Like some of you already pointed out, it is interesting (and funny) to see the Agatean Empire through the cynic eyes of Rincewind. I particularly like his/ Terry's view of revolutions, which hardly ever change anything much for the "lower classes" but just replace a few leaderheads (and get rid of some previous leaders' heads).


Agreed. And out of the entire rebel army, only Pretty Butterfly seems to have her head screwed on straight. I personally wish that she didn't go to being stupid after they spread the rumour about the Red Army's back-up, that seemed rather inconsistent with her character.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:50 am

I had that problem with Butterfly. On the one hand she seems very sensible and as cynical as Rincewind, but on the other, she can't seem to see that she and the rest of them, are being manipulated.

It's a shame, because I liked her character - she's a bit like Susan. :D
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Postby ShadowNinjaCat » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:22 pm

I was sad about Teach,I liked him. :(
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:33 pm

ShadowNinjaCat wrote:I was sad about Teach,I liked him. :(
Yes it was sad, but also kind of nice in that he got to go to the barbarian version of heaven. Who knows what his afterlife might have been if he hadn't discovered the Hoarde and found his inner barbarian. :D
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Postby DaveC » Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:46 pm

The thing I keep thinking of in association with IT ties in with Small Gods and I think possibly Pyramids in that there is a version of Dibbler in almost every area of the Disc. It was a running joke for a while, did he do it with Last Continent? I liked the idea of the same pattern appearing everywhere.
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Postby meerkat » Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:52 pm

You mean Fair Go Dibbler?l
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Postby The Mad Collector » Tue Aug 02, 2011 6:05 am

DaveC wrote:The thing I keep thinking of in association with IT ties in with Small Gods and I think possibly Pyramids in that there is a version of Dibbler in almost every area of the Disc. It was a running joke for a while, did he do it with Last Continent? I liked the idea of the same pattern appearing everywhere.


The Pratchett Wiki has a list of them :)

List Of Dibblers Around The Disc
Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, Ankh-Morpork (most stories starring Ankh-Morpork)
Fair Go Dibbler, Bugarup (The Last Continent)
Disembowel-Meself-Honourably Dibhala, Hunghung (Interesting Times)
Cut-Me-Own-Hand-Off Dhblah, Omnia (Small Gods)
Al-Jiblah, Al Khali (Jingo)
May-I-Never-Achieve-Enlightenment Dhiblang (mentioned in The Last Continent)
Dib Diblossonson (mentioned in The Last Continent)
May-I-Be-Kicked-In-My-Own-Ice-Hole Dibooki (mentioned in The Last Continent)
Swallow-Me-Own-Blow-Dart Dlang-Dlang (mentioned in The Last Continent)
Soll Dibbler, Dibbler's Nephew (Moving Pictures)
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Postby Quatermass » Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:43 am

The Mad Collector wrote:
DaveC wrote:The thing I keep thinking of in association with IT ties in with Small Gods and I think possibly Pyramids in that there is a version of Dibbler in almost every area of the Disc. It was a running joke for a while, did he do it with Last Continent? I liked the idea of the same pattern appearing everywhere.


The Pratchett Wiki has a list of them :)

List Of Dibblers Around The Disc
Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, Ankh-Morpork (most stories starring Ankh-Morpork)
Fair Go Dibbler, Bugarup (The Last Continent)
Disembowel-Meself-Honourably Dibhala, Hunghung (Interesting Times)
Cut-Me-Own-Hand-Off Dhblah, Omnia (Small Gods)
Al-Jiblah, Al Khali (Jingo)
May-I-Never-Achieve-Enlightenment Dhiblang (mentioned in The Last Continent)
Dib Diblossonson (mentioned in The Last Continent)
May-I-Be-Kicked-In-My-Own-Ice-Hole Dibooki (mentioned in The Last Continent)
Swallow-Me-Own-Blow-Dart Dlang-Dlang (mentioned in The Last Continent)
Soll Dibbler, Dibbler's Nephew (Moving Pictures)


You missed one that I read about before: Point-Me-Own-Bone Dibbler or something like that.

Ah, there we go. Point-Me-Own-Bone Dibjla, an 'Aboriginal' (or the Fourecks version of them) equivalent from the second Discworld game.
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