Interesting Times Discussion **Spoilers**

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Postby swreader » Sat Aug 06, 2011 12:26 am

I think the problem I now have with IT is that Terry is partially still doing the "spot-the-reference" thing, which gets old after one or two readings. The thing that frustrates me about this book is, I think that he tried to do too many different things and ends up doing none of them very well.

For example, there are themes--"civilization" vs. "barbarian", for example, that deserve more development than I think he gives. The Empire sees itself as the pinnacle of civilization, but, in fact, it is much more corrupt and vicious than the Barbarians. And these Barbarians, on the other hand, don't act in their typical Barbarian fashion (thanks to the instruction of the Teacher). They are more "civilized" innately--i.e. straight-forward and meaning what they say--than the Empire's type of civilization.

The whole concept of the Silver Horde has annoyed me ever since I first read this book. Granted Cohen and Teach are almost the only developed characters among the horde, but the idea that they can still defeat overwhelming forces BECAUSE THEY'VE LEARNED HOW THROUGH EXPERIENCE is pushing the concept of learning by experience farther than it can go. I don't find them funny--but rather a bit sad.

Terry seems to use "The Red Army" to allude both to the Chinese Terracotta Warriors. He may also be drawing on Classical Mythology's legends of raising warriors from Dragon's Teeth. Rincewind certainly does not intend to activate the legendary Red Army (which seems to have very modern robotic elements) or to bring it to crush the people's oppressors. He's only trying to get away. And, he has no idea how to use them in an effective way, or even to get out of the one he's in. So, it turns out that there is indeed some truth to the legend of the Wizzard and the Red Army.

But the individuals who call themselves the Red Army, whose main actions seem to be their pasting up slogans (incredibly polite but not very effective), were to succeed in overthrowing the existing government, Terry makes it obvious they have no idea of what is needed or how to improve the lot of the people they are supposed to be helping. If they are (I think) a parody of the Red Guard of the Cultural Revolution, they are less than effective. After all--when Rincewind asks the farmer who's holding the water buffalo by a string what he'd like if things were to change, it's clear that these people have been so conditioned by their society (which uses something worse than whips) that neither the peasants nor their "liberators" have any idea how to make the country better.

My problem is that I think parts of this are marvellous--but when shoved into one book, it just doesn't work for me.
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Postby Tonyblack » Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:32 am

I agree about the barbarians being, in some ways, more civilized, although this is sort of the reverse to how it worked in Shogun (the book and TV series). There you had the so-called civilized nations of Britain, Netherlands, Portuguese and Spanish (the European nations represented) treating the Japanese as barbarians, when it became pretty clear that the Japanese had a far richer culture - albeit a somewhat brutal one that favoured certain classes over others. :)
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Postby raisindot » Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:13 pm

I have absolutely nothing to add to this discussion other than I'm looking forward to Tony's upcoming promotion of the Wee Free Men discussion in September. :)
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Postby ChristianBecker » Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:51 am

Interesting. While more people seem to like this book, Eric actually got more posts (+ the pre Eric discussion).
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 Sjoerd3000 » Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:55 am

We all like it, so there isn't much to discuss :P
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Postby meerkat » Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:04 am

True. :lol:
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Postby poohcarrot » Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:42 pm

SW doesn't like it! :?
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Postby Sjoerd3000 » Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:32 pm

Almost everyone likes it :wink:
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:46 am

You have two weeks to read or reread The Wee Free Men for the discussion starting on Monday 5th September. :D
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Postby AgProv » Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:02 am

The whole concept of the Silver Horde has annoyed me ever since I first read this book. Granted Cohen and Teach are almost the only developed characters among the horde, but the idea that they can still defeat overwhelming forces BECAUSE THEY'VE LEARNED HOW THROUGH EXPERIENCE is pushing the concept of learning by experience farther than it can go. I don't find them funny--but rather a bit sad.



But their chosen manner of going in The Last Hero redeems this, I thought?
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:32 am

Do me a favour, AgProve - when you are quoting someone, can you click the Image Quote button in their post so that we know who it is you are quoting? :)

Thanks. :D
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Postby AgProv » Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:28 pm

point taken!

The innocent party in this case was swreader.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:45 pm

No worries! :D
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:02 am

You now have one week to read or reread The Wee Free Men for the discussion starting on Monday 5th September. :D
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Postby Beautiful Dirt » Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:08 am

I liked this book in a tepid sort of way but it was adisappointing return for Twoflower, who I really liked in COM & LF. For a wandering Rincewind adventure, this really has nothing on The Last Continent so I tend to agree with Sharlene on this. I've read it twice so I can't put it down to a bad first impression.
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