Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby serendipnick » Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:29 am

I got this over the Christmas period and for the first time in my whole life, I actually found myself hating a Terry Pratchett novel, which was both unsettling and upsetting. From the get-go the whole thing just felt... wrong. Like a horrible parody, one of those abominable "imagine if we put a sassy modern character in a Jane Austen novel" things, it felt unoriginal and like a total departure and a betrayal of the magnificent characters that have been built up over so many novels - Sam Vimes, Lady Sybil, Willikins, even Vetenari felt subtly off-kilter. I still love Discworld but this book was a major turnoff.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby raisindot » Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:04 pm

I'm there with you, Serendi. A lot of people love Snuff, and a signficant number either hate it or rate is far from his best work. I think the only other Discworld books that have generated as many negative ratings (at least on Amazon.com) are Monstrous Regiment and Maskerade. Even Making Money, which is widely reviled by many, still has a far more overall favorable rating.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Om(nomnom) » Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:46 am

Hello everyone, long time no see! (Even if I never had many posts to begin with. ) :D

Just finished Snuff and although I really enjoyed it while it lasted, I can´t help but feeling mildly disappointed about some aspects of the book.
I´m a big fan of the watch books, especially Fifth Elephant and Thud!. They have mystery, politics and breathtaking danger. I´ve probably read both of them in one go or at least very short time. Here I read a few pages every day. And again: It was a pleasant read. I´m happy and thankful that I could read it at all.

Now I understand Vimes had to grow, but he grew over 9000! (Sorry. a stupid reference to Dragonball, a japanese Manga series, where the characters get stronger and stronger and stronger with each episode. )
Vimes seems impeccable and untouchable, he seems in control even when he couldn´t possibly be.
(He is so much of a killer inside, that he can foresee the actions of the real killer with such certainty that he is willing to risk the lifes of his family and people around him for it. )
Trying to arrest Vimes surely was a bad idea of the magistrate, but he shrugs it off like nothing.
Even the fight with his inner demon(s) seems somewhat meek.
And his "bodyguard" Willikens seems to be unfailable, too.

Vimes converts "good" people to the good cause on the fly and what happened with the watch over years seems to happen in hours and days now.

There is no real lasting mystery or twist in the story, apart from the disappearance of the smith, perhaps.
Everything else becomes apparent quite quickly, especially that we are returning to the topic of the salvation of yet another oppressed minority and wellknown ponderings on morality, while the "willing executioners" are off the hook with a few admonishing words from Vimes.

The direct Antagonist is underdeveloped and he makes a comeback not once, not twice, but three times! Always expected and dealt with "easily". He seems rather pale, compared to other villains of discworld.

The puppetmaster in the background who is directly responsible for all the suffering never even enters the stage.
Perhaps to emphasis that it´s the system that´s wrong and the people that empower him.

I like Vetinaris more human sides, but he surely wouldn´t allow a crossword puzzle to interfere with his business affairs.
(Especially when dealing with slaughter and slavery around the very same moment. Vetinari doesn´t strike me as particularly cruel and thoughtless. He just does what needs to be done.
Ok, there´s the mimes. )
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby MrK » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:11 pm

There are a lot of interesting views here.

I am sort of in the middle. I enjoyed the book but didnt think it was his worst by any means and wouldnt put it in my top few books.
I thought there were still lots of laughable moments (like the discusion at dinner about the sister noone talks about) and there was enough of Vimes who as Terry puts it writes himself now. He just puts him in situation and Vuimes lets him know what he would do.

I think it hepls that I'm a slow reader and therefore normally read my books in the evening in bite size chunks, meaning I found it ok, but otheres who maybe usually finish his books in a sittling or two seeming ot feel it was a little disjointed.

I did feel there wasnt enough of a drive to the story for too long. It sort of shows up after quite a while then you work out what it probably is before its revealed and the book sufferes as there isnt something we are really bothered to know (a good mystery he's solving).

Overall any book with Vimes as the centre I like and I felt satisfied by the read, and would probably re-read it in the future.

I think most people are not liking it due to what we have got used to from a watch book.
As has already been said the Antagonist pales to someone from a previous book like Carcer.
The Mystery element is not as long or good.
He is disconnected from the Watch so we dont get much of the supporting character we love.
He is not in Ankh Morpork (I know not for the first time but I love the books set in the city)
Vimes doenst have further development. We have seen him come a long way due to his experiances and now we are comfortable with him, and although he is a great interesting character who I understand why TP want to write there is nothing new for us in this.
Finally the books that seem less popular on average are the ones that seem to be using a one off parody for a lot of the jokes/setting (Pyramids, Last Continent, Maskarade etc.) and this one is about classic literature and the crime/inspector on holiday genres. I think that is why people have not liked it as much.

To summarise I agree that at times I wasn't as driven to pick it up to read as I have been with most of his books but I still think its a well writen and decent enough story with a character we already know and love put into a new setting out of his comfort zone which is always interesting.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Alanz » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:53 pm

I enjoyed Snuff, The Watch books are my favourite read out of all of the series :D
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby high eight » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:07 pm

I thought Snuff was OK. Nothing special but not worthy of the hate some people show here. Even Terry is allowed an off book.

I prefer Unseen Academicals.
"If there is any kind of supreme being it is up to all of us to become its moral superior."
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:44 pm

Well - I've read Snuff twice now and because it's Vimes I can't 'hate' it like I do the Moist books . . . :P but it's not going into my 'really great' pile with Witches Abroad or Small Gods (or Pyramids :lol: )

My main gripe with it, aside from having Vimes (and Sybil come to that) going the same way as Carrot in being too wonderful to do anything truly interesting with because they always have to come out on top or occupy the moral high ground :shifty: is that it just won't bloody well end. :? The bit on Old Treachery was obviously the big culmination and of course has to end in a huge wrecking crash, but the goblins still get shipped out to Howondaland? Come on! I can more or less accept Stratford doing a runner from the wreckage, but why the hell would the rescued goblins not do exactly the same and leg it back upriver with Stinky at their head? OK so they're completely cowed and suffering from motion sickness, but it's a bit rich that they're all scooped with no trouble at all and shoved onto the smuggler ship all nice and efficient whilst the rest of the crew Vimes and the young cop etc are all being picked up willy nilly as they emerge groggily from the mud flats so to speak :roll:

The rest of it's very nice for Vimes commuting up and down the river trying out other boats and tying up loose ends but it's all very tenuous to say the least and like other people are saying the bit where they retake Stratford is just plain nuts, as if Vimes would be 'stupid' enough to apparently leave his only child unguarded in an unsecured cabin on a pleasure vessel with an escaped maniac at large? And then he gets away yet again ho hum *idly buffs nails*. It's not even sloppy, just very, very annoyingly predictable.

I like young Sam - the poo mania is quirky given that he's the child of two unusual people and I like how Vimes and Sybil are still into each other, but Terry certainly doesn't excel at writing romance and I can see them getting as embarrassing as Carrot and Angua are now so, I think overall I'd like this to be the last Vimes book, if not the Last Watch. I also think that the 'embuggerance' is kicking in now to some extent and it's definitely because of the voice software Terry uses. :cry: His writing's changing because he doesn't have to explain things properly or, more importantly, 'think out loud' in exposition in narrative so much. Because he's dictating in effect it's all too reliant on dialogue and action so it's thump, this happens and thump, someone says this and thump someone does that and has to talk to somebody about what they need to do about it and you don't get the effortless internal thinking through in left field where most of Terry's best work comes out any more.

It's not a bad book still, but it's certainly not up amongst Terry's best efforts, which is truly ironic as I'd always hoped he'd just keep getting better like great wine . . . :(
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby =Tamar » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:24 am

Jan Van Quirm wrote:My main gripe with it [...] is that it just won't bloody well end. :? The bit on Old Treachery was obviously the big culmination and of course has to end in a huge wrecking crash,

One of the things Sir Terry has been writing in the Witch books is that you don't get tidy happy endings right after the climactic action in real life. There are always things to deal with afterward.

Jan Van Quirm wrote: but the goblins still get shipped out to Howondaland? Come on! I can more or less accept Stratford doing a runner from the wreckage, but why the hell would the rescued goblins not do exactly the same and leg it back upriver with Stinky at their head?

As you said,
Jan Van Quirm wrote:they're completely cowed and suffering from motion sickness.
No doubt they are also as stunned as Vimes and the rest of the crew. They are also completely cowed from a lifetime of training to believe that the humans have the right to shove them onto the boat. It's very hard to overcome that kind of training. Meanwhile, Stinky was busy rescuing Vimes from being stomped on by an elephant. It's pretty clear that Stinky had a choice: Rescue the stunned goblins and lose Vimes, the only hope for rapid change, or rescue Vimes and depend on Vimes to rescue the other goblins.

Jan Van Quirm wrote: like other people are saying the bit where they retake Stratford is just plain nuts, as if Vimes would be 'stupid' enough to apparently leave his only child unguarded in an unsecured cabin on a pleasure vessel with an escaped maniac at large? And then he gets away yet again ho hum *idly buffs nails*. It's not even sloppy, just very, very annoyingly predictable.

Stratford is stupid enough to believe it. One difference from previous books is that Vimes doesn't actually permanently catch Stratford; the creep is Houdini-like in his ability to escape.

Jan Van Quirm wrote: the voice software Terry uses. :cry: His writing's changing because he doesn't have to explain things properly or, more importantly, 'think out loud' in exposition in narrative so much. Because he's dictating in effect it's all too reliant on dialogue and action so it's thump, this happens and thump, someone says this and thump someone does that and has to talk to somebody about what they need to do about it and you don't get the effortless internal thinking through in left field where most of Terry's best work comes out any more.

Here I pretty much agree. We don't get as much of the internal monologue as we used to. I do miss it, but what amazes me is that there still is some. Because he is dictating, and apparently he can only read so long at a time, so it has to be read back to him by the voice software too. You've no doubt read the criticisms of the audiobooks, how hard it is to get them to reproduce the footnotes properly, etc. Well, imagine having to write in that format.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby =Tamar » Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:30 am

P.S. Someone much earlier complained that Vimes was no longer the "law is everything" man he used to be. I just reread Feet of Clay and found an early passage where Vimes is thinking about Suffer-Not-Injustice Vimes killing an evil king: "History had wanted surgery. Sometimes Dr. Chopper is the only surgeon to hand."
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Alanz » Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:53 am

=Tamar wrote:P.S. Someone much earlier complained that Vimes was no longer the "law is everything" man he used to be. I just reread Feet of Clay and found an early passage where Vimes is thinking about Suffer-Not-Injustice Vimes killing an evil king: "History had wanted surgery. Sometimes Dr. Chopper is the only surgeon to hand."

:clap: :clap: Totally agree, Vimes for President :D
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby simmonds91 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:10 pm

Vimes is like pacman, he's constantly nomming, the walls being the law. TPratchett should totally give Vimes a new archenemy.... His twin brother! :D
Well, you know what they say. The past is a foreign country - - With an outdated military and huge oil reserves!
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby =Tamar » Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:31 pm

simmonds91 wrote:Vimes is like pacman, he's constantly nomming, the walls being the law. TPratchett should totally give Vimes a new archenemy.... His twin brother! :D
Vimes's archenemy has always been Vetinari. The difficulty is that they have to work together, and that Vimes knows, having lived through the previous administrations, that Vetinari really is better than what they had before, and very possibly better than what they will have after Vetinari dies.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby simmonds91 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:19 pm

I was thinking of something like from that judge dredd film with sylvester stallone, Vimes is all law and justice right? Even if that justice is very dangerous, someone who is violently law abiding. I figured, why not have the opposite? Violently violent! :D
Well, you know what they say. The past is a foreign country - - With an outdated military and huge oil reserves!
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby raisindot » Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:43 pm

=Tamar wrote:Vimes's archenemy has always been Vetinari. The difficulty is that they have to work together, and that Vimes knows, having lived through the previous administrations, that Vetinari really is better than what they had before, and very possibly better than what they will have after Vetinari dies.


[AVAST YE SPOILERS AHEAD]

I don't think that's an accurate statement. Vimes and Vetinari are not archenemies because neither one is trying to "put down" the other. They certainly don't hate each other; Vimes may not like a lot of Vetinari's political actions or the different ways that Vetinari manipulates Vimes to achieve his (Vetinari's) political ends , but Vimes also realizes that Vetinari represents the civil authorities to which he, as representative of The Law, must be subordinate. Indeed, each men has gone out of their way to promote and protect the other; Vetinari has promoted Vimes several times (as a means of 'co-opting' Vimes to become part of the establishment), and in the first three books Vimes went out of his way to protect Vetinari from harm. If Vimes really wanted Vetinari out of the way, he could have easily let Vetinari be killed by the dragon of Guards! Guards, or assassinated in Men at Arms, or wouldn't have worked so hard to figure out how Vetinari was being poisoned in Feet of Clay (although Vetinari knew the answer already and wanted to let Vimes have some fun figuring it out).

Certainly if Vetinari went "Snapcase" on the city or broke the law Vimes would most likely arrest him (as he had to do in The Truth), but he would never force his way into the Patricianship because this would prove that "The Beast" had won.

Vimes' true archenemies are the aristocrats and shadowy power brokers who try to grab more power for themselves at the expense of the 'common people' of Ankh Morpork. That's one of his great internal conflicts--he likes to believe that he's not an aristocrat, but his elevation to peerage means he's one of them, whether he likes it or not. This conflict seems to disappear in Snuff, where he fully embraces his wealth and isn't against the aristocracy itself, only against those who abuse it for illegal or immoral purposes (like Lord Rust's son).
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby =Tamar » Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:57 am

raisindot wrote:[AVAST YE SPOILERS AHEAD]
I don't think that's an accurate statement. Vimes and Vetinari are not archenemies because neither one is trying to "put down" the other. They certainly don't hate each other; Vimes may not like a lot of Vetinari's political actions or the different ways that Vetinari manipulates Vimes to achieve his (Vetinari's) political ends , but Vimes also realizes that Vetinari represents the civil authorities to which he, as representative of The Law, must be subordinate.


SPOILERS FOR OTHER BOOKS in which VIMES APPEARS (TT, J)

I feel that is true now, but was less true earlier. Someone says that the real reason Vimes protects Vetinari is that Vimes want to kill Vetinari himself... yes, it was in the nature of a joke, but there was some truth to it. Vimes doesn't think he "must" be subordinate to the civil authority ultimately; he likes the Oath because it is not an oath to the civil authority but to uphold the law and protect the citizens. It is an oath to the City. Slowly, as he sees more of how Vetinari works, Vimes begins to see that Vetinari also serves his own vision of the City.

raisindot wrote:Certainly if Vetinari went "Snapcase" on the city or broke the law Vimes would most likely arrest him (as he had to do in The Truth), but he would never force his way into the Patricianship because this would prove that "The Beast" had won.


Vetinari was also arrested in Jingo, at his own insistence. Yes, Vimes would refuse to take the Patricianship - unless the situation were as dire as it was for his famous ancestor. If forced into the job, he would do his best, but it would not be Vetinari's style of rulership. Nobody knows what he would do if Carrot were to take the throne, but as the saying more or less goes, it would something to watch from a long distance away.

raisindot wrote:Vimes' true archenemies are the aristocrats and shadowy power brokers who try to grab more power for themselves at the expense of the 'common people' of Ankh Morpork. That's one of his great internal conflicts--he likes to believe that he's not an aristocrat, but his elevation to peerage means he's one of them, whether he likes it or not. This conflict seems to disappear in Snuff, where he fully embraces his wealth and isn't against the aristocracy itself, only against those who abuse it for illegal or immoral purposes (like Lord Rust's son).


Yes, that is a major conflict and the real arch-enemy, not even so much the people as the culture that created, trained, and supported them. I feel that Vimes is still uncomfortable being an aristocrat but has had to accept that it will take time to change how others see him when all they know for sure is that he is the new boss. Back when Vimes was common as muck, he perceived Vetinari as the ultimate enemy noble; now he's had more experience both of Vetinari and of the variety of the actual people who are classed as nobility and gentry. Even more important, as nouveaux nobility he has the power to resist them when they try to lean on him.

The situation in Snuff reflects the complexity of Vimes's career, and shows him learning that reforming an embedded culture is not a simple matter of announcing sweeping changes. A microcosm of that problem might be the family he is taken to visit. They aren't nobility, they're at best impoverished gentry. The mother actively regrets having brought up most of her daughters to believe they must follow the rules that say they must wait demurely for some man to marry them, so she asks Sybil to bring Vimes to give them the lecture that they wouldn't understand or accept if it came from her. At least three or four of the daughters were already breaking away in their own ways - the lumberjack, the writer, the aspiring curate's wife, and the aspiring milliner. They only needed permission, and in the case of the milliner, a bit of help in getting started. The others followed suit once they believed they had permission. Vimes represents the local embodiment of official nobility, so they will accept his authority to give them cultural permission: "If the Duke says it's all right to get a job, then it must be all right," or words to that effect.

On a larger scale, some of the villagers and some of the local gentry were hoping for improvement but didn't feel that they could break the stranglehold of the local culture even to change just a few elements while keeping the parts that protected them. The long-suffering husband of the self-appointed magistrate didn't like what she was up to, the blacksmith was ready to fight for change, etc. But like most people, most of them didn't dare resist the power of custom.

Vimes does his best to loosen the cultural grip, but he is not the practiced politician that Vetinari is, so his early attempts are clumsy. At the end, because he serves the Law, he doesn't quite understand that by exiling young Rust so that he simply vanishes, rather than making a public spectacle of him in court, Vetinari has destroyed young Rust's social influence and prevented the martyr effect. Rust may or may not live (XXXX has a lot of dangerous native wildlife), but Vetinari rarely destroys anything if he thinks he may find a use for it later, and he did say he had been hoping to be able to deal with the son rather than the daughter.
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