Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Sister Jennifer » Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:21 am

=Tamar wrote:It has been said by some that the pace of the book is like a steam engine, slowly accelerating as it builds up steam for the big whoosh at the end, whistles blowing, full speed ahead.


Has it been said? I do get it. I will be more patient ;) .

=Tamar wrote:I happen to think that even subtle human interactions count as something happening, which is probably why I overreact when I read that complaint. Not enough car chases, I guess.


Are you overreacting? Cool your boots then, I'm not complaining, and don't assume I'm only reading it for the 'car chase'. I don't think anybody reads Terry Pratchett for that reason.
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby =Tamar » Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:06 am

Sister Jennifer wrote: I will be more patient ;) .


Well, there's a bit of action anyway.

Sister Jennifer wrote:I'm not complaining, and don't assume I'm only reading it for the 'car chase'. I don't think anybody reads Terry Pratchett for that reason.

Please accept my apology. My overreaction was from my having been reading reviews of other writers online, on blogs and so on, and it seems as though half the reviewers complain about books being "slow" when as near as I can tell (having read the books in question), character and tension are being built by a good author. The other half complain that not enough time is spent tying up every loose end in a story, except when they complain that every loose end is so neatly tied up that the author seems compulsive... probably I should stop reading online reviews.
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Sister Jennifer » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:46 pm

Yes you probably should :D ;) . I think I'm more of a word-of-mouth person than a reader of reviews when it comes to books. No need for an apology either, everything's cool.
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby kakaze » Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:06 pm

I was pretty disappointed in Raising Steam, not because it was bad per se, but because I always look forward to the next book by Pratchett. Perhaps my standards are too high?

I found the characters way too bombastic. They spent so much time winking mischievously at each other and talking about what scoundrels they were, that they didn't do much that was mischievous or scandalous! Though, to be fair, King does like to talk about himself. Maybe the difference in this book is that he plays such a prominent part that he just kind of started wearing on my nerves.

Another problem I had was with the pace. Others have compared the book to an actual steam engine; starting slow and gathering speed. This is why I drive an internal combustion engine. In a book predominately about a steam engine, you had to read a third of the book before the engine even moved! And it wasn't until you were halfway done before it did anything more than go around in a circle! The three big action scenes were also too brief and lacking in detail to deserve the build-up that they got, especially when Rhys returned to reclaim her throne. The fight on the train wasn't too bad, but it was the same thing over and over; dwarf jumps onto train roof, Moist knocks dwarf off or out, and Vimes gets them all to spill their guts with a friendly little chat.

One of my favourite things about the Discworld books are spotting the cultural references inserted into the stories, followed closely by the clever puns. For example; I found Monstrous Regiment more interesting after reading accounts of women dressing up as men to fight in the American Civil War. Some of the stories I found online appear to have directly inspired several of the characters, though that could easily be a coincidence. In recent books it seems that what we get instead are funny accents that can sometimes be difficult to decipher.

I was also disappointed with Moist. First of all, after resurrecting the Post Office, getting the city started on paper currency (which improves the economy and allows Vetenari to fund his projects), and saving the city from the ancient golums, it seems pretty unfair for Vetenari to once again threaten to execute Moist if he doesn't do something impossible. Add that to the fact that Moist ought to have considerable leverage over Vetenari since he knows the secret of how to control the giant golum army and it seems out of character for him to meekly accept his fate and even volunteer his life on a very risky guarantee. Moist has always liked a little danger in life, but he was always sensible and never suicidal.

Lastly, I've always thought that Pratchett had a habit of recycling favourite jokes in the Disc books, but I'm getting a little tired of seeing Vimes. Don't get me wrong; he's a great character, but he's been in Men at Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, The Fifth Elephant, The Truth, The Last Hero, Night Watch, Monstrous Regiment, Going Postal, Thud!, Making Money, Unseen Academicals, Snuff, and Raising Steam. And, of course, "Where's My Cow?". That's more than a third of the Discworld books! Actually, what I'd really like to see, is a book that features Esk (from Equal Rites) as an adult. I'm curious about how she turned out.
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*Spoilers* Re: Raising Steam, The Truth, GP+MM

Postby =Tamar » Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:29 am

It just occurred to me that Raising Steam is a successor to The Truth, in that both involve sentient machinery in non-human form. (If you include the golems then RS is also linked to Feet of Clay as well as to Going Postal and Making Money.)
The ancient army golems of MM are shown to be capable of fairly independent action though their programming/chem to obey can't be changed. The humans aren't industrialized enough to catch up with their own plans but the golems temporarily bridge the gap between desire and achievement.

In The Truth, the newspaper press, once built, demands to be fed. In Raising Steam, the engine somehow demands to receive all the latest upgrades, being entirely rebuilt from the almost-toy size of its first appearance into the fastest, strongest, most powerful engine of them all, more mobile than the press and even able to protect itself. The engine demands a track to run on, cargo to carry, people to work on it. It will rule^change the world.
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Tonyblack » Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:33 pm

Don't forget Hex as well. :)
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Sister Jennifer » Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:19 am

I finished Raising Steam a while ago. Kept thinking about what I should say but I'm terrible at writing any kind of review so's I'm just gonna say I found myself nodding while reading kakaze's post.
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Re: *Spoilers* Re: Raising Steam, The Truth, GP+MM

Postby raisindot » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:31 pm

=Tamar wrote:It just occurred to me that Raising Steam is a successor to The Truth, in that both involve sentient machinery in non-human form. (If you include the golems then RS is also linked to Feet of Clay as well as to Going Postal and Making Money.)
The ancient army golems of MM are shown to be capable of fairly independent action though their programming/chem to obey can't be changed. The humans aren't industrialized enough to catch up with their own plans but the golems temporarily bridge the gap between desire and achievement.

In The Truth, the newspaper press, once built, demands to be fed. In Raising Steam, the engine somehow demands to receive all the latest upgrades, being entirely rebuilt from the almost-toy size of its first appearance into the fastest, strongest, most powerful engine of them all, more mobile than the press and even able to protect itself. The engine demands a track to run on, cargo to carry, people to work on it. It will rule^change the world.


The press wasn't sentient in The Truth. The idea of it needing to "be fed" was the manifestation of William's and Sacaricia's own psyches. Not once in the book does the press itself express a sentient thought that could be perceived as coming from anywhere other than William's imagination, whereas in Raising Steam it's pretty clear that the engine is sentient, both in its actions and in the "thoughts" it conveys.

And the golems of MM were not capable of being independent; that was the whole point. Remember that the golems of Ankh Morpork didn't like the "gold golems" precisely because they had no ability to change their chem or even have the potential to become "free." That's precisely why Vetinari was able to declare them "tools" and sentence most of them to be buried until needed. It's always why the "suddenly sentient" golem horse in RS make absolutely no sense at all. It's one of Pterry's worst gimmicks. And it puts Vetinari, Moist and Adorabelle into the uncomfortable position of treating potentially sentient beings as things, since if the golem horse can speak and enjoy life, then that must mean that the thousands of "gold" golems now buried must also have this ability, and that being buried robs them of their ability to experience the joys of sentience.
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby simmonds91 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:25 am

The talking horse is unnecessary and Pratchett shouldn't have introduced it. As for the "joys of sentience", the horse was happy to be given a command and purpose, those golems are perfectly happy to stay buried if you ask me, they were sentenced to be buried in the ground, commanded to stay buried, they have purpose so they are happy.
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby kakaze » Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:13 am

Sister Jennifer wrote:I finished Raising Steam a while ago. Kept thinking about what I should say but I'm terrible at writing any kind of review so's I'm just gonna say I found myself nodding while reading kakaze's post.


I want to reiterate that I don't think Raising Steam is a "bad" book. Its just not up to the standard of excellence I've come to expect from Pratchett. Also, I'm extremely impressed that he's writing at all! If I were as rich a he is and had his condition, I'd be siting on a beach uh the Caribbean drinking something fruity and with thought alcohol to run a car!

Something else I forgot to mention; I don't think I've ever has to reach for my dictionary so often while reading a novel before. It might have been because I was reading the British version and there was vocabulary I ask not accustomed to, but it kind of felt like I was studying for the SATs or something.

Does anyone know if the British and American versions differ much?

Tonyblack wrote:Don't forget Hex as well. :)


And Kring from The Light Fantastic (not a machine, but still a sentient tool).
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Bouncy Castle » Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:01 pm

I'm about 2/3rds through, and I'm very fed up of the sentences ending with, "oh yes, indeed" or similar.
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Who's Wee Dug » Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:16 pm

In the end I quite liked it Bouncy. :mrgreen:
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby raisindot » Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:20 pm

simmonds91 wrote:The talking horse is unnecessary and Pratchett shouldn't have introduced it. As for the "joys of sentience", the horse was happy to be given a command and purpose, those golems are perfectly happy to stay buried if you ask me, they were sentenced to be buried in the ground, commanded to stay buried, they have purpose so they are happy.


Golems don't experience truly "sentient" emotions; at best (like Mr. Pump) they can theorize what an emotion would be like, or (like Gladys) read what emotions (such as jealousy or unrequited love) are in a book and try to imititate the actions associated with these emotions.

Since the "golden" golems have no chem, are were designed solely to defend a city, there's no reason to believe that they have sentience of any kind. Therefore, it makes no sense to believe that a golem horse could cavort around happily or have a sense of humor. It's bad writing, and symptomatic of Pterry's lowering his own standards with recent books.
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby kakaze » Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:54 pm

raisindot wrote:Golems don't experience truly "sentient" emotions; at best (like Mr. Pump) they can theorize what an emotion would be like, or (like Gladys) read what emotions (such as jealousy or unrequited love) are in a book and try to imititate the actions associated with these emotions.


I have to disagree. The golums in Feet Of Clay were pretty emotional about their golum king.

[Angua] thought of the wall of words. “And they had a long debate,” she said. “A golem argument. In writing. It got pretty heated, I think.”

She thought about the wall again. “Some of them got quite emphatic,” she added, remembering the size of some of the lettering. “If they were human, they’d have been shouting…”


and

“Er…there was something else, sir,” said Angua slowly.
“In the cellar?”
“Yes. Er…but it’s hard to explain. It was a…feeling.”
Vimes shrugged noncommitally. He’d learned not to scoff at Angua’s feelings. She always knew where Carrot was, for one thing. If she were in the Watch House you could tell if he was were coming up the street by the way she turned to look at the door.
“Yes?”
“Like…deep grief, sir. Terrible, terrible sadness. Er.”


In Going Postal, the golums expressed clear opinions unrelated to their orders:

“What are you talking about?” said Moist.
“Why, The Time I Spent At The Bottom Of The Hole In The Ground, Mr. Lipvig. Pump Is Not My Name, Mr. Lipvig. It Is My Description. Pump. Pump 19, To Be Precise. I Stood In The Bottom Of A Hole A Hundred Feet Deep And Pumped Water. For Two Hundred And Forty Years, Mr. Lipvig. But Now I Am Ambulating In The Sunlight. This Is Better, Mr. Lipvig. This Is Better!


and

“I Will Stay Here, Please.”
HERE? THERE’S NOTHING TO DO HERE, said Death.
“Yes, I Know,” said the ghost of the golem. “It Is Perfect. I Am Free.”
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Catch-up » Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:29 pm

I did not get the impression that the golem horse was suddenly sentient, or genuinely cavorting around happily. I remember thinking it was only doing it because Moist had ordered it to. It was just following the order. I get that the horse being able to speak was inconsistent with the previous info on the golem army, and I agree that it was probably put in there just to deliver a joke or two. But, I still thought it was cute, and appreciated the joke. I don't think the inconsistency is a big deal.
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