Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby =Tamar » Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:06 pm

Catch-up wrote: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


All golems appear to be sentient enough to think and respond to orders. Anghammarad could speak, and he was a very old golem. I don't recall whether it was ever said that these newly rediscovered ancient golems were unable to speak. It seems likely that the idea that golems shouldn't speak was a later development. Since the language was different, and the ancient golems didn't have to speak aloud to communicate with each other (didn't they use a sort of long-wave vibration that traveled through the earth?), they wouldn't speak aloud unless they had something to say to a non-golem. The horse was a golem, just one that happened to be horse-shaped, and it had something to say. We know golems can learn, and that the horses were not buried. The horses had the time to listen to the current spoken language and learned it; if they hadn't, the ghost professor would have had to teach everyone the old language. So the horse knew modern language and could speak when it wanted to.
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby RolandItwasntmyfault » Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:35 am

Actually I think the joke with the golem horse not only was a more or less funny joke (in my opinion it's first reply was funny, but later on it wore a little bit off) but also a very good statement: Only because a golem is animalshaped it doesn't mean that it could not be a sentient creature, it is no he, it is no she, it is no horse, no animal, it is a potteried it.
(On the other hand Moist's order to "behave like a horse" shows very well the human nature to think the own POV to be the centre of the universe.)


Apologies again that I until now havn't read the whole thread. Again I just have finished and am eager to express some of my still very fresh impression concerning this book. Further comments later on.

First thought as I first read the title and the theme of the new DW novel: Steam engine? On discworld? In fantasy??
Second thought: But, heck, we have clacks! A system which on roundworld came along years after the people were inventing and experimenting with steam engine and only a few tiny years before the first steamboards actually paddled through the rivers. And after all... we long ago left the mediaval era already, we long ago were further away from a mediaval like time than we were away from our beginning 21th centruy times.
So DW: Go on with Raising Steams!

At a whole I really enjoyed this book, it has it flaws, yes, but nevertheless it was highly enjoyable, it works.

The first half I wondered if this book may have a main character, and although in the second half it focussed more on Moist I still am not really sure if you strictly speaking could call him the "main character". He rather shows up as a "spokesman", an "ambassador" who paves the ways for the development of rails. Okay, later on, with Vimes on his side, he becomes a fighter and we are mainly with him on his track, so the "main" may be justified.

The way of storytelling for meself is a little bit confusing, but only because of my usually preferences which mostly aren't fullfilled but nevertheless enjoyable and working, in one point even really well fitting to the novel and its theme.
I think I have discovered three different ways of storytelling in this book.
First one is speech. Dialogues. At least until Snuff speech is going on over one whole page or another, this has continued in this book. Somewhere in this forum/thread it is mentioned this may be because of Terry's new working technique (dictating). I wouldn't reject it, it is well possible. And it would be okay, it then simply is a new style we yet aren't too accustomed to but we at last presumbly can get accustomed to, nothing wrong, every time we are reading a new author we have to get accustomed to his style.
Second is the matter of, in wand of a better expression, "how near the reader is set to the scene". There are many little and short scenes where you aren't really near to what is happening, rather summarizing, the development of the train/rail, the actions of the dwarves terrorists and so on. I would call it a rather "puffing" way of storytelling.
It's like seeing, well, a locomotive going on at distance, here a puff behind a hill, the next hill another puff, there a black stroke in the landscape and so on. And even more, you also see a locomotive's puffing going on exactly the opposite direction (the terrorists) and you wonder when they will collide and what will happen then. Therefore it works. Usually I don't like this style very much, but in this case it really works. You have the impression to sit in a train and rush along together with the plot.
And third of course there are the scenes where we are eventually "near the scene", with Moist justified called "main character", the fighting on the train for example.

There a flaws in the story, granted, the scene with Lu-Tze and Ridcully wasn't necessary. I got the impression it only was there to show two another old characters of DW. But it hasn't been needed to tell us that the time is ripe for steam engine... This has been said on at least one occassion before and also at least one after this scene. Should this justify to a reader who may be sceptical about steam engine on a DW (see above) setting that it is really steam engine time, not only blessed by politicians but also blessed by wizards and history monks? :think:

Another flaw was Vimes behaviour to Moist while there first meeting.
After Moist has fought the dwarves in the maquis' badlands (sorry, couldn't resist 8-)) he behaves as if Moist and he were best buddies ever met. After the fight on the train, yes, okay, then I would buy it, a fight together to forge comradeship, but just because Vimes had heard that Moist had killed some dwarves in a fight? Vimes never before trusted in somebody so helter-skelter, especiall not in such a scoundrel as Moist.
I can overlook it and it doesn't really annoy or drags the novel down but it is a detail which caught my eye.


And at last another detail, not really content of the novel:
The map on the inside of the book case.
I am very happy about this maps. But I think there are some disproportions. Not around AM and the Sto plains, I think, but in the distances in Uberwald and especially with Lancre (Warning: SPOILER for Carpe Jugulum (CJ) ahead).
From the book we know that it took at least one or two days from Zemphis to Bonk/Schmaltzberg - by train!
Now, this is circa the same distance as, referring to the map, between Lancre and Dontgonearthecastle. A distance which a weakened Granny Weatherwax and a she carrying Oaths in CJ never could have managed afoot, let alone in the short time they seemed to have managed in aforesaid book. Or the people of Escrow rushing towards the castle.
(SPOILER ending)
This also is a minor detail, but it hadn't had an impact on the story to draw this locations more congruent with previous plots on the map (and on DW you can't excuse is with problems to project the surface of a sphere on a flat map (at the moment I don't know the exact term therefor, but I hope, you know my meaning)).
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby =Tamar » Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:14 pm

RolandItwasntmyfault wrote:(snip) clacks! A system which on roundworld came along years after the people were inventing and experimenting with steam engine and only a few tiny years before the first steamboards actually paddled through the rivers.

A version of the clacks was being used on roundworld at the time steam was being developed.

RolandItwasntmyfault wrote:The first half I wondered if this book may have a main character, and although in the second half it focussed more on Moist I still am not really sure if you strictly speaking could call him the "main character". He rather shows up as a "spokesman", an "ambassador" who paves the ways for the development of rails. Okay, later on, with Vimes on his side, he becomes a fighter and we are mainly with him on his track, so the "main" may be justified.

That's an interesting point. I haven't thought this through, but now I wonder if perhaps the real "main character" is the steam engine itself. Main characters are supposed to grow and develop their characters, and the engine does the most growing and developing in the book, as it is built, rebuilt, redesigned, and somehow develops to be able to defend itself.

I like your description of the purely narrative parts of the book as being like puffs of steam seen in the distance. :)

RolandItwasntmyfault wrote:Another flaw was Vimes behaviour to Moist while there first meeting.
After Moist has fought the dwarves in the maquis' badlands (sorry, couldn't resist 8-)) he behaves as if Moist and he were best buddies ever met. After the fight on the train, yes, okay, then I would buy it, a fight together to forge comradeship, but just because Vimes had heard that Moist had killed some dwarves in a fight? Vimes never before trusted in somebody so helter-skelter, especiall not in such a scoundrel as Moist.

In a previous book Vimes had reason to be extremely angry with some of the deep-downer dwarves who threatened his wife and son. Vimes also is involved with promoting social acceptance of the goblins. He is prevented from killing the violent deep-downers by his inner policeman, but I think it is reasonable that he would approve of Moist for having avenged human deaths and defended goblins by fighting the violent deep-downers.
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby RolandItwasntmyfault » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:18 am

=Tamar wrote:
RolandItwasntmyfault wrote:(snip) clacks! A system which on roundworld came along years after the people were inventing and experimenting with steam engine and only a few tiny years before the first steamboards actually paddled through the rivers.

A version of the clacks was being used on roundworld at the time steam was being developed.


Yep. Both weren't a long time apart, a few years more or less, or even simultaneously (semaphores used during Napoleonic Wars, the first commercially succesful steamboat was launched 1807).
When somebody thinks steam engine would be out of place/time on DW so you first had to hack down the clacks.* :)

*Uhm... the dwarves do, now I come to think about it... :shock:


=Tamar wrote:
RolandItwasntmyfault wrote:The first half I wondered if this book may have a main character, and although in the second half it focussed more on Moist I still am not really sure if you strictly speaking could call him the "main character". He rather shows up as a "spokesman", an "ambassador" who paves the ways for the development of rails. Okay, later on, with Vimes on his side, he becomes a fighter and we are mainly with him on his track, so the "main" may be justified.

That's an interesting point. I haven't thought this through, but now I wonder if perhaps the real "main character" is the steam engine itself. Main characters are supposed to grow and develop their characters, and the engine does the most growing and developing in the book, as it is built, rebuilt, redesigned, and somehow develops to be able to defend itself.


Yes, this thought also sometimes crept in my mind. What if the engine itself would be the really main character of the book?
I can't really think on a reason why this not could be the thread. She is not always the centre of narration, but all the other characters aren't either. While on the other hand the whole plot is weaving arount her, her development and her impact on both AM + Sto Plains and dwarves.
Also the engine reminded me somewhat of "Christine" I think is the King's (Stephen, not Harry's :D) book. I have to confess I only know it from hearsay but what I think I know about it is that Christine is a car with a life of its own. And I think the one scene where Moist was alerted because he though that Iron Girdler may hurt/kill Simnel's girlfried is reference to this book.


=Tamar wrote:I like your description of the purely narrative parts of the book as being like puffs of steam seen in the distance. :)


Pleased to read. :)
This were really strong feelings while reading, puff - Vetinary visits Margalotta, puff - Iron Girdler comes out of the shed, puff - dwarves attack the wedding, and so on. Very good fitting in the book's theme.

=Tamar wrote:
RolandItwasntmyfault wrote:Another flaw was Vimes behaviour to Moist while there first meeting.
After Moist has fought the dwarves in the maquis' badlands (sorry, couldn't resist 8-)) he behaves as if Moist and he were best buddies ever met. After the fight on the train, yes, okay, then I would buy it, a fight together to forge comradeship, but just because Vimes had heard that Moist had killed some dwarves in a fight? Vimes never before trusted in somebody so helter-skelter, especiall not in such a scoundrel as Moist.

In a previous book Vimes had reason to be extremely angry with some of the deep-downer dwarves who threatened his wife and son. Vimes also is involved with promoting social acceptance of the goblins. He is prevented from killing the violent deep-downers by his inner policeman, but I think it is reasonable that he would approve of Moist for having avenged human deaths and defended goblins by fighting the violent deep-downers.


Right. But to my taste it still comes rather fast.
Vimes surely would approve of Moist for his fighting the dwarves and it would earn him some respect, at least it would rank Moist's position in Vimes' view somewhat higher. Nevertheless I though they first should have known a little bit better before they act as if Vimes liked him for years.
Or it simply was a spontaneous reaction of Vimes. Clasp the hand of the person who just have done something which you yourself would have enjoyed to do.
Well, whatever, I missed a tiny bit of remaining suspicion. :?
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Tonyblack » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:52 am

Do we know for sure that Vimes and Moist don't already like each other - or respect each other? They surely know each other quite well and will have almost certainly moved in the same social circles. They also have a lot in common: both with probably humble backgrounds, both able to think on their feet, both proteges of Vetinari and both with the interest of the city at heart. Maybe they are not bosom buddies, but they are not strangers.

And they have just shared a similar experience - their minds and bodies being essentially taken over as a berserker in a fight for justice.
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby RolandItwasntmyfault » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:59 pm

Tonyblack wrote:Do we know for sure that Vimes and Moist don't already like each other - or respect each other? They surely know each other quite well and will have almost certainly moved in the same social circles. They also have a lot in common: both with probably humble backgrounds, both able to think on their feet, both proteges of Vetinari and both with the interest of the city at heart. Maybe they are not bosom buddies, but they are not strangers.


Yes, indeed, a very good question.
They surely know each other, they have met occassionally while during their job, they have read in newspaper about each other, they have met on officially occassions... but so have Vimes and Lord Downey, Mr Slant and not long ago even Lord Rust too... Although they have not as much in common with Vimes, granted.
I also don't think Vimes and Moist are strangers but I always got the picture that Vimes doesn't like Moist very much.
In the time between Making Money and Raising Steam (the time we don't know about their relationship) Moist also may have earned more respect from Vimes but for me as reader there was the feeling "Huh, this now is a little bit sudden".
To not to be mistaken: It isn't as if I don't like the change in Vimes' opinion of Moist and at the latest after the fight on the train it seems justified to me, the earliest point being the incident with the bumerang. In that ways you come together.
But grasping his hand and congratulizing enthusiastically at this early point in the book...
Okay, this only is my own feeling and therefore it stands to discussion if anyone of you had had the same feeling or even not or if my feelings thereof would change when I in some distance will reread the book, or while reading this forum (as both happened before).


Tonyblack wrote:And they have just shared a similar experience - their minds and bodies being essentially taken over as a berserker in a fight for justice.


Hm, one point I haven't seen yet. This also would be something like a common experience for both.
Well, okay, another step to become buddy with Moist.
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby swreader » Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:37 pm

I know that I haven't posted in ages (have had health problems) but given that Raising Steam is the most recent (and perhaps the last--gods forfend--of Terry's novels, I wanted to make this rather long post about his work and the quality of his amazing canon.


Terry Pratchett has developed into one of the best novelists of the 20th century. Using the techniques of parody and satire he has created (in addition to some “children’s stories”) a fantasy world (the Disc) which bears in some ways striking parallels to the history and foibles of human kind from the ancient worlds (Greece, Egypt) to quite modern versions of contemporary thought, society and the problems of humanity.

What sets Pratchett apart from other fantasy writers is not only the breadth and scope of his exploration of human nature, nor his brilliant use of language. Partially because of his ability to entertain, to tell a good story with fascinating characters (not all of them human), Pratchett explores the various levels of society (primarily in Ankh-Morpork) the differences in (and similarities with) other cultures. And through his extensive body of work, he has explored men and gods in great depth. He has, in the complete body of his work thus far, earned a place among the great novelists of English literature. Comparisons between his work to that if the great novelists such as Swift, Dickens, Austen, and Twain are certainly merited.

One of the first things notable about Pratchett’s work is that he is an expert storyteller who keeps the reader enthralled and frequently smiling at the humorous explorations of his characters. His books, especially the earlier ones, are funny—delightful, slightly challenging in their use of parody, and just good fun. But his work grows more and more complex. He is able to follow characters through important changes in their lives. He creates a world where moral philosophy is important and is the underpinning of the development of his characterization. His work is so full of insight and thought-provoking ideas that most of his later works require multiple readings if one is to understand the complexity of Pratchett’s world vision.
After multiple readings of Snuff, I conclude that this is one of his major works—exploring as it does, life and society in town and country. Pratchett brings almost all of the watch characters into the novel in ways that help us to understand humanity at all levels (even if some of the characters are not human). But as the Watch books form his primary exploration of human nature, it is appropriate that in this novel, Sam Vimes continues to learn, to change, and to accept the fact that he is growing older and wiser (though not without flaws). In Thud & Snuff, for example, his vision of those who are not (as he sees it) from the gutter and not nobility, those who don’t live and work in Ankh-Morpork, is not all that different from his oldest friend, Colon.

It seems to me that while it is possible to read any Discworld novel without regard to order, it makes a huge difference in understanding the satiric nature of his work. Funny, yes! Puny-of course! Based on a sense of moral philosophy – something which only becomes apparent gradually. And if you haven’t already learned – reading any Pratchett novel more than once is mandatory if you are to understand the sometimes very dark humor and sometimes the sheer joy of laughter at the outrageous actions and ideas of some of his characters. But it is also true that there are a few case where Terry seems to have forgotten (after 40 novels not surprising) specific elements of the earlier books. I think this is more due to the size of his canon, than to Alzheimer’s.

Terry has had an amazing career, but he like of all of us, is growing older. That was one of the things I liked so much about Snuff. Like Sam, the rest of us have never been to “the country” and as a city boy it makes him extremely nervous. But he finds out that there is little real difference, and that the privileged few still think that whatever they want (at whatever cost to the rest of the world) they are entitled to. And Sam finds, as do all of us, that “people” whether human, dwarf, goblin, troll or whatever are very much the same.
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby raisindot » Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:02 pm

RolandItwasntmyfault wrote:To not to be mistaken: It isn't as if I don't like the change in Vimes' opinion of Moist and at the latest after the fight on the train it seems justified to me, the earliest point being the incident with the bumerang. In that ways you come together.
But grasping his hand and congratulizing enthusiastically at this early point in the book...
Okay, this only is my own feeling and therefore it stands to discussion if anyone of you had had the same feeling or even not or if my feelings thereof would change when I in some distance will reread the book, or while reading this forum (as both happened before).


No, I totally agree with this. It's symptom of one of the many flaws of the book--Pterry's need to have everyone who is not a "villain" all be nice and friendly and congenial with each other. He tries so hard to turn the traditionally speciesist Discworld into a place where every kind of diversity is respected (as long as it's accompanied by tolerance) that it comes off treacly and sentimentalized--something you rarely find in Pterry's great works.
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby fids » Sat Apr 12, 2014 7:54 pm

Some very deep and reasoned posts about the 'philosophy' of the book. I'd just like to say I enjoyed it as I read it without thinking too much.

I did however like the blossoming relationship between Vimes and Lipwig, Sam likes a scrapper.

The steam engine ended a time of innocence for us as a race, I dare say it has on Discworld too. No going back now.
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby feanor » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:36 pm

Ayup All...

Hate to say it, but the first of Terrys I didnt like. A bit derirative, predictable and formulaic. I don't like this 'Industrialisation' by numbers of Discworld either. It's losing its magic. And now all these things now 'exist' on the disc, there's no going back for them to disappear.

I haven't bought the book either. But thats down to my awful, awful financial state, having being Unemployed now for two years.

Try Again Tel. Can we have a 'Pyramids' sequel please ?
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby feanor » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:40 pm

RolandItwasntmyfault wrote:It's symptom of one of the many flaws of the book--Pterry's need to have everyone who is not a "villain" all be nice and friendly and congenial with each other. He tries so hard to turn the traditionally speciesist Discworld into a place where every kind of diversity is respected (as long as it's accompanied by tolerance) that it comes off treacly and sentimentalized--something you rarely find in Pterry's great works.


Unless you're a Heretical 'Christian' of course ! (oops, sorry, that's in the 'real world', LOL.)
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby meerkat » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:59 am

feanor, do you mean that Humanists will not go to heaven? I've been booked in for AGES! :D ;)
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby raisindot » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:48 pm

Hey Feanor, agree with your views but you probably shouldn't put my words in Roland's "mouth'; you don't want to saddle him with my well-established reputation as an ornery, misanthropic critic of Pterry's latest works... :lol:
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby feanor » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:58 am

meerkat wrote:feanor, do you mean that Humanists will not go to heaven? I've been booked in for AGES! :D ;)


Ayup Meerkat... LOL.

Even as a Christian, I can't speak for God in the slightest. And wouldnt presume to do so. It's one of mans faults in my eyes that some folks try to predict and force on others their ideas of what he likes or doesnt like. I believe we wont know until we meet him on our particular judgement day. And if that's the case, I think I'm buggered, let alone anyone else LOL !
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Re: Raising Steam *Warning Spoilers*

Postby feanor » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:01 am

raisindot wrote:Hey Feanor, agree with your views but you probably shouldn't put my words in Roland's "mouth'; you don't want to saddle him with my well-established reputation as an ornery, misanthropic critic of Pterry's latest works... :lol:



Sorry dot. I'm crap with the whole Quote thing. sorry for any mis-attribution.
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