Soul Music Discussion **Spoilers**

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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:51 am

poohcarrot wrote:
The thing is, if you don't get the musical jokes, the book isn't half as much fun. :(
I think it's a better book than Moving Pictures, which also relies on a lot of jokes, but doesn't have such a good story to it.

What is it that has made Death want to 'forget'? And why is it only now that he feels the need? :?
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Postby michelanCello » Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:58 am

Is it just me, or is every book with Death in the leading role about Death dissappearing, or giving up, or searching for the higher meaning of things? Death seems to want more, but he can't want for more, because he's Death... I mean, if he isn't certain about himself, than who will? It's death and taxes, isn't it...
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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:02 pm

It seems like that, doesn't it? :lol:

But to be fair, each occurance has had a different reason. He didn't have much choice in Reaper Man.

The other book where this happens is Mort. In some ways Soul Music addresses things that happened in Mort.
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Postby poohcarrot » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:25 pm

Tonyblack wrote:I think it's a better book than Moving Pictures, which also relies on a lot of jokes, but doesn't have such a good story to it.

Totally agree! :P
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:56 pm

poohcarrot wrote:
Tonyblack wrote:I think it's a better book than Moving Pictures, which also relies on a lot of jokes, but doesn't have such a good story to it.

Totally agree! :P

Moving Pictures is far better 'cos it introduces Gaspode - end of story 8) :lol:

But aside from that, I'm a visual person and although I like Soul Music I liked MP bette.r mainly because it makes much better use of CMOT (although the portrayal of the greedy band manager is probably more fitting for Dibbler). The Sam Goldwyn and Selznick gags (not to mention Harga's House of Ribs) in MP were genius and for me Soul Music is Terry recycling on that side of it rather than innovating, but then even the Discworld has to get post-modernist eventually :P
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Postby raisindot » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:01 pm

While SM may be one of the most enjoyable and "fun to read" DW books, I don't rank it up there among the top DW books, for some of the same reasons SWreader and others have stated.

To echo what Pooh and others have stated, 'true' enjoyment of SM, like Moving Pictures, Eric, Maskerade, and, to a lesser degree, Unseen Academicals, really depends on one's ability to 'pick up' the cultural references. I got most of the American and mainstream Brit references, but anything involving Welsh was beyond me. (Lspace WAS a great friend for this book). A twenty year old brought up on rap or Britney might find it entertaining, but not see what all the fuss is about.

It would probably make a great introduction to the series for the new initiate, especially one who knows something about R&R music of the 50s-70s, but it really doesn't demonstrate the full potential of the series that Pterry had already begun to achieve in some of its predecessors ("Small Gods" and "Lords and Ladies" in particular). Just compare this to the next Death book, "Hogfather," and you can see how far PTerry had advanced as a storyteller.

If one were to compare Pterry to Shakespeare (hey, why not?), one might think that "Soul Music" is his "Love's Labour Lost" or another "early-mid-period" comedy. If this was the only Shakespeare play you read, you might think it was a very good, very funny, well-written work. But then if you went on to read the later comedies like "As You Like it," "Twelfth Night," "Merchant of Venice," or "Much Ado About Nothing," or the great tragedies, you'd realize that LLV while great for its time (especially in comparison to other plays of the period) represents an artist still in the relatively early stages of his literary mastery.

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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:36 pm

poohcarrot wrote:My fave musical pun is the "Don Maclean - American Pie" joke. :lol:
Just before Death rides off on the bike he grabs the Dean's leather coat.

I thought this bit was also a parody of Terminator. :wink:
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Postby Sjoerd3000 » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:50 pm

Thought so too :wink:
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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:10 pm

As well as the Don McLean song, the origin of the phrase: "The Day The Music Died" refers to 3rd February 1959 when a plane carrying Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, crashed killing all three.

In some ways this book is referencing this event in that, although all three were killed, their fame continued through their music - indeed, in some ways they became more famous after they died than while they were alive.

This is sort of what happened to Buddy in the book - he continued to live through the music. One of the themes of this book is Fame and the sort of god-like quality it bestows on the famous. In typical Discworld fashion the fame comes after death but while Buddy's body is still animated. He's like some sort of Rock and Roll zombie. :D
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Postby swreader » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:08 am

I'm working on a longer discussion of the nature of the whole book, sort of expanding your ideas J.I.B., but thought I throw these questions/ideas out for discussion.

Why aren't Ridcully & Ponder Stibbons affected by the music of Music With Rocks In (hereafter MWRI)? I have a theory or two but what do the rest of you think? They seem almost the only humans not affected.

I think that this book has left-over ideas that are used in different ways. For example, I am personally convinced that the dog described as being with the canting crew when DEATH joins them is Gaspode. The paragraph says:
"Foul Ole Ron made a small living by following people until they gave him money no to. He'd also got a dog, which added something to Foul Ole Ron's smell. It was a grayish brown terrier with a torn ear and vast patches of bare skin; it begged with an old hat in its remaining teeth, and since people will generally give to animals that which they'd withhold from humans, it added considerably to the earning power of the group."

If you compare that description with the physical description of Gaspode in the Companion, or almost any of the other books, the only significant difference is that the dog does not appear to talk, based on this description.

Finally, I wonder if the motorcycle that the librarian constructs has any relation to the James Dean legend, that Dean's death by the "special car" was predicted by Alec Guinness. Wiki reports "When Dean introduced himself to Alec Guinness outside a restaurant, he asked him to take a look at the Spyder. Guinness thought the car appeared 'sinister' and told Dean: 'If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week.' This encounter took place on September 23, 1955, seven days before Dean's death." I associate (although others may not) Dean with Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run".
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:36 am

With Men at Arms being published immediately before SM I think that Ron's stinky little doggie is almost definitely Gaspode. He ran away from the nice family Carrot had found for him and so this is a hint of things to come for the Canting Crew and all in line with Terry's continuity programme ready for Gaspode to go onto greater things as the leader/guard dog of his own little pack of misfits :lol:

The bike sequence is based mainly on Dean but it mixes in other things including THIS!
Wikipedia wrote:Dean was driving west on U.S. Route 466 (later State Route 46) near Cholame, California when a black-and-white 1950 Ford Custom Tudor coupe, driven from the opposite direction by 23-year-old Cal Poly student Donald Turnupseed, attempted to take the fork onto State Route 41 and crossed into Dean's lane without seeing him. The two cars hit almost head on.

Then there's Born to Rune which also links into the Steppenwolf classic 'Born to be Wild' fixating on the bike rather than the leathers :lol: And leads in to ties with The Wild Ones movie with Marlon Brando as the biker gang leader :wink: I lurve, lurve, lurve, the huge botch that Death makes of the "What are you rebelling about" feeder in not delivering the "What have you got?" comeback :twisted:

Actually I think Terry's natural genre's really as a stand-up comedian - his observational talents are truly stupendous :D
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:24 am

Interesting fact about Turnupseed, Jan - I didn't know that. :D

The doggie, could be Gaspode I suppose. Certainly living with Ron would help to disguise his scent so that he can't be found. I'm pretty sure that's why he goes to live with them after The Fifth Elephant - so Carrot won't find him.

The main purpose of the dog in this one was to show the RCA Victor (later HMV) symbol.

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Postby poohcarrot » Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:25 pm

I reckon it's Gaspode too. :P

I also think that there isn't a lot about this book that you can, or should take seriously (there is a half-hearted pop at Christians, but that seems to be there just for the sake of pushing TP's atheist credentials, rather than to stimulate the imagination) :P

It's a book that I bet he had a great deal of fun writing, without having to get all deep and meaningful. :D
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:36 pm

Well Terry does use this book partly to close some threads he left open in Mort. I have a feeling that anyone not having read Mort will have some difficulty with this one.

And he further explores Death's fascination with humanity. There's an episode of Star Trek Voyager (series 3) called 'Real Life' where the holographic doctor creates a family for himself. At first he's programmed them to be too perfect so B'Elanna changes the program to make it more realistic. The Doctor then finds he has to deal with feelings that he'd rather ignore.

I mention this because this is rather what Death goes through in this book. :) He's feeling grief and thinks that forgetting it rather than dealing with it will make things better. :)
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Postby raisindot » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:40 pm

swreader wrote:Why aren't Ridcully & Ponder Stibbons affected by the music of Music With Rocks In (hereafter MWRI)? I have a theory or two but what do the rest of you think? They seem almost the only humans not affected.


Could it be that these two wizards (unlike The Librarian) are meant to be the DW equivalent of "squares"?

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