Discworld #10

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Publication Date: 1990

Summary from GoodReads:

Moving PicturesHoly wood is a different sort of place. People act differently here. Everywhere else the most important things are gods or money or cattle. Here, the most important thing is to be important.’

People might say that reality is a quality that things possess in the same way that they possess weight. Sadly alchemists never really held with such a quaint notion. They think that they can change reality, shape it to their own purpose. Imagine then the damage that could be wrought if they get their hands on the ultimate alchemy: the invention of motion pictures, the greatest making of illusions. It may be a triumph of universe-shaking proportions. It’s either that or they’re about to unlock the dark terrible secret of the Holy Wood hills – by mistake…


I started rereading the Discworld books last fall as part of  the DiscWorld Readathon sponsored by Pages Below the Vaulted Sky.  I’m not sure that this is still a thing, but I have decided to continue reading and enjoying the books.  

This is one of my favorite Discworld books.  It is funny and such an interesting take on Hollywood, movies and what exactly is reality.  There are many references to old movies and actors that are a delight to see and go, oh yeah I remember that one.  

I have decided not to do a full review, but instead just do some of my favorite quotes.  

“The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.” 

“You know what the greatest tragedy is in the whole world?” said Ginger, not paying him the least attention. “It’s all the people who never find out what it is they really want to do or what it is they’re really good at. It’s all the sons who become blacksmiths because their fathers were blacksmiths. It’s all the people who could be really fantastic flute players who grow old and die without ever seeing a musical instrument, so they become bad plowmen instead. It’s all the people with talents who never even find out. Maybe they are never even born in a time when it’s even possible to find out.” 

“Reality is not digital, an on-off state, but analog. Something gradual. In other words, reality is a quality that things possess in the same way that they possess, say, weight. Some people are more real than others, for example. It has been estimated that there are only about five hundred real people on any given planet, which is why they keep unexpectedly running into one another all the time.” 

“Most people think in curves and zig-zags. For example, they start from a thought like: I wonder how I can become very rich, and then proceed along an uncertain course which includes thoughts like: I wonder what’s for supper, and: I wonder who I know who can lend me five dollars?” 

“If the abnormal goes on long enough it becomes the normal. It was just that, when you came to explain it to a third party, it sounded odd.” 

“It was like rising slowly out of a pink cloud, or a magnificent dream which, try as you might, drains out of your mind as the daylight shuffles in, leaving a terrible sense of loss; nothing, you know instinctively, nothing you’re going to experience for the rest of the day is going to be one half as good as that dream.” 

I’ll be reading Reaper Man next month.  This is the second book featuring Death, and I can’t wait to read it again!

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