dinsdag 9 februari 2016

"Moving Pictures" by Terry Pratchett

“There’s a saying that all roads lead to Ankh-Morpork, greatest of Discworld cities. (...) And it’s wrong. All roads lead away from Ankh-Morpork, but sometimes people just walk along them the wrong way."

"Terry Pratchett was born in 1948 and is still not dead." That's the way the author is introduced in the editions of his books that I own. Typical Pratchett humour, but it does sound a bit bitter now that he is dead. Anyway, despite the sadness for his passing, if you're looking for something laugh-out-loud funny, Terry Pratchett is always a safe bet.

A new invention is changing the Discworld. The alchemists have developed the technique of making 'moving pictures' (which involves tiny demons in a box and a highly explosive substance called 'octo-cellulose'). Young wizard-in-training Victor Tugelbend is lured to the city of Holy Wood, although he doesn't quite know what he'll be doing there. What he finds is a booming new industry of movie-making, and he soon becomes a leading actor. But strange things are happening: people are acting totally out of character and animals are starting to speak. Creatures from another dimension are breaking through. Holy Wood is bending reality in the Discworld and Victor Tugelbend seems to be the only one who can stop it...

I've read about a dozen of Pratchett's Discworld novels and this one is certainly among the best. Outrageously funny and full of references to real life. In this case it's obviously a spoof of Hollywood. Yes, there are ruthless producers and smug starlets. There's aggressive merchandising and Oscars. There's popcorn and hot dogs. In between the lines, you'll recognize Marlène Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart and Lassie.  There are references to titles like "Singing in the Rain", "Gone with the Wind", "Conan (sorry, Cohen) the Barbarian", "Tarzan of the Apes", "King Kong" and many others, albeit most of them with a twist. Even if you miss half of the hints (which I'm sure I have) you're in for a rollicking bit of fun.

Author: Terry Pratchett
Title: Moving Pictures
Publisher: Corgi, London
Year: 1998 (orig. 1990)
Number of pages: 333 p.
ISBN: 0552134635

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