Book Review: Moving Pictures by Sir Terry Pratchett

Posted September 14, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Book Review: Moving Pictures by Sir Terry Pratchett

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Moving Pictures by Sir Terry Pratchett
Series: ,
Genres: Satire
Published by HarperCollins on March 17, 2009
Pages: 363
Format: eBook
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: I Shall Wear Midnight, The Light Fantastic, Sourcery, Mort, The Shepherd's Crown, Guards! Guards!, Small Gods, A Blink of the Screen, Reaper Man

Tenth in the overall Discworld fantastically satirical series and first in the Industrial Revolution subseries. The focus pokes fun at Hollywood. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Discworld books on my website.

My Take

Only Pratchett could pull the magic of our Hollywood into Discworld and make it work, revealing the truth!!, lol.

Nothing is sacred to Pratchett, from people who don’t get jokes, old farts reminiscing about their days when they never…, students who prefer being students, the new career opportunities available for drunks, Singing in the Rain, the staple food for the moving-picture pits — banged grains, Lassie, The Wizard of Oz, Rudy Valentino, “great” epics, Gone With the Wind, the stereotypical things that happen in film will happen in real life — s’true, just check out that barn full of cabbage…*laughing* Oh, yeah, Wile E. Coyote’s gots nothin’ on Moving Pictures.

“Mattresses tend to be full of life too, and no one writes odes to them.”

Ah, yes, it’s “…a slander on skilled crude hut builders…”

“A month went by very quickly. It didn’t want to hang around.”

The filming process in Holy Wood is very simple with the end result very much like a flip book. You’ll learn some fancy tips when Cut-me-own-Throat steps things up, advertising-wise, ROFL. Unfortunately, I’m more along the lines of Thomas Silverfish and need to be more Cut-me-own-Throat, *more laughter*

It’s about the actors behind the scenes, on scene, and in front of their public. About the whimsical fancies of directors. The extras and cameram…, oops, handlemen with their strict guild rules, and how it all ties in to the magic of Discworld.

Now this is one of the things I like about America. You’re not expected to follow in yer granfer’s trade, just because it was his trade. And Ginger puts it quite well.

Oh, no! Intelligence ruins your sex life!! Mr. Thumpy liked his so much better before he was able to talk. Now he “suddenly wants to make conversation, and all they do is sit there wrinklin’ their noses at you. You feel a right idiot.”

It’s them rogue books, the ones that may go cannibal…that remind me of the forbidden section at Hogwarts. Those books of power like The Bumper Fun Grimoire with its deadly jokes, and The Joy of Tantric Sex which had to be stored under iced water.

The excuses these pompous wizards dream up for why they have to investigate the films of that busty girl.

Poor Gaspode. His life is a trial and only gets worse when Laddie shows up.

It’s all about belief. Believe in something hard enough, and it will become true. At least for long enough.

The Story

Ahh, the pull of Holy Wood. You don’t know why you’re going, you simply know you have to go there. It’s “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.”

It’s the alchemists, you see. They’ve “always thought that they can change reality, shape it to their own purpose. Imagine then the damage that could be wrought on the Discworld 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 secret of the Holy Wood hills — by mistake…”

The Characters

Theda “Ginger” Withel used to be a milk maid, and isn’t too sure being an actress is all that much better.

Victor Tugelbend is a wizard student with a desperate need to not graduate and not work too hard.

Ankh-Morpork is…

…the greatest of the Discworld cities…which ain’t sayin’ much, especially when Pratchett reminds us that “all roads lead away from Ankh-Morpork”. The Patrician is the city dictator. Sergeant Colon and Corporal Nobbs are on the Night Watch.

Holy Wood had…
…been kept in check by Deccan Ribobe, the Last Keeper of the Door and Tento before him and Meggelin before him and… Now the alchemists, a tiny guild with very few of them married (as it’s difficult for them to relate to others) are taking over. Thomas Silverfish is the president of the guild and stumbles into producing moving pictures through his new company, Interesting and Instructive Kinematography. Peavie is the guild treasurer. Lully and Sendivoge are members.

Gaffer Bird is the head handleman. Galena, a.k.a., Flint, and Morraine “Morry”, a.k.a., Rock, are trolls who can take on any part that requires rocks, monsters, guards, etc. Nodar Borgle the Klatchian runs the commissary. Thunderfoot, Snidin, and Breccia are more actors. Mrs. Marietta Cosmopilite has some astonishing views and turns out to be quite the seamstress.

Gaspode the Wonder Dog…”Woof?”…found his niche in the world: agent. He’s dang good too, lol. Don’t-call-me-Mr-Thumpy is a talking rabbit; Definitely-Not-Squeak is a talking mouse; Laddie is the archetype Lassie — gorgeous and dumber’n a box of rocks.

Cut-me-own-Throat Dibbler is a salesman who intends to move up in the world. He certainly can’t go any further down! Detritus is a troll who gets hired on as Cut-me-own Throat’s bodyguard. Soll Dibbler is Throat’s nephew and the new v-p in charge of making pictures.

Harga runs a restaurant. Well, technically, it’s a restaurant. Bezam Planter owns the Odium, one of the city’s moving-picture pits. Mrs. Planter has some suggestions. Their daughter, Calliope, plays the organ. The Mended Drum is the most disreputable of city taverns. The Blue Lias is a troll bar where Ruby (another troll) performs. Those trolls have some interesting “dating” rituals. Too bad Ruby’s been corrupted by those human girls.

Unseen University is…
…the school for magic. Mustrum Ridcully the Brown is the new archchancellor who does his best to avoid any of the duties. He prefers hunting and fishing. The Bursar appears to act more like a secretary, or a relay runner…as he is always trying to chase the archchancellor down. Old Windle Poons is the only wizard not terrified of Ridcully, mostly because he isn’t particularly with it. The Librarian had been a human wizard until a spell changed him into an orang-utan, Ook. Riktor “Ol’ Numbers” the Tinkerer built all sorts of devices to measure anything. The Chair of Indefinite Studies, the Dean of Pentacles, and the Lecturer in Recent Runes talk themselves into investigating. Ponder Stebbins is a post-graduate student who learns his lesson. Mrs. Whitlow is the University housekeeper. Ksandra is one of the maids.

Klatch is…
…another country, far from Ankh-Morpork. Azhural N’choate is a stock dealer in Klatch; his assistant, M’Bu, has some clever ideas. Those who help herd all them there elephants include Uncle N’gru and Aunti Googol. Banana N’Vectif is a hunter who builds a better mouse trap.

Great A’tuin is the turtle who glides through space carrying the Discworld on its back. Uncle Osbert, Uncle Oswald, they’re all the same. DEATH has a heckuva sense of humor.

The Cover and Title

The cover has a bright red background with the author’s name and title in white. There’s a black border on the left with a succession of falling director’s chairs that echoes the theme of the story. But what really grabs me and makes me laugh is the Discworld version of cameras with that old-fashioned projector and the teeny green imps who create the film.

The title is the lure and magic of Holy Wood and the Moving Pictures.

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2 responses to “Book Review: Moving Pictures by Sir Terry Pratchett

  1. If you get a kick out of Hollywood and behind-the-scenes action, you’ll adore his take on it all in Moving Pictures. And that camera! Oh, man, the guy had the most active imagination!

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