Tag Archives: terry pratchett

Into the Autumn

During the last few months I received several tags by both DarkFairy and Fissel and I’ll try to get them done one after the other without boring you too much with them. As the days are getting darker and colder I decided to start with this one that was forwarded to me by Fairy.
The Tag – originally called Ab in den Herbst* – was created by Corly and like all Tags brings Rules with them:

  • Link your post below Corly’s Original-Tag
  • Say thank you for the nomination: Thanks Fairy!
  • Answer the questions
  • Tag more Bloggers and tell them

The Questions

Which books remind you of autumn? (Be it due to the cover or because they take place in autumn)

Honestly? I have no idea. I barely remember any covers – even though they might influence my decision to buy the book – or take notice of the Season’s within a book – as they barely play a role.
Corly included the German version of Suzanne Collins Mockingjay in her list and I have to admit, that I am not sure if the thingies are supposed to be flames (German subtitle: Flaming Wrath) or autumn leaves…
Thinking a bit more on it, I guess Der Königsschlüssel (The King’s Key) by Boris Koch reminds me a bit of autumn, too, due to the colour of the cover, but I don’t think it was hinted at in the story…
Story-wise I’d say Terry Pratchett’s Reaper Man reminds me of autumn, simply because DEATH is bringing in the corn…

What do you associate with autumn?

Colourful leaves/trees, rain and wind are the major associations I have with autumn, but there are also a couple of other things. The days are getting darker, all the stuff from the garden is harvested and there are a few things that are celebrated in this Season – and I don’t mean HalloweenSt. Martin’s Day was a huge thing when I was a kid – especially the lantern procession. By now the focus of the 11th November is more on the beginning of the carnival Season where we get the traditional Pfannkuchen from our bosses. Also in autumn are the change of the daylight saving time and the Eternity Sunday or Sunday of the Dead (Ewigkeitssonntag or Totensonntag) that I talked about back in 2013 over at the Fairytale Traveler. This year that day will be quite difficult….

What do you especially like about autumn?

I’m not really sure, but I guess I like that the weather now allows me to not feel guilty about staying in all day. 😉 And I really love passing by or driving through alleys full of colourful trees…oh and tramping through the fallen leaves and kicking them into the air is also great. 😀

What is your favourite Halloween-movie?

This thing is filed with difficult questions…
I guess my favourite Halloween-movie is Halloweentown and its sequels. They’re just so much fun… and of course Nightmare before Christmas, but you can never be sure if this movie fits into the category Halloween- or Christmas-movie 😉
[Author’s Note: I just re-read Fairy’s post after completing mine: I did not mean to copy these from you, but it’s not surprising to me that we picked the same movies. >_<]

Are you an autumn-child (meaning: Were you born in autumn)?

Nope, Winter is my Season. 😀

What do you say about the season autumn in general? Do you like autumn?

It depends, some days, especially when the sun shines and illuminates all those colourful leaves, autumn is awesome. On others when the fog is hanging low or it is raining, you just want to wrap a blanket around yourself and shut out the world, which isn’t an entirely bad thing, but sometimes it can drag you down and that’s not so great. But I generally like autumn as a season.

What kind of holiday destinations do you like most in autumn?

The majority of my travellings take place in summer, so the only times I am actually on tour in autumn is for concerts, maybe an MPS or things like last years trip on Halloween or this year the TimeLash. This also means that I barely use any vacation days in autumn anyway and therefore don’t have a destination – other than getting home, I guess. Though I do still want to actually participate in an American Halloween celebration or actually be able to follow some Irish traditions…

Are there animals that you associate with autumn?

Deer, I guess? And crows and brants and cranes probably, as those are the ones you mostly see either standing on the (empty) fields or noisily flying above you to their wintering grounds.

Your most beautiful autumn-picture? (Can be a private one)

Tough one again… I think most pictures that include colourful leaves are beautiful, so… (yes, I’m a big fan of colourful leaves…). I’m most fascinated by pictures that depict trees or forests throughout the Seasons, where they have like one picture for each Season. Those are great….

Do you have a special autumn experience?

Hmm…I guess you can count all those Halloween experiences I had so far into this, other than that…no idea…

Last thoughts

Okay, so this probably weren’t the most interesting answers to these question, but I still wanted to do it. I think it helps one to learn a bit more about oneself if you try thinking about certain things, you haven’t thought about before and tags like this one help with that.
As I don’t know whom to tag, I will skip that part of the rules. If you want to answer the questions anyway, because you think autumn is awesome or otherwise then go ahead and feel tagged! 😀
You can obviously use my translated questions or Corly’s original (German) ones.
Don’t slip on any fallen leaves. 😉
* I obviously translated the rules and questions.

Terry Pratchett: Reaper Man

We meet again for another Book-Week and I have a slight feeling that it won’t be the last this year.
The first book I’ve chosen to review is Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett. I have read this book some years ago during my last school years and as I said before:

When Fairy posted her review on Reaper Man for her Alphabet-Challenge I couldn’t help myself but to follow DEATH on his journey to understand mortality again, either.

What is it about?

4 of 5 stars

In the Discworld everyone and everything gets an hourglass that symbolizes their lives‘ time and that tells DEATH when it is time to pick them up. Some sand grains run faster, others slower and some don’t run at all. Until they do. When DEATH is confronted with his own mortality he decides to live the life he now gained by leaving his realm and offering his help on a farm as Bill Door.
With DEATH out of duty the dead people of the Discworld – amongst them former wizard Windle Poons – now have the slight problem of being un-dead or unable to pass on. While every other species creates their own version of DEATH quite fast, humans take longer and the life force that accumulates in the meantime causes quite a lot of trouble for the people of Ankh-Morpork, Windle, his fellow un-dead friends and the other wizards of the Unseen University.

The reading experience

I remember that when I first read it, I was quite captivated by it and didn’t want to stop. When I now read it again it wasn’t like that. I still enjoyed it greatly, but with some knowledge of what was going to happen still in mind and a different look on writing itself, some passages felt different to what I remember. I do believe I also laughed less at some of the jokes, but I’m not entirely sure whom to blame for that.
Pratchett has obviously his own way of writing – especially his Discworld novels – but some sentences bugged me quite a bit, though this might as well have been due to some translation mishaps.
The ideas, however, were quite interesting:

  • DEATH leaves and everything that is dying leaves behind its life force that creates new things that shouldn’t actually be there.
  • Unusual un-dead unite to fight for their rights.
  • Trolleys hatching from Snow Globes gathering to become a Shopping Mall.
  • Different versions of DEATH around the Discworld.

But so far I haven’t come across a Discworld book that wasn’t interesting to read.

The characters

DEATH is one of my favourite characters, both in the Discworld and across literature. His way of (mis)understanding the human nature and exploring it is just brilliant and at times quite hilarious. Seeing him face the weirdness of a mortal life as Bill Door (or Bill Tür as he is called in German) is also quite interesting, because he sees so many things quite different.
The Wizards are always a source for laughter and rolling of eyes, their just so quirky and weird. Their whole attitude stands quite in contrast to the second protagonist Windle Poons, who is rather reasonable for a(n un-dead) wizard. He brought a nice contrast into the chaos caused by the life force.
Though they get little screen time are all the side characters still interesting in their own way, with their own quirky stories. The shy Bogeyman Schleppel was quite great, just as the opposite werewolves Ludmilla and Lupine and the (fake) vampire couple the Winkings. As were the semi-self-conscious Troleys, who toyed with the wizards.
Pratchett just has a great way of creating rather unique characters that are quite likable soon.

General Opinion

Even though I roughly remembered what was going to happen, I still enjoyed this re-read.
With DEATH as main character, I cannot not like this story.
Besides that was it just interesting to read how all of them coped with their different situation (being mortal, being un-dead, being surrounded by Snow Globes, being chased by Trolleys,…).
The only down point I could see, is that at some points the story tried too much to be original, like with the crude writing on the Globes.
It also didn’t become entirely clear to me what the endgame of the Mall was and why the life force was turned into it in the first place (I know it had to go somewhere, but still…).
But it was still a fun read and I’ll probably read it again one day. 🙂

Stuff I’d like to add

If I ever get around to actually do it, I’d like to have a look at this book, Supernatural’s Death takes a Holiday and Torchwood: Miracle Day to look at how differently they handle the concept of Death’s absence.
© For the cover belongs to its rightful owner

BiblioSmiles' Summer Book Challenge 2014

A couple of days ago the BiblioSmiles literature Blog posted a reading challenge for the summer that really sounded interesting:

When I was little, every summer my town library would have a summer book challenge to keep our young brains from turning to mush from all the sunshine and lack of schooling. Or video games. It might have been video games.
For every book you read, you logged it, and you accumulated points, earning little trinkets like those erasers in the shapes of ice cream cones, or wacky pencils, or puntastic posters. Being the little budding lit nerd I was, I was all over that.[…]
So, for summer 2014, here’s the 10 Book Challenge that I’m going to attempt to accomplish between June and August. Ten books has us at 3.3 books a month, which may be ambitious depending on the sort of books we choose. But that’s why it’s a challenge! Based on what books you pick, this can either be really difficult or fairly whimsical and easy.
From: Summer Book Challenge 2014

In short: The challenge consists of 10 categories to choose a book from (and a bonus category) and to read them in the months from June to August.
As I recently started to properly read again (as in: not starting a book and letting it lie somewhere for years) is this challenge also interesting for me to read some of the books that still wait in my shelve(s).
Even though I am a relatively fast reader (200-400 pages are a short read for me), if I would actually try to read ten books in three (by now two and a half) months I wouldn’t really be able to finish the challenge as this time of the year is also the festival season and I’m also otherwise occupied at times.
The beginning of the month was already covered with my Journey Through a bit of Germany and the Metalfest, for which I will add travel logs and report later.
The next one (Rockharz) will follow mid July and maybe another one in August (M’era Luna), taking away time on the weekend that I would otherwise spent reading.
Therefore I picked a book fitting for the category, but I will read them in my own pace and not within the set time limit and post a review linking back to the challenge afterwards.
This way I’ll do some proper reading and be able to add a few book reviews to my Blog.
But let’s have a look at the

The Categories and the Books

I have chosen.
1. A book you always meant to get around to
As my list of unread books is just as long as BiblioSmiles‘ Gabrieles, this one isn’t really an easy choice. But as I am tired of not properly understanding the movies have I chosen „The Lord of the Rings“ for this one, though I am not sure if I’ll also add „The Hobbit“ and „The Silmarillion“ to get the complete grasp of the story.
2. Reread a childhood favorite
This one is actually easy as I just picked the one that first came to mind when thinking about books I read when I was a child/teenager: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I’m curious already if I’ll like the book as much as I did back then or if I’ll ruin the memory with this. >_<
3. A book someone else picks for you
As many people have recommended it for me I’ll actually start with the „Game of Thrones“ series. The alternative suggestion I got from DarkFairy would be the first book of James Barclay’s „Chronicles of the Raven„, but as I am still missing most of that series this is more difficult to read than the other one.
4. A book in a genre you don’t usually read
I hope young adult fiction counts for this… It still has some Fantasy elements, but it is aimed at a far younger audience. The book I’ve chosen is Melvin Burgess‘ „Tiger, Tiger“ that I’m already reading as it is one of four books I wanted to actually read before they might be swapped in the Book Hotel I’ll be staying at with my mum towards the end of July.
5. Something originally written in another language
Well, so far every book I’ve chosen was originally written in another language (English). We do have a couple of good (fantasy) authors here in Germany, but the majority of books are still translated into German. Nevertheless have I chosen a book that I will also read in English (just like GoT, but that’s mostly because the German versions are all split into two books) and whose special edition I have borrowed from Nazgul: „The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy“ (which incidentally was Gabrieles suggestion for 3.)
6. A book in a different format
This one I have also already started reading before knowing about the Challenge. It’s an Anthology (collection of short stories) that was created for the anniversary of The Forum. It’s called „Unter dem Weltenbaum“ (Underneath the World Tree) and contains stories about the roots, trunk and branches of the Arbor Phantastica or Yggdrasil by different authors. I sent two of my stories (Unterwelt and Erde), into the competition as well, but they weren’t chosen.
7. A classic
As I already have mentioned a couple of times, do I really like Goethe’s „Faust“ (see: Mephisto), but as it stands have I never finished Part Two of the tragedy. But this will be changed by the end of the challenge. 🙂 I might even reread Part One as well, if I can find it…
8. A book by your favorite author that you haven’t read yet
This one is tricky as I don’t really have an author I consider my favourite. There are three of whom I at least have more than one unread book: Stephen King, Terry Pratchett and Marcus Heitz. I am still not sure which book I will choose, but it is highly likely that I will finally finish – more likely begin anew – King’s „The Dark Tower V: The Wolves of the Calla“ as like „Kinder des Judas“ this one is still unfinished for quite some time now.
9. A nonfiction book
A couple of years ago we had a secret Santa at work and the present I picked was Stephen Hawking’s „A Brief History of Time“ and I think it’s about time I get around to reading it.
10. A book either published or a bestseller from the year you were born
This one is tricky as the most books I found in the list for my year aren’t that easily available for me – or simply didn’t sound interesting enough. The one I picked is Ray Bradbury’s „A Graveyard for Lunatics“ that is actually available in my local library. (And now you all know my year of birth and subsequently my age >_<)
Bonus book! 11. A book you haven’t read that was adapted to a movie/TV show
As I am already planning on continuing the series I’ll probably continue with the second part of „The Vampire Diaries“ – the review for the first one is still on my to-finish list though.
Now you know which books I have picked and I will give you a review after I finished them (though maybe not for 8. as that would seem odd without the other ones).
Maybe you want to try it too? Just pick a couple of books and make sure to actually read them. 😉
Edit: You can find my current reading (and review) status here: Summer Book Challenge

Terry Pratchett: Eric

As I mentioned a couple of times, I want to start reading more again.
So the first book I read for that occasion – and to get my head away from thinking about my thesis that was being reviewed at that time – was Terry Pratchett’s Eric.

What is it about?

3 of 5 stars

Eric is one of Pratchett’s Discworld novels and tells the story of the young demonology hacker Eric Thursley that summons a demon to fulfil him three simple wishes:
He wants to be the ruler of the world, meet the most beautiful woman that has ever lived and be immortal.
It isn’t really his fault that he summons the most incompetent wizard Rincewind that had been trapped in a Dungeon Dimension to help him with this. And it also isn’t his fault that they end up in places – and times – were his wishes might be granted a little differently than he had anticipated.

The reading experience

As you might have figured: I read this in German. Simply because almost every book I own is the German translation/version. Therefore I can’t say anything about Pratchett’s original jokes, as I don’t know which are his and which came through the translation.

The only thing that I can properly say about the reading itself is, that the novel is far too short.
It seemed a bit rushed at times and I am certain there would have been way more stories to tell, but we only got a little glimpse of that. Still a fun read though.

The characters

Eric pretends to be an old and wise demonology hacker, but is in fact barely older than thirteen. Therefore his antics are childish and naive in certain situations, but the more they go through the more he learns that Rincewind more or less knows what he is doing – and more importantly WHEN they should run.
Rincewind is one of the reoccurring characters from the Discworld. His first appearance was in The Colour of Magic and it took me quite some time to not misread his name as Reiswein or Ricewine
Anyway, in this story he is seemingly granted the power to fulfil wishes through snipping his fingers (whereas otherwise he is barely capable of doing simple spells), which in turn leads them to places where his natural flight instinct is rather useful. He shows again that he has a minimum of responsibility for the people he travels with and is capable of knowing exactly when and in what direction he would need to flee. His pessimistic realism is always quite fun to read and of course his often not understood sarcasm. I might even go as far as to say he is amongst my favourite characters (way after DEATH obviously).
And he never is anywhere without the Luggage (which by the way is called „Truhe„/Chest in German). I like Luggage…I just don’t want to ever meet it/him as an enemy…and his role in this novel was again quite a fun one: Eating through armies, hell gates and simply appearing every time his master is in trouble.
The other major character beside Eric is Astgfl the King of Hell. Or rather the bureaucratic King of Hell that cancelled all the fun in purgatory to be replaced with boredom. That alone makes him a quite fun parody. On the one hand you could see that his plans worked, EVERYONE suffered, on the other hand you could see why there might be some controversy towards his methods of sending out memo’s and files and organizing everything. Even if h e just wanted to improve hell…
As with most of the Discworld stuff I can’t really say that there is a character that I don’t like. I might not have gotten a proper connection to some of them, due to the length of the novel and their short appearances, but no one really stood out negatively. Not even the Tezumen tribe and their „god“ or other army people and demons they met. Heck not even the crazy parrot…

General Opinion

As I said: This novel was way too short, but still fun1. It had some interesting ideas in the ways the wishes were granted (including the creation of the universe, a tribe of Mayan like people and a Trojan-like horse).
The thing that stuck with me most was however the boring bureaucratic hell with Boredom as eternal punishment. It seems to be a rather horrible idea if you are the one being punished…or doing the punishing…
It doesn’t really live up to the other novels I’ve read so far. Which is probably due to the shortness and the bare hints at other story lines instead of actually following them like he does with in of his other novels. Still interesting and funny though.

Stuff I’d like to add

This story was alternatively called „Faust“ and was probably some strange variation of the tragedy by Goethe, but I personally can see the connection only with squinting. With Rincewind being Mephisto, Eric being Faust and Astfgl maybe being god and the „most beautiful woman that ever lived“ being Gretchen or Helena. But I don’t really read it as Faust-like tale…but that’s just my opinion, as someone who kind of really likes the original.
© For the cover belongs to its rightful owner.
1 I really like the footnotes in his novels…