Tag Archives: #Illusion

Pratchett, T. (1990). Moving Pictures. London: Victor Gollanz

Reblog of my review of Terry Pratchett’s “Moving Pictures” from 1990.

Trust is a valuable commodity. To whom do I give my trust? The entertainment industry? News media? Scientific research? Pratchett’s Moving Pictures is a biting and funny social commentary about the impact and influence media can have on us.

About thirty miles Turnwise of Ankh-Morpork the surf boomed on the wind-blown, seagrass-waving, sand-dune-covered spit of land where the Circle Sea met the Rim Ocean.

The hill itself was visible for miles. It wasn’t very high, but lay amongst the dunes like an upturned boat or a very unlucky whale, and was covered in scrub trees. No rain fell here, if it could possibly avoid it. Although the wind sculpted the dunes around it, the low summit of the hill remained in an everlasting, ringing calm.

Nothing but the sand had changed here in hundreds of years. (p.10)

@Josh Kirby

Moving Pictures is the 10th novel in the Discworld bibliography and was published in 1990 (my paperback edition is 333 pages). Its cover was illustrated by Josh Kirby. His illustration is spot on with regards to both the spirit and letter of the story. Our narrator is omniscient and, therefore, knows and shares details from important places and people. One of Pratchett’s techniques is Footnotes. They aren’t essential to the story-line, but they do add to the narrative-believability. Chapter headings are non-existent. At first, that might be confusing but you soon get used to it. There are 17 non-English translations of the story and the novel has been dissected by scholars from some of those countries.

‘Oh, yes. Yes. Yes,’ breathed Soll. ‘What a picture! Pure kinema!’

‘A giant woman carrying a screaming ape up a tall building,’ sighed Dibbler. ‘And we’re not even having to pay wages!’ (p.300)

Making fun of the movie industry begins on the dedication page with Pratchett’s “Thank you speech” and continues throughout the story. Names (e.g. “Silverfish“), titles (e.g. “Last Keeper of the Door“) and places (e.g. “Holy Wood“) are from novels and films (e.g. “Gone with the Wind” + “King Kong” = “Blown Away”) that span the period that started with the Phantasmagoria shows of the 1790’s up through the one-reel Celluloid film from the late 1800‘s that developed into the silent movies of the early 1900‘s ending with the movies 1980‘s.

Many of the characters in this story are like people I know. Main characters are Theda Withel (Ginger/Delores del Syn), Victor Tugelbend (Victor Marachismo), Cut-My-Own-Throat Dibbler (Dibbler), Gaspode The Talking Dog (Gaspode), the Alchemist’s Guild, the Wizards of Unseen University, the Librarian, Holy Wood and Ankh-Morpork.

Our story begins and ends with Holy Wood. From the description above, it seems an idyllic place yet all Keepers of the Door have maintained a 3-times-a-day set of rituals to prevent an apocalypse. When Death puts a stop to the priestly line, whatever was kept back by the chanting begins to seep out……

The rest of the review is at TerryPratchettAndMe

Crabtree, Elisabeth: Deadly Magic (Grace Holliday I) (2012)

Deadly Magic transported me to the days of Tuppence and Tommy. A modern technology version of the two, yet leaving me with the sense of a bygone era. I had fun with Grace and …, their meeting and the mystery (death) that brought them together.

Who dun’ its seem to have vanished from my reading habits. Goodness knows why. Perhaps I haven’t felt the need. Reading Deadly Magic prodded that desire in me.

Corpses kept on turning up. First there was Lily. Usually the first person to be killed is the main target. Deadly Magic kept to the script of the traditional mystery style. There was no real magic involved. Just magicians with their illusions. Grace was just a regular office worker with a harsh boss.

In some ways I used to be like Grace. Perhaps my autism makes me believe just about anything people tell me. Some people probably find that convenient while others get annoyed. My sense of fair play would have made remaining an employee of Straker extremely difficult. But I have worked with people who remained in such situations for one reason or another. Grace accepts Straker’s comments and behavior to a certain point. Once he crossed that line, she spoke up without being rude. I wish I could do that.

The other characters support Grace, so we only get glimpses of some of their traits. One of them doesn’t mind breaking all societal rules. Like a lot of literary crooks, this person’s compatriot has a talent for rationalization.

Elisabeth Crabtree’s style completely fooled me in one regard. For some reason I was convinced we were in London when in fact we were in New York. Perhaps that had to do with the way most of the story happened in  three buildings, rather than outside. One was the old office building. The second was the deadly theater and the third was Grace’s apartment.

Grace is asked to investigate the death by her boss. She discovers that he has asked most of his employees to do the same. But Grace feels that something is off with the apparent suicide and decides to take her investigations seriously. Looking into murder without the authority of the police behind you can be a dangerous venture. Perhaps betrayal lurks. Grace seems blissfully uncaring about the dangers involved. There are people like that out there. I know several of them. Nuts the whole bunch, but fun to be around.

If you want to read something lighthearted and fun with a little suspense, this might well be the book for you.


Deadly Magic available on Amazon US