Mike Schilling

Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever.

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14 Responses

  1. Avatar Maribou says:

    Pratchett’s great affection for Brutha is something I noticed particularly on this reading, and something that I think contributed to my love for the book on earlier readings, as well. Brutha is simple, awkward, devoid of irony, and a horrible singer, but he is good, dutiful, and kind; rather than sneering at that combination of faults and virtue, Pratchett both upholds and forgives it, with amusement sometimes, but never with scorn.

    Many of my favorite authors could, unfortunately, stand to learn how to do that.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Maribou says:

      I’m trying to think of other Pratchett characters with similar traits. No one in the Watch books comes to mind. (Carrot is “simple” in a way that easily defeats cleverness.) Mort, perhaps? Magrat and Verence?Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I’m not thinking of a similar character, but I actually think the treatment of Lady Sybil Ramkin in Guards! Guards! has a similar *flavour*, even though it’s dealing with the opposite end of the class spectrum. She is absurd, and self-involved, and stereotypically a lot of things that are often mocked by the intelligentsia, and yet Pratchett obviously has a great deal of affection and respect for her.Report

      • I think the So Good They Seem A But Dim, But Soon We Will See Not As Dim As We Thought is commonly used but Pratchett; and as Maribou says, he does it quite well. Part of the fun in many of his books is seeing those characters expand from simple caricatures into more complex people as the story moves along. Most of the ones I can think of, though, aren’t the central protagonist as is Brutha. But in addition to the ones you two have already mentioned, I would throw in Carrot and Granny Ogg into that mix.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Tod, that is an excellent summation of the character type, thank you.Report

  2. Avatar North says:

    When I first read this book I found the idea of the Quisition amusing and Vorbis scary as fish.Report

  3. Avatar James K says:

    Reading this section again after so many years, it’s an excellent introduction to Pratchett’s writing style: the philosophical musings that are more important later, the wordplay that is entirely unique to him and the strange juxtapositions of ideas that let us break out of our normal preconceptions. And mixed in with the comedy are some very sharp and dark observations on how human being work. If you want to know what Terry Pratchett’s writing is like – well it’s basically like this section.

    BTW Mike, do you have a recapped lined up for next week? If not, I volunteer.Report

  4. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Excellent summary Mike. In fact, it was so good I think I’m gonna read a bit more carefully so’s I can keep up with the analysis.

    I love Pratchett’s framing of the power structures in play in this opening section – it’s so bare yet still very rich – and the subtle ways he humanizes his characters. Also, I’m always blown away by how artfully he can sneak deep philosophical points (or scientific, or historical, etc) into the simplest descriptions or plot points.

    This’ll be fun.Report

  5. Avatar Will Truman says:

    I overshot a little, but managed the weekly reading. It’s a bit hard to put down (or turn off, in my case), at least at this stage. But I’m back to the Graphic Audio of Spiderman so that I don’t sail through it all at once.

    So far, it’s a bit slow. I remember at this point thinking that I wasn’t going to like it very much at all. This is before we get to some of the complexities of the character.

    It’s hard not to giggle at all of Om’s idle threats.Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird says:

    He meets with other members of the hierarchy, all of whom outrank him, but Vorbis is clearly in charge.

    The part where Pratchett explains that the people at the top of an organization really have no input into how things get done made me laugh and then grimace.Report