white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on.

Having got almost as far as I'm planning to go with my City Watch re-read (I might re-read Thud!, I probably won't re-read Snuff), I decided to take a diversion into the subset of books branching off it which could loosely be described as "Ankh-Morpork's Industrial Revolution", beginning with The Truth and then continuing with the Moist Von Lipwig books. (Some people seem to include Moving Pictures in this subset, but I don't, because in Moving Pictures it's basically all eldritch forces and things return to "normal" at the end, whereas the changes which happen in The Truth and the Moist Von Lipwig books are permanent and influence the Ankh-Morpork shown in later books.) In this one, movable type printing comes to Ankh-Morpork, and leads in short order to the launch of the Discworld's first newspaper. Meanwhile, there's yet another conspiracy among the rich and influential to bring down Lord Vetinari and replace him with a Patrician who is more to their taste, but while Vimes and the other members of the Watch are certainly on the case, this time the focus is on William de Worde, an underemployed intellectual with an unwavering dedication to truth and fairness who is estranged from his wealthy and bigoted father and who suddenly finds himself editor and lead writer of the Ankh-Morpork Times.

I remember enjoying The Truth a lot when I first read it; on re-reading I still think it's one of the best Discworld books, and it is also the perfect Pratchett for the era of fake news and alternative facts, because it's all about how the news media shapes people's understanding of the world around them, the way people are more likely to believe stories which confirm their existing biases even if they're lies, and the difference between the public interest and what the public is interested in. (It also features a character saying that they can't instruct the assembly of Guild leaders to reverse a legitimate decision, even if it turns out to be based on erroneous information, which hit fairly hard given recent and ongoing events.) It's also about the immigrant experience, the reasons why people move to another country, the difficulties they face, and how hard it is even for the more open-minded native-born citizens to appreciate the true extent of cultural difference. It's definitely one of my favourites.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-25 07:25 pm (UTC)
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] tree_and_leaf
I have to overlook the fact that it's massively out of character for Vimes to hold up the traffic of the city for his own purposes, but that aside, I am very fond of "Thud". I'll admit it's flawed, but I think it's got a lot of strengths as well, and I get a lot out of going back to it. Sadly the same can't be said for "Snuff"...

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-25 10:13 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] caulkhead
I actually enjoyed it much more on the reread than I did the first time round. The Truth is one of my absolute favourites, though.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-25 09:56 pm (UTC)
el_staplador: (Default)
From: [personal profile] el_staplador
I'm reading 'Snuff' for the first time at the moment... well, I say 'reading', but actually it has sat by my bed unopened for several weeks. I was reading them all in order, and the difference even between 'Unseen Academicals' and 'Snuff' is very distressing.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-22 11:40 pm (UTC)
conuly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] conuly
And Academicals was already really weak. Raising Steam is hardly worth it, and as for the last Tiffany Aching book... well, I'm sure it's a fine book, but it's not Pratchett. It's awful the way we lost him.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-26 09:32 am (UTC)
nineveh_uk: Cover illustration for "Strong Poison" in pulp fiction style with vampish Harriet. (Strong Poison)
From: [personal profile] nineveh_uk
I disliked The Truth on first reading, and it took me a long time to go back to it, when I liked it a lot. In retrospect, the issue was that this is one of the points in the series where the tone shifts and I didn't want/like it. Going back when I was used to that tone I could appreciate the book without it getting in the way.

The other thing that I disliked a lot on first read was William, because I found him self-righteous, albeit often right, but of course having read the ending I got more of the point of that, too, and the way that Pratchett undercuts it, because of course Pratchett is as cynical about the self-appointed virtue and uncompromising truth teller self-image of journalists as he is about everything similar.


(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-26 12:57 pm (UTC)
clanwilliam: (Default)
From: [personal profile] clanwilliam
I'm afraid I howled laughing when I recognised who William was partially based on. Said inspiration took years to admit that yes, maybe Pterry had sketched a lot based on his character.

Recognising one of the influences on Sacharissa was a lot more uncomfortable. Although I'm still proud of the spike joke.

Also, in classic Pratchett form, a vital plot McGuffin was possibly only created so an appalling pun could be perpetrated when it was released.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-28 04:43 am (UTC)
glittertigger: (Debating tigger)
From: [personal profile] glittertigger
Good review :-) Maybe it's time I reread The Truth.

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