venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // woeful puppies)
"No one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away—until the clock he wound up winds down, until the wine she made has finished its ferment, until the crop they planted is harvested. The span of someone’s life, they say, is only the core of their actual existence."

Reaper Man
, Terry Pratchett

I've been quietly bursting into tears all day. There are so many wonderful tributes on Tumblr and way too many apposite quotes. I'm so glad I got to hear him talk and to meet him, however briefly, on his last tour of Australia.

It's too soon but it was always going to be too soon.
venetia_sassy: (Words // levels of insanity)
Loki tries to invade the Discworld ...

Ankh-Morpork Avenged

... it does not go well.

And a fic in which the Daleks try to invade the Discworld ...

... it does not go well.

Mum laughed herself silly over that one but even the Avengers one made her laugh and she knows nothing about them, she's just a Discworld fan.

venetia_sassy: (Words // levels of insanity)

Today was a good day.

Although it didn't start as well as it could have. Mum's feeling a little bit better but she really wasn't feeling well enough to go to the talk. We had asked Roz if she'd like to go if Mum couldn't and she said yes - but she did her back in and can barely move.

So Mum drove me to the station and I took the train into the city and met Flora at the Opera House. And we did find someone to take the extra ticket - asked at the ticket office and the woman said there were some people hoping for tickets, so we got a partial refund and someone else got to see the talk, all good!

When Sir Terry came onstage there was huge applause. We heard a reading from his yet-to-be-released book, Snuff. Sounds like Vimes is about to encounter cricket. *is amused* Then the talk started. I thought he and Garth Nix took a little while to find a rhythm but once you get Sir Terry talking, it's clear he could go for hours. At one point, he said that he would talk to anyone about religion, to the point that Jehovah's Witness would be looking at the clock and saying, 'Oh, is that the time?' The audience cracked up. I'm still trying to remember all that they talked about but he talked about his early days of writing, growing up 'on the Chalk', the reputation of the fantasy genre, the sword he made himself, why he calls himself a humanist, not an atheist (I liked his answer - he doesn't trust any belief system that doesn't leave room for doubt), suicides he's seen or heard about over the years and how frustrating it is to be unable to have real discussion about physician-assisted dying, instead of knee-jerk reactions.

The talk ran overtime by about 15-20 minutes and by then Nix was saying, 'Er, we'd really better go before the shepherd's crooks come out to drag us off.' The finale was the two of them tossing plastic teeth to the crowd. (In case this sounds utterly insane, it's a Hogfather reference.) Flora and I were way too far back to get any (but we still had a good view.) And after Sir Terry had finally been coaxed offstage, he came out again to throw a last few teeth.

We went out and discovered that the staging point for the signing was right there so I headed in and Flora went downstairs to wait for me. I ended up bringing two books, due to indecision. There was my old, battered copy of Witches Abroad and a shiny new hardcover of The Folklore of Discworld.

SIr Terry came up the stair when pretty much everyone was lined up and the general impression I got (besides that he is so small! Also, I think he might have arthritis. *winces*) was again, that he'd be happy to talk for hours but his minders were also aware of this and did their best to keep things moving swiftly. I was quite close to the front so I didn't have long to wait. Good because I didn't have to stand for long or keep Flora waiting but I probably missed out on some funny comments.

I decided on Witches Abroad and rather than the title page, had it opened to the dedication:

Dedicated to all those people - and why not? - who, after the publication of Wyrd Sisters, deluged the author with their version of the words of 'The Hedgehog Song'.

Deary, deary me ...

He asked if there was any particular reason for that page rather than the title page and I said that they were the first words that I'd ever read about the Discworld and I'd known I'd have to read more. And that Witches Abroad remained my favourite Discworld book. He smiled and seemed pleased by that. He signed my book with an astonishingly incomprehensible signature (verified with colourful Ankh-Morpork style stamps.) There were also extra piles of teeth so I took two and gave one to Flora (who was delighted by it.)

We headed out and had a lovely dinner at a Chinese restaurant on the Quay, with a view of the crowds and the Bridge. Fabulous. I had shredded duck with hand cut noodles, so good. And it was great talking with Flora, who's so much fun and understands the fannish mindset quite well. We headed for the station by eight o'clock, so she could get her train to the Blue Mountains. I made it back to our nearest station by about nine-fifteen? One big problem. No taxis. None. That was new.

So I called Mum and asked her to call a taxi for me (since I didn't have a number) and fortunately the taxi arrived just minutes after she called me back to say one was on the way. I'm not  a nervous person but hanging around a mostly deserted street at night? Nervous-making. (Mum had an adventure trying to book the taxi. The services are using voice-recognition for booking and the computer was not recognising mum's cold-shredded voice at all. After a while a customer service person came on, fortunately!)

Mum was still awake and eager to hear all about it and she was delighted by the tooth.*g*

I've said before, I'm generally not interested in meeting celebrities because I'm interested in what they do, not who they are. And having seen so many authors show their true colours online ... but PTerry is delightful. He's someone I would dearly love to have a conversation with because you'd never know where you'd end up but it would always be fascinating.

venetia_sassy: (Words // levels of insanity)

So, remember how I'm going to Terry Pratchett's talk at the Opera House this weekend? And how 100 ticket holders were going to be randomly selected to meet PTerry and have a book signed?

Guess who gets to meet Terry Pratchett?!

Okay, it's 30 seconds to have a book signed and there will be 99 other people waiting as well. But it's Terry Pratchett. I will take the 30 seconds, thank you.

I am now debating which book to take ... I have plenty of shiny paperbacks and glossy hardcovers but I think the book I'd really like to have signed is my old, faded copy of Witches Abroad. It's the first Discworld book I read and it's still my favourite.

venetia_sassy: (Words // levels of insanity)


Quite by chance, I found out about this: 

Sir Terry Pratchett: Imagination, not Intelligence, Made us Human  

See much loved fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett in conversation with Garth Nix in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.

Wheeeee!!! I bought tickets for me and Mum, emailed Roz and Mum called her friend Flora (who is quite intimidated by online booking, so we were having a weird three-way conversation as I was cooking dinner. Once I had the quinoa simmering, I sat down and booked another ticket on her behalf. We won't be sitting together but we can meet up before and afterwards.)

Most of the sections were already sold out but luckily I managed to grab two seats that were not quite at the back (someone must have cancelled their booking.)

There's also a competition going for 200 people to get to meet PTerry and have a book signed. Generally speaking, I couldn't care less about meeting 'celebrities' but in this case I think I'd have trouble saying anything at all. Should I hope to win or not?

In case you hadn't noticed, I AM VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS!!!

Oh, you had noticed?


venetia_sassy: (Images // reading)
Day 06 - Your favorite writer

Didn't I just mention my stance on 'favourite' anythings? But in this case, I can narrow it down to a few writers who have written multiple books that I enjoy.

Nora Roberts - she amazes me. She's written more than a hundred books and I've read most of them. You might think that several decades of writing 'Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Eventually they live happily ever after,' would have led to burn-out, repetition, crappy writing, but no. Okay, read enough enough of her books (as I have) and you'll notice some similarities and a few plots that have been reworked over the years (and she's improved over the years but she still listens to her editor.) But La Nora still manages to make each book fresh. Fresh and fun and something to read and relax with. I admire her tremendously.

Georgette Heyer - the Regency Romance writer. She pretty much created the genre. Every book had distinct and lively characters (even if she did largely stick to two hero types.) She could write an absurd and hilarious plot and keep the story moving along so well that it's only when you finish the book that you go "... wait a minute." She wrote dozens of books, largely for financial reasons and she wrote them very well. Again, as with La Nora, you do see some of the same plot elements cropping up but Heyer also manged the trick of keeping them fresh.

Between them, Roberts and Heyer kept me sane during a year when my brain fog was so bad I couldn't read anything new or anything complicated. I read their books over and over and over again. And I still enjoy them. 

Terry Pratchett - I don't know how he does it but he takes ideas and objects that most people don't think twice about, turns them upside down and inside out and reinvents them for the Discworld. He writes scenes that are laugh-out-loud funny and then drops a ethical conundrum on the reader. His breadth of knowledge is extraordinary.

Barbara Kingsolver - okay, this is a bit odd because I haven't read that many of her books; some I've tried to read but they just didn't grab me. But her writing is beautiful. Mostly, I read books for the story not the writing. I consider good writing to be writing that doesn't distract from the plot. If that makes sense. But Kingsolver's writing makes me slow down and savour. I love The Poisonwood Bible and Prodigal Summer. Not cheerful books but powerful and haunting and beautiful. I also enjoyed her essay collection Small Wonders and local eating memoir Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

The rest of the days )
venetia_sassy: (Images // reading)

Right. I'm trying to get back into my routine which has gone all to hell these past ten days. Unsurprisingly. But I made dinner tonight and washed up. (I know that doesn't sound like much but my days are built on small achievements. Like having a shower and getting dressed. That I've been managing without too much effort, thankfully.) Dinner was Fesenjan aka Persian Pomegranate Walnut Stew and it turned out very nicely. As did my one attempt at cooking last week, Roast Chicken with Pomegranate Molasses. So juicy and tender.

Anyway, in an attempt to post regularly again (since I'm behind with NewWho rewatch due to not wanting to cry over things) I'm starting the 30 Days of Book Blogging that I've seen around.

Day 01 - Your favorite series of books (with more than 3 in the series)

Discworld by Terry Pratchett. I love these books so much. PTerry is one of the few authors who can reduce me to helpless, wheezing laughter. Good Omens was the first Pratchett (and Gaiman) book I read and it was so amazing, I immediately turned to the only other Pratchett novel Mum had - Witches Abroad. It was my introduction to the Discworld and I can't imagine a better one. Granny! Nanny! Magrat! Greebo! Headology! Fairy tale cliches being turned inside out and upside down! And the Thing With The Bulls still cracks me up.

The Witches remain my favourite of the various ... subseries? Granny and Nanny FTW! But the Watch run a very close second. And of course, Death and Susan and Albert and Death of Rats and BINKY!

Why do I love these books? Well, the humour for one. It's my kind of humour. And I love that each time I read the books, I notice some new reference or injoke that I didn't get before. As with Witches Abroad, when I first read it, I had yet to read Lord of the Rings so the Gollum joke completely escaped me. Having read a book about the Great Fire of London, I suddenly realised how much Ankh-Morpork and the River Ankh are based on medieval London and the Thames.

I still haven't read all the Discworld books though. Why? Because reading a Discworld book for the first time is a delight and a joy that cannot be repeated. I'm trying to stretch out the pleasure. And now that PTerry has Alzheimer's ... Terry Pratchett has the most amazing mind and breadth of knowledge. The Discworld is an extraordinary creation. And it never fails to make me smile.


The rest of the days )


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December 2016

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