Annotations`_". Within each group, the books are listed in the order in which
they were published (with the exception that in the Discworld chapter the
proper novels come before the secondary material such as the maps and the
"`Science of Discworld `_" books). Within each book, the annotations are sorted
+Science of Discworld books). Within each book, the annotations are sorted
in ascending order by page number, with that number referring to the
edition I actually own myself, which will typically be the original UK
hardcover edition. (Some of the earlier books also list paperback page
don't have their naughty bits hanging out where they can be easily seen,
and the only way to really tell a turtle's gender is by comparison: male
turtles are often smaller than females and have thicker tails. Since
- there are no other
"`Chelys Galactica `_" to compare A'Tuin to, the attempts
+ there are no other Chelys Galactica to compare A'Tuin to, the attempts
of the Discworld's Astrozoologists are probably futile to begin with.
- [p. 8/8] "[...] the theory that A'Tuin had come from nowhere and would
- [p. 9/9] "[...] two figures were watching with considerable interest."
The two barbarians, Bravd and Weasel, are parodies of Fritz Leiber's
- fantasy heroes Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. The
"Swords _" series of books
+ fantasy heroes Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. The Swords series of books
in which they star are absolute classics, and have probably had about as
- much influence on the genre as Tolkien's "`Lord of the Rings`_".
- The "Swords_" stories date back as far as 1939, but more than sixty years
+ much influence on the genre as Tolkien's **Lord of the Rings**.
+ The **Swords** stories date back as far as 1939, but more than sixty years
later they have lost none of their appeal. Both "`The Colour of Magic`_" and
"`The Light Fantastic`_" are, in large part, affectionate parodies of the
Leiberian universe, although I hasten to add that, in sharp contrast to
Given all this, I can perhaps be forgiven for thinking that Terry
intended Ankh-Morpork to be a direct parody of the great city of Lankhmar
- in which many of the
"Swords _" adventures take place. However, Terry
+ in which many of the Swords adventures take place. However, Terry
explicitly denied this when I suggested it on alt.fan.pratchett:
"Bravd and the Weasel were indeed takeoffs of Leiber characters – there
- [p. 12/12] "'Why, it's Rincewind the wizard, isn't it?' [...]"
The story behind Rincewind's name goes back to 1924, when J. B. Morton
- took over authorship of the column 'By The Way' in the
"`Daily Express `_", a
+ took over authorship of the column 'By The Way' in the Daily Express, a
He inherited the pseudonym 'Beachcomber' from his predecessors on the job
which, in later times and under Stuart patronage, became the Royal
- In the
"`Brief Lives `_" arc of Neil Gaiman's "Sandman _" comic, Dream visits
+ In the Brief Lives arc of Neil Gaiman's Sandman comic, Dream visits
the Invisible College, where a scientist is happily dissecting a dead
orangutan. I don't think that scene was *entirely* coincidental...
but I haven't a clue what the appropriate unit of currency is for a city
in a world on the back of a turtle :-)..."
-- [p. 28/25] "'Barely two thousand
+- [p. 28/25] "'Barely two thousand rhinu.'"
A very old British slang word for ready money is 'rhino', which Brewer
thinks may be related to the phrase 'to pay through the nose', since
waking up next day and remembering all those witty things you said and
did, and then realising that he was listening?"
-- [p. 44/39] "'
+- [p. 44/39] "'Reflected-sound-of-underground-spirits?"
Surprising as it may seem (or at least as it was to me), there are quite
a few people who do not understand this cryptification of 'economics',
- [p. 62/55] "[...] I WAS EXPECTING TO MEET THEE IN PSEPHOPOLOLIS."
Death and Rincewind are replaying their own version of the well-known
"`Appointment in Samarra `_". Terry says:
+ folktale Appointment in Samarra. Terry says:
"My mother told me the 'Appointment in Samarra' story when I was very
young, and it remained. She says she read it somewhere, or maybe heard
my correspondents was so intrigued by the tale that with the help of
alt.fan.pratchett he set out to find the original, or at least the
earliest known version. After much research, he now believes this to be
- "`When Death Came to Baghdad`_", an old ninth century Middle Eastern Sufi
- teaching story, told by Fudail ibn Ayad in his "`Hikayat-i-Naqshia`_"
+ **When Death Came to Baghdad**, an old ninth century Middle Eastern Sufi
+ teaching story, told by Fudail ibn Ayad in his **Hikayat-i-Naqshia**
('Tales formed according to a design').
If anyone has a reference to an even earlier version, we would love to
Zephyrus was in fact the Greek god of the soft west winds. The
interactions of the gods in 'The Sending of Eight' strongly bring to mind
- the Godshome scenes in Leiber's "Swords_" series.
-- [p. 78/70] "`The Sending of Eight`_"
+ the Godshome scenes in Leiber's **Swords** series.
+- [p. 78/70] **The Sending of Eight**
Just as the first chapter of "`The Colour of Magic`_" has many resonances
- with Fritz Leiber's
"Swords _" series, so can this chapter be regarded as a
+ with Fritz Leiber's Swords series, so can this chapter be regarded as a
light parody of the works of horror author H. P. Lovecraft, who wrote
many stories in a universe where unspeakable Evil lives, and where
Ancient Gods (with unpronounceable names) play games with the lives of
- mortals. Lovecraft also wrote a story called
"`The Colour out of Space `_",
+ mortals. Lovecraft also wrote a story called The Colour out of Space,
about an indescribable, unnatural colour.
- [p. 92/82] "[...] the circle began to spin widdershins."
'yer bastard', 'man', 'you there' and so on. It's quite old, but then,
Death is a history kind of guy."
"`The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable `_", by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer (a 19th
+ The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer (a 19th
century reference book; see also the "`Words From The Master`_" section in
chapter 5) explains 'cully' as being a contracted form of 'cullion', "a
despicable creature" (from the Italian: coglione). An Italian
gullible person. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, 'cully' may
also have been a gypsy word.
-- [p. 118/104] The entire
"`Lure of the Wyrm `_" section parodies the Pern
+- [p. 118/104] The entire Lure of the Wyrm section parodies the Pern
novels (an sf/fantasy series) by Anne McCaffrey. The heroine of the first
- Pern novel
"Dragonflight _" is called Lessa, and the exclamation mark in
+ Pern novel Dragonflight" is called Lessa, and the exclamation mark in
Terry's dragonriders' names parallels the similar use of apostrophes in
-- [p. 124/109] "
"`The dragons sense Liessa's presence. _"
+- [p. 124/109] "The dragons sense Liessa's presence."
This section in italics (continued later with Ninereeds) is another Pern
reference (see the annotation for p. 118/104), in this case to the way
Although singing swords are common as dirt in myths and folklore, we do
know that Terry is familiar with many old computer games, so the
description of Kring may be a passing reference to the prototypical
- computer adventure game "ADVENT_" (later versions of which were also known
- as "Adventure_" or "`Colossal Cave`_"). In this game, a room exists where a
+ computer adventure game **ADVENT** (later versions of which were also known
+ as **Adventure** or **Colossal Cave**). In this game, a room exists where a
sword is stuck in an anvil. The next line of the room's description goes:
"The sword is singing to itself".
- [p. 141/123] "[...] he had been captivated by the pictures of the fiery
- beasts in
"`The Octarine Fairy Book `_"."
+ beasts in The Octarine Fairy Book."
A reference to our world's Blue, Brown, Crimson, Green, etc., Fairy
Books, edited by Andrew Lang.
+ [p. 156] "'It is forbidden to fight on the Killing Ground,' he said,
and paused while he considered the sense of this."
- This echoes a famous line from Stanley Kubrick's 1964 movie "`Dr
- Strangelove`_", which has President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers)
+ This echoes a famous line from Stanley Kubrick's 1964 movie **Dr
+ Strangelove**, which has President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers)
saying: "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room."
- [p. 168/145] "At that moment Lianna's dragon flashed by, and Hrun landed
- [p. 198/172] "'Well, the disc itself would have been created by Fresnel's
Wonderful Concentrator,' said Rincewind, authoritatively."
- It is stereotypical that in fantasy fiction (e.g. Jack Vance's "`Dying
- Earth`_" stories) and role-playing games (e.g. "`Advanced Dungeons &
- Dragons`_") spells are often named after their 'creator', e.g. 'Bigby's
+ It is stereotypical that in fantasy fiction (e.g. Jack Vance's **Dying
+ Earth** stories) and role-playing games (e.g. **Advanced Dungeons &
+ Dragons**) spells are often named after their 'creator', e.g. 'Bigby's
Crushing Hand'. And indeed, in our universe Augustin Fresnel was the 19th
century inventor of the Fresnel lens, often used in lighthouses to
concentrate the light beam. A Fresnel lens consists of concentric ring
was expecting to boldly go where no man [...] had boldly gone before
- From the famous opening voice-over to the
"`Star Trek `_" television series:
+ From the famous opening voice-over to the Star Trek television series:
"Space... the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship
Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek
This became "where no-one has gone before" only in the newer, more
- politically correct
"`Star Trek `_" incarnations.
+ politically correct Star Trek incarnations.
- [p. 222/192] "'? Tyo yur atl ho sooten gatrunen?'"
-- [title] "`The Light Fantastic`_"
- The book's title comes from the poem "`L'Allegro`_", written by John Milton
+- [title] **The Light Fantastic**
+ The book's title comes from the poem **L'Allegro**, written by John Milton
Haste thee, nymph, and bring with thee
The reference is to the saying "there ain't no such thing as a free
lunch" (also known by its acronym 'TANSTAAFL', made popular by science
- fiction author Robert Heinlein in his classic novel "`The Moon is a Harsh
- Mistress`_", although the phrase was originally coined by American
+ fiction author Robert Heinlein in his classic novel **The Moon is a Harsh
+ Mistress**, although the phrase was originally coined by American
economist John Kenneth Galbraith).
- [p. 8/8] "[...] the sort of book described in library catalogues as
- [p. 9/9] "[...] the Book of Going Forth Around Elevenish, [...]"
The title the ancient Egyptians used for what we now call the Book of the
- Dead was
"`The Book of Going Forth By Day `_". Note that in the UK until a
+ Dead was The Book of Going Forth By Day. Note that in the UK until a
few years ago the pubs opened at 11 a.m.
If you try really hard (one of my correspondents did) you can see this as
The magic eating its way through the ceilings with the wizards chasing it
floor after floor vaguely resonates with the 'alien blood' scene in the
"Alien _", where the acidic blood of the Alien burns through
+ movie Alien, where the acidic blood of the Alien burns through
successive floors of the ship, with people running down after it.
- [p. 24/24] "[...] when a wizard is tired of looking for broken glass in
– what with the Masque of the Red Death and stuff like that, the joke is
just lying there waiting for anyone to pick it up."
"`The Masque of the Red Death `_" is a well-known story by Edgar Allan Poe,
+ The Masque of the Red Death is a well-known story by Edgar Allan Poe,
in which the nobility, in a decadent and senseless attempt to escape from
the plague that's ravishing the land, lock themselves up a castle and
hold a big party. At which a costumed personification of Death, of
describes here occurs in our world as well. Or rather: it is *rumoured*,
with stubborn regularity, to have occurred all over the globe. Really
hard evidence, one way or the other, turns out to be surprisingly hard to
- come by. As Cecil Adams puts it in
"`More of the Straight Dope _: "Having
+ come by. As Cecil Adams puts it in More of the Straight Dope: "Having
now had the "I don't know" yarn turn up in three different parts of the
globe, I can draw one of two conclusions: either explorers are incredible
saps, or somebody's been pulling our leg."
The cottage and the events alluded to a bit later ("'Kids of today,'
commented Rincewind. 'I blame the parents,' said Twoflower.") are
- straight out of the
"`Hansel and Gretel `_" fairy tale by the brothers Grimm.
+ straight out of the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale by the brothers Grimm.
If you have access to the Internet, you can find an online version of the
original fairy tale at the URL:
- [p. 37/37] "'Hot water, good dentishtry and shoft lavatory paper.'"
- From the first
"`Conan The Barbarian `_" movie (starring Arnold
+ From the first Conan The Barbarian movie (starring Arnold
Schwarzenegger): "Conan! What is good in life?" "To crush your enemies,
drive them before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women." This
quote, in turn, is lifted more or less verbatim from an actual
- [p. 45/45] "'Of course I'm sure,' snarled the leader. 'What did you
- Another fairy tale reference, this time to "`Goldilocks and the Three
+ Another fairy tale reference, this time to **Goldilocks and the Three
- [p. 46/46] "'Someone's been eating my bed,' he said."
A mixture of "someone's been eating my porridge" and "someone's been
- sleeping in my bed", both from the
"`Goldilocks and the Three Bears `_" fairy
+ sleeping in my bed", both from the Goldilocks and the Three Bears fairy
- [p. 47/47] "Illuminated Mages of the Unbroken Circle"
- An organisation with this name is also mentioned in the
+ An organisation with this name is also mentioned in the Illuminatus!
trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson.
+ [p. 57/57] "The universe, they said, depended for its operation on the
one, talked Hades (the Greek version of Death) into it, but had to leave
without looking back. Of course he looked – and she was gone forever. A
contemporary retelling of the Orpheus legend can be found in Neil
"Sandman _" series.
+ Gaiman's Sandman series.
A few people have written and suggested a reference to Lot's wife in
Genesis 19:26 (who was turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back
- [p. 133/133] The idea of a strange little shop that appears, sells the
most peculiar things, and then vanishes again first appears in a short
- story by H. G. Wells, appropriately called "`The Magic Shop`_". A recent
- variation on the same theme can be found in Stephen King's "`Needful
+ story by H. G. Wells, appropriately called **The Magic Shop**. A recent
+ variation on the same theme can be found in Stephen King's **Needful
When an a.f.p. reader mistakenly thought that this type of shop was
invented by Fritz Leiber (see the annotation for p. 9/9 of "`The Colour of
Magic`_"), Terry replied:
"Actually, magically appearing/disappearing shops were a regular feature
- of fantasy stories, particularly in the old
"Unknown _" magazine. They
+ of fantasy stories, particularly in the old Unknown magazine. They
always sold the hero something he didn't – at the time – know he
needed, or played some other vital part in the plot. And I think they
even turned up on the early Twilight Zones too. You're referring to a
shop appears which seems to contain wonderful merchandise but in fact
contains dangerous trash."
- The Leiber story is indeed called "`Bazaar of the Bizarre`_". It features
- Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, and can be found in "`Swords Against Death`_".
+ The Leiber story is indeed called **Bazaar of the Bizarre**. It features
+ Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, and can be found in **Swords Against Death**.
- [p. 171/171] "'Do not peddle in the affairs of wizards...'"
Substituting "graduation with distinction" for the Latin "summa cum
laude" gives a perfectly unexceptional sentiment, but it is, of course,
also a reference to the song 'Summertime' from the Gershwin
"`Porgy and Bess _: "Summertime, and the living is
+ opera/operetta/musical Porgy and Bess: "Summertime, and the living is
- "Only dumb redheads in Fifties' sitcoms are wacky."
- Refers to Lucille Ball from
"`I Love Lucy `_" fame.
+ Refers to Lucille Ball from I Love Lucy fame.
- One of my correspondents recalls that he interviewed Terry in 1987 for a
university magazine. In that interview Terry said that one thing which
- Kirby caricatures himself as the pointy-eared wizard on the back cover –
- anyone who has seen his picture in
"`The Josh Kirby Posterbook `_" can
+ anyone who has seen his picture in The Josh Kirby Posterbook can
- [p. -/5] "Thanks to Neil Gaiman, who loaned us the last surviving copy of
- the "`Liber Paginarum Fulvarum`_", [...]"
- Neil Gaiman is the author of the acclaimed "Sandman_" comics series, as
+ the **Liber Paginarum Fulvarum**, [...]"
+ Neil Gaiman is the author of the acclaimed **Sandman** comics series, as
well as Terry's co-author on "`Good Omens`_".
- "`Liber Paginarum Fulvarum`_" is a dog-Latin title that translates to "`Book
- of Yellow Pages`_", i.e. not the "`Book of the Dead`_", but rather the
- "`Phonebook of the Dead`_". The book appears in "`Good Omens`_" as well as in
- "Sandman_", where it is used in an attempt to summon Death (although the
+ **Liber Paginarum Fulvarum** is a dog-Latin title that translates to **Book
+ of Yellow Pages**, i.e. not the **Book of the Dead**, but rather the
+ **Phonebook of the Dead**. The book appears in "`Good Omens`_" as well as in
+ **Sandman**, where it is used in an attempt to summon Death (although the
colourist didn't get the joke and simply coloured the pages brown). Terry
said (when questioned about it in a "`Good Omens`_" context):
A Morris Minor is a British car that non-Brits might be familiar with
either through the video clip for Madness' song 'Driving in my car', or
- through the TV series
"Lovejoy _". In that series, Lovejoy's car 'Miriam'
+ through the TV series Lovejoy. In that series, Lovejoy's car 'Miriam'
is a Morris Minor. For the rest of you, here's a description:
Imagine a curvaceous jelly-mould in the shape of a crouching rabbit, like
The Necrotelicomnicom is another reference to the Phonebook of the Dead
(see the annotation for the dedication of "`Equal Rites`_"), but is also a
- pun on the evil book of the dead
"Necronomicon _", used by H. P. Lovecraft
+ pun on the evil book of the dead Necronomicon, used by H. P. Lovecraft
Bel-Shamharoth is an Elder God of the Discworld we already met in 'The
Sending of Eight' in "`The Colour of Magic`_". C'hulagen is obviously made
up out of the same ingredients as C'thulhu, and the Insider refers to the
- unnamed narrator of Lovecraft's
"`The Outsider `_".
+ unnamed narrator of Lovecraft's The Outsider.
- [p. 119/117] "The lodgings were [...] next to the [...] premises of a
respectable dealer in stolen property because, as Granny had heard, good
fences make good neighbours."
Terry's having fun with a familiar saying that originated with Robert
- Frost's poem
"`Mending a Wall _:
+ Frost's poem Mending a Wall:
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
Grey if he doesn't take better care of his laundry.'"
You really have to read Tolkien in order to understand why this is so
- funny. Sure, I can explain that in the
"`The Lord of the Rings `_" a big deal
+ funny. Sure, I can explain that in the The Lord of the Rings a big deal
is made of the transformation of wizards from one 'colour' to another
(and in particular Gandalf the Grey becoming Gandalf the White), but that
just doesn't do justice to the real atmosphere of the thing.
- [p. 163/159] Some folks thought they recognised the duel between Granny
Weatherwax and Archchancellor Cutangle from T. H. White's description of
- a similar duel in his "`Arthur, The Once and Future King`_" (also depicted
- as a very funny fragment in Disney's "`The Sword in the Stone`_", which was
+ a similar duel in his **Arthur, The Once and Future King** (also depicted
+ as a very funny fragment in Disney's **The Sword in the Stone**, which was
an animation film based on this book). However, Terry says:
"The magical duel in "`Equal Rites`_" is certainly not lifted from T. H.
toolshed on a railway allotment."
Gormenghast is the ancient, decaying castle from Mervyn Peake's
"Gormenghast _" trilogy. See also the annotation for p. 17/17 of
+ Gormenghast trilogy. See also the annotation for p. 17/17 of
- [p. 202/197] "'Like "red sky at night, the city's alight",' said
- [p. 33/28] "'I shall call you Boy', she said."
The subplot of Ysabell and Mort and the matchmaking efforts by her father
- echoes Charles Dickens'
"`Great Expectations `_" (where Estelle, for
+ echoes Charles Dickens' Great Expectations (where Estelle, for
instance, also insists on calling Pip 'Boy' all the time).
- [p. 34/29] Albert's stove has 'The Little Moloch (Ptntd)' embossed on its
For those who don't know what a Moloch is, I'll let Brewer (see the
annotation for p. 117/103 of "`The Colour of Magic`_") do the explaining:
- ""`Moloch_: Any influence which demands from us the sacrifice of what we
- hold most dear. Thus _war`_" is a Moloch, _king mob`_" is a Moloch, the
- _guillotine`_" was the Moloch of the French Revolution, etc. The allusion
+ **Moloch**: Any influence which demands from us the sacrifice of what we
+ hold most dear. Thus **war** is a Moloch, **king mob** is a Moloch, the
+ **guillotine** was the Moloch of the French Revolution, etc. The allusion
is to the god of the Ammonites [Phoenicians], to whom children were 'made
to pass through the fire' in sacrifice."
The whole section on Mort's training, and this paragraph in particular,
- explores a theme familiar from stories such as told in "`The Karate Kid`_",
- or "`The Empire Strikes Back`_", and of course the TV series "`Kung Fu`_",
+ explores a theme familiar from stories such as told in **The Karate Kid**,
+ or **The Empire Strikes Back**, and of course the TV series **Kung Fu**,
where a young student is given many menial tasks to perform, which are
revealed to be integral to his education.
- [p. 65/53] "TIME LIKE AN EVER-ROLLING STREAM BEARS ALL ITS..."
- Death is quoting from
"`Our God, Our Help in Ages Past `_", by Isaac Watts.
+ Death is quoting from Our God, Our Help in Ages Past, by Isaac Watts.
Time like an ever-rolling stream
- [p. 99/81] "'[...] the princesses were so noble they, they could pee
through a dozen mattresses –'"
- Albert here mangles the Grimm fairy tale known as "`The Princess and the
- Pea`_", in which a princess proves her nobility to her future husband and
+ Albert here mangles the Grimm fairy tale known as **The Princess and the
+ Pea**, in which a princess proves her nobility to her future husband and
his mother by being so fine-constitutioned that a pea placed underneath
the dozen mattresses she was given to sleep on kept her awake all night.
Ysabell starts to list off a number of tragic romances, mostly mangled
versions of existing stories. This one appears to be the Shakespearean
- tragedy "`Romeo and Juliet`_", or perhaps the original source: Ovid's
- "`Pyramus and Thisbe`_".
+ tragedy **Romeo and Juliet**, or perhaps the original source: Ovid's
+ **Pyramus and Thisbe**.
- [p. 127/104] "'– swam the river every night, but one night there was
this storm and when he didn't arrive she –'"
then there was indeed a storm, and the candle she used as a beacon blew
out, and the Gods couldn't hear his prayers over the noise of the storm,
and so he drowned, and the next morning she saw his body and drowned
- herself as well. Read Christopher Marlowe's
"`Hero and Leander `_" for more
+ herself as well. Read Christopher Marlowe's Hero and Leander for more
- [p. 133/109] "'Why, lordship, we drink scumble, for preference.'"
- [p. 183/149] "'Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards because a refusal
often offends, I read somewhere.'"
- Ysabell probably read one part of this in Tolkien's "`The Lord of the
- Rings`_" where we find (in "`The Fellowship of the Ring`_", Book One, Chapter
+ Ysabell probably read one part of this in Tolkien's **The Lord of the
+ Rings** where we find (in **The Fellowship of the Ring**, Book One, Chapter
III) that Gildor Inglorion the High Elf says: "Do not meddle in the
affairs of wizards because they are subtle and quick to anger". The other
part she may have got from signs often seen in stores and pubs around the
- [p. 186/152] "BEGONE, YOU BLACK AND MIDNIGHT HAG, he said."
- Death is alluding to Shakespeare's
"Macbeth _", act 4, scene 1, where
+ Death is alluding to Shakespeare's Macbeth, act 4, scene 1, where
Macbeth says to the witches: "How now, you secret, black, and midnight
Quite a few people have mistaken this quote for a reference to Douglas
Adams. Of course Adams was simply parodying Johnson's quote as well when
- he wrote (in Chapter 4 of
"`The Restaurant at the End of the Universe `_"):
+ he wrote (in Chapter 4 of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe):
"[...] when a recent edition of Playbeing magazine headlined an article
with the words 'When you are tired of Ursa Minor Beta you are tired of
- [p. 197/161] "'Fireworks?' Cutwell had said."
The stuff about wizards knowing all about fireworks is a reference to
"`The Hobbit `_", where the great Wizard Gandalf was famed (in
+ Tolkien's The Hobbit, where the great Wizard Gandalf was famed (in
times of peace) for entertaining everybody with fireworks.
- [p. 212/172] In the Disc model, Ankh-Morpork was a carbuncle.
A reference to Helen of Troy (or Tsort, I suppose I should say), over
whom the Trojan War was started. The exact original quote, from
- Christopher Marlowe's
"`The Tragical History of Dr Faustus `_", goes:
+ Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of Dr Faustus, goes:
Was this the face that launched a thousand ships,
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Ilium is the Latin name for Troy.
-- [p. 271/221] "'
"`Only Ysabell said that since you turned the glass over
+- [p. 271/221] "'Only Ysabell said that since you turned the glass over
that means I shall die when I'm--' YOU HAVE SUFFICIENT, said Death
- coldly. MATHEMATICS ISN'T ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE.
+ coldly. MATHEMATICS ISN'T ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE."
Except that the events detailed in "`Soul Music`_" imply that Ysabell was
right in this case ("After that, it was a matter of math. And the
This subject comes up every now and again on alt.fan.pratchett, so it is
time for an annotation to settle this matter for once and for all:
playing (chess) games with Death is a *very* old concept. It goes back
- much further than either Ingmar Bergman's famous 1957 movie "`The Seventh
- Seal`_", or Chris deBurgh's less famous 1975 song 'Spanish Train' (which
+ much further than either Ingmar Bergman's famous 1957 movie **The Seventh
+ Seal**, or Chris deBurgh's less famous 1975 song 'Spanish Train' (which
describes a poker game between God and the Devil).
- [p. 22/22] "It was quite possible that it was a secret doorway to
- A reference to C. S. Lewis's classic fantasy story "`The Lion, The Witch
- and the Wardrobe`_", in which the heroes are magically transported to the
+ A reference to C. S. Lewis's classic fantasy story **The Lion, The Witch
+ and the Wardrobe**, in which the heroes are magically transported to the
Land of Narnia through the back of an old wardrobe, which was made from a
tree that grew from the seeds of a magical apple taken from that Land
Probably a reference to a famous scene from the 'Sorcerer's Apprentice'
- segment in Disney's 1940 film
"Fantasia _". The "sourcerer" being in fact
+ segment in Disney's 1940 film Fantasia. The "sourcerer" being in fact
the Apprentice, Mickey, dreaming of commanding the wind to blow, the
waves to wave, the stars to fall, and so on.
- Some people were also reminded of Prospero in Shakespeare's "`The
+ Some people were also reminded of Prospero in Shakespeare's **The
- [p. 44/42] "'Psst,' it said. 'Not very,' said Rincewind [...], 'but I'm
- [p. 51/48] "*Of all the disreputable taverns in all the city you could
have walked into, you walked into his*, complained the hat."
- Paraphrases Humphrey Bogart's famous line from
"`Casablanca _: "Of all the
+ Paraphrases Humphrey Bogart's famous line from Casablanca: "Of all the
gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."
- [p. 55/52] "By the way, the thing on the pole isn't a sign. When they
(amongst which are the Ice Giants). See also the annotation for p.
308/222 of "`Lords and Ladies`_"
-- [p. 69/64] "'
"`Anus mirabilis? _'"
+- [p. 69/64] "'Anus mirabilis?'"
"Annus mirabilis" translates to "year of wonder". "*Anus* mirabilis" does
how he himself visualises the Patrician:
"I can't remember the guy's name, but I've always pictured the Patrician
- as looking like the father in "Beetlejuice_" – the man also played the
- Emperor of Austria in "Amadeus_". And maybe slightly like the head bad guy
+ as looking like the father in **Beetlejuice** – the man also played the
+ Emperor of Austria in **Amadeus**. And maybe slightly like the head bad guy
The actors Terry is thinking of are Jeffrey Jones and Alan Rickman,
- [p. 76/70] "[...] his chair at the foot of the steps leading up to the
- In Tolkien's
"`The Lord of the Rings `_", the Stewards of Gondor also sat on
+ In Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, the Stewards of Gondor also sat on
a chair on the steps below the real throne, awaiting the return of the
king. The prophecy in that case also included a magic sword, although
Tolkien neglects to make any mention of a strawberry-shaped birthmark.
- Other occurrences of the legend can be found in Robert Jordan's "`The
- Wheel of Time`_" epic fantasy series, in Raymond E. Feist's "`Prince of the
- Blood`_", and in David Eddings' "Belgariad_" quintet.
+ Other occurrences of the legend can be found in Robert Jordan's **The
+ Wheel of Time** epic fantasy series, in Raymond E. Feist's **Prince of the
+ Blood**, and in David Eddings' **Belgariad** quintet.
This is undoubtedly one of those cases where everybody is drawing on a
much older idea. Legends about kings, swords and birthmarks are of course
This square is palindromic in all directions. The sentence you get reads:
"`Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas `_", which means, more or less: "The sower
+ Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas, which means, more or less: "The sower
[i.e. God] in his field controls the workings of his tools [i.e. us]".
Some correspondents questioned the correctness of this translation, so if
anyone has a good reference to something else I'd love to hear it.
Maurits C. Escher: Dutch graphic artist of the 20th century, well-known
for his tangled, paradoxical pictures of optical illusions and
- plane-filling tilings. Read Douglas Hofstadter's
"`Goedel, Escher, Bach `_"
+ plane-filling tilings. Read Douglas Hofstadter's Goedel, Escher, Bach
for much, much more information.
- [p. 122/111] "'It looks like someone has taken twice five miles of inner
city and girded them round with walls and towers,' he hazarded."
- From Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem
"`Kubla Khan _:
+ From Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem Kubla Khan:
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girded round
- [p. 125/113] "'[...] pretty much of a miracle of rare device.'"
"`Kubla Khan _:
+ Coleridge's Kubla Khan:
It was a miracle of rare device
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
their fearless acts. For example, Brewer writes:
"*Assassins*. A band of Carmathians, collected by Hassa, subah of
- Nishapour, called the
"`Old Man of the Mountains `_", because he made Mount
+ Nishapour, called the Old Man of the Mountains, because he made Mount
Lebanon his stronghold. This band was the terror of the world for two
centuries, when it was put down by Sultan Bibaris. The assassins indulged
in *haschisch* (bang), an intoxicating drink, and from this liquor
For more information, see also the Hawkwind song 'Hassan I Sabbah' on
- their album
"`Quark, Strangeness and Charm `_".
+ their album Quark, Strangeness and Charm.
- [p. 126/114] Creosote's poetry is mostly based on Edward Fitzgerald's
- translation of the
"Rubaiyat _" of Omar Khayyam. The poem parodied on this
+ translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The poem parodied on this
A book of verses underneath the bough
- [p. 127/115] "'They spent simply ages getting the rills sufficiently
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills.
- [p. 127/115] "'You can't play a dulcimer, by any chance?'"
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played.
- [p. 129/117] "Get up! For the morning in the cup of day, / Has dropped
the spoon that scares the stars away."
Awake! for morning in the bowl of night
Hath flung the stone that puts the stars to flight.
- [p. 154/139] "[...] the Librarian dropped on him like the descent of
- Reference to Charles Darwin's landmark 1871 book
"`The Descent of Man `_".
+ Reference to Charles Darwin's landmark 1871 book The Descent of Man.
- [p. 162/147] "'He asked me to tell him a story.'"
'Wandering Monsters' is a phrase that comes from the world of fantasy
- role-playing games such as
"`Dungeons And Dragons `_", and it more or less
+ role-playing games such as Dungeons And Dragons, and it more or less
means just what you think it means. Nijel is of course exactly the type
of stereotypical nerd who would, in our world, actually play D&D.
- [title] "`Wyrd Sisters`_"
"Macbeth _", the three witches are sometimes called the weird sisters,
+ In Macbeth, the three witches are sometimes called the weird sisters,
e.g. act 2, scene 1: (Banquo) "I dreamt last night of the three weird
sisters [...]"; or act 4, scene 1: (Macbeth) "Saw you the weird sisters?"
But there's a bit more to it than just the Macbeth reference. 'Wyrd' is
the Norse concept of destiny or fate, as embodied by the Norns (who
- probably inspired the Witches in
"Macbeth _"). Since 'weird' to a modern
+ probably inspired the Witches in Macbeth). Since 'weird' to a modern
reader just means 'strange', it's easy to miss the overtones of the title
and just assume that it's an Old spelling of 'weird'.
- [p. 5/5] "'When shall we three meet again?'"
- "Macbeth_", act 1, scene 1, first line. The entire opening scene of "`Wyrd
- Sisters`_" is of course a direct parody on the opening scene of "Macbeth_".
+ **Macbeth**, act 1, scene 1, first line. The entire opening scene of "`Wyrd
+ Sisters`_" is of course a direct parody on the opening scene of **Macbeth**.
- [p. 5/5] "Gods prefer simple, vicious games, where you Do Not Achieve
Transcendence but Go Straight To Oblivion; [...]"
- [p. 8/8] "Meanwhile King Verence, monarch of Lancre, was making a
- There exists a book entitled
"`Servants of Satan `_", which is about the
+ There exists a book entitled Servants of Satan, which is about the
history of witch hunts. It contains the following paragraph:
"This brings us back to Pierre de Lancre. He became convinced that Basque
THINGS AT YOU IN THE STREET?"
Refers to the famous "Beware the ides of March" warning in Shakespeare's
"`Julius Caesar `_", act 1, scene 2.
+ Julius Caesar, act 1, scene 2.
- [p. 14/14] "'Can you tell by the pricking of your thumbs?' said Magrat
- "Macbeth_", act 4, scene 1: (2 Witch) "By the pricking of my thumbs,
- Something wicked this way comes [...]".
- Keep an eye on "Macbeth_", act 4, scene 1. It's one of Terry's favourites
+ **Macbeth**, act 4, scene 1: (2 Witch) *'By the pricking of my thumbs,
+ Something wicked this way comes [...]'*.
+ Keep an eye on **Macbeth**, act 4, scene 1. It's one of Terry's favourites
- [p. 19/19] "Duke Felmet stared out gloomily at the dripping forest."
- [p. 20/20] "There had been something about him being half a man, and...
- Infirm *of* purpose, is what Lady Macbeth calls her husband in
+ Infirm *of* purpose, is what Lady Macbeth calls her husband in Macbeth,
- [p. 20/20] "[...] with nothing much to do but hunt, drink and exercise
Gormenghast is the ancient, decaying castle from Mervyn Peake's
"Gormenghast _" trilogy. See also the annotation for p. 17/17 of
+ Gormenghast trilogy. See also the annotation for p. 17/17 of
- [p. 22/22] "'There is a knocking without,' he said."
- In act 2 of
"Macbeth _", scenes 2 and 3 have a lot of [Knocking within] in
+ In act 2 of Macbeth, scenes 2 and 3 have a lot of [Knocking within] in
- [p. 25/25] "'How many times have you thrown a magic ring into the deepest
Obvious, because very well known, but since I'm annotating all the other
Shakespeare references, I might as well point out here that Felmet's
attempts to wash the blood from his hands echo Lady Macbeth's actions in
"Macbeth _" after the killing of Duncan in act 5, scene 1: "Out, damned
+ Macbeth after the killing of Duncan in act 5, scene 1: Out, damned
-- [p. 36/35]
"`The Hedgehog Can Never Be Buggered At All `_"
+- [p. 36/35] The Hedgehog Can Never Be Buggered At All
Terry invented this title; he has *not* written any words to it (apart
from the fragments that appear in the novels); but many fans (including a
- [p. 50/50] "'Well met by moonlight,' said Magrat politely. 'Merry meet. A
- Magrat's first greeting comes from
"`A Midsummer Night's Dream _: "Ill met
+ Magrat's first greeting comes from A Midsummer Night's Dream: "Ill met
by moonlight, proud Titania". See also the annotation for p. 350/252 of "`Lords
- From Tolkien's
"`The Lord of the Rings `_" comes the Elvish greeting: "A star
+ From Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings comes the Elvish greeting: "A star
shines on the hour of our meeting".
- [p. 53/53] "'Every inch a king,' said Granny."
- A quote from "`King Lear`_", act 4, scene 6.
-- [p. 58/58] "'"`A Wizard of Sorts`_",' Vitoller read. '"`Or, Please
- Not quite a Shakespeare title, but "`Please Yourself`_" refers to both "`As
- You Like It`_" and the subtitle of "`Twelfth Night_: "Or What You Will".
+ A quote from **King Lear**, act 4, scene 6.
+- [p. 58/58] "'**A Wizard of Sorts**,' Vitoller read. '**Or, Please
+ Not quite a Shakespeare title, but **Please Yourself** refers to both **As
+ You Like It** and the subtitle of **Twelfth Night**: "Or What You Will".
- [p. 60/60] "It was the cats and the roller skates that were currently
- Refers to the Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals "Cats_" and "`Starlight
+ Refers to the Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals **Cats** and **Starlight
- [p. 61/60] "However, in Bad Ass a cockerel laid an egg and had to put up
with some very embarrassing personal questions."
- [p. 65/65] "'Is this a dagger I see before me?' he mumbled."
- From what is probably the most famous soliloquy in
"`Macbeth _: act 2,
+ From what is probably the most famous soliloquy in Macbeth: act 2,
scene 1. See also the annotation for p. 184/183.
- [p. 68/67] "The stone was about the same height as a tall man, [...]"
- [p. 75/74] "A faint glow beyond the frosted panes suggested that, against
all reason, a new day would soon dawn."
- The first scene of the first act of Shakespeare's
"Hamlet _" starts at
+ The first scene of the first act of Shakespeare's Hamlet starts at
midnight, and describes a scene lasting about fifteen minutes – yet the
act ends at dawn. Likewise, the summoning of WxrtHltl-jwlpklz the demon
takes place at night, but ends with the quote given above.
The same image can also be found in Stanley Kubrick's classic horror
"`The Shining `_", where the ghosts of two small girl twins (who
+ movie The Shining, where the ghosts of two small girl twins (who
were horribly murdered in a 'dark deed') walk handin hand through the
corridors of the Overlook Hotel.
- [p. 88/87] "Magrat was picking flowers and talking to them."
- What follows is a satire of the mad Ophelia in
"`Hamlet _: "There's
+ What follows is a satire of the mad Ophelia in Hamlet: "There's
rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and there is
pansies, that's for thoughts." (act 4, scene 5).
- [p. 95/94] "It's all very well calling for eye of newt, but do you mean
Common, Spotted or Great Crested?"
- Eye of Newt is one of the ingredients used by the witches in
+ Eye of Newt is one of the ingredients used by the witches in Macbeth,
This scene also resonates very faintly with the famous running gag in the
"`Monty Python and the Holy Grail _:
+ movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
Bridgekeeper: "What... is the air-speed velocity of an unladen
- [p. 108/107] "'Infirm of purpose!'"
- Lady Macbeth says this in
"Macbeth _", act 2, scene 2.
+ Lady Macbeth says this in Macbeth, act 2, scene 2.
- [p. 108/108] "'[...] and *you* said, "If it's to be done, it's better if
it's done quickly", or something [...]'"
"Macbeth _", act 1, scene 7: "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere
+ Macbeth, act 1, scene 7: If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere
well it were done quickly."
- [p. 109/108] "Granny glanced around the dungeon."
- [p. 134/133] "[...] whirl a farmhouse to any available emerald city of
"`Wizard of Oz `_" reference.
+ A Wizard of Oz reference.
- [p. 139/138] "'I mean, Black Aliss was one of the best.'"
- [p. 142/141] "Greebo's grin gradually faded, until there was nothing left
but the cat. This was nearly as spooky as the other way round."
- Refers to the Cheshire cat in Lewis Carroll's "`Alice's Adventures in
- Wonderland`_", a beast famous for slowly vanishing until only its grin
+ Refers to the Cheshire cat in Lewis Carroll's **Alice's Adventures in
+ Wonderland**, a beast famous for slowly vanishing until only its grin
- [p. 145/144] "[...] Herne the Hunted, the terrified and apprehensive
lot, lot further than that."
Herne the Hunter also appears himself in "`Lords and Ladies`_". Here is some
- relevant information condensed from the book
"`The Western Way `_" by John
+ relevant information condensed from the book The Western Way by John
"Herne the Hunter / Cernunnos is God of green and growing things;
- [p. 156/155] "[...] trying to find a laboratory opposite a dress shop
that will keep the same dummy in the window for sixty years, [...]"
- This refers to the 1960 movie version of H. G. Wells'
"`The Time Machine `_",
+ This refers to the 1960 movie version of H. G. Wells' The Time Machine,
where the director uses the effect described to indicate the rapid
- [p. 158/158] "He'd sorted out the falling chandelier, and found a place
for a villain who wore a mask to conceal his disfigurement, [...]"
"`The Phantom of the Opera `_", another musical by Andrew Lloyd
+ Describes The Phantom of the Opera, another musical by Andrew Lloyd
Webber. See also the annotations for "Maskerade_".
- [p. 159/158] "[...] the hero had been born in a handbag."
- The protagonist in Oscar Wilde's
"`The Importance of Being Earnest `_" was
+ The protagonist in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest was
found, as a baby, in a handbag.
- [p. 159/158] "It was the clowns who were giving him trouble again."
that follows, "This iss My Little Study..." is typical Groucho, and the
"Atsa right, Boss" is Chico.
-- [p. 159/158] ""`Thys ys amain Dainty Messe youe have got me into,
+- [p. 159/158] "**Thys ys amain Dainty Messe youe have got me into,
Laurel & Hardy. Laurel's first name was Stan. See also the annotation for
p. 73/65 of "`The Colour of Magic`_".
and wymmen are but Players*. [...] *Sometimes they walke on. Sometimes
"`As You Like It `_", act 2, scene 7: "All the world's a stage, And all the
+ As You Like It, act 2, scene 7: "All the world's a stage, And all the
men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances;
- [p. 165/164] "'I *said*, where's your pointy hat, dopey?'"
- Dopey is one of the seven dwarfs in Walt Disney's animated
"`Snow White `_".
+ Dopey is one of the seven dwarfs in Walt Disney's animated Snow White.
Terry likes toying with Disney's dwarf names. See for instance the
annotation for p. 324/271 of "`Moving Pictures`_".
-- [p. 167/166] "'"`Brothers! And yet may I call all men brother, for on this
- This is (in spirit) the St Crispin's Day speech from "`King Henry V`_". See
+- [p. 167/166] "'Brothers! And yet may I call all men brother, for on this
+ This is (in spirit) the St Crispin's Day speech from **King Henry V**. See
the annotation for p. 239/238.
- [p. 182/181] "Double hubble, stubble trouble, Fire burn and cauldron
- The witches in
"Macbeth _", act 4, scene 1: "Double, double toil and
+ The witches in Macbeth, act 4, scene 1: "Double, double toil and
trouble; Fire, burn; and, cauldron, bubble."
- [p. 169/168] "[...] go around with axes in their belts, and call
- [p. 178/177] "The pay's the thing."
- Puns on a well-known Shakespeare quote from
"Hamlet _" (act 2, scene 2):
+ Puns on a well-known Shakespeare quote from Hamlet (act 2, scene 2):
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king
This can of course refer to a thousand different movies or plays. In view
of the general influences for this book, however, I'd bet my money on
"`The Tempest `_".
+ Shakespeare's The Tempest.
- [p. 181/180] "*Round about the cauldron go*, [...]"
- What follows is a parody on
"Macbeth _", act 4, scene 1, in which three
+ What follows is a parody on Macbeth, act 4, scene 1, in which three
witches boil up some pretty disgusting things in their cauldron. Try
reading both versions side by side.
- [p. 182/181] "He punched the rock-hard pillow, and sank into a fitful
sleep. Perchance to dream."
- Taken from the famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy in
+ Taken from the famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy in Hamlet.
- [p. 183/182] "KING: Now if I could just find my horsey..."
- Hwel's script is
"`Richard III `_" done as a Punch-and-Judy show.
+ Hwel's script is Richard III done as a Punch-and-Judy show.
- [p. 184/183] "Is this a duck I see before me, its beak pointing at me?"
"Macbeth _", act 2, scene 1 again. See the annotation for p. 65/65.
+ Macbeth, act 2, scene 1 again. See the annotation for p. 65/65.
- [p. 186/185] "Leonard of Quirm. He's a painter, really."
- [p. 186/185] "We grow old, Master Hwel. [...] We have heard the gongs at
- Shakespeare again:
"`King Henry IV, part 2 `_", act 3, scene 2:
+ Shakespeare again: King Henry IV, part 2, act 3, scene 2:
"FALSTAFF: Old, old, Master Shallow. [...] We have heard the chimes at
midnight, Master Shallow."
- [p. 193/192] "1ST WITCHE: He's late. (Pause)" [Etc.]
- Parodies Samuel Beckett's classic play
"`Waiting for Godot `_", where similar
+ Parodies Samuel Beckett's classic play Waiting for Godot, where similar
- [p. 199/198] "'Did you know that an adult male carries up to five pounds
like to quote in order to gross people out and get them to stop eating
meat (of course, the average vegetarian has about five pounds of
undigested vegetable matter in his intestines). The cliche is used fairly
- often, amongst other places in the movie
"`Beverly Hills Cop `_".
+ often, amongst other places in the movie Beverly Hills Cop.
Terry had this to say on the subject: "Yep. That one I got from some way
out vegetarian stuff I read years ago, and went round feeling ill about
- for days. And two years ago I saw
"`Beverly Hills Cop `_" on TV and rejoiced
+ for days. And two years ago I saw Beverly Hills Cop on TV and rejoiced
when I heard the line. God, I wish I'd seen the film before I'd written
"`Guards! Guards!`_"... I'd have had someone out on stake-duty on horseback,
and someone creep up behind them with a banana..."
Note that in "`Men at Arms`_", the second City Watch book, Terry does manage
- to work in a
"`Beverly Hills Cop `_" joke. See the annotation for p. 251/190
+ to work in a Beverly Hills Cop joke. See the annotation for p. 251/190
- [p. 207/206] "'All hail wossname,' she said under her breath, 'who shall
"Macbeth _", act 1, scene 2: "All hail, Macbeth; that shalt be king
+ Macbeth, act 1, scene 2: "All hail, Macbeth; that shalt be king
- [p. 208/207] "'Is anyone sitting here?' he said."
"Macbeth _", act 3, scene 4:
+ Macbeth, act 3, scene 4:
Macbeth: 'The table's full.'
Lennox: 'Here is a place reserv'd, sir.'
- [p. 211/210] "'We're scheming evil secret black and midnight hags!'"
"Macbeth _", act 4, scene 1: "How now, you secret, black, and midnight
+ Macbeth, act 4, scene 1: "How now, you secret, black, and midnight
hags!" See also the annotation for p. 186/152 of "Mort_".
- [p. 212/211] "'I never shipwrecked anybody!' she said."
- Neither did the three witches from
"Macbeth _", if you read carefully, but
+ Neither did the three witches from Macbeth, if you read carefully, but
I nevertheless think there is a reference here: act 1, scene 3.
- [p. 213/212] "I'd like to know if I could compare you to a summer's day.
back? What's happened to his leg?'"
A reference to Richard the Third. A rather appropriate reference: in
"`Richard III `_", he is presented as an evil, lame,
+ Shakespeare's Richard III, he is presented as an evil, lame,
hunchbacked king, whom Henry must kill to save England. This is not
historically correct – rather it is how Henry would have liked people to
remember it. Had Shakespeare strayed from the 'official' version he would
- [p. 213/213] "'It's art,' said Nanny. 'It wossname, holds a mirror up to
"Hamlet _", act 3, scene 2: "To hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature;
+ Hamlet, act 3, scene 2: "To hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature;
to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and
body of the time his form and pressure."
- [p. 214/213] "'Ditch-delivered by a drabe', they said."
- One of the ingredients in
"Macbeth _", act 4, scene 1 is a "finger of
+ One of the ingredients in Macbeth, act 4, scene 1 is a "finger of
birth-strangled babe, ditch-delivered by a drabe".
- [p. 225/225] "--THE NEXT NIGHT IN YOUR DRESSING ROOM THEY HANG A STAR--"
Death is quoting from 'There's No Business Like Show Business', the song
- from the Irvin Berlin musical "`Annie Get Your Gun`_", also performed by
- Ethel Merman in the 1954 movie "`There's No Business Like Show Business`_".
+ from the Irvin Berlin musical **Annie Get Your Gun**, also performed by
+ Ethel Merman in the 1954 movie **There's No Business Like Show Business**.
- [p. 227/226] "'[...] who would have thought he had so much blood in
- Lady Macbeth in
"Macbeth _", act 5, scene 1: "Yet who would have thought
+ Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, act 5, scene 1: "Yet who would have thought
the old man to have had so much blood in him".
- [p. 235/234] "Like Bognor."
- [p. 236/235] "'Can you remember what he said after all those tomorrows?'"
"Macbeth _", act 5, scene 5, from a another famous soliloquy:
+ Macbeth, act 5, scene 5, from a another famous soliloquy:
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
charge into battle at five o'clock in the morning..."
Shakespeare's Henry V was just such a king, and Terry is referring here
- to the 'St Crispin's Day' speech in
"`King Henry V `_", act 4, scene 3:
+ to the 'St Crispin's Day' speech in King Henry V, act 4, scene 3:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
of Magic`_" doesn't really count – it's a collection of linked novellas,
not a single novel with chapters or sections).
- Book I is "`The Book of Going Forth`_", which refers to "`The Book of Going
- Forth By Day`_", (see the annotation for p. 9/9 of "`The Light Fantastic`_").
- Book II is "`The Book of the Dead`_", a more direct reference to the
- Egyptian Book of the Dead. Book III is "`The Book of the New Son`_" which
- puns on the title of the Gene Wolfe SF novel "`The Book of the New Sun`_"
+ Book I is **The Book of Going Forth**, which refers to **The Book of Going
+ Forth By Day**, (see the annotation for p. 9/9 of "`The Light Fantastic`_").
+ Book II is **The Book of the Dead**, a more direct reference to the
+ Egyptian Book of the Dead. Book III is **The Book of the New Son** which
+ puns on the title of the Gene Wolfe SF novel **The Book of the New Sun**
(perhaps there is an earlier title both authors are drawing on, but I
- haven't been able to trace it). Book IV, finally, is "`The Book of 101
- Things A Boy Can Do`_", which gives a nod to the typical titles sported a
+ haven't been able to trace it). Book IV, finally, is **The Book of 101
+ Things A Boy Can Do**, which gives a nod to the typical titles sported a
few decades ago by books containing wholesome, innocent, practical, but
above all *educational* activities for children.
It has been remarked that there are quite a few parallels between the
country of Djelibeybi and the castle of Gormenghast as described by
- Mervyn Peake in his
"Gormenghast _" trilogy (which we know Terry has read
+ Mervyn Peake in his Gormenghast trilogy (which we know Terry has read
because in "`Equal Rites`_" he compares Unseen University to Gormenghast,
and in "`Wyrd Sisters`_" he does the same with Lancre Castle). The hero of
"Gormenghast _", Titus, also has a mother with a cat obsession, and his
+ Gormenghast, Titus, also has a mother with a cat obsession, and his
father died because he thought he was an owl. Furthermore, the atmosphere
of decay, ancient history and unchanging ritual pervades both Djelibeybi
and Gormenghast, with in both cases the presence of arbiters of tradition
For those interested in pursuing Gormenghast further (people who have
read it almost invariably seem to think it's a work of genius), the names
- of the three novels are "`Titus Groan`_" (1946), "Gormenghast_" (1950) and
- "`Titus Alone`_" (1959, revised 1970).
+ of the three novels are **Titus Groan** (1946), **Gormenghast** (1950) and
+ **Titus Alone** (1959, revised 1970).
- [p. 19/19] "[...] the Plague of Frog."
- [p. 20/20] On the subject of the Assassin's Guild School, Terry has this
to say: "Yes, the whole setup of the Assassin's Guild school has, uh, a
- certain resonance with Rugby School in
"`Tom Brown's Schooldays `_" (note to
+ certain resonance with Rugby School in Tom Brown's Schooldays (note to
Americans: a minor Victorian classic of school literature which no-one
reads anymore and which is probably now more famous for the first
appearance of the Flashman character subsequently popularised by George
- Teppic and his friends map directly to corresponding characters in "`Tom
- Brown's Schooldays_: Teppic is Tom, Chidder is Harry "Scud" East, Arthur
+ Teppic and his friends map directly to corresponding characters in **Tom
+ Brown's Schooldays**: Teppic is Tom, Chidder is Harry "Scud" East, Arthur
is George Arthur and Cheesewright is sort of Flashman, but not exactly.
The line on p. 27/26 about "'If he invites you up for toast in his study,
*don't go*,'" may refer to the incident where Tom is roasted in front of
the fire by Flashy and his cronies. The reference to blanket-tossing on
- p. 45/44, which Arthur puts a stop to, is also an incident in "`Tom
- Brown`_", on Tom's first day. The scene in the dormitory on the first
+ p. 45/44, which Arthur puts a stop to, is also an incident in **Tom
+ Brown**, on Tom's first day. The scene in the dormitory on the first
night, when Arthur gets down to say his prayers, also has an equivalent
wondered if there was a connection. Terry replied:
"Er. I may as well reveal this one. That section of the book is 'somewhat
"`Tom Brown's Schooldays `_". A bully (right hand man to the famous
+ like' Tom Brown's Schooldays. A bully (right hand man to the famous
Flashman) was Speedicut. Speedicut is (was?) a name for a type of
lawnmower – I know, because I had to push the damn thing... Hence...
I was later informed that 'Pterry' was also the name of a pterodactyl on
- a kids' TV program called
"Jigsaw _", but as far as I can recall Terry's
+ a kids' TV program called Jigsaw, but as far as I can recall Terry's
nickname was not coined with that in mind.
- [p. 50/49] "It's rather like smashing a sixer in conkers."
Koot Hoomi is the author of a series of letters that were published as
"`The Mahatma Letters To A. P. Sinnett `_", and which form the basis of many
+ The Mahatma Letters To A. P. Sinnett, and which form the basis of many
- [p. 63/62] "'Look, master Dil,' said Gern, [...]"
Terry has confirmed that the scenes in which Dios dresses up Teppic in
his King's outfit (starting with the Flail of Mercy and culminating in
the Cabbage of Vegetative Increase) are a parody of the old BBC
- children's game show
"Crackerjack _". In this show the contestants were
+ children's game show Crackerjack. In this show the contestants were
asked questions, and for each correct answer they received a prize, which
they had to hold on to. If they answered wrong, they were given a large
cabbage, increasing the likelihood of dropping everything. The person
herself king in order to seize the throne.
Incidentally, Dios is using the wrong word here: A marriage between
- relatives would be *intra*familial, not *inter*familial.
+ relatives would be *intra*familial, not *inter*familial.
- [p. 90/87] "'This thing could put an edge on a rolling pin.'"
This is a very ancient concept in magic and 'primitive' religions.
Although I haven't asked him, I'm willing to bet money that Terry did
- *not* take his inspiration from Ursula Le Guin's
"`A Wizard of Earthsea `_",
+ *not* take his inspiration from Ursula Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea,
despite the many emails I have received suggesting a connection.
For a definitive reference on this subject, read James George Frazer's
- [p. 102/99] "[...] I am a stranger in a familiar land."
- [p. 144/138] "'She can play the dulcimer,' said the ghost of Teppicymon
XXVII, apropos of nothing much."
- Reference to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's
"`Kubla Khan `_". See also the
+ Reference to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Kubla Khan. See also the
annotation for p. 127/115 of "Sourcery_".
- [p. 156/150] "[...] distilling the testicles of a small tree-dwelling
- [p. 176/169] The philosophers shooting arrows at tortoises are discussing
one of Zeno's three motion paradoxes. See also Douglas Hofstadter's
"`Goedel, Escher, Bach `_". Or Zeno.
+ Goedel, Escher, Bach. Or Zeno.
- [p. 178/171] "The rest of them die of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle,
made from more than one kind of monomer (simple compound).
[ Finally, my source also suspects that Copolymer's monologue may be a
- take-off on a particular translation of his
"Histories _". Anybody? ]
+ take-off on a particular translation of his Histories. Anybody? ]
- [p. 179/172] "'The tortoise *did* beat the hare,' said Xeno sulkily."
- Reference to Aesop's classic fable
"`The Hare and the Tortoise `_".
+ Reference to Aesop's classic fable The Hare and the Tortoise.
If you have access to the Internet, you can find an online version of the
noted for his somewhat loose grasp on reality and his tendency towards
redundancy and solecism. In fact, an amusingly redundant comment spoken
live by a personality is sometimes referred to as a 'Colemanball', after
- the column of that name in the satirical magazine
"`Private Eye `_".
+ the column of that name in the satirical magazine Private Eye.
Typical Colemanballs include, "...He's a real fighter, this lad, who
believes that football's a game of two halves, and that it isn't over
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
-- [p. 204/195] "[...] ships called the "`Marie Celeste`_", [...]"
- The "`Marie Celeste`_" left port in 1872 with a full crew, but was later
- found (by the crew of the "`Dei Gratia`_"), abandoned on the open sea, with
+- [p. 204/195] "[...] ships called the **Marie Celeste**, [...]"
+ The **Marie Celeste** left port in 1872 with a full crew, but was later
+ found (by the crew of the **Dei Gratia**), abandoned on the open sea, with
no crew, the single lifeboat missing, and half-eaten meals in the mess
- hall. It was later discovered that captain Morehouse of the "`Dei Gratia`_"
- had dined with the captain of the "Celeste_" the night before she sailed,
+ hall. It was later discovered that captain Morehouse of the **Dei Gratia**
+ had dined with the captain of the **Celeste** the night before she sailed,
and Morehouse and his crew were eventually tried for murder, but
acquitted because there was no hard evidence. The missing crewmen were
People interested in more stories about magically disappearing valleys
are referred to R. A. Lafferty's 'Narrow Valley' (to be found in his
"`Nine Hundred Grandmothers `_"), where a half a mile wide valley
+ collection Nine Hundred Grandmothers), where a half a mile wide valley
is sorcerously narrowed (with its inhabitants) to a few feet and then
opened up again by the end of the story.
Ozymandias ever managed to say."
Ozymandias was the Greek name for Ramses the Second. Percy Bysshe
- Shelley's poem
"Ozymandias _" is famous, but because it is short and it has
+ Shelley's poem Ozymandias is famous, but because it is short and it has
always been a favourite of mine I hope you will forgive me the indulgence
of reproducing it here in full:
The lone and level sands stretch far away."
While I was browsing the net in order to find an on-line copy of
"Ozymandias _" so that I could cut-and-paste the text, I came across a
+ Ozymandias so that I could cut-and-paste the text, I came across a
wonderful piece of related information. It appears that in 1817 Shelley
held a sonnet-writing session with his friend, the poet Horace Smith.
Both wrote a sonnet on the same subject, but while Shelley came up with
- the aforementioned
"Ozymandias _", Mr Smith produced something so
+ the aforementioned Ozymandias, Mr Smith produced something so
delightfully horrendous I simply have to indulge even further, and
include it here as well. By now the connection to our original annotation
has been completely lost, but I think you might agree with me that
- [p. 21/19] "'That was where you had to walk on ricepaper wasn't it,' said
Brother Watchtower conversationally."
- Reference to the old David Carradine TV series,
"`Kung Fu `_". In one of the
+ Reference to the old David Carradine TV series, Kung Fu. In one of the
earliest episodes our Shaolin monk-in-training was tasked to walk along a
sheet of ricepaper without ripping it or leaving a mark.
Someone on a.f.p. asked Terry if the name or the character of Carrot was
- perhaps inspired by an old American comic called "`Captain Carrot and his
- Amazing Zoo Crew`_". Terry answered:
+ perhaps inspired by an old American comic called **Captain Carrot and his
+ Amazing Zoo Crew**. Terry answered:
"Never heard of it. The TRUE answer is that when I was writing the book
an electrician was rewiring our house and the nickname of his red-haired
Latin for "Make my day, punk".
"Go ahead, make my day" is a well-known Clint 'Dirty Harry' Eastwood
- quote. The 'punk' comes from another famous
"`Dirty Harry `_" scene (see the
+ quote. The 'punk' comes from another famous Dirty Harry scene (see the
annotation for p. 136/124)
Notice also that the translation Terry supplies ("To protect and to
stereotypical British friendly neighbourhood bobby attempting to break up
a family argument or innocent street brawl. Nearly all my correspondents
trace this stereotype directly back to the sixties BBC television series
"`Dixon of Dock Green `_", where every bobby was your friend and it was
+ Dixon of Dock Green, where every bobby was your friend and it was
perfectly acceptable for a copper to walk into a room and say "'Ello!
'Ello! What's going on 'ere then?". Calling people 'sunshine' (next
footnote on the page), and signing off with "Evening, all" are apparently
(and if you think that this is a silly thing to get worked up over, you
are obviously not familiar with alt.fan.pratchett. Or with Usenet, for
that matter). Anyway, there were a few people who felt that Terry was
- referring here to Larry Niven's
"Ringworld _" series, where the main
+ referring here to Larry Niven's Ringworld series, where the main
character, Louis Wu, always uses the phrase "There ain't no justice"
(abbreviated as "TANJ"). Other people found this connection incredibly
far-fetched for such a generic sentence, and said so rather forcefully.
"But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who
is neither tarnished nor afraid." is a well-known quote – that describes
- Carrot to a tee – from Raymond Chandler's essay "`The Simple Art of
+ Carrot to a tee – from Raymond Chandler's essay **The Simple Art of
- [p. 93/85] "'Who loves you, pussycat?', said Nobby under his breath."
even seen a greenfly, but I ain't never seen a dragon fly"
Sounds reminiscent of the 'I've never seen an elephant fly' song which
- the crows sing in Walt Disney's 1941 movie
"Dumbo _". Another similar
+ the crows sing in Walt Disney's 1941 movie Dumbo. Another similar
children's song is called 'The Never Song' by Edward Lipton.
- [p. 97/88] "[...] Gayheart Talonthrust of Ankh stood fourteen thumbs
- [p. 103/94] "'Just give me the facts, m'lady,' he said impatiently."
- "Just the facts, ma'am", is a catchphrase from the
"Dragnet _" radio series
+ "Just the facts, ma'am", is a catchphrase from the Dragnet radio series
(later a TV series, and later still a Dan Aykroyd/Tom Hanks movie).
- [p. 103/94] "Of all the cities in all the world it could have flown into,
- [p. 114/104] The bit about the hero killing a monster in a lake, only to
have the monster's mum come right down the hall the next day and
*complain*, is a reference to Grendel and his mother, two famous monsters
- from the
"Beowulf _" saga.
+ from the Beowulf saga.
- [p. 114/104] "Pour encourjay lays ortras."
Discworld version of the French phrase "pour encourager les autres". The
phrase originates with Voltaire who, after the British executed their own
admiral John Byng in 1757 for failing to relieve Minorca, was inspired to
- write (in Chapter 23 of
"Candide _") a sentence that translates to: "in
+ write (in Chapter 23 of Candide) a sentence that translates to: "in
this country we find it pays to shoot an admiral from time to time to
Bristol. Bristol has become famous for its urban foxes (although they
apparently operate in all largish greenish cities in the UK). In the
early 80s, BBC Bristol made a famous programme on these urban foxes,
On this programme, hitherto unachieved photographs of vixens caring for
their sprogs were aired; this made the programme (which was narrated by
Two Sherlock Holmes references for the price of one. The original quotes
are "It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the
impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth" from
- "`The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet`_", and "[...] the curious incident of
- the dog at nighttime" in "`Silver Blaze`_".
+ **The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet**, and "[...] the curious incident of
+ the dog at nighttime" in **Silver Blaze**.
The second reference also reminds me, in a very roundabout way, of Edgar
- Allan Poe's
"`The Murders in the Rue Morgue `_".
+ Allan Poe's The Murders in the Rue Morgue.
- [p. 120/110] "[...] as ghastly an array of faces as ever were seen
outside a woodcut about the evils of gin-drinking [...]"
dragon in the city. It could burn your head clean off."
Vimes replays here one of the best-known scenes in Clint Eastwood's first
- 'Dirty Harry' movie, the 1971
"`Dirty Harry `_".
+ 'Dirty Harry' movie, the 1971 Dirty Harry.
"Aha! I know what you're thinking... Did I fire six shots or only five?
To tell you the truth, I forgot it myself in all this excitement. This
- [p. 143/130] "''E's plain clothes, ma'am,' said Nobby smartly. 'Special
"`Special Ape Services `_" shares the acronym SAS with the crack British
+ Special Ape Services shares the acronym SAS with the crack British
troops who are sent to storm embassies, shoot prisoners of war, and
execute alleged terrorists before anything has been proven by trial, etc.
Not that one wants to get political, mind you.
- [p. 162/147] "[...] and stepped out into the naked city."
"`The Naked City `_" was an American TV cop show in the 50s, mostly forgotten
+ The Naked City was an American TV cop show in the 50s, mostly forgotten
today, except for its prologue narration: "There are eight million
stories in the naked city. This is one of them."
- [p. 200/182] "'He's called Rex Vivat.'"
- "`Rex Vivat`_", of course, means: "long live the king". This reminds me a
- bit of Robert Rankin, who named his lead character in "`They Came And Ate
- Us`_" Rex Mundi. Rex's sister has a role in the book too. Her name is
+ **Rex Vivat**, of course, means: "long live the king". This reminds me a
+ bit of Robert Rankin, who named his lead character in **They Came And Ate
+ Us** Rex Mundi. Rex's sister has a role in the book too. Her name is
Now you may begin to understand why Rankin is so often discussed on
Killing dragons by shooting a magical arrow in a special location is a
standard cliche of mythology and fantasy fiction. One of the best-known
- contemporary examples can be found in Tolkien's
"`The Hobbit `_", where Bard
+ contemporary examples can be found in Tolkien's The Hobbit, where Bard
kills the dragon Smaug with a special black arrow.
- [p. 278/252] "'All for one!' [...] 'All for one what?' said Nobby."
- [p. 284/257] The scene where Errol's supersonic boom smashes the dragon
out of the air is possibly based on another Clint Eastwood movie, the
- [p. 289/262] "'In 1135 a hen was arrested for crowing on Soul Cake
There are several historical examples in our world of animals being
arrested, excommunicated or killed for various crimes. Articles in the
- October 1994 issue of
"`Scientific American `_" and in "`The Book of Lists #3 `_"
+ October 1994 issue of Scientific American and in The Book of Lists #3
give several examples: a chimpanzee was convicted in Indiana in 1905 of
smoking in public; 75 pigeons were executed in 1963 in Tripoli for
ferrying stolen money across the Mediterranean; and in 1916, "five-ton
- [p. 314/285] "'Here's looking at you, kid,' he said."
- Another quote from
+ Another quote from Casablanca.
The subtitle to "Eric_" ('Faust', crossed out) already indicates what
story is being parodied in this novella: that of the German alchemist and
demonologist Johannes (or Georg) Faust who sold his soul to the devil.
The most famous version of the Faust legend is perhaps the one told by
- Goethe in "Faust_", with Cristopher Marlowe's earlier play "`The Tragical
- History of Dr Faustus`_" a close second.
+ Goethe in **Faust**, with Cristopher Marlowe's earlier play **The Tragical
+ History of Dr Faustus** a close second.
- [p. 9/9] "[...] where the adventuresses Herrena the Henna-Haired
Harridan, Red Scharron and Diome, Witch of the Night, were meeting for
neither of those sounds appropriate.
- [p. 27/21] The book Eric uses to summon his demon has the title
"`Mallificarum Sumpta Diabolicite Occularis Singularum `_", or the Book of
+ Mallificarum Sumpta Diabolicite Occularis Singularum, or the Book of
Ultimate Control. But note the initials.
Also, the actual dog-Latin translates more or less to: "Evil-making
of lava substitute and with unparalleled view of the Eight Circles, lies
the city of Pandemonium."
- The name 'Pandemonium' originates with Milton's
"`Paradise Lost _; it's the
+ The name 'Pandemonium' originates with Milton's Paradise Lost; it's the
city built by Lucifer and his followers after the Fall.
- [p. 46/41] The name of the Tezumen god, 'Quetzovercoatl', puns on the
- [p. 81/69] "Fortunately, Rincewind was able to persuade the man that the
future was another country."
- Reference to the opening words of
"`The Go-between `_". See the annotation
+ Reference to the opening words of The Go-between. See the annotation
for p. 13/11 of "`Lords and Ladies`_".
- [p. 82/70] "Some talk of Alexander and some of Hercules, of Hector and
People like using this particular quip in Usenet conversations or in
their .signatures, and every time somebody will follow-up with "hey,
- you're wrong, that's a quote from "`Reaper Man_!".
+ you're wrong, that's a quote from "`Reaper Man_!".
The answer is of course simply that similar quotes occur in *both* books
(in "`Reaper Man`_" it's on p. 215/189, and goes: "Five exclamation marks,
- [p. 122/101] "'[...] I think it's quite possible that we're in Hell.'"
- The whole sequence in Hell is based loosely on Dante's "Inferno_" (which
- in turn is based on Vergil's "Aeneid_") in much the same way the book as a
- whole is based on "Faust_". Rincewind and Eric correspond to Vergil (who
+ The whole sequence in Hell is based loosely on Dante's **Inferno** (which
+ in turn is based on Vergil's **Aeneid**) in much the same way the book as a
+ whole is based on **Faust**. Rincewind and Eric correspond to Vergil (who
is Dante's guide to Hell) and Dante in the same way that they are
Mephistopheles and Faust. The various references to the geographical
topology build on how Dante organised Hell in nine concentric circles
up and damn well take notice."
"Pour encourager les autres." See the annotation for p. 114/104 of
- People have noticed that the two femmes fatale of this novel are called
Ginger and Ruby, both names signifying a red colour. Terry Pratchett says
- that he did *not* intend this as a reference to
"`Gone with the Wind `_"'s
+ that he did *not* intend this as a reference to Gone with the Wind's
- Instead, Ruby got her name because like all trolls she needed a mineral
- [p. 15/12] "'Looking,' it said [...] 'f'r a word. Tip of my tongue.'"
- The word is 'Eureka'. See the annotation for p. 139/101 of "`Small Gods
+ The word is 'Eureka'. See the annotation for p. 139/101 of "`Small Gods`_"
- [p. 18/14] "'I thought they were trying to cure the philosopher's stones,
or somethin',' said the Archchancellor."
- [p. 19/15] Archchancellor Ridcully's wizard name is 'Ridcully the Brown'.
- In Tolkien's
"`The Lord of the Rings `_" there's a (relatively) minor wizard
+ In Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings there's a (relatively) minor wizard
called 'Radagast the Brown', who was also very well in tune with nature,
"roams-the-high-forest-with-every-beast-his-brother" type. Talked to the
At the same time it is also a pun on H. P. Lovecraft's 'Yog-Sothoth', one
of the chief supernatural nasties in the Cthulhu mythos (see especially
- the novelette "`The Dunwich Horror`_" and the novel "`The Lurker at the
- Finally, Ponder and Victor are studying the "Necrotelicomnicom_" in this
+ the novelette **The Dunwich Horror** and the novel **The Lurker at the
+ Finally, Ponder and Victor are studying the **Necrotelicomnicom** in this
scene. See the annotation for p. 111/109 of "`Equal Rites`_" for more
information on the Lovecraft connection there.
- [p. 35/29] Victor Tugelbend's university career, with his uncle's will
and all that, shows parallels to similar situations described in Roger
- Zelazny's (highly recommended) science fiction novel "`Doorways in the
- Sand`_", and in Richard Gordon's 'Doctor' series of medical comedy
- books/movies ("`Doctor in the House`_", "`Doctor in Love`_", "`Doctor at Sea`_",
+ Zelazny's (highly recommended) science fiction novel **Doorways in the
+ Sand**, and in Richard Gordon's 'Doctor' series of medical comedy
+ books/movies (**Doctor in the House**, **Doctor in Love**, **Doctor at Sea**,
I had noticed the Zelazny parallel when I first read "`Moving Pictures`_",
but thought the reference was too unlikely and too obscure to warrant
inclusion. Since then *two* other people have pointed it out to me...
- Terry later remarked, in response to someone mentioning the "`Doctor in
- the House`_" movie on the net: "I remember that film – the student in
+ Terry later remarked, in response to someone mentioning the **Doctor in
+ the House** movie on the net: "I remember that film – the student in
question was played by Kenneth More. All he had to do, though, was fail
– the people who drew up the will involving Victor thought they were
cleverer than that. Maybe they'd seen the film..."
with a three-day appetite might study the All-You-Can-Gobble-For-A-Dollar
menu outside Harga's House of Ribs..."
- This paragraph is a word-by-word parody of H. G. Wells' "`War of the
- Worlds`_", which begins with:
+ This paragraph is a word-by-word parody of H. G. Wells' **War of the
+ Worlds**, which begins with:
"No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century
that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences
- [p. 75/62] "[...] Victor fights the dreaded Balgrog".
- In Tolkien's
"`The Lord of the Rings `_" you can find a very nasty monster
+ In Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings you can find a very nasty monster
- [p. 81/67] Ginger's real name is Theda Withel, which might be a very
oblique reference to Theda Bara, famous movie star of the 1910s, a kind
of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, avant la lettre ('Theda Bara' is an
anagram of 'Arab Death'!). Her portrayal of evil women in movies like
"`When a Woman Sins `_" and "`The She Devil `_" caused the current meaning of the
+ When a Woman Sins and The She Devil caused the current meaning of the
word 'vamp' to be added to the English language.
Just as Dibbler later describes Ginger to Bezam Planter as "the daughter
The best-known song in Walt Disney's 1937 full length animation movie
"`Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs `_" is sung by the seven dwarfs and starts:
+ Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is sung by the seven dwarfs and starts:
As Nobby's subsequent comment ("Singing in the rain like that.")
already indicates, Holy Wood magic is making Dibbler reenact one of
the ost famous movie scenes of all time: Gene Kelly dancing and
- singing through the deserted city streets in
"`Singin' in the Rain `_".
+ singing through the deserted city streets in Singin' in the Rain.
The 'DUMdi-dum-dum, dumdi-dumdi-DUM-DUM' rhythm also fits the song
-- [p. 97/80]
"`The Boke Of The Film `_"
+- [p. 97/80] The Boke Of The Film
Traditional (if somewhat archaic by now) subtitle for movie
novelisations. The related phrase "The Book of the Series" is still alive
which Donald somehow manages to become a travelling calliope salesman.
-- [p. 103/86] "The sharp runes spelled out
"`The Blue Lias `_". It was a troll
+- [p. 103/86] "The sharp runes spelled out The Blue Lias. It was a troll
'Lias' is a blue limestone rock found in the south-west of England.
now am a blue colour? / Vot is the action I should take this time / I
can't help it. Hiya, big boy."
- In the 1930 movie
"`Blue Angel `_" Marlene Dietrich plays Lola-Lola, the
+ In the 1930 movie Blue Angel Marlene Dietrich plays Lola-Lola, the
cabaret entertainer who ruins the life of the stuffy professor who falls
in love with her. In the movie, Marlene performs a song called 'Falling
- [p. 151/126] "'A rock on the head may be quite sentimental, [...], but
diamonds are a girl's best friend.'"
- In the 1949 movie
"`Gentlemen Prefer Blondes `_", Marilyn Monroe sings:
+ In the 1949 movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Marilyn Monroe sings:
A kiss on the hand may be quite continental
But diamonds are a girl's best friend
Laddie is the Discworld counterpart to our world's famous movie collie,
- In the movie
"`Son of Lassie `_" the protagonist was in fact called Laddie,
+ In the movie Son of Lassie the protagonist was in fact called Laddie,
but was played by Pal, the dog who had previously played Lassie in the
- original movie
"`Lassie Come Home `_". Interestingly enough, Pal had a
+ original movie Lassie Come Home. Interestingly enough, Pal had a
real-life son who *was* called Laddie, but this Laddie was only used for
stunt and distance shots since he wasn't as pretty as his brother, who
eventually got to play Lassie in the CBS TV show, and who was the only
constant disruptions on the set caused by various male dogs in the area
wanting to, um, propose to her.
- Finally, two odd little coincidences. First, the
"Lassie _" dogs often had
+ Finally, two odd little coincidences. First, the Lassie dogs often had
small dogs as companions. Second, Pal/Lassie's trainer was a man by the
name of Rudd Weatherwax...
- [p. 159/132] "'[...] we're doing one about going to see a wizard.
Something about following a yellow sick toad,' [...]"
- That's a yellow brick road, and the reference is of course to "`The Wizard
+ That's a yellow brick road, and the reference is of course to **The Wizard
Terry's pun also reminded a correspondent of an old joke about an Oz frog
with a bright yellow penis who hops up to a man and says: "I'm looking
and grows up being able to speak the language of humans."
The Librarian's script is of course a reversal of Edgar Rice Burroughs'
"Tarzan _" story. Since Tarzan is supposed to be one of those five or so
+ Tarzan story. Since Tarzan is supposed to be one of those five or so
cultural icons that are so truly universal that *everybody* in the world
is familiar with them, I expect this may well turn out to be the APF's
Most Unnecessary Annotation of all...
time was "I want to be *let* alone", which is of course not quite the
-- [p. 174/145] The "Necrotelicomnicom_".
- On the Discworld the "Necrotelicomnicom_" (see also the entry for p.
+- [p. 174/145] The **Necrotelicomnicom**.
+ On the Discworld the **Necrotelicomnicom** (see also the entry for p.
111/109 of "`Equal Rites`_") was written by the Klatchian necromancer Achmed
the Mad (although he preferred to be called Achmed the I Just Get These
Headaches). In real life, horror author H. P. Lovecraft assures us that
"Necronomicon _" was written by the mad Arab Abdul al-Hazred.
+ the Necronomicon was written by the mad Arab Abdul al-Hazred.
- [p. 178/148] "'It's fifteen hundred miles to Ankh-Morpork,' he said.
'We've got three hundred and sixty elephants, fifty carts of forage, the
monsoon's about to break and we're wearing... we're wearing... sort of
things, like glass, only dark... dark glass things on our eyes...'"
- Paraphrases a well-known quote from the
"`Blues Brothers `_" movie, fifteen
+ Paraphrases a well-known quote from the Blues Brothers movie, fifteen
minutes before the end, just as the famous chase scene is about to begin
and Jake and Elwood are sitting in their car:
- [p. 206/171] "'If you cut me, do I not bleed?'" said Rock.
- Paraphrased from Shylock's famous monologue in Shakespeare's "`The
- Merchant of Venice`_", act 3, scene 1: "If you prick us, do we not bleed?"
+ Paraphrased from Shylock's famous monologue in Shakespeare's **The
+ Merchant of Venice**, act 3, scene 1: "If you prick us, do we not bleed?"
- [p. 221/184] "'Just one picture had all that effect?'"
health of your parent?' [...]'"
"How's your father" is a British euphemism for "sexual intercourse", made
- popular by the
"`Carry On `_" series of films.
+ popular by the Carry On series of films.
- [p. 282/235] "Twopence more and up goes the donkey!"
"It belongs in the same general category of promise as 'Free Beer
-- [p. 297/249] The climactic scene of the novel is not only a
"`King Kong `_"
+- [p. 297/249] The climactic scene of the novel is not only a King Kong
reversal spoof. Terry says the 50 ft. woman also refers to the
- protagonist from the 1958 movie
"`Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman `_" (recently
+ protagonist from the 1958 movie Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman (recently
and redundantly remade with Daryl Hannah in the title role – if there's
one movie that did not need to be remade it was this one, trust me).
- [p. 304/254] "'If it bleeds, we can kill it!'"
- This line is from the 1987 movie
"Predator _", starring Arnold
+ This line is from the 1987 movie Predator, starring Arnold
Schwarzenegger. 'It' in this case was a green-blooded, invisible alien
- [p. 305/255] "YOU BELONG DEAD, he said."
- This is based on Boris Karloff's final words in the 1935 movie "`Bride of
- Frankenstein_: "We belong dead".
+ This is based on Boris Karloff's final words in the 1935 movie **Bride of
+ Frankenstein**: "We belong dead".
- [p. 305/255] "'Careful,' said the Dean. 'That is not dead which can
This is from a famous H. P. Lovecraft quote (which was also used by metal
- groups Iron Maiden (on the
"`Live After Death `_" album cover) and Metallica
+ groups Iron Maiden (on the Live After Death album cover) and Metallica
(in the song 'The Thing That Should Not Be')):
That is not dead which can eternal lie
And with strange aeons even death may die
- It is supposed to be a quote from Abdul al-Hazred's
"Necronomicon _" (see
+ It is supposed to be a quote from Abdul al-Hazred's Necronomicon (see
annotation for p. 174/145), and Lovecraft uses the verse in several
- stories, particularly in
"`The Call of Cthulhu `_" and "`The Nameless City `_".
+ stories, particularly in The Call of Cthulhu and The Nameless City.
In reality, I'm told the quote originated with the Victorian decadent
poet Algernon Charles Swinburne, but I have no definite reference on
- [p. 306/256] "''Twas beauty killed the beast,' said the Dean, who liked
to say things like that."
- Last line of
"`King Kong `_", said under similar circumstances.
+ Last line of King Kong, said under similar circumstances.
- [p. 310/259] "[...] everyone has this way of remembering even things that
happened to their ancestors, I mean, it's like there's this great big
- [p. 323/270] "'Play it again, Sham,' said Holy Wood."
- The most famous line never uttered in
"`Casablanca _: "Play it again, Sam."
+ The most famous line never uttered in Casablanca: "Play it again, Sam."
It should perhaps be pointed out that Sham Harga is a character we
already met in "Mort_". Terry did *not* just create him in order to be
- [p. 324/271] "'And that includes you, Dozy!'"
- One of the dwarfs in Disney's
"`Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs `_" was
+ One of the dwarfs in Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was
called Sleepy, another was called Dopey.
- [p. 327/274] "'Cheer up,' she said. 'Tomorrow is another day.'"
- The final line of
"`Gone with the Wind `_".
+ The final line of Gone with the Wind.
- [p. 329/276] "'Uselessium, more like,' murmured Silverfish."
-- [title] "`Reaper Man`_"
- The title "`Reaper Man`_" parodies Alex Cox's 1984 cult movie "`Repo Man`_".
- More accurately, "`Repo Man`_" itself is a pun on 'reaper man', a very
+- [title] **Reaper Man**
+ The title "`Reaper Man`_" parodies Alex Cox's 1984 cult movie **Repo Man**.
+ More accurately, **Repo Man** itself is a pun on 'reaper man', a very
ancient name for Death (compare also e.g. 'the grim reaper'). But
apparently Terry has said elsewhere (i.e. not on the net), that his
'Reaper Man' was indeed meant as a pun on the movie-title (much to the
chagrin of his publishers, who would have probably preferred it if he had
- called it
"`Mort II `_").
+ called it Mort II).
- The 'Bill Door' sections of this novel have many parallels with classic
- Westerns, e.g.
"`High Plains Drifter `_".
+ Westerns, e.g. High Plains Drifter.
- If you liked the idea of the trolley life-form, you may also want to
- check out a short story by Avram Davidson called "`Or All The Sea With
- Oysters`_". It's all about the life cycle of bicycles and their larval
+ check out a short story by Avram Davidson called **Or All The Sea With
+ Oysters**. It's all about the life cycle of bicycles and their larval
stages: paperclips and coat hangers.
- [p. 5/7] "It is danced under blue skies to celebrate the quickening of
- [p. 15/16] "The pendulum is a blade that would have made Edgar Allan Poe
give it all up and start again as a stand-up comedian [...]"
- Refers to Poe's famous story
"`The Pit and the Pendulum `_" in which a victim
+ Refers to Poe's famous story The Pit and the Pendulum in which a victim
of the inquisition is tied up beneath a giant descending, sweeping,
- [p. 58/53] "'Celery,' said the Bursar."
A few correspondents thought that the Bursar's particular choice of
- vegetable might have been motivated by an old episode of the
"`Goon Show `_",
+ vegetable might have been motivated by an old episode of the Goon Show,
where a sketch goes in part:
Sheriff of Nottingham: "What? Tie him to a stake?"
- [p. 60/55] The address of the Fresh Start Club: _668 Elm Street`_".
- Connects a reference to the
"`Nightmare on Elm Street `_" series of horror
+ Connects a reference to the Nightmare on Elm Street series of horror
movies with the tentative title for a "`Good Omens`_" sequel: _668 – The
Neighbour of the Beast`_" (see the "`Good Omens`_" annotation on that
charcoal, sulphur and saltpetre are the basic ingredients of gunpowder.
Also, there actually exists a condiment called Wow-Wow Sauce, which was
- popular during the 1800s. More information can be found in the "`Discworld
+ popular during the 1800s. More information can be found in the "`Discworld
- [p. 72/65] "Many songs have been written about the bustling metropolis,
And on p. 176/155 we learn that One-Man-Bucket was run over by a cart on
Treacle Street. Treacle is another word for molasses, and most people
will be familiar with the concept of "a hole in the ground from which you
- get molasses" through
"`Alice in Wonderland _'s Mad Tea Party.
+ get molasses" through Alice in Wonderland's Mad Tea Party.
Terry jokes: "Treacle mining is a lost British tradition. There used to
be treacle mines in Bisham (near Marlow, on the Thames) and in several
- [p. 97/87] "Who is he going to call! *We're* the wizards around here."
A reference to the catchphrase "Who ya gonna call?!" from the movie
- [p. 98/88] "Mr so-called Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents!'"
- Send-up of the folk-story
"`The Pied Piper of Hamelin `_".
+ Send-up of the folk-story The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
If you have access to the Internet, you can find an online version of
this fairy tale at the URL:
- [p. 106/95] The names of the Fresh Start Club members.
Count Notfaroutoe refers to Count Nosferatu, the vampire from Friedrich
- Murnau's classic 1922 movie
"`Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens `_"
+ Murnau's classic 1922 movie Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens
(remade in 1979 by Werner Herzog, starring Klaus Kinski). 'Lupus' is
Latin for wolf, so 'Lupine' means 'wolfish', similar to e.g. 'feline'.
Finally, there exists a mineral called ixiolite. Note, by the way, that
banshees are traditionally supposed to be female creatures.
When someone on a.f.p. asked if Reg Shoe was based on Reg, the leader of
- the Judean Peoples' Front in Monty Python's
"`Life of Brian `_", Terry
+ the Judean Peoples' Front in Monty Python's Life of Brian, Terry
"No. Not consciously, anyway.
The fires of the forge were barely alive now, but the blade glowed
- This description evokes images of the light sabers in the
"`Star Wars `_"
+ This description evokes images of the light sabers in the Star Wars
+ [p. 149/132] "On the fabled hidden continent of Xxxx, somewhere near the
wizard's staff from its rack over the fireplace. He licked his finger and
gingerly touched the top of his staff."
- Gary Cooper does this a few times in the 1941 movie
"`Sergeant York `_".
+ Gary Cooper does this a few times in the 1941 movie Sergeant York.
According to my source, Cooper's explanation in the movie was "It cuts
down the haze a mite" – or something along those lines.
- [p. 201/176] "Stripfettle's Believe-It-Or-Not Grimoire"
"`Believe It Or Not! `_" was more or less the forerunner of today's
+ Ripley's Believe It Or Not! was more or less the forerunner of today's
tabloids of the '500 pound baby' variety. However, his items were
supposedly true and he had a standing offer to provide notarised proof if
you didn't believe him. Typical items included potatoes that looked like
- [p. 204/179] "Remember – wild, uncontrolled bursts..."
- From the movie
"`Aliens _: "Remember – short, controlled bursts...". This
+ From the movie Aliens: "Remember – short, controlled bursts...". This
entire section is filled with action-movie references ('Yo!'), but
"`Alien _/"Aliens _" seems to have been a particularly fruitful source. Many
+ AlienAliens seems to have been a particularly fruitful source. Many
quotes and events have direct counterparts: "Yeah, but secreted from
what?", "No one touch *anything*", "It's coming from *everywhere*!", and
"We are *going*" are only a few examples, and of course there is the
say one word,' he said, 'just one bloody *word*...'"
Edgar Allen Poe rears his head once more in a reference to his famous
"`The Raven `_", which is all about death, doom and gloom. In the poem,
+ poem, The Raven, which is all about death, doom and gloom. In the poem,
the ominous raven in question constantly repeats just a single word:
- [p. 233/204] "Windle snapped h