“There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody’s expense but his own. … And as for small difficulties and worryings, prospects of sudden disaster, peril of life and limb; all these, and death itself, seem to him only sly, good-natured hits, and jolly punches in the side bestowed by the unseen and unaccountable old joker.” Moby Dick, Chapt. 49, by Herman Melville (1859)
I know that Melville here was talking about the effect that those people risking life and limb come to experience in the height of danger; the “free and easy sort of genial, desperado philosophy” that life-threatening experiences engender. But even without physical danger there have been times — often in the midst of psychological or emotional tribulations but sometime even when all is well with the world — that I have had that feeling that the Universe is some Great Joke… And that the joke is on me.
It’s not necessarily a bad feeling. After all, I don’t mind being the butt of a joke… As long as it’s a good one.
But maybe it’s more than that. Maybe those times where you feel that everything is a joke is a faint understanding of how infinitesimally small everything you experience, think, feel and perceive actually matters in the grand scheme of things. That’s not to say that we are unimportant. But when you put our individual lives beside the Universe as a whole, how laughable and ludicrous it is to think that whatever is going on in our lives is the be all, end all of… of anything.
It really is quite funny when you think about it. No, really. Let’s think about it for a moment. Consider the three images I have included in this post’s header image… Continue reading The Great Joke
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars First Published: 1992 Read from: March 1 to March 19, 2015
Yet another excellent book that deserves a full review, but I was either too lazy, busy or uninspired at the time.
As always with Pratchett’s work, this book while being funny and amusing, hit me in surprisingly “deep” places. I have literally PAGES of highlighted quotes from this book. Many because they were funny. But far more because they were so honest and True. True with a capital ‘T’. Read My Full Review →
“Wenn ist das Nunstuck git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!”
“It was actually German gibberish,” Eric Idle explains. “It’s written-down gibberish, because we all had to learn the same thing, yeah, but it’s gibberish! It doesn’t mean a thing at all. At least, I don’t think it does…”
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars First Published: January 1990 Read from: February 04 to 19, 2014
This parrot is NOT dead, but very much alive. And VERY funny.
The British TV series Monty Python’s Flying Circus had a famous sketch about a dead parrot that is very funny. This story, like much of Pratchett’s Discworld novels, reminds me a little of Monty Python. And Eric even has a parrot in it. While not dead, the parrot, and the book as a whole, is very funny.
Eric is a want-to-be demon-summoning “hacker”. In an attempt to summon a demon, he summons instead Rincewind the wizard who was trapped in the Dungeon Dimensions in a previous Discworld novel. The two of them, Eric’s parrot and Rincewind’s sentient Luggage commence to bumble into one adventure after another.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars First Published: 1989 Read from: November 21 to December 04, 2013
Guards! Guards! This much fun must be illiegal.
Wonderful fun! Best of the Discworld series so far. Loved the characters, plot, humor and excellent prose. And underneath it all incredibly deep undercurrents with serious (but ironically funny) truths about life, love, civilization, patriotism, politics, evil and heroism. But all those serious thoughts are delivered in such a way that they only add to, instead of disturbing, the fun.
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars First Published: 1988 Read from: June 16 to August 24, 2013
Wyrd Sisters – Monty Python meets Shakespeare
I feel like I didn’t give Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett a decent chance and suspect it is more deserving of a 4 star (I really liked it) rating than the 3 star (I liked it) that I have given it here. I had read a lot of Discworld novels recently, and about half way through other books I have been reading began to take over my interest. So there was a long delay finishing this book (finishing it over a month… wait, 2 months?!… from when I started). I’m afraid that effected my appreciation of it. WHILE reading it however I VERY much enjoyed this book.
Reading Discworld novels is like reading a very yummy snack that while it is NOT junk food, you can only eat so much of it in one sitting. In many respects I think if I had been in the mood and read this book as it was meant to be read, I believe it would have been one of my favorite Discworld novels so far. Very much a cross between Monty Python and Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Oh my god, got to change my password. McKay from Stargate Atlantis uses the same schema… 😉
If I were actually to use this schema, my password would be just one number different: 16431879196742 . Needless to say I do not actually use such an easy to deduce method… Though I have been known to use “42” in the past for the same reason…