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Friday, 20 September 2013

FFB – MOVING PICTURES by Terry Pratchett

Sad to learn that Terry Pratchett can no longer type but dictates his books. He has a faithful assistant who has been with him twelve years who transcribes his words. His publishers have great faith in him, having contracted a further ten books. His daughter will carry on the Discworld, he says, “when I am gone.” He was made an OBE in 1998 and was knighted in 2009. In 2007 he announced he was suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

I met Terry way back in 1995 when he judged a One Day Novel Writing competition (written over two days, 12 hours per day). I was placed joint fourth with my book Silenced in Darkness. He was charming, soft-spoken and generous with his time. He said “I was very impressed with the book. Sister Hannah is a deeply felt character.”
Moving Pictures is his ninth book in the Discworld novel sequence (1991). For the uninitiated, Discworld is a flat disc balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle, Great A’Tuin. The book series, begun in 1983, is fantasy and sci-fi mix, crammed with humour and a lot more besides.

Moving Pictures is a hilarious and touching homage to Hollywood, sending it up as well as loving it.

Alchemists discover film: they get little demons to paint the images seen through the camera lens and string them all together… Simple, really – except for the fact that some dread evil is wanting to break free of its prison in Holly Wood. And the fledgling film industry seems the determining factor.
That, briefly, is the rationale. Here can be seen the Discworld version of Gone With the Wind called Blown Away, which they made in three days: here is a neat reversal of the climax of King Kong and many other in-jokes for cinema buffs.

The jokes fall thick and fast, some of them flat: “Bullfrogs croaked in the rushes”, followed by the footnote, “But they were edited out of the finished production”; or, “Who are all these people?” she said. “They’re fans,” said Dibbler. “But I’m not hot!”
Films are called clicks: “The whole of life is just like watching a click, he thought. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it all out yourself from the clues. And you never, never get a chance to stay in your seat for the second house” sums up the humorous yet touching wisdom displayed by Pratchett.

This is one moving picture you must see: seeing is believing!

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