Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Terry Pratchett's: Equal Rites

You have to love a book that starts with the cinematic description of a totally improbable world that in addition to being visually stimulating includes its own editorial commentary. You also have to love a book that is capable of cracking no less than eight jokes in just the first page.
This book is a hilariously fascinating look at the nature of gender equality as seen through the eyes of a young girl who has been mistakenly gifted with wizardly (male) powers and a very experienced witch (female) who is trying to take care of her.
The truly lovely part about this work is the author's ability to satirize everything under the sun and above it too. One of my favorite quotes was where the girl-wizard was walking through the market and setting off random magic as she went. "A box full of marzipan ducks on a nearby stall came to life and whirred past the stallholder to land, quacking happily, in the river (where, by dawn they had all melted: that's natural selection for you)"
I think the part that I enjoyed the most, however, was when Simon (an aspiring young wizard) gives a lecture about one of my favorite subjects, quantum physics, to a group of senior wizards in the Unseen University. He did not, of course, call it that but it was still quantum physics. The belief that everything is made up of non-existent particles that group together to form solid matter, but only because the collective consciousness believes in it. And that if that belief were to ever fade, all of existence would wink out. It was awesome! I also liked the theory that having power and not using it, was more powerful than using the power in the first place. But, in order to accomplish this, you had to have the power to begin with so that not using it would be a choice. Which of course, is the entire point. That the act of choosing, whether it be choosing your actions, choosing your feelings, or choosing your reality, is more powerful than any other force in the world (or worlds as the case may be.)
Overall, a fantastic read that kept me laughing and thinking for hours.


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