Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Terry Pratchett: Eric

The story of a young demon summoner who on his first attempt snares the most unlikely of demons. The incompetent wizard Rincewind!

Eric, being the typical sort of boy, wants only three things to live forever, be master of the universe and have a gorgeous babe. Typical of most “deal with the Devil” stories, he got his wishes, all three of them. Not that he wanted them when he got them, but he did get them. He was master of the universe, and found out that being master entailed a bit of ritual sacrifice. He had a hot babe, only to learn that she had caused a major war (very like Troy) and really wasn’t all that hot after a few kids. And he got to live forever, which entailed going back to the beginning of time and living from there. Will all of the millennia to wait until even primitive primates evolved let alone other people. Finally he learned the true cause of his misfortune and ended up saving Hell itself from a fate worse than Hell…tedium.

Another triumph by Terry, in a highly amusing, hold your sides to keep them from bursting as you laugh, masterpiece. With my favorite character of all…LUGGAGE! (tip: Do not piss off the luggage. It’s a very bad idea.) The very gates of Hell itself tremble at the sight of the great and powerful Luggage. This is explained very simply:

“There is no way to describe how angry you can get by running nearly twice the
length of the space-time continuum and the Luggage had been pretty annoyed to start with, although with the Luggage there wasn’t any reliable way to tell this because it spent all of its time beyond, in a manner of speaking, the hostility event horizon. The doors of Hell were ancient it wasn’t just time and heat that had baked them into something like black granite, they’d picked up fear and a dull evil too and were bright enough to be dimly aware of what their future was likely to hold. They watch Luggage shuffle back, flex its legs and crouch down. The lock clicked, the bolts slid hurriedly back the great bars jerked from their sockets and the doors flung themselves back against the wall.” This is Luggage, which even the very doors of Hell fear.

Terry Pratchett: Guards! Guards!

Dragons. Myth, legend, fantasy...or are they?

In this book Terry Pratchett explores the possibility that dragons are real, and that they live in a reality all their own, however, with the right will and intent can be called forth into the world to do the bidding of those who summoned them…that is…until they rebel cook you and decide that they kind of like the thought of ruling this little kingdom of yours and you had darned well better agree or you are next on the menu. At that point, the only thing you can do is call the Night Watch Guards; the drunk, the thief, the lazy bones and the ultimate do-gooder. Not who you would typically expect to be saving the city, but hey, you take what you can get.

Those of you reading this who happen to be believers in the patriarchal superiority will enjoy watching the little guy dominate the big lady (and vice versa for those of you who prefer matriarchal superiority), and those of you, like myself who absolutely love irony, will laugh till you hurt at the phrase “Throw the book at him”. Innocent, yes, safe, never.

Guards! Guards! Is a highly recommended read for anyone who enjoys seeing the little guy win, the fallen redeem themselves, or the true danger of ultimate goodness.

Robert Fulghum: True Love

This was a fantastic book full of tiny stories about love. Young love, old love, new love and remembered love. It shows the joy of love realized, and the sorrow of love lost.

Some of the best stories in this book include the man who wanted to find an old childhood sweetheart after 15 years apart and a failed marriage on his part. Being unable to locate her he despairs of ever rekindling that fire, when he stumbles upon her on the Washington freeway, stuck in gridlock in the car next to him. Another favorite is the man who shares a simple letter written by his wife of 25+ years. The letter states simply, “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you. Love Margaret”

Sometimes love is an enduring flame of decades. Other times it is as simple as the handsome man or beautiful woman who smiles at you as they drive by. From this, memories are made and cherished for a lifetime. And we are all richer for it.

This was a wonderful read that I highly recommend to anyone who has ever felt love, or who ever wants to feel love. Because if you love, this book is for you.