So, these books are pretty much the silliest things ever.
They’re satire, sure, but the satire is so silly, it’s lost most of its bite. And not that ISo, these books are pretty much the silliest things ever.
They’re satire, sure, but the satire is so silly, it’s lost most of its bite. And not that I’m complaining, mind you, because I laugh my ass off when I’m reading them. Every one of these books has the same basic structure: the Pirate Captain gets an idea or has a problem, the crew resists due to common sense, they run into one or two famous historical figures, have verrrry deeply silly adventures, and then everything is reset at the end. The pirates don’t have real names (except for Jennifer, the lady pirate who used to be a Victorian gentlewoman), but are instead called things like ‘the pirate with a scarf’, ‘the albino pirate,’ and ‘the pirate who liked kittens and sunsets.’ There are anachronisms EVERYWHERE. All the pirates are completely neutered. The worst thing any of them do in this outing is trick Napoleon into pretending he’s having a dream where he meets famous historical generals (and Napoleon remains entirely convinced it is in fact a dream).
Actually, it’s hard to convey just exactly how silly this book is, so I’m just going to give you some examples:
“The best thing about the seaside,” said the albino pirate, “is putting seaweed on your head and pretending you’re a lady." “That’s rubbish,” said the pirate with gout. “The best thing about the seaside is building sexy but intelligent looking mermaids out of sand.” The rest of the pirates, spread out on the deck of the pirate boat for their afternoon nap, soon joined in. “It’s the rock pools!” “It’s the saucy postcards!” “It’s the creeping sense of despair!”
“All the best people aren’t appreciated in their lifetimes,” Scurvy Jake continued. “Look at Baby Jesus — nobody took him seriously. They thought he was a tramp!”
“Listen, do you know what I’d be doing if I was still a Victorian lady instead of a pirate?” Jennifer persisted. The pirates didn’t have a clue, but the pirate with long legs tried a guess. “Having a shower?”
“Well, I think it’s very exciting to have Mister Napoleon as a neighbour,” said the albino pirate. “I mean to say, he almost conquered the whole of Europe.” “And I ate the whole of that mixed grill that time. Not ‘almost ate,’ you’ll notice. I finished the job,” said the Captain with a scowl, moodily buttering his Weetabix.
“It’s not the same on dry land,” muttered the pirate with a nut allergy. “Without the romance of the sea, pirating just seems like quite antisocial behaviour.”
And then of course, there’s the Pirate Captain and his impeccable logic:
“Baby kissing is a tried and tested way of getting votes, Captain.” The Captain didn’t look convinced. “Thing is, number two, what’s the voting age nowadays?” “It’s eighteen, sir.” “Exactly!” The Pirate Captain waggled an informative finger. “So there’s not much point lavishing all this attention on babies when they can’t even vote for me, is there? I should be concentrating on the eighteen-year-olds. And you know which other bit of the electorate is overlooked? Women. So really it makes a lot more sense for me to spend the morning kissing eighteen-year-old women.”
Napoleon is pretty great, too. At one point he writes this fake suicide letter in an effort to discredit the Pirate Captain, after a giant squid washes up on the beach:
To Whom It May Concern,
I cannot go on any longer. I know people think us giant squid are just unfathomable monsters of the deep, but we have feelings, too. And it is time the world learned the terrible truth. For several years now the Pirate Captain and I have been carrying on an illicit affair. Many times I have asked the Pirate Captain to do right by me, but he refuses, always telling me that he cannot be seen having a relationship with a giant squid because of the harm it would do to his public image. Also, sometimes he hits me. Anyhow, just yesterday I discovered I was pregnant with the Pirate Captain’s secret love child! I told the Pirate Captain about this and he flew into a rage and said he would never help support his half-squid/half-pirate progeny and then he hit me some more. So now I am going to commit suicide by beaching myself.
Goodbye, cruel world The Giant Squid
Really, that’s all I have to say about this book....more
Perfectly structured, from beginning to end. Mean without being nasty, funny without being stupid. Insightful without being preach(4.5 stars, really.)
Perfectly structured, from beginning to end. Mean without being nasty, funny without being stupid. Insightful without being preachy. Terry Pratchett has a gift for lovingly pointing out the stupidities of the human condition.
This particular one is quite delightful. It's got dragons, a man named Carrot, and a group of three men who make up the city law enforcement, inept and lovable guardians of the backwards and corrupted joyful logic of the city called Ankh-Morpork.
Let me leave you with this passage from the beginning of the novel: 'The city wasa, wasa, wasa, wossname. Thing. Woman. That's what it was. Woman. Roaring, ancient, centuries old. Strung you along, let you fall in thingy, love, then kicked you inna, inna, thingy. Thingy, in your mouth. Tongue. Tonsils. Teeth. That's what it, she, did. She wasa . . . thing, you know, lady dog. Puppy. Hen. Bitch. And then you hated her and, and just when you thought you'd got her, it, out of your whatever, then she opened her great booming rotten heart to you, caught you off bal, bal, bal, thing. Ance. Yeah. Thassit. Never knew where where you stood. Lay. Only one thing you were sure of, you couldn't let her go. Because, because she was yours, all you had, even in her gutters . . .'
Also, this: 'It's a metaphor of human bloody existence, a dragon. And if that wasn't bad enough, it's also a bloody great hot flying thing.'
And this: 'People were stupid, sometimes. They thought the Library was a dangerous place because of all the magical books, which was true enough, but what made it really one of the most dangerous places there could ever be was the simple fact that it was a library.'...more
This book was recommended to me by my eye doctor, of all people. He asked me what my major was, and when I told him it was Creative Writing, he said tThis book was recommended to me by my eye doctor, of all people. He asked me what my major was, and when I told him it was Creative Writing, he said that if he ever taught Creative Writing, he would love to teach this book. It was a sufficiently weird moment in my life that I took his advice and checked out the series. And he was right. This book is delightful (although I'm not sure I would ever teach it to an academic audience, even if I could, genre restrictions not withstanding)....more