Sir Terry Pratchett

I have a rational fear of very prolific authors: if they're good, I won't be able to resist reading everything they've written. And I was right to be afraid. After nearly a decade of trying to avoid it, I finally read my first[1] Terry Pratchett book. Well, I wasn't using my free time very productively, so it should OK if I don't do anything but binge-read for the next few months… I hope.

I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard, or a particularly clever use of the English language made me highlight whole paragraphs of dialogue on my Kindle. Here are some of the particularly interesting bits from Guards! Guards!:

Vimes had never mastered ambition. It was something that happened to other people.

He was vaguely aware that he drank to forget. What made it rather pointless was that he couldn't remember what it was he was forgetting anymore. In the end he just drank to forget about drinking.

His age was indeterminate. But in cynicism and general world weariness, which is a sort of carbon dating of the personality, he was about seven thousand years old.

That's the Ankh-Morpork instinct, Vimes thought. Run away, and then stop and see if anything interesting is going to happen to other people.

If there was anything that depressed him more than his own cynicism, it was that quite often it still wasn't as cynical as real life.

The sun rose higher, rolling through the mists and stale smoke like a lost balloon.

He moved the cleaver to his other hand and hammered at the chains again, aware at the back of his mind that more guards were hurrying up, but with that special kind of run that guards had. He knew it well. It was the run that said, there's a dozen of us, let someone else get there first. It said, he looks ready to kill, no one's paying me to get killed, maybe if I run slowly enough he'll get away… No point in spoiling a good day by catching someone.

This was no time for half measures. He was a captain, godsdammit. An officer. Things like this didn't present a problem for an officer. Officers had a tried and tested way of solving problems like this. It was called a sergeant.

  1. I read “Guards! Guards!”. There are many other starting points for venturing out on the Discworld, I recomend checking this reading-order guide.  ↩