As for pratchetts newer stuff; my to-do list still includes I shall Wear Midnight, Snuff, the last two Moist von Lipvig books, and Science of Discworld IV within the discworld universe, so I'm hardly up to date. Outside of it, I have yet to read the Long Earth series.
I found Nation great, and Unseen Acedemicals enjoyable, and not like I dislike Thud, Postal or Wintersmith, they're all fine books...but in terms of personal preference I just feel the stories are sligthly inferior to their predecessors, because eventually some character beats and themes do get repeated. I think I've judged the later books more harshly based on the accumulated weight of past Discworld stories; but of course, reading them "out of order" you wouldn't have had that problem.
As for badass moments...have you read the Fifth Elephant? Monstrous Regiment also has a character of Vimes-levels of badassery.
Maskerade is more a Phantom of an Opera than an "Opera in general" parody if memory serves, so I got a good kick out of it. The villain was pretty weak though, and I always preferred Magrat to Agnes Nitt. I remember it making more use of the "Weatherwax in the big city!" potential for jokes than Equal Rites did.
Feet of Clay I like. Lots of good stuff with Nobby and Colon, and the whole watch in general. Its not the greatest case Vimes ever solved, but the Golems, as a concept and characters, hit home for me.
And the reason I brought up Angua wasn't to infer she was a moutpiece for preaching or anything, just that she represents the first instance I can remember of Pratchetts loooooong pro-womens rights streak. But for that, just you wait until Monstrous regiment. Another standalone, and another complete homerun.
Are you planning on tackling the Science of Discworld too?
I'm currently going through Dodger. Its an enjoyable read to be sure, but you can sadly see the difference from Pratchetts earlier writings. Single sentences that fill 1/3rd of the page, repetions, and massive monologues/inner monologues intercutting the action. Still fun though, but of his "real world" stories, Nation is much superior (also highly recommended).
Now that you mention it, I remember very little about Interesting Times, apart from the Silver Horde being fun. But its an interesting contrast to the opening discworld duology; Madcap adventure vs a more grounded, focused fantasy.
But yeah. West Wing is fantastic the first four seasons, then it drops quite abit after that. There's good stuff within the last 3 seasons that gets it rerun when I do my annual marathon, but... its just not as strong and makes a lot less sense. Josh, Donna, Leo and Jed are the only ones that get really solid stuff the last two seasons, everyone else was just sort of... there.
Anyway, Toby's last arc is awful, and it ONLY works if he's covering for someone else. And while the showrunners clearly intended it to be CJ at the end of season 6, that just doesn't quite fit.. because she wouldn't have let Toby go to jail for her and her reaction was too wrong. But... if the leak was Bartlett? (Or his order anyway_) That changes a few things about their final conversation and Jed's thinking it over in the last episode. Only way it works for me in any event.... while the campaign stuff was good they really flubbed basically all the Whitehouse stuff in the last season.
You might want to try Sorkin's Sports Night, or The Newsroom. They're similar in flavor to West Wing, but not.
Well, Sports Night is more a comedy.
Don't bother with Studio 60 unless you're just absolutely in love with Sorkin's style.
Soul Music: My first ever Discworld book! And as such, possibly #1 on my list of "most deserving of a reread". Even now though, I can imagine imagine it carrying so much more weight, knowing Deaths backstory. I mean, isn't this the first time ever he had to kill people he knew? His own family no less! No wonder he went on a quest to Forget. And yeah, the idea of "the greatest songs will be the ones he never wrote" going-out-on-top was quite possibly what reeled me in to the series. I mean, its not the most complex thing ever, but as a 13ish year old kid I felt like I read something "deep".
Really, I blame Pratchett for having so damn high standards concerning fiction, and expecting stuff to actually poke my intellect a little.
What're your thoughts on Angua? Pratchetts works have always been very humanistic, but starting with her, a real trend of feminism starts in his books as well.
Men at Arms: Hehe, see what I said about "middle Discworld" novels? Theres plenty more of the good stuff to come.
I adore this book - I'd still rank it below Guards Guards and Night watch in the Watch series, but it has so much stuff I love. I don't think its the strongest story; the Gonne changes hands a bit too often, and I never quite got why Vetinari didn't dispose of it- but it is connected by some of my all time favourite scenes and characters. Feet of Clay is a bit in the same vein; not the best story he's ever done, but some really really good themes and moments.
The Detritus/Cuddy relationship is, as you say, amazing, and definetely set Detritus on the path to becoming one of my favourites. Stuff about overcoming prejudice and hatred? Can't help but love it. And the Freezer scene was good fun.
Vimes continues to evolve, and yeah, the scene where Angua misinterprets his "list of women"...Vimes is a right cynical bastard, but he's an absurdly loveable one.
Hey man, Its been a long time-out, but I suddenly got stuck in the Exam- Trap, and kept postponing the lengthier forum posts. At your rate you're probably already at Hogfather or more, but anyway, my thoughts on the last few you mentioned:
Lords and Ladies: Yeah, the elves are the real standout in this one; it was so refreshing to see them outside of their usual Noble Tolkien-style presentation. Their reappearance in Wee Free Men is part of what makes it the best Tiffany Aching book, and I remember them being good fun in Science of Discworld 2. Other than Magrat kicking ASS, I most remember it for the Ridcully/Weatherwax shipping, which I thought was very 'Dawwwww. Along with Carpe Jugulum, its certainly the more "action packed" and tense of the Witches' novels, and it goes to show the importance of interesting antagonists.
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