SPOILERS Unseen Academicals ***SPOILERS***

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The rat

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Apr 18, 2009
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Bad Blintz
#1
Please do not read any further if you have not read the book.














I mean it, I will be talking about the book, and don't want to spoil it if you have not read it yet!
















Seriously, this will be your last warning!!!!












Okay so here we go!



So i finished the book at about 12:30 am this morning and I must say that this is CLASSIC Pratchett! It has been a long time since I read a book and if not laughed then giggled and smirked once per page! You can tell that he just wanted to have fun with this after the heavy themes of Night Watch and Thud!

Okay, what I did like. The behind he scenes of UU that has been a wonder as how it has all worked. Seeing Lady Margolatta again, and the possible undertones of Vetinaries and her 'relationship'. What surprised the heck out of me was the removal of the Dean! WHY! But this is soon explained but it seems that the removal of the Dean will add some spice to the new hieracachy of UU. Ponder I see is really moving into the Dean's place and being able to stand up to Ridcully and giving him some real competition.

It was surprising that Mr Nutt turning out to be an Orc and Lady Margolatta had the heart to help change him from the hideous past that classic literature had made them out to me not only in our own world, but also the Disc mythology. Now the question is did Ladyship help make Havelock into Havelock or did Havelock turn Ladyship into Her Ladyship.

Glenda got on my nerves after a while before her change since she seemed to know what was best for everyone and thankfully for Pepe ( ) she calms down and does he best for herself and letting everyone go, and she lives for herself. Juliet , I would LOVE to see in micromail!

Who did see Trev coming back into the game, well it as your own fault since you really don't know how Terry and like works. Seemed weird that it was a tin can that made him the real star, even thought his father was THE footballer, having a football should have been second nature, I think it was a definately a mind thing for him. Even I know that what it as all about.

It was nice to see Mr Nutt and Glenda to be seen holding hands after the talk with Vetinari and Ladyship. It was a nice touch. And how about Nutt standing up to ALL OF A-M!!! Now that took guts and gain so much respect!

The come-uppance of Andy was GREAT thanks to Pepe.

The one thing I was very upset about ws NO LUGGAGE! Here we are thinking by the cover that everyone who was on it as in the game, but NO LUGGAGE! He was have been the best gaolie after the Librarian and this ws what I was expecting, not Mr Nutt! But it was wonderful to see Rincewind score a goal!

This book is now in my top five and I think after digesting it some more who knows, maybe number 1!
 
#3
'Ere now, do you know how hard it is to "Scroll down" wif yer eyes closed?? I am up to page 54. Just got the book yesterday at Borders. Bluidy Hell, they didn't even KNOW they had it. LOL Now, I have to close my eyes and try to get back out... Blast it all, where's a good time machine when you need one. Come on Pooh, I know you have hidden it somewhere... :p
 
Oct 1, 2009
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#4
Boy, after having finished this just today I wish I could say this is a classic DW, up to the level of Thud! or even the Moist books.

But is isn't.

It's very hard to say what this very strange book is about, but it may simply be Pterry's first novel truly dedicated to the working people of Ankh-Morpork. And that may be its greatest flaw, because it's the first DW book without a strikingly compelling, talented, or wholly original character. Glenda is a strong, resourceful woman, but she's no Granny Weatherwax. Nutt is a polymath with a terrible past, but he's not excessively charming nor overwhelming 'tragic.' Beyond his would be roguish affectations, Trev Likely is bland. Juliet is a complete cypher beyond her looks. Maybe this is Pterry's point--that in a world of very common people, people scramble to find "worth" in their lives (as Nutt might say).

These not particularly amazing characters are trapped in a not particularly interesting them. Am I alone in not finding football to be such an amazing topic for a DW novel, and a bit disappointed that Pterry is regressing to the "Moving Pictures/Eric/Maskerade" parody genre he had wisely left behind in the 1990s? Nutt's identity crisis doesn't hold a great deal of drama--so what, he's an orc? Big deal. We've never seen orcs in a DW novel, so there's no backstory to make them the kind of threat that would inspire dread. The fashion show theme is just plain tedious.

Maybe PTerry realized this and this is why he added a number of cameos from the likes of fan favorites like Rhys, Angua, CMOT Dibbler, Sam Vimes and William De Worde (whose character bears no resemblance whatsoever to the WDW of "The Truth.")

Which really leaves the UU scenes with the wizards, which are really the best parts of the book. It's good to see depth added to Ridcully's character--he even shows fear when appropriate--and to see Ponder Stibbons finally come into his own, even if he is a bit of an arrogant twit.

But some of the new narrative games PTerry plays here just doesn't work at all. Vetinari's character is nearly completely out of character here. He's far too talkative and reveals far too much of his own Machiavellian philosophy in exposition. Tyrants are never supposed to explain what makes them work as tyrants. It's almost as if he's getting soft. And sentimental, judging by his willingless to match wits with Glenda. And drunk? That would never happen to someone as tightly strung at Vetinari. Sam Vimes's tiny cameo here makes him look like an uncaring authoritarian--someone who completely forgot the important lessons he learned in Thud!

And some of it is just plain tedious. How many times do we have to hear Glenda say, "Just sort it out?" How many times must we see '(no relation)' after Bledlow Nobb's name? Does anyone think the page and a half of titles devoted to Professor Macarona is funny?

Again, this isn't to say that Unseen Academicals is a bad book. Given Pterry's situation, every novel he is able to publish is a cause for celebration. But, any published novel is fair game for critics. If his editors didn't think it was worthy of publication, they wouldn't have released it. Now that it is released, it is evident that Pterry could have used some stronger editing help here.

Sorry to be a contrarian and a critic here on a Terry Pratchett site, but, let's face it, there's going to be dissension here. If I'm in the minority, so be it.

Jeff in Boston
 

poohcarrot

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Sep 13, 2009
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#5
Hi Jeff-in-Boston.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with saying you don't like UA. It would be a strange and boring Terry Pratchett site if everyone fawned over every book.

I liked UA, but on the other hand I really didn't like Making Money, which I thought was just a lame rehash of the excellent Going Postal. You however, loved MM. I'm also in a minority when I say that Nightwatch and Thud don't come into my top five DW books, whereas Pyramids does because I absolutely adore it.

What a boring world it would be if everyone liked the same thing. :p
 
Oct 1, 2009
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#6
There was some comment on other boards as to why the Bursar didn't make a physical appearance in the book (although there was one reference to him by Ponder). As one of the key members of the UU staff, you would think he would take a prominent role.

I'd like to make a conjecture that perhaps, given Pterry's current situation, that he chose not to feature a character whose mental illness had formerly been used solely for comic purposes. That Ponder Stibbons has seemingly taken over the Bursar's responsibilities may be symbolic for PTerry's admission of his own diminishing capacity.

This same reasoning might explain why none of the beggars appear in the story. After all, in a story about Ankh-Morpork's underclass, you'd have to think that Foul Ole Ron would make an appearance.

Jeff in Boston
 

poohcarrot

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#7
raisindot said:
I'd like to make a conjecture that perhaps, given Pterry's current situation, that he chose not to feature a character whose mental illness had formerly been used solely for comic purposes. That Ponder Stibbons has seemingly taken over the Bursar's responsibilities may be symbolic for PTerry's admission of his own diminishing capacity.

This same reasoning might explain why none of the beggars appear in the story. After all, in a story about Ankh-Morpork's underclass, you'd have to think that Foul Ole Ron would make an appearance.

Jeff in Boston
Hi Jeff-in-boston

Your conjecture might well be correct about the Bursar's non-appearence. We might never know.

However, you are completely wrong in your second paragraph. It is not a story about Ankh-Morpork's underclass. It is a story about A-M's WORKING CLASS. Big difference! Foul Ole Ron et al are part of the underclass. Check the dictionary for definitions should you not be sure. :p

(PS; I'd love to know what your job is!)
 

Jan Van Quirm

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#8
Re the Bursar - I'm almost finished reading The Globe and he's been mentioned in passing (not actually being with the Wizards) as having been sent to stay with his Auntie as the 'floating' was getting to be a bit of a problem :laugh:
 
#9
poohcarrot said:
Hi Jeff-in-Boston.There's absolutely nothing wrong with saying you don't like UA.What a boring world it would be if everyone liked the same thing. :p
Yes, it would.
poohcarrot said:
(PS; I'd love to know what your job is!)
The "Gang" got a lot of exposure in Soul Music and Hogfather and a couple of other books. They are ... sort of, almost working class in the sense that they are "Stars" in their own right and don't have to be in the Beggar's Guild because when they walk out they are richer than before.

I believe Terry was introducing us to the "average Discworldian" without the distraction of the Beggars, the Bursar, and others because it is an Entirely new vein. We have never seen them except in teensy little roles. I like the refreshing, if sometimes, in Andy's case a lil scary, however real.

The Dean/Ridcully opposition is fantastic! Two HUGE personalities forced to get along. No Magic fights, WOOT. Two Men taught to get along and grudgingly get along. 8)

I truly enjoyed the book, I have started to buy "Post-it note :flags:" they are cute lil things I really could have used in college AND the apprenticeship. Most of my recently read/re-read Discworld books have about 50 of them on "pertinent" pages, this book has over 100 in the first 2/3's of the book, I HAD to finish the book last night. no choice, I stayed up forever. Didn't wake up until 1 pm today, 3 1/2 hours late, I feel good though. I am so thrilled that Mr. Nutt is going to help lead the other orcs into society.
 

Catch-up

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Jul 26, 2008
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#10
Finished the book about a week ago. I did like it, wouldn't count it as a favorite, but I liked it. The slower pace took some getting used to, as did the chatty Vetinari. :eek: But I think the slower pace kept me from devouring the book the way I usually do, so I paid more attention.

I agree that Nutt could be more developed and I'm really hoping he is in later books. I think he's got the foundation for a very interesting character. I agree that beyond their parts to move the plot forward, Juliet and Trev were pretty boring. I did tire of the 'promised me old mum' line.

Andy was a well done, if not in depth character. Someone on another board complained that he wasn't in most of the book and wasn't very developed, but I think that was appropriate given the type of character he was. The fact that he was out of sight long enough to almost make Trev forget about him seems about right for the kind of bully that lets you think you're safe for a bit, then sneaks up on you again.

The whole football thing was weird for me. A bunch of ancient, fat wizards with no access to magic having a chance against.. well, anybody else? I couldn't imagine them even moving at any kind of speed let alone actually playing the game.

And, overall, I found Glenda, and the way others viewed her, really depressing.
 
#11
Glenda and Nutt were sweet

But it won't rank in my top favourites. Some of it was funny but Football is an alien world - and I would personally love to know more about the Medusa watch lady than anyone else apart from Nutt ...

I found Glenda a little irritating I must admit and I found more depth in Juliet standing up for Nutt than Glenda - as she could so easily wrinkled her nose at him ...

Professor Hix was funny but - I preferred the old Wizard books to this one ...

And I love Making Money and Going Postal and Pyramids too ... I also ADORE Moving Pictures, the first one I read actually and I would love to see Victor Tugelbend again ... especially now Detritus is a continuing character and there is that connection.

Maybe he can Parody Titanic with Victor and Ginger ... :laugh:

I would have to say that this one is at the bottom of the pile ... sorry Terry!
 

Tonyblack

Super Moderator
City Watch
Jul 25, 2008
28,600
112
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#12
The Medusa lady bothered me a little (but not much) because as far as I remember Medusa was the name of one of the Gorgons - so maybe it should have been the 'Gorgon' lady.

As to the football theme - Terry is know to dislike football. This book really is using football as a metaphor rather than celebrating the game. At least that's what I think. ;)
 
#13
I liked it. I liked it a Lot. It is funny, it shows Discworld evolving. You just can't expect it all to stay static, then it becomes the same old hackneyed jokes.

This is gritty, it is where Vimes and Wilikins grew up with their gangs and the everyday brutality and people caring for one another like Glenda does. She also watches out for Juliet, and is amazed when Juliet gains brain cells.

Frankly, I found the Patrician's hangover hilarious, asking Drumknott how much time had elapsed since the drinking and that moment. He said something to the effect of "Oh my, I'm still drunk then." I thought it was a bit of brilliance, he has never shown any human traits before and here he is hanging one on with the "public" and the part where the Leader of one of the teams gets drunk enough to amiably attempt to rough him up, he is nice enough to have some of his mates take him home and makes sure that one of them stays the night to ensure that he doesn't commit suicide in the morning, when he realizes just what he did.

He cannot just kill everyone who inconveniences him, otherwise there would be no Ankh-Morpork.
 

Jan Van Quirm

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#14
Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit said:
Frankly, I found the Patrician's hangover hilarious, asking Drumknott how much time had elapsed since the drinking and that moment. He said something to the effect of "Oh my, I'm still drunk then." I thought it was a bit of brilliance, he has never shown any human traits before and here he is hanging one on with the "public" and the part where the Leader of one of the teams gets drunk enough to amiably attempt to rough him up, he is nice enough to have some of his mates take him home and makes sure that one of them stays the night to ensure that he doesn't commit suicide in the morning, when he realizes just what he did.

He cannot just kill everyone who inconveniences him, otherwise there would be no Ankh-Morpork.
I don't know about Vetinari never showing any human traits - he did in Nightwatch (and in Men at Arms, Jingo and Last Hero - with Leonard) although he was an apprentice assassin, he'd never actually made an official inhumation I think - it's been a while since I read N but he didn't actually assassinate the Patrician either did he? And although he's extremely 'buttoned-up' he does behave appreciatively towards people he respects. He's positively warm with Sybil (for him) and is civil to Carrot and kind of Victorian fatherly to Nobby and Colon - I think Vimes is possibly the nearest he'll get to having a male peer if not a friend exactly(Margolotta and his Aunty are definitely friends of long-standing). He understands people very well indeed and although that's part and parcel of his cynical and manipulative intellect and nature, he wouldn't have that understanding if he didn't experience the human condition himself on a gut level to some extent.

As Patrician I don't think he's actually had too many people killed or even executed - I don't think he makes a habit of it. And on the execution front we have proof in Moist and in Gilt that he always gives a choice (at least to individuals who have 'talents' that he has a use for). Yes, he's cold and cunning and runs circles around the Guilds but it's all geared towards keeping AM in balance and the really potentially nasty factions like the thieves and assassins checked just enough. Like Tony said somewhere else - he's Macchiavelli, the consummate political servant, not a Medici or a Borgia wanting to actually run things for his own aggrandisement - by some democratic cultures standards he's certainly not a head of government in a monarchical or presidential manner is he? :twisted:
 

poohcarrot

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#15
Jan Van Quirm said:
...although he was an apprentice assassin, he'd never actually made an official inhumation I think - it's been a while since I read N but he didn't actually assassinate the Patrician either did he? :
I thought he killed the guy who was trying to assassinate Vimes.
And I thought he killed the Patrician.
And he killed 4 or 5 in the fight at the end.

(But I could be wrong)
 
Oct 1, 2009
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#16
Jan Van Quirm said:
As Patrician I don't think he's actually had too many people killed or even executed - I don't think he makes a habit of it.
We don't really know this, because the only people we hear about are the people who are "saved" from death, like Moist. He certainly does execute criminals who deserve to be put to death, since Vimes is self-assured that Carcer will be hanged at the end of "Night Watch."

It is interesting though, that the criminal element of Ankh-Morpork seem a lot more scared of Vimes and the Watch than they are of Vetinari. After all, Vimes once arrested the Patrician!

On the other hand, he does have a habit of throwing mimes into the scorpion pit, which is about as close to execution as you can get, although not necessarily unjustified... :)

Jeff in Boston
 

Jan Van Quirm

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#17
The mimes are sitting up and begging for it! :laugh:

Killings of the past in Nightwatch are long before he got to be Patrician and so don't really count as political despotism - he was a 'freedom fighter' at best :p

I really can't remember whether Vetinari did kill Lord Winder - he certainly could have and got the unofficial credit for it although he wasn't really on Snapcase's side either. Anyway - the other people he killed defending the barricades don't 'count' being Untmentionbles ;)

Executions authorised as Patrician are dealt with by due process and so are legal and those who are assisted off the mortal coil deserve all they get, even if that's politically expedient. Any sensible ruthless despot doesn't want to create martyrs if he can avoid it and Vetinari is anything but stupid.
 
Oct 1, 2009
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#18
Jan Van Quirm said:
The mimes are sitting up and begging for it! :laugh:

I really can't remember whether Vetinari did kill Lord Winder - he certainly could have and got the unofficial credit for it although he wasn't really on Snapcase's side either.
He didn't "physically" kill Winder--he approached him as an assassin and, without laying a hand on him, 'intimidated' Winder into having a heart attack on his own. Classic Weatherwaxian headology, and a classic example of Vetinari's ability to manipulate people to his bidding without them even being aware of it.

Jeff in Boston
 
Nov 6, 2009
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Morbihan France
#20
Unseen Academicals

I've just finished UA and LOVED it. What appeals about Terry Pratchett's writing is the way he morphes current culture into discworld. I saw Juliet Stollop and Trev Likely as Posh & Becks! As for the usual suspects, I am delighted that Rincewind has found a permanent place and is still owned by the luggage and the librarian is still active. I couldn't put the book down ( like I am with most of Terry Pratchett's).
The cultural references to fashion and the psychology of football were brilliant and very well observed, as were the political nuances of Vetinaris benign dictatorship.
How amazing that the new character of Nutt arrived with the governmental shennanikins over their scientific advisor similarly monikered! There must be another novel in there Sir Terry.
 

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