Your Perfect Discworld Pitch

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Terramax

Lance-Constable
Dec 27, 2018
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#1
Anyone care to list all the ingredients that would make for a Discworld book that would be perfectly tailored to your preferences?

Now I know someone is likely to say "the best Discworld book ever would be the one that I wasn't expecting", but let's just forget about that for this thread.

For me, I would love for there to be a book written in the sole perspective of the Patrician. It would be one squarely set in Ankh-Morpork, and nowhere else (as I tend to lean more for books set solely in the city we all love most). I would also love for inspector Lewton of Discworld Noir to make an appearance. A section where the Patrician would come face-to-face with death would be something I'd pay the admission fee alone for, as I'm curious to know how Pratchett would tackle such a scene, and love to know exactly how the Patrician would deal with either his own demise, or near demise.
 
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Tonyblack

Super Moderator
City Watch
Jul 25, 2008
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#2
Interesting ideas. I must say that I loved the way the books were going before Sir Terry passed away. He was opening the whole Disc and making connections. The things that opened our world were global communications and fast reliable travel. Terry was tackling sex equality, celebrity, tribalism and social changes through learning about others. All these are timeless, human conditions and that is one of the reasons I think Terry's writing will still be relevant 200 years (or more) from now.

As to Vetinari meets Death - I'd enjoy seeing Vetinari challenge Death to a series of games (as is traditional to bargain for ones life) as I think the match up would be ideal. It's easy to imagine that the Patrician would easily beat Death, but I'm not so sure. In the past books, Vetinari has sometimes been over confident to his peril.
 

RathDarkblade

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City Watch
Mar 24, 2015
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#3
Vetinari has always had moments of over-confidence - especially in "Men at Arms".

Sadly, I don't think we'd see a Lewton cameo in a Discworld book. Anyone who hasn't played Discworld Noir for whatever reason (lack of funds? Game not available in the country? Lack of interest? Etc.) wouldn't have a clue who he was.

If Lewton did make it into a Discworld book, there would need to be two things:

1. Firstly, it can't just be a passing "Hi and goodbye" scene. New readers would need to be introduced to who he is.

2. Secondly - and more importantly - there needs to be a reason for him to be there. The Watch already does most of the job that Lewton does. So why is he even there, other than for hardcore Discworld fans like us? ;)

3. Thirdly, if Lewton is there, that means that law and order has broken down (as it usually does in the Noir genre). When the police are on the take, or even actively working with criminals instead of against them, that creates a vacuum for people like Lewton (or Sam Spade, or Philip Marlowe, etc.) to step in and save the day. But if the Watch ever deteriorated to that extent, I'm pretty sure that Sam Vimes would have something to say about that! :)

The only way Lewton could be a character in A-M would be before the Watch got organised (i.e. either before "Guards! Guards!", or between G!G! and MAA). Besides, Sam Vimes is himself a law-and-order Lewton figure. :)
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Finally, I'm not sure if a Discworld novel can be written from the sole POV of the Patrician. The Patrician has far too much responsibility and power to be the protagonist of a novel. Where's the challenge? What's the goal he's working towards, the setbacks, the hardships, the decisions he makes? He has far too much of a sense of duty towards A-M to chuck it all and go gallivanting all over the place, like Vimes or Moist. ;)

Besides, even before Vetinari was the Patrician, he was always a subtle character who worked from behind the scenes (see Night Watch).

If it was me, I would write a Discworld prequel (possibly set at some time between the death of Lord Winder and the death of Lord Snapcase). That would make Vetinari sometime in his early 20s and a graduate of the Guild of Assassins.

As for plot - Snapcase would be fearful of the Guild generally and of Vetinari specifically. Perhaps he decides to send Vetinari off somewhere dangerous and remote (Überwald?), as a way to get rid of him. Perhaps this is where Vetinari meets and forms a wary alliance with a certain Überwaldean noblewoman. Hmm? ;)

It is also possible that when the Patricianship changed hands, and Snapcase demanded files be created on "up and coming young men in the Guild of Assassins", that would have been a very good time for Vetinari to embark on the leisurely coming-of-age Grand Sneer, customary to young men of his social class. If Snapcase was seeking to establish a shortlist of candidates to ascertain the identity of the Assassin who "got rid of" his predecessor, it is highly likely that Vetinari would have been offered the same sort of grateful advancement as was offered to John Keel. This would have made it an ideal time to leave the city for a few years and exploit his aunt's Disc-wide social and business connections.

So yes - given those circumstances, I can quite see a novel centred around Vetinari in his earlier years. Aristocratic, well-bred, dangerous, but broke and homeless. What would his goals be? To find a new home? To be able to return to A-M? To discredit or get rid of Snapcase? But he would be far too law-abiding to consider that last one.

Perhaps, after a few years, the Assassins' Guild is fed up with Snapcase's incompetence and puts a price on his head. Perhaps Snapcase becomes like Winder, but better armed and more competent. Perhaps the Guild tells Vetinari that the price of his return to A-M would be Snapcase's inhumation. But Vetinari, with his better connections (Lady Margolotta?) and his wealth of experience, surprises everyone by not only killing Snapcase but also assuming the Patricianship at once and putting an end to the chaos.

Now, if there was a Discworld novel set around Vetinari, that is the kind of novel I'd like to read! :) What do you think?
 

Tonyblack

Super Moderator
City Watch
Jul 25, 2008
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#4
I've never played Discworld Noir (despite having a copy) but my understanding was that Newton was a private eye. Private eyes aren't generally trying to solve crimes, they are paid to do the services that a police force would generally not touch - such as gathering evidence of a cheating spouse, finding a person that was missing in circumstances that weren't necessarily suspicious in a criminal way and such things as that. PIs may have contacts in the police force and may uncover crimes that they might pass on to the police, but that is pretty much their involvement.

So I could imagine a book with such a private eye character, and it wouldn't take much to sketch that character into a story set in Ankh-Morpork. It could have been done - but the Noir genre has been pretty much done to death. How about if Newton, or someone similar, uncovered a crime which they then alerted the Watch to? That would certainly work. Maybe an old watchman or convict working as a PI and passing the info to someone like Fred Colon. We know from the later books that Fred is known for having such friends and that they often confide in him.
 

RathDarkblade

Moderator
City Watch
Mar 24, 2015
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#5
Uh - first, it's Lewton, not Newton. ;) "Discworld Noir" begins with Lewton looking for a missing person, who Lewton's client suspects might be having an affair. :)

Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe looked for missing people, yes, but the story always became bigger than that.

Hercule Poirot, on the other hand, only looked for missing people a few times, in spite of being a PI. And he never, ever, touched divorce cases (he even said so himself). ;)
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What do you think of young Vetinari and his adventures abroad, hmm? :)
 

Tonyblack

Super Moderator
City Watch
Jul 25, 2008
28,584
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Cardiff, Wales
#6
There is a difference between a private eye such as Sam Spade and Philip Marlow and Christie's detectives. The former, like Lewton, do it for a living - Christie's, and other such detectives seem to do it for free. They end up in a situation where there has been a crimes and the police are not able to solve it.
 

RathDarkblade

Moderator
City Watch
Mar 24, 2015
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#7
True - or, sometimes, the police can't even get there (as in "Murder on the Orient Express", for instance).

I haven't read any Miss Marple books, I'm afraid - the first Christie I read was MOTOE, and I quickly appreciated the Poirot character. I still like his little ways and his "little grey cells". ;) How does Miss Marple differ? As I understand it, she's simply an inquisitive spinster in a country village? *curious*

I've noticed that the stories featuring Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe (among others) are - to use a magazine term - much "grittier". Yes, they're very different from Christie's detectives. Poirot is genial, gentle, and prefers psychology; Marlowe and Spade are weary, cynical, hard-bitten, and prefer alcohol (usually straight from the bottle). They remind me of Vimes, especially in "Guards! Guards!" - whereas Poirot's gentleness, funny little ways, and geniality remind me of Carrot. But both Poirot and Carrot always get there - Poirot because of his shrewdness, and Carrot because of his memory of people's names and faces, and so on.

That's my take on it, anyway ... please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. :)
 
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