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Moving Pictures

Updated on October 20, 2009

"Meat pies! Hot sausages! Inna bun! So fresh the pig h'an't noticed they're gone!"

Lights! Camera! Action! The alchemists of Ankh-Morpork have taken a break from trying to turn lead into gold just long enough to turn cellulose into gold instead. They have discovered a way to put images onto a reel, then project them onto a screen so lots of people can see, called the "clicks". Though they've started small, in a back alley, their about to get a whole lot bigger.

Victor Tugelbend is a student at the Unseen University, the Disc's premiere site for magical learning. Of course he's been a student for years now, taking advantage of a bequest that will pay all his expenses while he's in school, with no requirement that he ever actually graduate. A man coasting through life, waiting for his chance to do something great. And then the clicks came.

Theda "Ginger" Withel is a young woman from a "town you've never heard from", a beauty looking for a starring role in the clicks. How she came to be in Ankh-Morpork in the first place, even she doesn't understand, but she's ready to be a star.

And then their "Cut-me-own-throat" Dibbler, the Disc's ultimate salesman. First seen in Guards! Guards!, Dibbler is a humble late-night sausage salesman who's just biding his time til his chance comes along. And when he sees what the alchemists have created, he knows his chance has come.

And so Dibbler, Ginger, Victor and the alchemists, along with hundreds of others looking to break into the clicks, find themselves drawn to Holy Wood, an empty stretch of beach where they can work in peace. But someones been there before them, and some force resides there still, waiting for its chance to break into the Discworld. And as the lines of reality begin to blur on the screen, so to does the line between dimensions. And it'll take a boy, and his dog, to get things back to right.

Some Thoughts

A great story, once again. Moving Pictures is another semi-independent novel, where only the places are the same, and the main characters are only seen in this story, then fade into the past, with three exceptions: Dibbler, who is a fixture of Ankh-Morpork, Gaspode the Wonder Dog (the Disc's only talking dog) and Detritus, the troll. The three of them make significant appearances in several of the books, especially the Nightwatch group.

Part of the fun here is figuring out which movies Mr. Pratchett is choosing to mock. You can guess the results when they try and do the Civil War epic Gone With The Wind. The story traces, in many ways, the development of movies, from the original silent films, to the first black and white talkies, through the quest for color and beyond. Many of the characters evoke the spirits of Hollywood stars long past, and it's enjoyable to see them brought to life on the Disc.


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