- Books, Literature, and Writing
One vision of modern hell
...or a quasi-review of Terry Pratchett's 'Eric'
You thought Hell is fire, smoke and brimstone? It's probably Dante's fault. Actually, it can get much, much worse than that. Terry Pratchett describes it in detail, in his beautifully illustrated Discworld novel, Eric. Read on to find out more and remember - BE GOOD or else...
Who the hell is Terry Pratchett?
My vision of Terry Pratchett
I've committed this drawing because I don't want to be A Bad Girl Who Uses Images Without Permission.
I'm sorry, Terry, I know I'm terrible at drawing!!
No, but let's be serious
Terry Pratchett is a bestselling British writer, creator of the Discworld and possibly the funniest man on planet Earth. There are (so far) 39 Discworld novels, with 39th, 'Snuff', released only in October last year, plus innumerable spin-offs. There's also few non-Discworld books.
If you ask me, Terry is the wisest creature that ever lived and I'm unofficially in love with him (never mind the 40 year age difference:).
What the hell is Discworld?
Discworld - mirror image of the Earth?
Discworld is a flat, round world, travelling through space on backs of four elephants, which in turn rest on a giant sea (star?) turtle.
After such a description you may find it hard to believe, but it is strikingly similar to our lovely Earth. Just as absurd, anyway, only slightly more fun - there are dragons, vampires, wizards and all other kinds of magical creatures.
It is hilarious, logical in its own twisted way and highly addictive.
Have you ever been to Discworld?
Who the hell is Eric?
Well, in Terry's own words:
Demonologist. Midden Lane, Pseudopolis. Next door to the tannery.
Or, better still:
...a slim, dark-haired young man whose face would be a lot better when his acne cleared up.
Eric Thursley, 14, address: 13 Midden Lane, Pseudopolis, Sto Plains, The Discworld.
Occupation: self-proclaimed demonologist, relentlessly (and success-less-ly) continuing family tradition.
Hobbies: conjuring foul fiends from the deepest pit of Hell (and confused wizards, occasionally)
Pets: an irritating parrot, whose vocabulary consists mostly of 'wossname'
Essential features: voice-activated fear of Mum, extreme excitability triggered by young ladies (thought of)
Special achievemets: one-time Ruler of the World (or, to be precise, the tribe of Tezumen), being present at the creation of everything, journey to Hell and back
If you want to buy 'Eric'...
The story starts from three wishes, ends up in Hell and is brilliant all the way through.
This particular edition will be a treat to all the booklovers. It is printed on high quality, glossy paper, handy in size and even has this ribbon-bookmark bit that I think all the books should have. It is illustrated with fantastic, imaginative illustrations by Josh Kirby (tip for advanced Discworld-ers: that's the guy who illustrated the earliest covers of the Discworld books).
In short, it's a pleasure to read, pleasure to hold and pleasure to have.
OK, but what about the Hell?
Welcome to Hell
Let me take you on a quick tour around the bottomless pit.
There are potted plants.
There is terrible music playing constantly.
Workers wear badges with names and slogans like 'How may I help?'
There are room dividers.
And coffee machines.
In fact, Hell looks very much like a modern office.
Oh, and while we are at coffee machines, here's another good quote from The Author himself (speaking as one tormented devil):
We only used to drown people in lakes of cat's pee, we didn't make them buy it by the cup
What's so bad about it?
Imagine - office for the eternity. No holidays, no end of working day, no lunch breaks. And you're never the boss.
Remember Sisyphus? The one who rolled a huge stone up a mountain but it always slipped out of his hands just before the summit? Or Prometheus, whose liver was daily eaten out by a giant vulture?
The modern Hell has even more exquisite torture for special sinners.
Like being read health & safety regulations.
Or being showed holiday pictures of other people (here: demons). With commentary.
For whole eternity.
I'd rather fry
One last quote:
Let there be egg and cress, sort of thing
Which Hell do you prefer?
Hell - traditional or modern?
More books from Terry Pratchett
Here's one unusual approach to a fantasy world.
Nanny Ogg is one of the main characters of Discworld series. Her recipes are funny, full of hidden spicy innuendoes and - and this comes as a surprise - actually quite ambitious.
Cuisine is mostly British, but don't let it scare you, it's not all bad :). Nanny Ogg teaches you to cook only the tasty stuff :)
Eight Discworld books means enjoyment times eight. The set includes the first three books of the cycle plus selection of the best novels. There are witches, vampires, City Watch and more. Personally I would go crazy with joy if someone presented me with such a bunch, and I may not be alone.
Angel or a demon, leave your mark before leaving :)