|Submitted by Archren |
(Jul 13, 2006)
After the cotton-candy bit of nothing that was "Eric" (I later learned that while my copy had no pictures, it was originally written as an illustrated Discworld book. Stripping the pictures out of a book with heavy reliance on visual humor should be a crime.), "Moving Pictures" restored my faith in Terry Pratchett. Itís not wall-to-wall laughs, and there are some slow parts in the middle, but he builds up a head of steam and the last fifty pages contain images that are impossible not to laugh at.
There are magical forces escaping from the sand dunes of Holy Wood. They start to call to people from Ankh-Morpork. The alchemists figure out how to harness imps to paint images really quickly, so that if you run them fast and project them on the screen, they seem to move. People are hypnotized by the phenomena. Overnight, a city of facades springs up out on the dunes. Specifically Victor the perpetual wizard student, Ginger the former milkmaid, and Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler are all drawn there. Dibbler goes into production, finding his early stars in Victor and Ginger, amateur actors who can be possessed by the magic.
As Victor becomes aware that the magic may have sinister intent, he teams up with Gaspode the bright talking mutt, and Laddie the Wonder Dog to save the day. There are also trolls acting as stunt men, dwarves doing the prop work (who came up with that HiHoHiHo song?), frustrated directors and a machine (made by the wizard Riktor), indicating that not all is well with the fabric of reality.
The in-jokes and movie references come fast and furious throughout the story. Yellow brick roads, thousands of elephants, "Play it again, Sham," you name it. By the time the Librarian (an orangutan, not a monkey!) is being carried up the side of a tower by a fifty-foot tall woman, I was literally laughing out loud. Thatís the kind of book this is. Usual warning: I wouldnít start reading the Discworld series here; although it almost acts as a standalone, a lot of the humor surrounding the Wizards and dennizens of Ankh-Morpork is better if youíve read the earlier works.