The Quotable Pratchett: Moving Pictures

No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away

With the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett and the publication of The Shepherd’s Crown, I embarked on an epic re-reading of all 41 official Discworld novels, with the goal of finishing by 31 December, 2016.

Famous for its wit and wisdom, the series offers countless quotable quotes on a variety of subjects. The quotes I share should not be considered the whole of Sir Terry’s excellent prose; indeed, they are the tasty appetizers to a succulent, nourishing meal.

About Moving Pictures

Moving Pictures coverThis is the 10th Discworld novel. It is almost, but not quite, a standalone novel.

Drawing on movie tropes from silent films to modern blockbusters, Moving Pictures brings the Silver Screen to the Disc, and when the magic of voluntary disbelief meets the real magic of reality, it’s only a matter of time before the Dungeon Dimensions try to break through.

Though the main characters are Victor Tugelbend (aka Maraschino) and Theda Withel (aka Ginger De Syn), we actually meet a fair number of Ankh-Morpork regulars: Gaspode makes his first appearance, Ponder Stibbons passes his wizard test, the Librarian helps save the day, and DEATH makes a few cameos. We also get a behind-the-scenes look at CMOT Dibbler’s marketing schemes, and {Highlight for Spoiler} Wendell Poons has one last hurrah before the events of Reaper Man. Oh, the Night Watch, Mustrum Ridcully, and some other Ankh-Morporkians make appearances, too.

Get the banged grains ready and lower the lights, this is one click you don’t want to miss!

The Goodreads Blurb:

Discworld’s pesky alchemists are up to their old tricks again. This time, they’ve discovered how to get gold from silver — the silver screen that is. Hearing the siren call of Holy Wood is one Victor Tugelbend, a would-be wizard turned extra. He can’t sing, he can’t dance, but he can handle a sword (sort of), and now he wants to be a star. So does Theda Withel, an ambitious ingenue from a little town (where else?) you’ve probably never heard of.

But the click click of moving pictures isn’t just stirring up dreams inside Discworld. Holy Wood’s magic is drifting out into the boundaries of the universes, where raw realities, the could-have-beens, the might-bes, the never-weres, the wild ideas are beginning to ferment into a really stinky brew. It’s up to Victor and Gaspode the Wonder Dog (a star if ever one was born!) to rein in the chaos and bring order back to a starstruck Discworld. And they’re definitely not ready for their close-up!

To the Quotes!

Discworld Librarian

The  Librarian as he appears in The Discworld Companion, illustrated by Paul Kidby

Reality is not digital, an on-off state, but analog. Something gradual. In other words, reality is a quality that things possess in the same way that they possess, say, weight. Some people are more real than others, for example. It has been estimated that there are only about five hundred real people on any given planet, which is why they keep unexpectedly running into one other all the time.

[He] had the same prospects of long-term employment as a pogo stick tester in a minefield.

You needed to do more than end your sentences with exclamation marks to get a round of applause from an Ankh-Morpork crowd.

Waiting forever and ever had its attractions, but you needed money to do it with.

This was an alien language, and to make it worse it was also their own.

“I think I know what people want,” he said, “and they don’t want to read lots of small writing. They want spectacles!”

“Because of the small writing?” asked Victor, sarcastically.

“They want dancing girls! They want thrills! They want elephants! They want people falling off roofs! They want dreams! The world is full of little people with big dreams!”

“What, you mean like dwarfs and gnomes and so on?” said Victor.


A man who could sell Mr. Dibbler’s sausages twice could sell anything.

As Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler knew in his heart, wherever two or more people are gathered together, someone will be trying to sell them a suspicious sausage in a bun.

“You take a plate and you queue up and then you pay for it,” said Ginger. “It’s called self-serf.”

“How can you make anyone into a star?”

“I dunno. I suppose you compress them right up small and they burst into this mass of flaming hydrogen?”

Camels are far too intelligent to admit to being intelligent.

It’s always best to know your own mind.

It contained forbidden knowledge.

Well, not actually forbidden. No one had ever gone so far as forbidding it. Apart from anything else, in order to forbid it you’d have to know what it was, which was forbidden. But it definitely contained the sort of information which, one you knew it, you wish you hadn’t.

[The Ankh-Morpork Civil War] ended with a practical score of Humans 0, ravens 1,000, which is the case with most battles.

. . . 

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