The Quotable Pratchett: The Last Continent

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 The Last Continent

Last Continent coverThis is the 22nd Discworld novel and the 6th in the Rince-cycle.

When the Librarian becomes ill, the Wizards at Unseen University decide to cure him. Just one problem: to safely do so requires his real, human name – and no one remembers it (thanks to the events of The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic). No one, that is, except Rincewind, failed wizard and former assistant Librarian.

Sent to EcksEcksEcksEcks (Fourecks) after saving the Agatean Empire in Interesting Times, Rincewind is now the luckiest unlucky person on the continent. And, as usual, something’s gone wrong and Rincewind is the only one (aided by the mysterious kangaroo Scrappy) who can save the dry wasteland from permanent drought and bring back the Wet.

Of course, meddling in the space-time continuum by Archchancellor Ridcully and Ponder Stibbons et. al. won’t help matters – especially when Mrs. Whitlow accidentally closes their doorway home. No Worries! The god of evolution will help set them on the right track.

Get ready to go Down Under (a comfy blanket) for this eXXXXciting Discworld adventure! (That was a pune, or play on words, regarding the name of the continent, not an indication of its morality.)

5 Stars

The Goodreads Blurb:

Something is amiss at Unseen Unversity, Ankh-Morpork’s most prestigious (i.e., only) institution of higher learning. A professor is missing—but a search party is on the way! A bevy of senior wizards will follow the trail wherever it leads—even to the other side of Discworld, where the Last Continent, Fourecks, is under construction. Imagine a magical land where rain is but a myth and the ordinary is strange and the past and present run side by side. experience the terror as you encounter a Mad Dwarf, the Peach Butt, and the dreaded Meat Pie Floater.

Feel the passion as the denizens of the Last Continent learn what happens when rain falls and the rivers fill with water (it spoils regattas, for one thing). Thrill to the promise of next year’s regatta, in remote, rustic Didjabringabeeralong. It’ll be asolutely gujeroo (no worries).

To the Quotes!

Discworld Librarian

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

All tribal myths are true, for a given value of ‘true’

Wasn’t it a basic principle never to let your employer know what it is you actually do all day?

Ridcully was to management what King Herod was to the Bethlehem Playgroup Association.

Paleontology and archaeology and other skullduggery were not subjects that interested wizards. Things are buried for a reason, they considered. There’s no point in wondering what it was. Don’t go digging things up in case they won’t let you bury them again.

Elsewhere, someone might have said “It’s just books! Books aren’t dangerous!” But even ordinary books are dangerous, and not only the ones like Make Gelignite the Professional Way. A man sits in some museum somewhere and write a harmless book about political economy and suddenly thousands of people who haven’t read it are dying because the ones that did haven’t got the joke. Knowledge is dangerous, which is why the government often clamps down on people who can think thoughts above a certain caliber.

[As] soon as you find anything that offers amazing possibilities for the improvement of the human condition it’s best to put the lid back on a pretend it never happened.

Tricksters have that robust sense of humor that puts a landmine under a seat cushion for a bit of a laugh.

It is a simple universal law.  People always expect to use a holiday in the sun as an opportunity to read those books they’ve always meant to read, but an alchemical combination of sun, quartz crystals and coconut oil will somehow metamorphose any improving book into a rather thicker one with a name containing at least one Greek word or letter (The Gamma Imperative, The Delta Season, The Alpha Project and, in the more extreme cases, even The Mu Kau Pi Caper). Sometimes a hammer and sickle turn up on the cover. This is probably caused by sunspot activity, since they are invariably the wrong way around.

Intelligence is like legs – too many and you trip yourself up.

The thing about late-night cookery was that it made sense at the time. It always had some logic behind it. It just wasn’t the kind of logic you’d use around midday.


Historians have pointed out that it is in times of plenty that people feel like going to war. In times of famine they’re simply trying to find enough to eat. When they’ve just enough to go round they tend to be polite. But when a banquet is spread before them, it’s time to argue over the place settings.*

*In fact it’s the view of the more thoughtful historians, particularly those who have spent time in the same bar as the theoretical physicists, that the entirety of human history can be considered as a sort of blooper reel. All those wars, all those famines caused by malign stupidity, all that determined, mindless repetition of the same old errors, are in the great cosmic scheme of things only equivalent to Mr Spock’s ears falling off.

The trouble is that it’s easy to abstain from sweets when you’re not standing knee deep in treacle and it’s raining sugar.

There is such thing as an edible, nay delicious, meat pie floater, its mushy peas of just the right consistency, its tomato sauce piquant in its cheekiness, its pie filling tending even towards named parts of the animal. There are platonic burgers made of beef instead of cow lips and hooves. There are fish ‘n’ chips where the fish is more than just a white goo lurking at the bottom of a batter casing and you can’t use the chips to shave with. There are hot dog fillings which have more in common with meat than mere pinkness, whose lucky consumers don’t apply mustard because that would spoil the taste. It’s just that people can be trained to prefer the other sort, and seek it out. It’s as if Machiavelli had written a cookery book.

We put all our politicians in prison as soon as they’re elected. Don’t you?


It saves time.

. . .

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