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Moving Pictures    by Terry Pratchett order for
Moving Pictures
by Terry Pratchett
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2002 (1990)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

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* * *   Reviewed by Wesley Williamson

Moving Pictures is the 10th in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, now amounting to 25 or more, of which this is by no means least, though it is somewhat different. Terry Pratchett's usual style (at its best unbeatable) of sparkling, incisive irony, has been abandoned here in favour of, very appropriately, slapstick, pie in your face, Keystone Cops humour.

It all starts when some Alchemists succeed in not blowing up the Guildhall. They produce instead octo-cellulose that only explodes occasionally. In no time, rolls of this amazing film are being fed into boxes with tiny demons frantically painting pictures of what they are looking at, the rolls then being fed through other boxes full of irritated salamanders, with the end result - moving pictures, called clicks in Ankh-Morpork. Naturally, all the click makers congregate together in a deserted neighbourhood by the sea called, what else? Holy Wood!

Many of the characters who appear are old friends of Pratchett's readers, though I think this is the first appearance of Archchancellor Ridcully of the Unseen University, whose Librarian is a favourite old friend, though also a very large ape. Cut-My-Own-Throat Dibbler gives up his sausage business, to the relief of all, and becomes a movie mogul, poised to make an epic of the Civil War in Ankh-Morpork, tentatively entitled 'Blown Away'.

Unfortunately, apart from all the other odd characters drawn to Holy Wood, it is the site of a breach in reality, and horrible creatures from other dimensions are soon swarming at the entrance, looking for a weak spot to open up. Keeping them out seems to be up to the movie leading man (formerly perpetual student) Victor Tugelbend, and his leading lady, Ginger Withel. Luckily they have the help of the true hero of this book, Gaspode the talking dog and his inarticulate friend, Laddie the Wonder Dog.

Pratchett has a lot of fun with movies and Hollywood, laughing at everything from Gone with the Wind to King Kong, and I guarantee that any reader, who has ever gone to the movies, will laugh right along with him.

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