The Library of Babel: October 2003

This page contains the archived copies of book log entries for October of 2003.

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October 31, 2003

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett. The month-long gap in the book log is directly attributable to Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver, a gigantic brick of a book, but Terry Pratchett gets the honor of being the only October 2003 entry. I was about fifty pages from the end of Quicksilver when I had to head out for a trip to DC, and I couldn't really justify lugging it along on the plane. As a result, it got leapfrogged by the new Pratchett and an old Westlake...

Monstrous Regiment is the story of a rag-tag company of soldiers somewhere in the more backward areas of the Discworld. Citizens of a country perpetually at war with its neighbors, and crippled by an insane religion, they've enlisted for the desperate last stand against their enemies (now backed by Ankh-Morpork). Oh, yeah, and at least some of them are women in disguise.

I have a higher opinion of this book than Captain Mustelid does, but it's not exactly Pratchett's best work. There's some good stuff here, to be sure-- some amusing gender politics, a few great media-in-wartime moments-- but it doesn't quite come together. I'm actually a little worried about the gratuitous cameo by Sam Vimes-- I hope this doesn't become a trend. I also felt that the plot resolution went one big revelation too far (I'm being vague to avoid spoilers...).

Still, relatively weak Pratchett is still better than most of what's out there, and this did an admirable job of keeping me entertained on the trip down to Crystal City. This is worth reading (Pratchett's grocery lists are probably fairly entertaining), but don't expect to be blown away.

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Begun: 7 August, 2001