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38 votes
Accepted

Meaning/translation of title "The Light Fantastic" by Terry Pratchett

In-universe the "light fantastic" is an actual, factual thing. There was no real need for the torches. The Octavo filled the room with a dull, sullen light, which wasn’t strictly light at ...
Valorum's user avatar
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35 votes

Meaning/translation of title "The Light Fantastic" by Terry Pratchett

It is a punning reference to the phrase ‘trip the light fantastic’, which means (per The Phrase Finder) To dance, especially in an imaginative or 'fantastic' manner. The phrase seems to arise from ...
Spagirl's user avatar
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34 votes

Meaning of Pratchett's quote about coffee from "Thud!"

Coffee keeps you awake, but you'll have to sleep eventually. You get time now (by being awake now) and pay it back later (by sleeping later). It's as straightforward as that.
TRiG's user avatar
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32 votes

Is Casanunda a reference in "Witches Abroad"?

Casanunda is a pun on Casanova, changing "over" to "under" (because he's short): [Casanova] has become so famous for his often complicated and elaborate affairs with women that ...
Sean Duggan's user avatar
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20 votes
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What does "Maybe it's a Big Horse I'm Morporkian" mean?

It is a pun on ‘Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner’, a song written to boost morale during World War II, by Hubert Gregg, but made famous by Flanagan and Allan as an expression of pride in London. The ...
Spagirl's user avatar
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17 votes

What does "Maybe it's a Big Horse I'm Morporkian" mean?

It was a 'knock-knock' joke in the 1960s, when everyone knew the song. Person 1: Knock knock. Person 2: Who's there? Person 1: M.A.B. is a big horse. Person 2: M.A.B. is a big horse who? Person 1: [...
Old Brixtonian's user avatar
15 votes

Meaning of Pratchett's quote about coffee from "Thud!"

It’s a tongue in cheek reference to the fact that stimulants, including caffeine (which for many people is why they drink coffee), do not actually give you any energy, they just make you use what ...
Austin Hemmelgarn's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

What’s the link between “The Amazing Maurice” and the Tiffany Aching books?

I'm fairly sure that the link is what might be described as thematic. That is, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents features a boy whose main companions are a group of small non-human people, ...
Spagirl's user avatar
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9 votes
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Meaning of “It takes forty men with their feet on the ground to keep one man with his head in the air" in Small Gods by Terry Pratchett?

For largely unexplained reasons, many religions use "40" as a number in their texts for a significant, unknown, but finite, number. In particular, I remember it being pointed out that the ...
Sean Duggan's user avatar
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9 votes

Meaning of “It takes forty men with their feet on the ground to keep one man with his head in the air" in Small Gods by Terry Pratchett?

The verb keep in your quoted sentence doesn't mean to literally keep anyone up in the air or off the ground. It means to generally keep the man alive, well, and able to do his work. To provide food, ...
Kate Gregory's user avatar
7 votes

Meaning/translation of title "The Light Fantastic" by Terry Pratchett

The light that Pratchett refers to is Octarine. This is defined in the Discworld books as the eighth colour of the spectrum and the colour of magic. "The Colour Of Magic" itself being a title of ...
Chenmunka's user avatar
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7 votes

Why does Tiffany insist on using "young woman" for Amber in Pratchett's "I Shall Wear Midnight"?

Amber was pregnant, and her father beat her because he disapproved of her pregnancy and her boyfriend. Tiffany is emphasizing Amber's maturity to her (Tiffany's) father, supporting Amber's right to ...
Evene's user avatar
  • 181
4 votes

Is this mention of "people from another world" a reference to something in Pratchett's "Thud!"?

Alt.fan.pratchett gives this annotation for the footnote: For some reason, UFOs are sometimes blamed for mysterious mutilations of cattle, so it seems that it's not the "turnips and rocks" ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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4 votes
Accepted

What is the meaning of Lord Vetinari's dungeon door in Terry Pratchett's "Guards! Guards!"?

The bolts and bars are separate mechanisms from the lock and are controlled by occupants of the cell. Just because someone or something on the outside has a key does not mean they can open the door. ...
Spagirl's user avatar
  • 19.1k
2 votes
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Are there any other industries apart from Post and Railways that Terry Pratchett explored in Discworld series?

Yes. Depending on what exactly you think is an "industry", the following might all fit: Moving Pictures is about the movie industry. Soul Music is about bands and music, and the music ...
andejons's user avatar
  • 3,495
2 votes

What is Azrael's quote at the end of "Reaper Man" supposed to mean?

Here is a similar quote from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time Series: The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long ...
Kate Gregory's user avatar
2 votes

What’s the link between “The Amazing Maurice” and the Tiffany Aching books?

In addition to the reading order author's comments, Terry Pratchett himself may be the reason for the link in some people's mind (including my own), to some extent. Note from the Annotated Pratchett ...
Joe's user avatar
  • 123
2 votes

Meaning/translation of title "The Light Fantastic" by Terry Pratchett

It's 'The Light(noun) Fantastic(adjective)' That's how it is used both in Milton: On the light (noun) fantastic (adjective) toe (verb) and how this construction is generally rendered in English. ...
Please stop being evil's user avatar

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