35

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 the works of Milton, in Comus he wrote, as you have already seen, Come, knit hands, and beat the ground, In a light fantastic round. And in L’Allegro Come, ...


34

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 all but the opposite of light; darkness isn’t the opposite of light, it is simply its absence, and what was radiating from the book was the light that lies on ...


16

The theory proposed by Terry Pratchett is that "Best of Queen" is the only decent music that can be found on the road in gas station markets, so those CDs tend to accumulate in the car, without the driver noticing them much. Neil Gaiman proposes that the CDs do really turn into "Best of Queen" albums, just like that. He occasionally gets fan mail about it: ...


16

Often with a Pratchett joke, if I don't 'get it', it is worth asking myself what Pratchett knew that I didn't, and the text often gives me a clue where to start looking. And the same applies here, though I don't know which text is Pratchett and which Gaiman. Fourteenth-century minds, the lot of them. Spending years picking away at one soul. Admittedly it ...


14

There are many instances of boats, some of them quite large, being carried inland by a tsunami. For example... ...which is from the Japanese tsunami of 2011. It is quite likely that Terry Pratchett took events of this nature as inspiration for the book. Although, wind alone isn't going to lift a boat any distance, the story doesn't have to be ...


12

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, many of whom regard thievery and deceit with equanimity, and of whom the adult world is largely unaware, and the Tiffany novels feature a young girl whose main ...


12

Sergeant Shadwell is looking for one of the traditional signs of witchcraft. That is, the answer to the question, “Is there actually a traditional connection between witchcraft and nipples” is yes. Specifically, it was believed that a witch would often have a familiar: a demon in the shape of an animal, or an animal bound to their will through magic, or ...


11

It is a pun on ‘Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner’, a song written as a morale booster during the Second World War by Hubert Gregg, but made famous by Flanagan and Allan as an expression of pride in London. The song can be heard on You Tube if the Apple Music version on the Songfacts link above isn’t accessible.


9

I have not been able to source a quote from the author, but there is an interview which offers some circumstantial evidence that Crowley is indeed named after the famous Occultist. Actor Mark Sheppard played a character called Crowley in the TV series Supernatural. There is a common presumption among fans of that show that the character was inspired by ...


9

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: [Sings] A-maybe it's a-because I'm a Londoner. . .


8

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 another book in the series. This is fantastic because its existence is part of the Discworld fantasy universe. Pratchett is very fond of such puns and ...


8

Pratchett also has a running joke throughout his books about items of entertainment morphing into more stereotypical/low brow forms when the owners aren't looking. Compare this quote from The Last Continent: 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, ...


8

The first "Greatest Hits of Queen" album that is featured in the book is the most sold album in british pop history. Everyone in UK has the cd lying around somewhere, so chances are high that when you look for a cd in the car you get the impression that you always find the "Greatest Hits of Queen".


6

Quoting from the 24th chapter of The Long Earth (boldface mine): Joshua asked, ’So why do people need Steppers at all?’ [Lobsang:] ‘Perhaps in a more indirect way than is imagined, Joshua. The brief notes Linsay left insist that the placing of every component is crucial and needs pin-sharp care, so that the builder’s attention is totally wrapped up in the ...


6

This looks like one of the small (potential) inconsistencies you can find in this series (or just hypothesis of the characters?), which allow the story to continue and escalate. We can find references pointing to the need of the manual construction by Lobsang: "I myself went through the physical process of constructing a Stepper, via an ambulant unit. ...


6

In addition to tsunamis, Hurricanes provide great deals of destruction in coastal areas. Although, in Nation it was a tsunami, IIRC. Hurricane Sandy in 2012 tore entire islands on the East Coast of the United States, leaving whole marinas full of boat stranded inland. Water is a one of the most powerful forces when it comes in large quantities. Even ...


5

I'd say that yes, this is a subtle dig at American culture in the way that you described. A fair proportion of the UK population see the American 'ruling elite' as only having their own interests at heart. Raising the anti-christ in this environment would give the child a good grounding for the tasks ahead of him/her. I'd also suggest that it was a ...


3

The plague sets the scene for Daphne's princesshood. Could the story have happened in the same way without the plague? Mostly, yes. The subplot with the Gentlemen of Last Resort would have been removed from the story, and Daphne would have been just a girl from the English gentry rather than an heir to the throne. The events on the island would have played ...


3

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. Examples: The Brothers (noun) Grimm (adjective) The Brothers (noun) Karamazov (adjective) In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean (noun) blue (adjective) A Tale (noun)...


2

As somebody who lives in Britain, we tend to just take the piss out of other people's towns, as a sort of joke. Manchester doesn't really have much there apart from architecture and it's football teams, but it was well known as being the first industrial city for a while, which would tie in with the quote of Hell being 14th century mind's, which was when the ...


1

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 on L-Space, he mentioned them as linked: It is possible that there will also be books in the spring -- certainly the Wee Free Men will be one, and it will be ...


1

There have long been suggestions that Queen have satanic links. Freddie joked in his live performances in the mid 70s that his jewel encrusted single glove was given to him by Satan himself. It is Freddie's very dry delivery of the joke that set some people on edge and started the rumour-mill. Just Google or Youtube 'Freddie Mercury Devil Worship' to find ...


1

According to Wikipedia: During the 1980s, with the demise of many traditional industries under the radical economic restructuring often known as Thatcherism, the city and region experienced some decline. The revival started towards the end of the decade, catalysed, not only by wider growing prosperity in the UK but by the creative music industry. New ...


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