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61 votes

Did Gaiman and Pratchett troll an interviewer who thought they were religious fanatics?

I asked Mr Gaiman on Twitter to respond, and he did, as well as another person: Aliza "I think and I vote." (@alizatw): To summarize: it's reported but not authoritatively confirmed that @...
Jos's user avatar
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54 votes
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Did Gaiman and Pratchett troll an interviewer who thought they were religious fanatics?

I haven't found a transcript or recording of that interview, but I did find a transcript of a different interview where the two spoke about that interview: Neil Gaiman: "The first radio ...
bobble's user avatar
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38 votes
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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
  • 445
33 votes
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What is the earliest reference in fiction to a government-approved thieves guild?

The question is difficult to answer due to its terms of reference. Usually it’s not possible to tell exactly where a given story lies on the continuum from “full endorsement” to “begrudging acceptance”...
Gareth Rees'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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31 votes

Who "dribbled a lot and wasn’t allowed anything sharp" in "Good Omens"?

It’s not an allusion to any particular person, but to a trope that is common in the supernatural horror genre, namely that some texts are so disturbing that people can go insane just by reading them. ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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26 votes
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Who "dribbled a lot and wasn’t allowed anything sharp" in "Good Omens"?

While I think Gareth's answer is what was intended, it's also possible that they were referring to an Idiot Savant situation, which is the idea that someone with mental problems is sometimes brilliant ...
Sean Duggan's user avatar
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20 votes
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What's the joke with "Best of Queen" in Good Omens?

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 ...
Gallifreyan'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
16 votes

What is so satanic about Manchester?

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, ...
Spagirl's user avatar
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15 votes
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Is this fictional event of a ship becoming airborne because of a storm based on a real event?

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 ...
Chenmunka's user avatar
  • 2,347
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
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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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13 votes
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Why is Sergeant Shadwell obsessed with nipples?

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. ...
Obie 2.0's user avatar
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12 votes
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Is the name Crowley in Good Omens a reference to the famous occultist?

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 ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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12 votes

What's the joke with "Best of Queen" in Good Omens?

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 ...
Sean Condon's user avatar
11 votes

What's the joke with "Best of Queen" in Good Omens?

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 ...
mm bb's user avatar
  • 111
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
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
  • 10.8k
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
  • 2,347
7 votes

Is this fictional event of a ship becoming airborne because of a storm based on a real event?

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 ...
Skooba's user avatar
  • 4,188
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
6 votes

Is the name Crowley in Good Omens a reference to the famous occultist?

A little further digging and I come across a Tumblr confirmation (image). Image Transcript: neil-gaiman [on Tumblr] ikuboii asked: Hello there! Did you inspired Anthony J Crowley's name after Anton ...
Road To Freedom's user avatar
6 votes

How did the seniors use the steppers?

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 ...
Wrzlprmft's user avatar
  • 656
6 votes

How did the seniors use the steppers?

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 ...
Jakuje's user avatar
  • 161
5 votes

Why was an American diplomat's family considered the best place for the Antichrist?

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 ...
Pat Dobson's user avatar
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