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Genevieve Cogman

Dialogue You’d Sell Your Firstborn For: Terry Pratchett’s Lords and Ladies

I’ve been a devoted fan of Terry Pratchett ever since I first read his work. Which would be, let me see… the first one I read was The Light Fantastic, shortly after it came out in paperback, after reading a review of it in Dave Langford’s book review column in White Dwarf magazine. (Yes, I know this dates me.) At first I was just buying the books in paperback after borrowing them from the library in hardback, but later on it got to the stage when I was buying them in hardback the moment they came out.

I’m mentioning this to explain why I had a copy of Lords and Ladies in my hands as soon as I possibly could. In the first blissful joy of reading, I galloped through the book, laughing at jokes, wincing at implications, and making myself a nuisance to everyone around me as I tried to quote the good bits (i.e., most of the book) to them. It was glorious.

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Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

The Different Faces of Sherlock Holmes

When people are asked why they like Sherlock Holmes, they provide a whole spectrum of replies. Some readers talk about his intelligence, or his integrity. Others read the stories for the adventure aspect. (Today we have a train chase! And a fight over a waterfall!) Or the problem-solving (it’s a sealed room mystery, and the victim was found dead by poison). Or even the sense of humour. (I am convinced that in “The Adventure of the Dying Detective,” Holmes was getting amusement value out of convincing Watson that he’d gone mad and thought that oysters were going to take over the world.) And there are the other main characters, such as Watson and even Lestrade and Gregson, and the antagonists—Professor Moriarty, Irene Adler, Colonel Moran, Dr Grimesby Roylott…

[But ultimately the stories revolve round Sherlock Holmes.]

The Illogic of Fairy Tales

The trouble with fairy tales is that they’re not fair.

They seem fair enough at first: do the right thing, and you will be rewarded. Be nice to the old woman, help the trapped animals, work hard, get your mother’s blessing, and you can be the lucky child who wins a kingdom, marries the prince/princess, and lives happily ever after. But that all depends on the protagonist having drawn the right combination of cards in the first place: he or she is the lucky third or seventh child, and has a fairy godmother or patron witch, and is a nice person in the first place.

[You only get through a fairy tale by following the rules]