Terry Pratchett,
Moving Pictures
(Victor Gollancz, 1990; Roc/Penguin, 1992)

Terry Pratchett's Discworld is a strange place even in the best of times, but when a wild idea gets loose, the havoc caused is a merry romp for the reader. Mix magic, alchemy, and trolls with B-movie stereotypes, and watch the chaos run! When octo-cellulose is "discovered" by former alchemist Silverfish, the wild idea is let loose in Ankh-Morpork. This leads to the creation of the entire business of moving pictures, or "clicks," and the population of the Holy Wood by those infected by the wild idea.

Pratchett skewers almost every Hollywood cliche in this book. The grand schemes of click impresario C.M.O.T. Dibbler (once Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, seller of noxious sausages), invariably include a thousand elephants. The actors go into a daze during filming and are never entire sure what they did or said. Gaspode the Wonder Dog, an actual talking dog, becomes canine agent for Laddie, an incredibly beautiful and equally dumb dog-actor. A troll changes his name to Rock. Dwarves sing a strange "Hiho" song and have no idea why. Advertising is discovered, much to the chagrin of the directors. Those affected by Holy Wood have stars in their eyes -- literally.

Once the realization that not all in Holy Wood is what it seems, Victor, the ex-wizardry student turned click-star, and his lovely leading lady Ginger, team up with Gaspode the Talking Dog and the long-armed librarian of the Unseen University to discover just what to do. However, it takes much more to stop the horror from Holy Wood from taking over squalid Ankh-Morpork.

This delightfully silly addition to the Discworld series is sheer entertainment. Movie buffs will find themselves hunting for the Pratchett version of cinema legends and stories. Anyone who enjoys B movies, silly high fantasy and the other Discworld novels will roll through this book laughing.

[ by Beth Derochea ]

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