Of Otters, Alcohol, Time and Tyranny

A recent reviewer said “Dropping Into Darkness” reminded them of author Terry Pratchett.

The bad news is Terry’s books aren’t for everyone. He has a readership of a mere 85 million people.  I’m a fan though, so in defence of Terry (and anyone kind enough to compare me to Terry), I’ve put together some of my favourite quotes from his books.

Do Unto Otters As You Would Have Them Do Unto You …
image courtesy of pixabay.com under CC0 license. https://pixabay.com/en/otter-animal-fur-2647702/

From “Thief of Time”:

‘… Do unto otters as you would have them do unto you … he’d occasionally been unsure that he’d written that one down properly, although it certain had worked. He’d always left aquatic mammals well alone, and they had done the same to him.’

‘… Suppose an emperor was persuaded to wear a new suit of clothes whose material was so fine that, to the common eye, the clothes weren’t there. And suppose a little boy pointed out this fact in a loud clear voice… Then you have The Story Of The Emperor Who Had No Clothes.  But if you knew a bit more, it would be The Story of The Boy Who Got A Well-Deserved Thrashing From His Dad For Being Rude To Royalty, And Was Locked Up. Or the Story Of The Whole Crowd That Was Rounded Up By The Guards And Told “This Didn’t Happen, Okay? Does Anyone Want To Argue?”‘

‘… Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying ‘End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH’, the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.”‘

‘… People like that don’t need a reason apart from “because I can”. They have a nightmare and try to make it happen.” ‘

‘… “That is because you don’t yet know how to deal with time,” said Wen. “But I will teach you to deal with time as you would deal with a coat, to be worn when necessary and discarded when not.”
“Will I have to wash it?” said Clodpool.
Wen gave him a long, slow look. “That was either a very complex piece of thinking on your part, Clodpool, or you were just trying to overextend a metaphor in a rather stupid way. Which, do you think, it was?”‘

‘… “Look, I’m offering you the opportunity of a lifetime, do you understand?”
“Why is it the opportunity of a lifetime, Mr. Soto?”
“No, you misunderstand me. You … are being offered … the opportunity of having a lifetime. Which is more than you will have shortly.”

From “Small Gods”:

‘… Pets are always a help in times of stress. And in times of starvation, too, of course.’

‘… “Sometimes the crime follows the punishment, which only serves to prove the foresight of the Great God.”
“That’s what my grandmother used to say,” said Brutha automatically.
“Indeed? I would like to know more about this formidable lady.”
“She used to give me a thrashing every morning because I would certainly do something to deserve it during the day,” said Brutha.
“A most complete understanding of the nature of mankind.”’

‘..It’s a wise crow that knows which way the camel points.’

From “Interesting Times”:

‘… Chaos is found in greatest abundance wherever order is being sought. It always defeats order, because it is better organized.’

From “Jingo”:

‘… “Taxation, gentlemen, is very much like dairy farming. The task is to extract the maximum amount of milk with the minimum of moo. And I am afraid to say that these days all I get is moo.”‘

‘… Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.’

From “Going Postal”:

‘… What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.’

From “Mort”:

‘… (The City of) Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote.

And, I don’t remember which books these came from. Anyone?:

‘… Just erotic. Nothing kinky. It’s the difference between using a feather and using a chicken.’

‘… “There are better things in the world than alcohol, Albert.”
Albert: “Oh, yes, sir. But alcohol sort of compensates for not getting them.”’

From speeches/interviews:

‘… Our garden was debated territory between five local cats, and we’d heard that the best way to keep other cats out of the garden was to have one yourself. A moment’s rational thought here will spot the slight flaw in this reasoning.’

Two Books
My well-thumbed copy of “Thief of Time” alongside “Dropping Into Darkness”

Sir Terry Pratchett died in March 2015. RIP.

2 Replies to “Of Otters, Alcohol, Time and Tyranny”

  1. Please include:

    “If you trust in yourself. . .and believe in your dreams. . .and follow your star. . . you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.”

    From Terry Pratchett, “Wee Free Men”.

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