This is the first book in what is sometimes considered a smaller subseries known as The Industrial Revolution, which also includes the more famous novel, Going Postal, starring Moist.
LOL, It starts off with a Star Trek reference. Bonus points just for that. Through the course of the book there are illusions to Gone with the Wind, King Kong, Snow White and other movies. Terry’s books often have a strong theme to them, and obviously this one is Hollywood.
The alchemists guild have discovered the “magic” of motion pictures, finding out that if you display one picture after another so quickly you can’t tell, it becomes a moving picture. They’re worried that the Wizards are going to get angry, calling it magic and feeling encroached upon, Wizards are testy fellows after all. They start to create a new tourist location in Holy Wood, putting up makeshift buildings with decorations on the outside instead of on the inside. Very strange, that. People are starting to find themselves unknowingly drawn to Holy Wood, thoughts suddenly popping into their heads that it would be a great idea to head down to Holy Wood to see if they can be in motion pictures.
Victor is an ex-wizarding student who was trying his best to stay a perpetual student, just barely “failing” his exams every time. The goal was never to become an actual wizard with responsibilities and the like, Victor is an extraordinarily lazy person, you could say it’s his driving force in life. Do as little work as possible while getting the most out of it. He ends up dropping out of Unseen University and becoming an actor. Victor and Ginger become some of the first actors on the Disc under the direction of CMOT Dibbler. If you’re a fan of Dibbler in the later books, (mostly Watch books) you’ll really like this book, he’s featured pretty heavily. Eventually, things go awry when Victor discovers an ancient camera that’s also a portal to the Dungeon Dimension and they have to fight off monsters.
This book also finally has the introduction of Archchancellor Ridcully! Ridcully was something of a prodigy, reaching level 7 wizardry when he was only 27 years old but left to go take care of family things on a farm. When he returns he finds himself arriving after the last Archchancellor died, and the remaining wizards thought it would be a perfect solution to their in-fighting to elect an “outsider” as the new Archchancellor. Ridcully is one of those characters that’s a fantastic foil to the characters around him. Watching him try to wrap his head around The Librarian, interacting with the Bursar, Ponder Stibbons, and generally being blustery while continually being affronted by everything was a highlight for me. He really is my favorite part of any of the Wizarding interactions.
This is also the first book were Gaspode features heavily, he’s a sentient talking dog who’s rather rough around the edges. He later becomes linked to the Patrician and also Carrot from the Watch. Lots of animals in this book are sentient as a result of Holy Wood magic, it’s rather distressing for them. There they were, a happy bunny worried mostly about cabbage and sex, and all the sudden it finds itself pondering the meaning of life and all that.
All things said, this isn’t exactly a favorite of mine, but it was really nice to revisit it since it’s been a long time since I read it. I think this book will have appeal to movie enthusiasts or people who once dreamed of acting.
“…inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.”
“Everything looks interesting until you do it. Then you find it’s just another job.”
“Can you swim?” said Victor. One of the cavern’s rotting pillars crashed down behind them. From the pit itself came a terrible wailing.
“Not very well,” said Ginger.
“Me neither,” he said. The commotion behind them was getting worse.
“Still,” he said, taking her hand. “We could look on this as a great opportunity to improve really quickly.”
- comic fantasy
- high fantasy
- shorter books
- multi pov
- movies/acting/hollywood enthusiasts
- sentient animals
- old school wizards
- Plot: 11.5/15
- Characters: 12.5/15
- World Building: 13/15
- Writing: 13/15
- Pacing: 13/15
- Originality: 13.5/15
- Personal Enjoyment: 7.75/10
Final Score: 84.25/100 = 4.21/5 stars on GR – highly recommended