When you can flatten entire cities at a whim, a tendency towards quiet reflection and seeing-things-from-the-other-fellow's-point- of-view is seldom necessary.
The figures looked more or less human. And they were engaged in religion. You could tell by the knives (it's not murder if you do it for a god).
I'm interested in mythology generally, but India has no special place in my heart -- although Hindu gods seem a lot more fun.
I mistrust the term graphic novel because it sounds like a good thing to put on a tee-shirt. That's why the French like them.
The thief, as will become apparent, was a special type of thief. This thief was an artist of theft. Other thieves merely stole everything that was not nailed down, but this thief stole the nails as well.
The people who really run organizations are usually found several levels down, where it is still possible to get things done.
It's always surprising to be reminded that while you're watching and thinking about people, all knowing and superior, they're watching and thinking about you, right back at you.
Then there is the dress. It has been owned by many sisters as well and has been taken up, taken out, taken down, and taken in by her mother so many times that it really ought to have been taken away.
That's Third Thoughts for you. When a huge rock is going to land on your head, they're the thoughts that think: Is that an igneous rock, such as granite, or is it sandstone?
I should have learned this, she thought. I wanted to learn fire, and pain, but I should have learned people.
Time and space were, from Death's point of view, merely things that he'd heard described. When it came to Death, they ticked the box marked Not Applicable. It might help to think of the universe as a rubber sheet, or perhaps not.
They looked at one another in incomprehension, two minds driving opposite ways up a narrow street and waiting for the other man to reverse first.
Mr Lipwig, there's a lady in the hall to see you and we've thanked her for not smoking three times and she's still doing it!
I discovered fantasy and science fiction when I was about 10, and read nothing else for about three years. I ran out of all the books that there were to read in the library. I was keen on reading stuff that took me to other places.
The only really sane person in there is Igor, and possibly the turnip. And I'm not sure about the turnip.
You were the kind of kid who couldn't see the difference between throwing rocks at a cat and setting it on fire.
Racism was not a problem on the Discworld, because -- what with trolls and dwarfs and so on -- speciesism was more interesting. Black and white lived in perfect harmony and ganged up on green.
I became a journalist at 17. A few hours later, I saw my first dead body, which was somewhat... colourful. That's when I learned you can go on throwing up after you run out of things to throw up.
He helped the Librarian up. There was a red glow in the ape's eyes. It had tried to steal his books. This was probably the best proof any wizard could require that the trolleys were brainless.
And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head.
I ushered souls into the next world. I was the grave of all hope. I was the ultimate reality. I was the assassin against whom no lock would hold. -- Yes, point taken, but do you have any particular skills?
You are very clever, said the old man shyly. I would like to eat your brains, one day.
You are very clever,' said the old man shyly. 'I would like to eat your brains, one day,' For some reason the books of etiquette that Daphne's grandmother had forced on her didn't quite deal with this. Of course, silly people would say to babies, 'You're so sweet I could gobble you all up!', but that sort of nonsense seemed less funny when it was said by a man in war paint who owned more than one skull. Daphne, cursed with good manners, settled for, 'It's very kind of you to say so.
Although she was aware that somewhere under her complicated strata of vests and petticoats there was some skin, that didn't mean to say she approved of it.
Biers was where the undead drank. And when Igor the barman was asked for a Bloody Mary, he didn't mix a metaphor.
One of my predecessors used to have people torn to death by wild tortoises. It was not a quick death.
I have to ask, sir...Why does it have to be done like this?
Vetinari smiled. Can you keep a secret, Mister Lipwig?
Oh, yes, sir. I've kept lots.
Capital. And the point is, so can I. You do not need to know.
We can't just drop everything, sir!
Mister Lipwig. Is there something in the word 'tyrant' you do not understand?
I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides.
Some pirates achieved immortality by great deeds of cruelty or derring-do. Some achieved immortality by amassing great wealth. But the captain had long ago decided that he would, on the whole, prefer to achieve immortality by not dying.
You had to hand it to the Patrician, he admitted grudgingly. If you didn't, he sent men to come and take it away.
'Peace?' said Vetinari. 'Ah, yes, defined as period of time to allow for preparation for the next war.'
I must confess the activities of the UK governments for the past couple of years have been watched with frank admiration and amazement by Lord Vetinari. Outright theft as a policy had never occurred to him.
Never build a dungeon you wouldn't be happy to spend the night in yourself. The world would be a happier place if more people remembered that.
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.
I think that sick people in Ankh-Morpork generally go to a vet. It's generally a better bet. There's more pressure on a vet to get it right. People say it was god's will when granny dies, but they get angry when they lose a cow.
You'll see! We're going to the palace. Fetch Angua. We might need her. And bring the search warrant. You mean the sledgehammer, sir? Yes.
Ordinary fortune-tellers tell you what you want to happen; witches tell you what's going to happen whether you want it to or not. Strangely enough, witches tend to be more accurate but less popular.
And our lady friend, she thinks life works like a fairy tale.' Well, that's harmless, isn't it?' Yeah, but in fairy tales, when someone dies... it's just a word.
Someone out there was about to find that their worst nightmare was a maddened Librarian. With a badge.
It was said that life was cheap in Ankh-Morpork. This was of course, completely wrong. Life was often very expensive; you could get death for free.
As far as I'm concerned, I'm a writer who's writing books, and therefore, I don't want to die. You'd miss the end of the book, wouldn't you? You can't die with an unfinished book.
The conversation of human beings seldom interested him, but it crossed his mind that the males and females always got along best when neither actually listened fully to what the other one was saying.
Most armies are in fact run by their sergeants -- the officers are there just to give things a bit of tone and prevent warfare becoming a mere lower-class brawl.
What a mess the world was in, Vimes reflected. Constable Visit had told him the meek would inherit it, and what had the poor devils done to deserve that?
Last night there seemed to be a chance. Anything was possible last night. That was the trouble with last nights. They were always followed by this mornings.
In theory it was, around now, Literature. Susan hated Literature. She'd much prefer to read a good book.
In order to have a change of fortune at the last minute, you have to take your fortune to the last minute.
Gods, it felt good. Hot water was civilization. Vimes could feel the stiffness in his muscles melting away in the warmth.
Actors, said Granny, witheringly. As if the world weren't full of enough history without inventing more.
Mr. False! No, don't start grabbing the chickens! Better off farmer with no chickens than a load of chickens with no farmer! Anyway, they'll probably float, or fly, or something!
Many feel they are called to the priesthood, but what they really hear is an inner voice saying, 'It's indoor work with no heavy lifting, do you want to be a ploughman like your father?'
Mister Teatime had a truly brilliant mind, but it was brilliant like a fractured mirror, all marvellous facets and rainbows but, ultimately, also something that was broken.
It doesn't matter if dragons are flying overhead or whatever -- a lot of Victoriana is still cut in the frame of fantasy.
Oh, come on. Revelation was a mushroom dream that belonged in the Apocrypha. The New Testament is basically about what happened when God got religion.
You will have to look a long way before you find a bunch of scum-suckers more greedy, humourless and deserving of death than the suits in the music business.
Vimes stalked gloomily through the crowded streets, feeling like the only pickled onion in a fruit salad.
One of the highlights of the first Good Omens tour was Neil and I walking through New York singing Shoehorn with Teeth. Well, we'd had a good breakfast. And you don't get mugged, either.
Plot exposition that can be gently wound out by the authorial voice and internal monologue of a character in the length of a page has to be delivered in a matter of seconds on the stage.
Insofar as he'd formed any opinion of her, it was that she suffered from misplaced gentility and the mistaken belief that etiquette meant good breeding. She mistook mannerisms for manners.
I do note with interest that old women in my books become young women on the covers... this is discrimination against the chronologically gifted.
It was quite impossible to describe. Here is what it looked like. It looked like a piano sounds shortly after being dropped down a well. It tasted yellow, and it felt Paisley. It smelled like the total eclipse of the moon.
Probably the last man who knew how it worked had been tortured to death years before. Or as soon as it was installed. Killing the creator was a traditional method of patent-protection.
You take a bunch of people who don't seem any different from you and me, but when you add them all together you get this sort of huge raving maniac with national borders and an anthem.
Sometimes the moon is light and sometimes it's in shadow, but you should always remember it's the same moon.
So much paperwork to read! So much paperwork to push away! So much paperwork to pretend he hadn't received and that might have been eaten by gargoyles.
Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life.
I'm up to my neck in the real world, every day. Just you try doing your VAT return with a head full of goblins.
The proliferation of luminous fungi or iridescent crystals in deep caves where the torchlessly improvident hero needs to see is one of the most obvious intrusions of narrative causality into the physical universe.
William wondered why he always disliked people who said 'no offense meant.' Maybe it was because they found it easier to to say 'no offense meant' than actually to refrain from giving offense.
The most important thing was that time had passed, pouring thousands of soothing seconds across the island. People need time to deal with the now before it runs away and becomes the then.
Let grammar, punctuation, and spelling into your life! Even the most energetic and wonderful mess has to be turned into sentences.
But that was just it -- hate was exactly the right word. Hate is a force of attraction. Hate is just love with its back turned.
Rumour is information distilled so finely that it can filter through anything. It does not need doors and windows -- sometimes it does not need people. It can exist free and wild, running from ear to ear without ever touching lips.
Stop stealing the funeral meats right now, you wee scuggers! She shouted. The Feegles stopped and stared at her. Then Rob Anybody said: Socks wi'oot feets?
But there was more to it than that. As the Amazing Maurice said, it was just a story about people and rats. And the difficult part of it was deciding who the people were, and who were the rats.
It was the heart of any scam or fiddle -- keep the punter uncertain, or, if he is certain, make him certain of the wrong thing.
We're a dying race, said Kwartz sadly, as the party set off under the stars. Young Jasper's the only pebble in our tribe. We suffer from philosophy, you know.
Oh, he did his best to make their short lives miserable, because that was his job, but nothing he could think up was half as bad as the stuff they thought up themselves.
It was a fine summer morning, the kind to make a man happy to be alive. And probably the man *would* have been happier to be alive. He was, in fact, dead. It would be hard to be deader without special training.
Somewhere around the place I've got an unfinished short story about Schrodinger's Dog; it was mostly moaning about all the attention the cat was getting.
In fact, if there were such a thing as an international thieving contest, Ankh-Morpork would bring home the trophy and probably everyone's wallets.
The beef stew tasted, indeed, just like beef stew and not, just to take an example completely and totally at random, stew made out of the last poor girl who'd worked here.
I would rather stare at the wall for half an hour than watch an episode of any of the 53,801 Australian soap operas now cluttering up UK TV.
The sun is simple. A sword is simple. A storm is simple. Behind everything simple is a huge tail of complicated.
The elevator shaft was a kind of heat sink. Hot food was cold by the time it arrived. Cold food got colder. No one knew what would happen to ice cream, but it would probably involve some rewriting of the laws of thermodynamics.
I know it's not the right thing to say to a lady, miss, but you are sweating like a pig! My mother always said that horses sweat, men perspire, and ladies merely glow… Is that so? Well, miss, you are glowing like a pig!
Books must be treated with respect, we feel that in our bones, because words have power. Bring enough words together they can bend space and time.
The calendar of the Theocracy of Muntab counts down, not up. No-one knows why, but it might not be a good idea to hang around and find out.
Things like crowns had a troublesome effect on clever folk; it was best to leave all the reigning to the kind of people whose eyebrows met in the middle when they tried to think. In a funny sort of way, they were much better at it.
Give anyone a lever long enough and they can change the world. It's unreliable levers that are the problem.
Money is an unavoidable consequence, but it isn't the reason I write; if it was, I wouldn't have written any of the YA books, because advances in that field are small compared to what I'd got now for an 'adult' DW.
And the people next door oppress me all night long. I tell them, I work all day, a man's got to have some time to learn to play the tuba. That's oppression, that is. If I'm not under the heel of the oppressor, I don't know who is.
Next comes the realist phase (After all, from a purely geometrical point of view a cat is only a tube with a door at the top.)
I know that I am a small, weak man, but I have amassed a large library; I dream of dangerous places.
Everyone knew there were wolves in the mountains, but they seldom came near the village -- the modern wolves were the offspring of ancestors that had survived because they had learned that human meat had sharp edges.
She walked quickly through the darkness with the frank stride of someone who was at least certain that the forest, on this damp and windy night, contained strange and terrible things and she was it.
A witch ought never to be frightened in the darkest forest, Granny Weatherwax had once told her, because she should be sure in her soul that the most terrifying thing in the forest was her.
The thing about witchcraft, said Mistress Weatherwax, is that it's not like school at all. First you get the test, and then afterward you spend years findin' out how you passed it. It's a bit like life in that respect.
Your average witch is not, by nature, a social animal.... The natural size of a coven is one. Witches only get together when they can't avoid it.
Mr. Tulip lived his life on that thin line most people occupy just before they haul off and hit someone repeatedly with a wrench.
No one thinks that young adults read books for young adults; books for young adults are read by kids.
His parents called him Youngster. They did this in the subconcious hope that he might take the hint. Wensleydale gave the impression of having been born with a mental age of 47.
Life is just chemicals. A drop here, a drip there, everything's changed. A mere dribble of fermented juices and sudenlly you're going to live another few hours.
The year was past the edge, heading away from the dark... Of course, dark would come again, but that was in the nature of the world. Many things were beginning.
You had to admire the way perfectly innocent words were mugged, ravished, stripped of all true meaning and decency, and then sent to walk the gutter for Reacher Gilt, although synergistically had probably been a whore from the start.
This is space. It's sometimes called the final frontier.
(Except that of course you can't have a final frontier, because there'd be nothing for it to be a frontier to, but as frontiers go, it's pretty penultimate ...)
No one knew where you were before you were born, but when you were born, it wasn't long before you found you'd arrived with your return ticket already punched.
Young man, the games we play are lessons we learn. The assumptions we make, things we ignore, and things we change make us what we become.
A marriage is always made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores.
He glanced at the sun which, old professional that it was, chose that moment to drop below the horizon.
Who shall I shoot? You choose. Now, listen very carefully: where's your coffee? You've got coffee, haven't you? C'mon, everyone's got coffee! Spill the beans!
Light died in the west. Night and tears took the Nation. The star of Water drifted among the clouds like a murderer softly leaving the scene of the crime.
There's always a story. It's all stories, really. The sun coming up every day is a story. Everything's got a story in it. Change the story, change the world.
He hated weapons, and not just because they'd so often been aimed at him. You got into more trouble if you had a weapon. People shot you instantly if they thought you were going to shoot them.
He hated weapons, and not just because they'd so often been aimed at him. You got into more trouble if you had a weapon. People shot you instantly if they thought you were going to shoot them. But if you were unarmed, they often stopped to talk. Admittedly, they tended to say things like, "You'll never guess what we're going to do to you, pal," but that took time. And Rincewind could do a lot with a few more seconds. He could use them to live longer in.
His progress through life was hampered by his tremendous sense of his own ignorance, a disability which affects all too few.
She was beautiful, but she was beautiful in the way a forest fire was beautiful: something to be admired from a distance, not up close.
If you want to change a whole people, then you start with the girls. It stands to reason: they learn faster, and they pass on what they learn to their children.
Using a metaphor in front of a man as unimaginative as Ridcully was like a red flag to a bu... was like putting something very annoying in front of someone who was annoyed by it.
It is said that the Devil has all the best tunes. This is broadly true. But Heaven has the best choreographers.
I've never really liked the Yanks. ... You can't trust people who pick up the ball all the time when they play football.
No, I happen to be one of those people whose memory shuts down under pressure. The answers would come to me in the middle of the night in my sleep! Besides, I am a millionaire.
The consensus seemed to be that if really large numbers of men were sent to storm the mountain, then enough might survive the rocks to take the citadel. This is essentially the basis of all military thinking.
We've strayed into a zone with a high magical index,' he said. 'Don't ask me how. Once upon a time a really powerful magic field must have been generated here, and we're feeling the after-effects.'
Precisely,' said a passing bush.
You don't want people to be kind to animals because they're animals, you just want people to be kind to animals because one of them might be you.
Mere animals couldn't possibly manage to act like this. You need to be a human being to be really stupid.
Steal five dollars and you're a common thief. Steal thousands and you're either the government or a hero.
The rising sun managed to peek around the vast column of smoke that forever rose from Ankh-Morpork, City of Cities, illustrating almost up to the edge of space that smoke means progress or, at least, people setting fire to things.
An Assassin, a real Assassin had to look like one-black clothes, hood, boots, and all. If they could wear any clothes, any disguise, then what could anyone do but spend all day in a small room with a loaded crossbow pointed at the door?
The universe, they say, depended for its operation on the balance of four forces which they identified as charm, persuasion, uncertainty, and bloody-mindedness.
Now look, snapped the Dean, we've searched everywhere for a decent library on this island. There simply isn't one! It's ridiculous. How is anyone supposed to get anything done?
If there were such a thing as an inter-city thieving contest, Ankh-Morpork would bring home the trophy and probably everyone's wallets.
Juliet's version of cleanliness was next to godliness, which was to say it was erratic, past all understanding and was seldom seen.
And, as always happens, and happens far too soon, the strange and wonderful becomes a memory and a memory becomes a dream. Tomorrow it's gone.
Some people believe that when you die, you cross the River of Death and have to pay the ferryman. People don't seem to worry about that these days. Perhaps there's a bridge now.
Sergeant Colon of the Ankh-Morpork City Guard was on duty. He was guarding the Brass Bridge, the main link between Ankh and Morpork. From theft.
When it came to crime prevention, Sergeant Colon found it safest to think big.
People who didn't need people needed people around to know that they were the kind of people who didn't need people.