Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Memory Lane: "Equal Rites" by Terry Pratchett

After some work and holiday delays, I continue to my return tour of the Discworld with Terry Pratchett’s third book of the series, “Equal Rites” ($9.99, Harper Collins).

A dying wizard comes to the tiny mountain village of Bad Ass to visit the local blacksmith, an eighth son who is, that very night, expecting his eighth son. It’s a magical number, and as soon as the child is born, the wizard passes his power on to it. Then, he discovers that it’s a girl, and he has accidentally unleashed the first female wizard on the Discworld.

Eskarina Smith grows up under the close eye of the witch who will become, arguably, the greatest power on Pratchett’s Disc, Esme Weatherwax. Granny’s hope is to turn Esk into a witch, but it soon becomes apparent that the wizard magic has hold of her.

To help the girl, Granny will have to leave her mountain home and travel to Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork, where they’ll face the daunting task of getting the all-boys club to admit a woman into their ranks.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Tell-Tale Thoughts: "The Black Cat"

Ah, a series that I started with best intentions that, like so many things the last few years, fell by the wayside. But rather than wall it up in some damp catacomb, I’m going to try to revive it, mainly because I really want to revisit these stories.

I’ll begin with a story that was one of my favorites in my first few years as a Poe worshipper – “The Black Cat.” On revisiting the story, it’s really no surprise how much I loved it back then. It bears a striking resemblance to my favorite tale, and the one that started me on the journey, “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Our narrator, a condemned man, tells a harrowing story of his descent into alcoholism and depravity, which changed him from a meek, easy-going animal lover to a murderous monster.