Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett

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(The Book of Going Forth)

Copyright © 1989 by Terry and Lyn Pratchett

Book I

The Book of Going Forth
Her singing always cheered him up. Life seemed so much brighter when she stopped.



The major Guilds policed the city with more thoroughness and certainly more success than the old Watch had ever managed, and it was true that any freelance and unlicensed thief caught by the Thieves’ Guild would soon find himself remanded in custody for social inquiry reports plus having his knees nailed together*.

* When the Thieves’ Guild declared a General Strike in the Year of the Engaging Sloth, the actual level of crime doubled.

Now that he didn’t have a body to importune him with its insistent demands the world seemed full of astonishments, but unfortunately among the first of them was the fact that much of what you thought was true now seemed as solid and reliable as marsh gas. And also that, just as he was fully equipped to enjoy the world, he was going to be buried inside a pyramid.

When you die, the first thing you lose is your life. The next thing is your illusions.



People needed to believe in gods, if only because it was so hard to believe in people.



Book II

The Book of the Dead

Perhaps, he thought, there is life somewhere else. On the stars, maybe. If it’s true that there are billions of universes stacked alongside one another, the thickness of a thought apart, then there must be people elsewhere.

But wherever they are, no matter how mightily they try, no matter how magnificent the effort, they surely can’t manage to be as godawfully stupid as us. I mean, we work at it.

Dunnikindiver: a builder and cleaner of cesspits. A particularly busy profession in Ankh-Morpork, where the water table is generally at ground level, and one which attracts considerable respect. At least, everyone passes by on the other side of the street when a dunnikindiver walks by.
The clothing these two wore would between them have covered a small saucer. And this was odd, because the net effect was to turn them into two attractive and mobile pieces of furniture, as sexless as pillars. Teppic sighed with the recollection of women in Ankh-Morpork who could be clothed from neck to ankle in brocade and still cause a classroom full of boys to blush to the roots of their hair.
They are so much brighter that they soon realized that the most prudent thing any intelligent animal can do, if it would prefer its descendants not to spend a lot of time on a slab with electrodes clamped to their brains or sticking mines on the bottom of ships or being patronized rigid by zoologists, is to make bloody certain humans don’t find out about it.



He was a religious man. It was a great comfort knowing that the gods were there. It was knowing they were here that was the terrible part.



Book III

The Book of the New Son

‘They have a new Tyrant every five years and they do something to him first.’ He hesitated. ‘I think they ee-lect him.’

‘Is that something like they do to tomcats and bulls and things?’


‘You know. To make them stop fighting and be more peaceful.’

Teppic winced. ‘To be honest, I’m not sure,’ he said. ‘But I don’t think so. They’ve got something they do it with, I think it’s called a mocracy, and it means everyone in the whole country can say who the new Tyrant is. One man, one—’ He paused. The political history lesson seemed a very long while ago, and had introduced concepts never heard of in Djelibeybi or in Ankh-Morpork, for that matter. He had a stab at it, anyway. ‘One man, one vet.’

‘That’s for the eelecting, then?’



No-one is more worried by the actual physical manifestation of a god than his priests; it’s like having the auditors in unexpectedly.



These men are philosophers, he thought. They had told him so. So their brains must be so big that they have room for ideas that no-one else would consider for five seconds.



‘We just prefer to, er, avoid paperwork wherever possible. You know? We don’t like people to have all the worry of having to know everything we do.’



‘This is a dream. I can’t tell you anything you don’t know yourself.’



‘Well, criminal’s a dirty word, know what I mean?’ said the little ancestor. ‘I’d prefer entrepreneur.’



Battle elephants were the fashion lately. They weren’t much good for anything except trampling on their own troops when they invariably panicked, so the military minds on both sides had responded by breeding bigger elephants.




Book IV

The Book of 101 Things A Boy Can Do

It is now known to science that there are many more dimensions than the classical four. Scientists say that these don’t normally impinge on the world because the extra dimensions are very small and curve in on themselves, and that since reality is fractal most of it is tucked inside itself. This means either that the universe is more full of wonders than we can hope to understand or, more probably, that scientists make things up as they go along.



The trouble with gods is that after enough people start believing in them, they begin to exist. And what begins to exist isn’t what was originally intended.

Man was never intended to understand things he meddled with.



‘I knew the two of you would get along like a house on fire.’ Screams, flames, people running for safety . . .

text checked (see note) Mar 2005

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