Terry Pratchett

Equal Rites


"Watch closely, the special effects are quite expensive.
A bass note sounds. It is a deep, vibrating chord that hints that the brass section may break in at any moment with a fanfare for the cosmos, because the scene is the blackness of deep space with a few stars glittering like the dandruff on the shoulders of God.
Then it comes into view overhead, bigger than the biggest, most unpleasantly-armed starcruiser in the imagination of a three-ring film-maker: a turtle, ten thousand miles long. It is Great A´Tuin, one of the rare astrochelonians from a universe where things are less as they are and more like people imagine them to be, and it carries on its meteor-pocked shell four giant elephants who bear on their enormous shoulders the great round wheel of the Discworld."

"Time passed, which, basically, is its job."

"Unlike Granny, who dressed like a very respectable raven, Hilta Goatfounder was all lace and shawls and colours and earrings and so many bangles that a mere movement of her arms sounded like a percussion section falling off a cliff."

"`How did you get here, little girl?´ she said, in a voice that suggested gingerbread cottages and the slamming of big stove doors."
- Mrs Skiller

"[...] the barge was passing between high orange cliffs now, banded with so many colours of rock it looked as though some hungry God had made the all-time record club sandwich [...]"

"He had the kind of real deep tan that rich people spend ages trying to achieve with expensive holidays and bits of tinfoil, when really all you need to do to obtain one is work your arse off in the open air every day."

"`If you were a boy I´d say are you going to search your fortune?´
`Can´t girls seek their fortune?´
I think they´re supposed to seek a boy with a fortune,´ said the man, and gave a 200-carat grin."
- Amschat B´hal Zoon and Esk

"[...] a hint was to Esk what a mosquito bite was to the average rhino because she was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don´t apply to you."

"Esk, of course, had not been trained, and it is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you´re attempting can´t be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a halfbrick in the path of the bicyle of history."

"For the first time in her life Granny wondered whether there might be something important in all these books people were setting such store by these days, although she was opposed to books on strict moral grounds, since she had heard that many of them were written by dead people and therefore it stood to reason reading them would be as bad as necromancy."

"The room inside was pink and frilly. There were frills on things that no one in their right mind would frill. It was like being inside candyfloss."

"It is well known that stone can think, because the whole of electronics is based on that fact, but in some universes men spend ages looking for other intelligences in the sky without once looking under their feet. That is because they´ve got the time-span all wrong. From stone´s point of view the universe is hardly created and mountain ranges are bouncing up and down like organ-stops while continents zip backwards and forwards in general high spirits, crashing into each other from the sheer joy of momentum and getting their rocks off."

"It´s a fact known throughout the universes that no matter how carefully the colours are chosen, institutional decor ends up as either vomit green, unmentionable brown, nicotine yellow or surgical appliance pink."

"`I look at it like this,´ he said. `Before I heard him talk, I was like everyone else. You know what I mean? I was confused and uncertain about all the little details of life. But now,´ he brightned up, `while I´m still confused and uncertain it´s on a much higher plane, d´you see, and at least I know I´m bewildered about the really fundamental and important facts of the universe.´
Treadle nodded. `I hadn´t looked at it like that,´ he said, `but you´re absolutely right. He´s really pushed back the boundaries of ignorance. There´s so much about the universe we don´t know.´
They both savoured the strange warm glow of being much more ignorant than ordinary people, who were ignorant of only ordinary things."
- enlightning discussion between the wizards Cutangle and Treadle about Simon´s theories

"The light was misty and actinic, the sort of light to make Steven Spielberg reach for his copyright lawyer."