Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Banananana Surprise anyone?

Since my last post concerned Phantom of the Opera, I thought I'd cover one of my favorite worlds, specifically a book within that world that's a literary parody of Phantom.

For those who have never delved into the happy world of Discworld, Terry Pratchett created a wonderfully satiric medieval lite world that reads like Monty Python playing Dungeons and Dragons. There are several characters he follows around, depending on the volume, but one, Maskerade, somehow manages to bring several characters together into one big grand guignol of comedy.

We start with Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax trying to meet as witches, only to find they really need a third. ("Three witches are a coven. Two witches are an argument.") Nanny tries to recruit Agnes Nitt (AKA Perdita X. Dream) to the coven, only to find that Agnes has left for Ankh-Morpork to sing in the Opera.

Of course, Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax find an excuse to go to Ankh-Morpork, mainly due to missing royalties on Nanny Ogg's cookbook, which she wrote under the pseudonym, The Lancre Witch. Given Granny Weatherwax feels she's more deserving of that title, she has a few ideas of her own in mind by the time the arrive in Ankh-Morpork. (As a side note, Granny ends up playing cards with Death to save a baby. This is one of Death's many cameos in this book. Given Death is an inveterate scene stealer...)

Anyway, Perdita is singing in the chorus, although what she's REALLY doing is a Debbie Reynolds in Singin' in the Rain. Which is to say Perdita is singing the lead over the horribly vocally untalented Christina. Christina got the lead due to beauty and her ability to faint at appropriate times.

By the end of this, we have 2 Phantoms running around (3 if you count the anthropomorphic cat Greebo, who poses as the Phantom briefly), the whole of Pseudopolis Yard investigating, 3 witches, Death, Death-of-Rats, the librarian from Unseen University on organ, and a plot that gets so convoluted that it matches any opera in terms of scope and silliness.

As much as I love all of Discworld, even the ones that are more commentary than funny, this one ranks as my all time favorite. Although if you've never read any of it, the series starts with Rincewind in The Colour of Magic.