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Graham Willis (Braintree, Essex, England)

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The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents (Discworld Novels)
The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents (Discworld Novels)
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This fantastically engrossing story is a Discworld classic., 12 Jan 2003
The fact that this novel based in the Discworld is shorter than many of Pratchett's masterpieces that are so popular with the public, such as 'Hogfather', 'Guards Guards!', and the latest installment 'Night Watch' is irrelevant when a book such as 'The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents' is such a refreshing and entertaining read. This tremendously written story that Pratchett has aimed to make more accessible to children as well as his hardcore Discworld adult fanatics has no bearing on the enjoyment that you will gain from reading it. The plots are not watered down, the characters are more enjoyable than ever before, and the usual magic that Pratchett writes with is still there and stronger than ever.
The storyline involves 'Maurice' (a ragged tabby cat who has recently become abnormally intelligent for a cat, thinking like a human, speaking like a human, and acquiring a strange urgency to ask mice and rats if they can speak before he eats them), many rats who have also taken the same course as Maurice, becoming intelligent, and... un-rat-like (they take orders from the head rat 'Darktan' such as widdling on the cheese, and tap-dancing on the dinner table), and a 'stupid looking kid' named 'Keith'. Maurice has survived four years in Ankh Morpork, struggling to survive, and when he takes his transformation to intelligence after eating a magical rat that lived among his new friend rats in the magical waste dump outside Unseen University, he suddenly comes up with a plan, involving travelling around the Disc from town to town, with a stupid looking kid he just found who plays a flute, a plague of intelligent rats who will take orders from him, and gaining A LOT of money for it.
Pratchett creates such strong personalities for the rats, that when you are reading you really do believe that rats are like this in every day life, and they really do have different squadrons such as 'Widdling Section' and 'Trap Disposal'.
This book will not take you long to read, and it doesn't include the amount of philosophy in Pratchett's other Discworld novels, but it is the most entertaining read I have had for a long time. Buy it, read it, and then discover the other masterpieces that have been produced by the greatest living author.

Hogfather: Discworld: The Death Collection (Discworld Novels)
Hogfather: Discworld: The Death Collection (Discworld Novels)
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death's limited understanding of life is a hilarious read, 3 Jan 2003
One of the longest Discworld novels Terry has written makes for an incredibly hilarious read, thanks to the inclusion of some brilliant new characters and multiple stories that are read almost simultaneously: The wizards and their discovery of some strange beings that inexplicably come into being ('Sock Eaters', 'The oh God of Hangovers', and possibly the funniest being the 'Verucca Gnome'), Susan and her quest to solve the whole mystery and Death and Albert. The book really makes you think philosophically which is more interesting than it sounds! I don't want to give too much of the fantastic plot away (because I can't be bothered), but it is classic Pratchett.

Pisces Iscariot
Pisces Iscariot
Offered by westworld-
Price: £10.00

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The album of B-sides that beats many bands best efforts, 3 Jan 2003
This review is from: Pisces Iscariot (Audio CD)
It is very tempting to give this album 5 stars because I am such a huge admirer of The Smashing Pumpkins, but it is not what I would consider a 'true classic' that full marks would suggest (it is only a B-sides album afterall), but that means in no way it is a bad album. Many of the tracks are taken from the early days of the Smashing Pumpkins, songs that have been lost and then found, and some that were before now, very very rare.
The album sleeve is also a great piece of Pumpkins history because inside is a long passage written by Billy Corgan himself, describing how each song was recorded and how the ideas of each song came about, which is fascinating when listening to the album.
If this is the first Smashing pumpkins album you are thinking of buying, then I suggest to get their recent best hits album 'Rotten Apples' or the legendary 'Siamese Dream' or 'Melon Collie...' to get familiar with their more accesible songs, and then move on to this album along with other later albums such as 'Adore'.
This is a beautiful album to really listen to, it is definitely not background music if that is what you are thinking of buying it for. The songs range from loud to quiet, with intricate guitar work and pounding drums. If you are already a fan of the band then do not hesitate in buying this gem of an album, it is a collection of B-sides that easily betters many bands studio recordings.

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