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This review is from: Moving Pictures: (Discworld Novel 10): A Discworld Novel (Discworld Novels) (Paperback)Moving Pictures, the 10th Discworld novel, finds Pratchett continuing to move away from satirising the fantasy genre, and marks the first occasion where he uses the device of introducing a real world concept into his fantasy world (later examples include popular music (Soul Music), guns (Men At Arms), and newspapers (The Truth)), in effect using the Discworld as a distorting mirror to hold up against our own world.
In Moving Pictures the concept borrowed from our reality (in this case literally slipping through the cracks of the multiverse) is that of cinema, with the invention of the moving picture sending Ankh-Morpork film crazy. The novel itself plays well with the concept of the power of dreams to influence reality, with the Holy Wood dreams providing a gateway to Lovecraftian Things, complete with a sunken cinema from ancient times that is straight out of Lovecraft's Call of Cthulhu story. The main cast are either original to this book (such as the hero's Victor Tugelbend and Theda Withel) or had previously only been supporting characters (this marks the emergence of Cut-Me-Own-Throat-Dibbler from a one-joke supporting character to a starring role), which means this book is very accessible to those who haven't read every single previous book in the series. Moving Pictures is also the first novel where Pratchett tidies up the supporting cast of wizards from the Unseen University, so that instead of changing from book to book they actually become a strong cast of recurring characters.
When I first read this novel I was convinced that this was as good as the Discworld novels got - re-reading it however does highlight one flaw, which is the amount Pratchett milks his one main idea. There are moments when Pratchett provides a great spin on his concept of Hollywood hitting the Discworld, such a the brilliant finale where thanks to the orang-utan Librarian and a 50-foot woman the climax of King Kong is turned on it's head, or the brain-dead Lassie dog getting all the attention while a real talking dog is ignored, but at other times Pratchett's lampooning of Hollywood seems rather lazy - there is nothing intrinsically funny in his renaming of popcorn as banged corn, or the Oscar statuette as Oswald, or Gone With the Wind as Blow Away - and after about the 100th movie quote Pratchett's one joke stops being amusing.
Still, while it may occasionally seem to be more a collection of homage's to Hollywood and H.P. Lovecraft more than any original concepts, Moving Picture is nevertheless one of Pratchett's better novels, and a good choice for a reader introduction to the insanity of the Discworld.