84

In the real world, there is or was a belief, brought on by the Egyptomania of the early 20th century, that pyramids had special powers—including, specifically, the power to sharpen or maintain the sharpness of razor blades. Pyramid power refers to the belief that the ancient Egyptian pyramids and objects of similar shape can confer a variety of benefits. ...


82

You're referring to the quote below from Small Gods between the Great God Om (presently in the form of a small turtle) and his acolyte Brother Brutha (presently in the form of a slightly befuddled young man) on the relative worth of philosophers to society. “The reason why Omnia hasn’t got much of a fleet any more,” said Om. “That’s why it’s always worth ...


55

Moist understands how Reacher Gilt thinks (because it's the same way he himself thinks). He knows that Gilt will expect Moist to have a cunning plan to win by cheating. So Moist obliges him with a fake method of cheating for Gilt to discover and foil. But because they are both not just clever but superlatively clever, Gilt will suspect that any ploy that ...


53

It's a reference to the use of Logo (a programming language) to control robots referred to as "turtles".


49

This is a reference to the popular myth that placing a razor blade inside a pyramid shape somehow confers magical powers on it, keeping it sharp, something that that inspired multiple patents in the 1950s. Interestingly, this does actually work in the world of the Discworld, but not for the reasons you might think. Pyramids cause a slowing (and in extreme ...


47

This is from Maskerade, in relation to Greebo the cat's transformation into a human. The allusion is that it's very hard to do something once (e.g. turn a cat into a man) but that once it had happened, it was infinitely easier to accomplish again. But magic is never as simple as people think. It has to obey certain universal laws. And one is that, no ...


38

Replace the dragon with a toad, and you get "The Wee Free Men", the first of Pratchett's Tiffany Aching cycle. The protagonist is Tiffany Aching, a 9 year old girl who lives on a sheep farm. The sheep are not a major plot point, but a lot of Tiffany's life revolves around them. Thinking about the rest of Pratchett's works, I don't recall any books with a ...


36

This blog post says the original line, in Pratchett's Mort, is He remembered being summoned into reluctant existence at the moment the first creature lived, in the certain knowledge he would outlive life until the last being in the universe passed to its reward, when it would then be his job, figuratively speaking, to put the chairs on the tables and ...


33

The very short answer is that he was already sharing his timer between himself and the little girl. He wasn't sure how much time he had left, courtesy of Miss Flitcroft's timer (possibly only seconds) and grabbed for the first weapon he could reach. Renata Flitcroft was able to give Bill Door some of her time, but given that she was also almost dead (of a ...


27

I've yet to find any specific attribution, but presumably the name "Maurice the Cat" is a play on the famous ... "Morris the Cat" ... the official 'spokescat' for a popular brand of catfood in Britain (and the colonies) and a household name in the 1970s. It's inconceivable that a notorious cat-lover like Pratchett would have been unaware of this famous ...


26

I have only found two quotes for now (source) : In Interesting Times Many things went on at Unseen University and, regrettably, teaching had to be one of them. The faculty had long ago confronted this fact and had perfected various devices for avoiding it. But this was perfectly all right because, to be fair, so had the students. In Moving Pictures "...


26

Recently there was a reading guide released for Discworld. note: the website seems to regularly be inaccessible, and there are some noticeable typos in the infographic as of January 2016 (see second answer for a semi regularly updated/corrected fan alternative) For order of publication start at the triangle point leading to "The Color of Magic." For topic ...


26

Your easy reference for these paradoxes is here. Two related paradoxes are being referred to. The paradox where the tortoise can outrun the arrow is the real life 'Achilles and the Tortoise', which you already seem to understand. Achilles (the arrow) can never catch the Tortoise because by the time he reaches the tortoise's position the tortoise has ...


24

1940: The earliest source I know of for the "Gods Require Belief" idea is Lester del Rey's short story "The Pipes of Pan", first published in the Unknown Fantasy Fiction, May 1940, available at the Internet Archive. Pan burying his last worshiper: Pan's great shoulders drooped as he wiped the last of the earth from his hands. Experimentally, he chirped ...


24

In the Discworld universe, bogeymen are anthropomorphic personifications of childhood fears. I.E they pop out of thin air if enough people believe in them. Other anthropomorphic personifications include the gods and DEATH. The Tooth Fairy was the very first bogeyman to appear. After many many years of interracting with children, he became fond of them and ...


22

I didn't find any direct joke concerning Elvis and Pollution in Good Omens yet, but the fact that the fourth horseman is described as "a young man dressed all in white. [...] He looked like Victorian Romantic poets looked just before the consumption and drug abuse really started to cut it" can be seen as covert references to Elvis' well known suiting habits ...


22

The main difference between Strata (and Dark Side Of The Sun) and the (later) Discworld series is that Strata is a parody of Larry Niven's Ringworld, and as such parodies common Science Fiction tropes. The Discworld, however, parodies common Fantasy tropes, and, as the series progressed, generic tropes in fiction alongside parodies of other institutions. ...


21

This "island" you're referring to is in fact the Necropolis, literally a city of the dead with streets of small tombs and mausoleums surrounding the enormous pyramids. The city of Djel is on one side of the river with the (far larger) Necropolis on the other side. Dios regularly travels into the necropolis to take advantage of the time-reversing effects of ...


19

"two authors who are each well-known and have distinctive styles in their own right" - not according to them. In fact, they make this point multiple times - in the introduction to the book and elsewhere - that they were not "the Terry Pratchett" and "the Neil Gaiman" 1 . Gaiman hadn't written any novels at that time (okay, one novel - Don't Panic, a ...


19

At an educated guess, Pratchett and Gaiman are referring to the creation of S4C, the Welsh-language TV channel which began broadcasting in 1982. (Good Omens was published in 1990 and mostly written in 1988.) At this time, the UK had a total of four broadcast television channels. Channel 5 was not launched until 1997. S4C's English-language counterpart, ...


18

Yes! The broken leg is significant. When the witches are participating in the play because Hwel has mistaken them for his own actors, Hwel gives them a pep talk that concludes with, "Break a leg." After he leaves, Nanny mutters, "Break your own leg." Hwel slapped Magrat on the bottom. "Good complexion you've got there, Wilph," he said encouragingly. "But ...


17

Rincewind never needed to escape the capsule since he wasn't inside of it but rather on top of it as it went over the edge of the Disc: The wheels slammed into it, but the only effect was to make the ship rock, Twoflower to lose his grip on the ladder and fall into the cabin, and the hatch to slam down with the horrible sound of a dozen fiddly little ...


17

This is the legend of 'Pyramid Power' From Wikipedia: Pyramid power refers to the belief that the ancient Egyptian pyramids and objects of similar shape can confer a variety of benefits. Among these assumed properties are the ability to preserve foods, sharpen or maintain the sharpness of razor blades, improve health, function "as a thought-form ...


16

A few different cultures have turtles/tortoises as well as elephants as part of their creation myths. As a combined image, however, it may have come down through the years partly from John Locke, a philosopher who used the example in his book An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, in a mocking way, of an elephant holding up the world, and a turtle holding ...


16

While purely ceramic guns haven't been successfully produced in real life, someone might find a way if having them became a top priority to governments - when Maggie Kauffman first meets Sally Linsay, she notices that the latter has a "ceramic composite rifle". An even more plausible explanation is given when Roberta has her first surface trip on the ...


15

Death is consistently portrayed as a nice guy (well, animate anthromorphic personification), but somewhat befuddled by human relations. I've always read the scene as one of time travel{*} and assumed that he meant to give the horse to Albert in his roll as the servant in "proper time" (whatever that means). In short he wants to make Albert happy and thinks ...


15

TL;DR: The trope is almost as old as fiction itself. The ancient Babylonian flood myth, The Epic of Atrahasis, which inspired the better known Epic of Gilgamesh and the biblical flood narrative, was written circa 1800 BCE. In this story, the gods wipe out humanity with a global flood, then find themselves starving to death because, with no humans left to ...


14

The very short answer to this is "no". The reach of the City's Watch only extends to murders carried out by non-members of the Guild of Assassins. Where a registered Assassin commits the murder (or as they would say, "inhumation") and adheres to their strict rules and procedures laid out by the Guild themselves, notably providing forewarning to the person ...


14

No, Terry Pratchett never worked for BT. According to the extended biography on TerryPratchettBooks Sir Terry worked for several newspapers until 1979 when he became a Press Officer for the Central Electricity Generating Board. In 1983 he published 'The Colour of Magic' and became a full time author. BT was not formed until 1981 and became a privatised ...


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