Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

What a Waste

There's a great exchange in Terry Pratchett's Faust Eric between Astfgl, the Demon King of Hell, and Quezovercoatl, a lesser demon who has set himself up as a tribal deity:


"'Whereupon you entered the mind of one of their high priests...drove him insane and inspired the tribes to unite, terrorise their neighbors and bring forth upon the continent a new nation dedicated to the proposition that all men should be taken to the top of ceremonial pyramids and be chopped up with stone knives.' The King pulled his notes toward him. 'Oh yes, some of them were also to be flayed alive,' he added...

'It was only, you know, a hobby,' said the imp. 'I thought, you know, it was the right thing, sort of thing. Death and destruction and that.'

'...That's the trouble with you people. You don't think of the Big Picture. I mean, look at the Tezumen. Gloomy, unimaginative, obsessive...by now they could have invented a whole bureaucracy and taxation system that could have turned the minds of the continent to slag. Instead of which, they're just a bunch of second-rate-axe-murderers. What a waste.'"

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