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Guards! Guards!
by
Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett

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Guards! Guards!

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Fantasy

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Guards! Guards!

Copyright © 1989 by Terry and Lyn Pratchett

The truth is that even big collections of ordinary books distort space [...] The relevant equation is:

Knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass;
a good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.

Topic:

Books (general)

“To the axeman, all supplicants are the same height.”

Topic:

Capital punishment

“Demarcation, they call it,” said Brother Plasterer. “Like, I don’t go around fiddling with the mystic interleaved wossnames of causality, and they don’t do any plastering.”

Letters rarely got written in that mine. Work stopped and the whole clan had sat around in respectful silence as his pen scrittered across the parchment. [...] His sister had been sent down to the village to ask Mistress Garlick the witch how you stopped spelling recommmendation.

Topic:

Spelling

“Don’t we have to chant a mystic prune or something?”

Topic:

Magic

Over the door a motto in the ancient tongue of the city was now almost eroded by time and grime and lichen, but could just be made out:

FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC

It translated – according to Sergeant Colon, who had served in foreign parts and considered himself an expert on languages – as ‘To Protect and to Serve’.

Topic:

Translation

Thick coils of smoke hung in the air, perhaps to avoid touching the walls.
He couldn’t help remembering how much he had wanted a puppy when he was a little boy. Mind you, they’d been starving – anything with meat on it would have done.
You tell them a lie, and then when you don’t need it any more you tell them another lie and tell them they’re progressing along the road to wisdom. Then instead of laughing they follow you even more, hoping that at the heart of all the lies they’ll find the truth. And bit by bit they accept the unacceptable. Amazing.

Topic:

Propaganda

“The Patrician announced a reward of fifty thousand dollars to anyone who brings him the dragon’s head. Not attached to the dragon, either; he’s no fool, that man.”

Colon was sulking because Vimes had forbidden him to use his bow and arrow.

These weren’t encouraged in the city, since the heft and throw of a longbow’s arrow could send it through an innocent bystander a hundred yards away rather than the innocent bystander at whom it was aimed.

Topic:

Weaponry

There was no difference at all between the richest man and the poorest beggar, apart from the fact that the former had lots of money, food, power, fine clothes, and good health. But at least he wasn’t any better. Just richer, fatter, more powerful, better dressed and healthier.

Topic:

Wealth

Noble dragons don’t have friends. The nearest they can get to the idea is an enemy who is still alive.

Topic:

Dragons

[...] Lady Ramkin smiled the iron-hard blank smile of a high-born lady who is determined not to show that she has understood what has just been said to her.

“Might have been just an innocent bystander, sir,” said Carrot.

“What, in Ankh-Morpork?”

“Yes, sir.”

“We should have grabbed him, then, just for the rarity value,” said Vimes.

Topic:

Innocence

The three rules of the Librarians of Time and Space are: 1) Silence; 2) Books must be returned no later than the last date shown; and 3) Do not interfere with the nature of causality.

Topics:

Libraries

Time Travel

If there was anything that depressed him more than his own cynicism, it was that quite often it still wasn’t as cynical as real life.

Topics:

Cynicism

Humanity

City law said that only condemned criminals should be used, but that was all right because in most of the religions refusing to volunteer for sacrifice was an offence punishable by death.

Topic:

Churches

“I mean, it wouldn’t want us to go around killing its own kind, would it?”

“Well, sir, people do, sir,” said the guard sulkily.

“Ah, well,” said the captain. “That’s different.” He tapped the side of his helmet meaningfully. “That’s ’cos we’re intelligent.”

Topics:

War

Intelligence

“Never build a dungeon you wouldn’t be happy to spend the night in yourself,” said the Patrician, laying out the food on the cloth. “The world would be a happier place if more people remembered that.”

Topic:

Jail

text checked (see note) Mar 2005; Feb 2006

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Graphics copyright © 2003 by Hal Keen