In the sixth part of Lords and Ladies, the wizards get closer to Lancre, and Magrat yearns for some entertainment. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
The coach rattled across the featureless plains. The land between Ankh-Morpork and the Ramtops was fertile, well-cultivated and dull, dull, dull. Travel broadens the mind. This landscape broadened the mind because the mind just flowed out from the ears like porridge. It was the kind of landscape where, if you saw a distant figure cutting cabbages, you’d watch him until he was out of sight because there was simply nothing else for the eye to do.
The first time I went to San Francisco from Los Angeles, my excitement only lasted two hours. That sensation – the endless thrill I possessed when thinking about visiting a city I’d always wanted to travel to – gave way to a different kind of eagerness. I wanted to make it to the Bay Area because I was so sick of staring at nothing for hours. There’s a brutal stretch along the 5 freeway in California that seems to stretch on for an eternity. I used to think that part of the reason for my boredom whenever I traveled that route was because I became so familiar with it. There’s no way I could possibly count how many times I’ve been in a car down that highway. A hundred times? Five hundred? It went up drastically in the five years I lived in the Bay, since the bulk of my friends and family were here in Los Angeles.
But I’ve been with plenty of people who, for the first time, experience this drive. And I often here the same things: “I thought California was beautiful.” “Why are there so many fields?” “Why does it smell so bad?” “Please tell me there’s somewhere to stop soon.” “Where’s the ocean?” “Why is it so hot?”
Now, I like California. A lot. And I give that massive swath of the state a hard time almost entirely because of that stretch of road. (Well, there’s also a ton of awful politics in that part of the state, too, but that’s a separate issue.) One of the things that’s kept me here since 1992 is the fact that practically anything I want is a drive away. Mountains? Oceans? Stunning deserts? Forests? Temperate climates? Snow? Heat? Some of the best Mexican and Central American food outside of those respective countries/nations? You get the idea. It’s all here.
Which is why that stretch is so goddamn boring. An hour out of the Bay? Everything is awesome and beautiful. An hour from downtown Los Angeles? Same thing. Some stunning vistas, the wildflowers of Gorman, the Tejon Pass, the Aqueduct… there’s a ton to look at. (And you can always stop at Magic Mountain to ride some of the best coasters in the world.) But once you drop down the Pass and into the central valley, it’s like everything California is known for disappears. (Which is an exaggeration, of course; our agriculture is vital to the well-being of millions of people. It’s just not all that fun to look at.) You could venture to a million different fantastic locations to the east and to the west, but all of them add significant hours to the journey. (But hey, they’re worth it. Yosemite! Hearst Castle! SO MUCH BEAUTIFUL WILDERNESS!) Ultimately, the best trip to take – and one I finally got to do nearly a decade ago – is to drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco entirely up the 1/101 freeway. It hugs the coast, and it’s so pretty it’ll ruin your fucking life. Especially since you’ll then despise the 5 even more, knowing that such a good time isn’t really that far away.
However, I cannot guarantee that Casanunda will show up at all. I’m sure you can find someone to lose $8,000 to in a card game, though.
That has to be what the Lords and Ladies universe is. Right???
But there are also stagnant pools, universes cut off from past and future. They have to steal pasts and futures from other universes; their only hope is to batten on to the dynamic universes as they pass through the fragile period, as remora fish hang on to a passing shark. These are the parasite universes and, when the crop circles burst like raindrops, they have their chance…
It fits, but I can only say that because it feels right. I can’t actually support that with canon. Why a unicorn? Why an elf? Why are these things in that universe and not the Discworld one? Bah, WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?
Unsurprisingly, Magrat is still bored in the castle. Who can blame her? With nothing to do because Verence ignores her all the time, she’s left to her own devices CONSTANTLY. We do get to meet Hodgesaargh, the royal falconer. That was neat! And the Royal Beekeeper seems to dispense a bit of foreshadowing about queens, but I can’t figure out what the larger picture is. Who would the other queen be that Magrat would have to fight with? It doesn’t make any sense to me, and I don’t think Pratchett would put this whole monologue in the middle of the book if we weren’t meant to pay attention to it.
I guess it might be the unicorn’s owner from the parasite universe??? MAYBE????
The original text contains use of the words mad, insane, and crazy.
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