In the twenty-third chapter of Darwin’s Watch, Ridcully suggests a radical solution to the problem of Darwin. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Science of Discworld III.
Well, this was a surprise.
So, at this point in the book, we know that there is one main source of the problem in Darwin’s time: the Auditors. They intervened in subtle, bizarre ways to derail humanity in order to cause their extinction five hundred years or so in the future, and the primary way they did so was to stop Darwin from publishing The Origin of Species. But there’s another angle here, one that’s finally revealed once Ridcully pushes Stibbons to take Darwin to Mono Island.
Yet before I got to that point, I was confused. So, the wizards had mounted their war on the Auditors to get them out of Roundworld. This allowed the wizards to close up all the timeline diversions that they’d caused. Thus, the last problem remained: the accidental transport of Darwin to the Discworld. Admittedly, that’s a HUGE problem. The more Darwin spends in this world, the higher chance there is that he’ll return to his own universe and… well, there are so many possibilities! The point being that he could very well NOT write his pivotal book. Granted, he still thinks this is all some fever dream of hallucinatory nightmare, but surely, the best option here is to get him back to Roundworld with as little exposure to the weirdness of the Disc. Right? Right???
Except THAT IS CERTAINLY NOT WHAT HAPPENS. Darwin has seen SO MUCH, and the wizards just keeping giving him more information??? HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SOLVE THIS??? Because like Ponder, I knew that taking Darwin to Mono Island was a mistake. That place is MADE to give nightmares, first of all, to anyone who hasn’t been there. And Darwin isn’t even from this universe!!! And yet, because Ridcully is the Archchancellor, Stibbons has to do this, and then, Darwin gets to witness a bandage plant. And a pencil bush. And a tortoise on wheels. AND FLOATING WHALES. I still can’t get over “sea-air ballistic shark” either!
Anyway, right in the midst of this is a HUGE reveal:
‘Yes, the grey people said you were very interested in evolution,’ said the god.
‘The grey people?’ said Ponder.
‘Oh yes, you know. You see them flying around sometimes. They said someone really wanted to listen to my views. I was so pleased. Lots of people just laugh.’
And there we have it: the reason why the God of Evolution even got involved! It fits perfectly with the kind of intervention we would see from the Auditors. It’s subtle, requires little work on their part, and clearly, it chaotically upset the timeline.
So, how the fuck do the wizards fix this? They’re actually not wiping Darwin’s mind without his consent. (And I should note that I was pleased that this was brought up so openly!) Darwin, on the other hand, seems to want to forget all of this and is ready to return to Roundworld. So, what’s the memory that Ridcully wants to give him? How will it show Darwin why the wizards did what they did?
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