“You can’t give or take ten elephants, boss,” said M’Bu firmly. He knew that counting elephants was a precision job. A man might be uncertain about how many wives he had, but never about elephants. Either you had one, or you didn’t.

Moving Pictures: Discworld #10

Terry Pratchett | 1990 | 355 Pages


The Plotmovingpictures

Alchemists have figured how to make motion pictures, and now the remote area of Holy Wood is booming with business. Victor and Ginger are two aspiring stars in this wacky new industry… which also happens to be seeping some strange magic into the world.


Do you like references to old Hollywood? Little wink-wink-nudges to classic films, movie star dogs, and biblical epics? Moving Pictures may be the book for you. The story, which features nearly all new characters to the Discworld saga, is a satire on the real-life motion picture business… though with some expected magical spins on them. You’ll get acting trolls and artistic demons galore.


Unfortunately, those references and asides are the best things about an otherwise forgettable story. None of the characters were particularly interesting, funny, or compelling. The plot seemed like it was just loosely tied together to serve as a backdrop to all of the different allusions. The same could probably be said for many Discworld plots, sure, but those stories tended to have something else going for it. Character, continuity, something. Moving Pictures seemed to move from reference to reference with not much of interest in between. I just didn’t feel adequately invested in what was going on. A story about actors captivating the world just didn’t captivate… well… me.

Should You Read This?

If you’re a Discworld completionist, take a stab at it. I’ve been going in publication order without skipping anything, so this was the next title on the radar. There are some small connections to previous books, but it stands alone for the most part. You could read nothing before it and get it. You could also skip it and move on to Reaper Man and not miss all that much. Your call. Some people seem to link this one much more than I did. Maybe you’ll be one of them?