Terry Pratchett is a genius.
During my breaks at work, I usually read a book or two. I had read a bit of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, but since moving to New Orleans, I have become truly addicted.
Each book satirizes a different topic (or two or three). Last night I read "Maskerade," which makes fun of Opera and musicals (namely "The Phantom of the Opera" by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber).
Normally I hate when authors write about music, since I rarely read anything that's accurate. Usually any attempts to write about music are painfully misconceived. But every subject that Mr. Pratchett tackles, he manages to sound like an insider writing to the uninitiated.
He manages to sum up so many absurdities so succintly that I often have to stop reading to laugh. Let me quote one passage from "Maskerade":
"Out in front the orchestra was already tuning up. The chorus was filing on to be A Busy Marketplace, in which various jugglers, gypsies, sword swallowers and gaily dressed yokels would be entirely unsurprised at an apparently drunken baritone strolling along to sing an enormous amount of plot at a passing tenor."
Can you count how many operas begin that way? I sure can't.
Anyway, I'm putting him right up there with Asimov, Brust, and Tolkien as my favorites.