Saturday, October 15, 2011

Civilians? Or Soldiers?

Terry Pratchett's latest, Snuff, is a Vimes novel. That means there's a lot of action, but also a lot of thinking - about what makes us human (for lack of a better word; even Angua thinks about that), and also what makes civilization work. Here's one of my favorite bits:

It always embarrassed Samuel Vimes when civilians tried to speak to him in what they thought was "policeman". If it came to that, he hated thinking of them as civilians. What was a policeman, if not a civilian with a uniform and a badge? But they tended to use the term these days as a way of describing people who were not policemen. It was a dangerous habit: once policemen stopped being civilians the only other thing they could be was soldiers.

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At 8:38 AM, October 18, 2011 OpenID outerhoard had this to say...

A new Terry Pratchett book? Cool! Will have to bear it in mind next time I'm in a bookshop.

A few years ago I would have been up to the moment with this sort of news, but I'm no longer involved in the online Pratchett fandom scene. (Don't ask. It was an ugly divorce.)

Of course, the themes in this excerpt are also present in earlier books such as Jingo and Night Watch.


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