Moving Pictures (novel)

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Moving Pictures
Author Terry Pratchett
Language English
Series Discworld
10th novel – 2nd individual story

Movies and Hollywood; the Cthulhu Mythos; Atlantis

Victor Tugelbend, Theda Withel, C.M.O.T. Dibbler, Unseen University staff, Gaspode, Mustrum Ridcully
Ankh-Morpork, Holy Wood
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Victor Gollancz / Corgi
Publication date
ISBN ISBN 0-575-04763-1

Moving Pictures is the name of the tenth Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, published in 1990.[1] The book takes place in Discworld's most famous city, Ankh-Morpork and a hill called "Holy Wood". It is the first Discworld novel to feature Mustrum Ridcully, Archchancellor of Unseen University, as a character.


The alchemists of the Discworld have invented moving pictures. Many hopefuls are drawn by the siren call of Holy Wood, home of the fledgling "clicks" industry – among them Victor Tugelbend ("Can't sing. Can't dance. Can handle a sword a little."), a dropout from Ankh-Morpork's Unseen University and Theda "Ginger" Withel, a girl "from a little town you never ever heard of", and the Discworld's most infamous salesman, Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, who introduces commerce to the equation and becomes a successful producer. The business of making movies grows rapidly, and eventually Victor and Ginger become real stars, thanks to the help of Gaspode the sentient dog (that also develops an amazingly funny relationship with Laddie, that everybody considers to be the real Wonder Dog, although in fact has a very simple minded). Holy Wood for a while becomes an effervescent place full of humans, dwarfs, alchemists, demons (which essentially constitute the main technological device to make movies), and trolls (among which we also find Detritus) all living in harmony.

Meanwhile, it gradually becomes clear that the production of movies is having a deleterious effect on the structure of reality. Ginger is possessed by an unspecified entity and she and Victor find an ancient, hidden cinema, complete with portal to the Dungeon Dimensions. Back in Ankh-Morpork, during the first screening of Blown Away (a parody of Gone with the Wind) which the senior wizards of the Unseen University are also attending, a creature from the Dungeon Dimensions breaks through, and Victor fights it (in what eventually becomes a parody of the movie King Kong also featuring the Librarian of the Unseen University), having found out that with a camera pointing at him in real life works out the way it does in the movies.

In the end most things return to normal (also because the Patrician and the wizards make it clear that there won't allow any more movies to be produced ever), although dwarfs find themselves inexplicably singing "Hihohiho" while mining, Victor and Ginger have a last dialogue over the meaning of Holy Wood and being famous, Gaspode and the other animals under the influence of Holy Wood lose their ability to reason and speak, and ending lines depict a poetic scene about the fragility of Holy Wood dreams.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fantastic Fiction Moving Pictures (Discworld, book 10) Terry Pratchett Retrieved 2009-05-9

External links[edit]

Reading order guide
Preceded by
Faust Eric
10th Discworld Novel Succeeded by
Reaper Man
Preceded by
2nd Individual Story
Published in 1990
Succeeded by
Troll Bridge