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Night Watch by Terry Pratchett

Night Watch (2002)

by Terry Pratchett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Discworld (29), Discworld: City Watch (6)

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English (101)  Spanish (3)  German (3)  Tagalog (1)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  All (110)
Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
Night Watch is the 6th book in the Watch subseries of Discworld.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed this one pretty well. I say “surprisingly” because, as I’ve said in other reviews, Vimes often gets on my nerves. This book focuses on him very heavily, more than any other book since the first Watch book. However, we see more of the sarcastic and clever aspects of Vimes which I do enjoy and far less of the bitter, woe-is-me, self-destructive aspects which drive me crazy.

This is a time travel story. Vimes accidentally gets thrown back in time, to a point shortly after he had first joined the Watch. History of course gets changed, and now he has to make sure events happen that will keep his future in-tact.

It wasn’t a completely riveting story, but it had its fun parts. Some of those fun parts came from seeing various other Discworld characters at an earlier stage in their lives and learning what they were like before the series began. I particularly enjoyed meeting a younger Vetinari, a character I’ve enjoyed since he was first introduced. ( )
1 vote YouKneeK | Mar 19, 2017 |
The Discworld series is all good, but this book is outstanding. Pratchett explores the nature of law and justice and the role of a good man caught in a bad system. Lots of laughs, of course, but a bit more serious than some of the others in the series. ( )
1 vote kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
Vimes goes back in time and must resolve a time conundrum to make his" future happen. Vimes is getting old. Character age wise. Also interesting wise. Pratchett needs to move on. This whole book screamed "tired" at me. Sure, there were amusing parts, but overall, it seemed that trying to read it was as hard a process as Vimes getting up in the morning. The Discworld "ride" is slowing down and almost at the gate for debarking. I just hope Pratchett knows when to stop." ( )
1 vote BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |

I listened to this audiobook on my latest trip to Fresno. Now, I’m always saying that I need to read more pratchett, and this was no exception. It made my next audiobook so boring I almost fell asleep while driving.

Nightwatch is actually the second Pratchett book I’ve listened to recently. I did Going Postal right before Night Watch because the library had it. And Katie told me “read night watch now! it’s one of the best!” so I did. And it was excellent.

Recently, Neil Gaiman wrote an article talking about how Pratchett is not the “jolly old elf” that everyone thinks. He is actually filled with rage just below the surface and it is always threatening to spill out. And you can definitely see that rage in Night Watch.

Night Watch is the story of the commander of the night watch, Sam Vimes, and how he accidentally goes back in time and helps start the course of history that led to him being the great Watchman that he turned out to be. Or maybe it was always going to be like that and he only hindered it by coming back. Time travel in Discworld seems more complicated than in other worlds. There is free will, but not infinite choice? History finds a way? We’re all part of a pattern? Anyway, the time travel was basically just the reason for the plot.

The plot involved Sam teaching the historical night watchmen everything he knows about being a good watchman. This includes going on patrol with his younger self. There was a good line in there about how when he saved younger sam’s life, he did it in literal self defense.

But throughout the book, you can feel Sam Vimes raging against the injustice of it all. He was torn from his life and family. People died who were not supposed to die. Criminals escaped, lame people were in charge. And the anger bursts out at various times, usually resulting in Vimes winning a fight.

While Night Watch was an excellent book, I found it a bit intense. Way more than Going Postal, which is about a con man who rescues the almost extinct mail system. Night Watch had plenty of puns and jokes, for sure, but it also has a background of anger and injustice that made me uncomfortable. I think that Sam Vimes is very much projection of Terry Pratchett himself, more than any of the characters in Going Postal. I feel like I have a greater understanding of the kind of person Pratchett is, since you’d have to be an intense person to even conceive a character like Sam Vimes.
( )
  jlharmon | Nov 3, 2016 |
2005 October 9

Sam Vimes is a most excellent policeman, the platonic ideal that is possible in a work of fantasy. Pratchett plays around with the idea of the past, both our own, and our society's, and dabbles with fate and bootstraps. Meanwhile, there is a psychopath to stop, and an insurrection to deal with, and the governing bodies of the past are worthless or deranged... I can't even throw all those words into a review and come up with anything funny, let alone, insightful, which is what Pratchett can do, and why he's such a good writer. I think Pratchett is a very good treatment for misanthropy. Yes, of course, people are stupid and unthinkingly evil, but they're still kind to their mothers or kittens or something. He's a bit like Jane Austen there, because he seems to think that no matter how hopeless people are most of the time, a thoughtful individual can steer them, or at least, reduce the harm.

Personal copy ( )
  Kaethe | Oct 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
A fine place to start reading Pratchett if you don't mind a few ''in'' jokes, ''Night Watch'' transcends standard genre fare with its sheer schoolboy humor and characters who reject their own stereotypes.
What makes the book intriguing is Pratchett's Chestertonian common-sense morality. While his blunt logic doesn't always equip him to deal with the niceties (at one point, he seems to argue against any controls on gun ownership), it allows him to break through liberal confusions and conservative certainties.
added by melmore | editThe Independent, Robert Hank (Nov 29, 2002)
Not a side-splitter this time, though broadly amusing and bubbling with wit and wisdom: both an excellent story and a tribute to beat cops everywhere, doing their hair-raising jobs with quiet courage and determination.
added by melmore | editKirkus Review (Nov 12, 2002)
Stories both trap people in a continuum and console them with images of beginnings and ends. Pratchett is a master storyteller.
added by Shortride | editThe Guardian, A. S. Byatt (Nov 9, 2002)

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Briggs, StephenMapsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Vicq de Cumptich, RobertoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidby, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Orosz, IstvanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robinson, TonyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Sam Vimes sighed when he heard the scream, but he finished shaving before he did anything about it.
"When Mister Safety Catch Is Not On, Mister Crossbow Is Not Your Friend."

-- Detritus learns about weapons safety (Terry Pratchett, Night Watch)
"Don't put your trust in revolutions. They always come around again. That's why they're called revolutions. People die, and nothing changes."

-- (Terry Pratchett, Night Watch)
'It's not me, you understand,' said Vimes, 'but if I went back
and showed my captain this piece of paper and he said to me,
Vi- Keel, how d'you know he's Henry the Hamster, well, I'd be a
bit... flummoxed. Maybe even perplexed.'

-- (Terry Pratchett, Night Watch)
Maybe the best way to build a bright new world is to peel some spuds in this one.
'One's got a lot of holes in his feet, one dropped through the privy roof and has got a twisted leg, and one's dead.'

'I don't think I can do much about the dead one' said the doctor. 'How do you know he's dead? I realize I might regret asking that question.'

'He's got a broken neck from falling off a roof and I reckon he fell off because he got a steel crossbow bolt in his brain.'

'Ah. That sounds like dead, if you want my medical opinion.'

(Terry Pratchett, Night Watch)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch had it all.

But now he's back in his own rough, tough past without even the clothes he was standing up in when the lightning struck...

Living in the past is hard. Dying in the past is incredibly easy. But he must survive, because he has a job to do. He must track down a murderer, teach his younger self how to be a good copper and change the outcome of a bloody rebellion.

There's a problem: if he wins, he's got no wife, no child, no future...

A Discworld Tale of One City, with a full chorus of street urchins, ladies of negotiable affection, rebels, secret policemen and other children of the revolution.

Truth! Justice! Freedom! And a Hard-boiled Egg!
Haiku summary
When the lilacs bloom,
Vimes must do it all again.
Can he do it right?


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One moment City Watch Commander Sam Vimes is fighting a ruthless murderer. The next, he's thrown back 30 years in time when the Discworld city of Ankh-Morpork is on the brink of revolt.

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