In episode 27, Liz and Ben are joined by guest writer and psychologist-in-training Craig Hildebrand-Burke to discuss Terry Pratchett’s depressingly relevant yet uplifting 1997 Discworld novel of war and prejudice, Jingo.
In the middle of the Circle Sea, halfway between Ankh-Morpork and Klatch, the ancient and slightly eldritch island of Leshp has risen from the waves. Of course both nations want to claim it as their own, what with the other nation being filthy foreign devils, and almost immediately the threat of war is in the wind. An attempt on the life of a visiting Klatchian prince kills peace talks before they can even begin, and the Patrician is deposed – leaving Sir Samuel Vimes, Lord Commander of the City Watch, with a crime to solve. Can bringing a murderer to justice stop a war?
Jingo sees the Watch swell in size, gives a great deal of airtime to the Patrician, and also shines the spotlight on the Disc’s greatest inventor, Leonard of Quirm! And of course we spend more time in Klatch, now inspired more by Lawrence of Arabia than Arabian Nights. It’s a story of nationalism, racism and war – both of the regular kind, and between the classes. Jingo was not only still relevant when we recorded this, but has suddenly and awfully become more relevant since. Can Pratchett help us do away with ideas of Us and Them? Can he flesh out the previously cartoony city/nation/continent of Klatch? And how great are submarines? Use the hashtag #Pratchat27 on social media to join the conversation!
Guest Craig Hildebrand-Burke is a writer who has recently completed a psychology degree. He’s written fiction, non-fiction, reviews and commentary for publications including Tincture, Writers Bloc, ACMI and SBS News. You can find him on Twitter as @_CraigHB.
Next month we leave the Discworld and head into outer space – and inside a computer – in 1992’s Only You Can Save Mankind, the first of the Johnny Maxwell books for middle grade readers. We’ll be recording in late January, so get your questions in via social media using the hashtag #Pratchat28.
You’ll find the full notes and errata for this episode on our web site.
We recorded before the current Australian bushfires reached their peak, and so barely mentioned them in the episode; if you’d like to help the firefighters, wildlife workers or those affected by the fires, this JJJ article has some good places to start.