Oh Nigel, Wherefore Art Thou?

I am almost done reading the Discworld series of books. Or I should actually say, I am almost done “reading” the Discworld series. For about a year and half now I have slowly been making my way through listening to the audiobooks of all the Discworld books from audible.com.

Having completed “The Callahan Chronicals” on my morning drive to work yesterday, last night I started on Terry Pratchett’s “The Thief Of Time”.

It has been a very enjoyable experience to have someone read an entire series of books to me. Especially ones like this. If you like Douglas Adams, find Monty Python to be amusing, and are a sucker or subtle (or not so subtle) literary and pop culture references, then the Discworld might be for you.

But I’m not going to talk about the Discworld and how cool it is, or how much of a genius I think Terry Pratchett is. I’m going to talk about how much I miss Nigel Planer reading. This argument will (pardon the pun) fall on deaf ears if you haven’t listened to any of the Discworld audiobooks. (Sorry about that but I did just come off a stint with Callahan.)

Nigel Planer is the epitome of the Discworld. He is the Eric Idle, John Cleese, in fact the entire troupe of Monty Python in his readings. He “gets it”. The first twenty or so books are read by him. And they’re awesome. (Ok, there are a couple early witch books by a woman, but I’m going to ignore those.) Stephen Briggs, the reader on the later books, is ok. I don’t hate him by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s not as good as Nigel.

I bring this up now because like I said, I’m on “The Thief Of Time”. This audiobook features an ensemble cast including Stephan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison. It’s just plain awful. I’m sorry but Americans should not be reading this stuff. I’m an American myself, I should know. It just doesn’t have the right tone from an American. The accent is part of it. But I also think there’s a difference in thinking. A difference in which words are important. By “which words” I mean that a British reader seems to emphasize words in a sentence differently than an American would. Avid watchers of Monty Python will understand what I’m saying here.

Well, it’s still Pratchett and it’s still the Discworld. I’m not going to give up on it. It still is a bit funny. (Though not as funny as it could be.) I just miss Nigel. And I’m definitely going to go back and really read all these books at some point in the future.