Talk:Book:The Fifth Elephant

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Is there a place for discussing audio adaptions of the books?

I ask, because I bought a copy of the "talking book" edition of The Fifth Elephant at the weekend. It is abridged onto two C90 audio cassettes, and read by Tony Robinson, a man best known for playing Blackadder's sidekick Baldrick. This seems to be about the only release format of Pratchett's books that doesn't have its own seperate section in the bibliography. (As those books so far released all appear to be in the same format and are all audiotape editions read by Robinson, it's arguable that this doesn't need too much attention, over and above an acknowledgement that they exist?)

As general comment on the audiotape edition of The Fifth Elephant, it makes for a nice undemanding listen whilst doing other things (As an Airfix-nerd and a bit of a Grinjer, this was a pleasant way of combining Pratchett and plastic modelling on a laid-back Saturday evening). It helps if you already know the book, but the inevitable excisions that have to go, in order to streamline the text for recording, can bring a tear to the eye. (Gone is the lovely scene where Vetinari and Hughnon Ridcully are at total cross-purposes over prawns from Genua and the clacks, for instance).

And Robinson's vocal characterisations just don't cut it, I'm afraid: he makes Lady Sybil sound like Tim-Brooke-Taylor doing Lady Bracknell. (the inneffectual snob in Oscar Wilde's Importance of being Earnest). the Lady Bracknell voice gets in the way of our realisation that Sybil, though an aristocrat, is not at all snobbish and has a very good grasp of the really important things in life. Sybil, for a noble, is actually quite practical and sensible; Lady Bracknell is a condensation of all the worst things about aristicracy. The Bracknell voice pins all the wrong qualities to her, alas. and his Vetinari sounds bored and languid: it doesn't quite pin down this character either, alas.

Agreed, The abridged versions are awful. I think this is common to all books; I'm a Tony Robinson fan, but even he can't save the Readers' Digest versions. On the other hand, Stephen Briggs's unabridged readings are great; he knows the characters back to front and comes up with likely accents and voices for everybody. Even so, it's still the same book with someone reading it to you and I don't see why we'd get into criticism or anything more than listing them as publications. (What would be next - a discussion of Clarecraft collectibles?) --Old Dickens 23:47, 15 January 2008 (CET)

Aha - we now have a category for these things!