Hi to k-t-jones! I love the idea of the Cubes turning out to be Great A'Tuin's black-box flight recorders - definite shades of Strata here (where that particular Discworld turns out in the end to be a manufactured construct). I know he wouldn't have introduced the Devices as an arbitrary thing, or just to facilitate the plot of Thud!. Something is brewing here that will no doubt be explained in future books. It just seems uncharacteristically crude of Pterry to bring these in from nowhere and leave them undefined and unexplained - not his usual style.
After all, one of the oldest clichés in literature is the deus ex machina - the sudden appearance out of completely nowhere of a plot twist, artefact, or arbitary twist of fate which enables the heroes to get out of otherwise insoluble difficulty or to right everything so that Good prevails, as if a God has suddenly decided to enter the Machine. Being Discworld, there is a twist involved here: the Devices are more of a machinum ex Dea the absolute opposite, a machine provided out of nowhere by the Gods, which nudges the plot of Thud! along as well as providing a rationale for Vetinari's Undertaking, to be expanded upon in later books.
I know TP has said he wants there to be a definite end to the Discworld series and - worryingly - he's hinted that there won't be that many more books.
In one sense, tidying up the loose ends by returning to the concept of Strata, one of his first books, where the Discworld turns out to be an artificial world run by computers, might be an intellectually satisfying way to wind up the series.
But somehow it doesn't feel right...--AgProv 12:31, 19 July 2007 (CEST)