The origins of the Ankh-Morpork Civil War (8.32 p.m., Grune 3, 432 -10.45 a. m., Grune 4, 432) have always been a subject of heated debate among historians. There are two main theories: 1. The common people, having been heavily taxed by a particularly stupid and unpleasant king, decided that enough was enough and that it was time to do away with the outmoded concept of monarchy and replace it with, as it turned out, a series of despotic overlords who still taxed heavily but at least had the decency not to pretend the gods had given them the right to do it, which made everyone feel a bit better OR 2. One of the players in a game of Cripple Mr Onion in a tavern had accused another of palming more than the usual number of aces, and knives had been drawn, and then someone had hit someone with a "bench, and then someone else had stabbed someone, and arrows started to fly, and someone had swung on the chandelier, and a carelesslyhurled axe had hit someone in the street, and then the Watch had been called in, and someone had set fire to the place, and someone had hit a lot of people with a table, and then everyone lost their tempers and commenced to start fighting.

Anyway, it all caused a civil war, which is something every mature civilization needs to have had . . . [20]


'The way I see it,' said Dibbler, 'there's this high-born girl living all by herself in this big house, right, and her young man goes off to fight for the rebels, you see, and she meets this other guy, and there's the chemistry between them-'

'They blow up?' said Victor.

'He means they fall in love,' said Ginger coldly.

'That sort of thing,' nodded Dibbler. 'Eyes meeting across a crowded room. And she's all alone in the world except for the servants and, let's see, yeah, perhaps her pet dog-'

'This'll be Laddie?' said Ginger.

'Right. And of course she's going to do everything she can to preserve the family mine, so she's kind of flirting with 'em both, the men, not the dog, and then one of them gets killed in the war and the other one throws her over but it's all OK because she's tough at heart.' He sat back. 'What d'you think?' he said.

The people sitting around the room looked uneasily at one another.

There was a fidgety silence.

'It sounds great, Uncle,' said Soll, who wasn't looking for any more problems today.

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'Technically very challenging,' said Gaffer.

There was a chorus of relieved assent from the rest of the team.

'I don't know,' said Victor slowly.

Everyone else's eyes turned on him in the same way that spectators at the lion pit watch the first condemned criminal to be pushed out through the iron gate. He went on: 'I mean, is that all? It doesn't sound, well, very complicated for such a long click. People sort of falling in love while a civil war is going on in the background . . . I don't see how you can make much of a picture out of that.'

There was another troubled silence. A couple of people near Victor moved away. Dibbler was staring at him.

Victor could hear, coming from under his chair, an almost inaudible little voice.

' . . . oh, of course, there's always a part for Laddie . . . woes he got that I haven't got, that's wot I'd like to . . . '

Dibbler was still staring fixedly at Victor.

Then he said, 'You're right. You're right. Victor's right. Why didn't anyone else spot it?'

'That's just what I was thinking, Uncle,' said Soll hurriedly. 'We need to flesh it out a bit.'

Dibbler waved his cigar vaguely. 'We can think up some more stuff as we go, no problem. Like . . . like . . . how about a chariot race? People always like a chariot race. It's gripping. Will he fall out, will the wheels come off? Yeah. A chariot race.'

'I've, er, been reading a bit about the Civil War,' said Soll cautiously, 'and I don't think there's any mention of-'

'Of there not being chariot races, am I right?' said Dibbler, in soapy tones containing the razor blade of menace. Soll sagged.

'Since you put it like that, Uncle,' he said, 'you're right.'

'And . . . ' Dibbler stared reflectively, ' . . . we could try . . . a great big shark?' Even Dibbler sounded slightly surprised at his own suggestion.

Soll looked hopefully at Victor.

'I'm almost certain sharks didn't fight in the Civil War,' said Victor.

'You sure?'

'I'm sure people would have noticed,' said Victor.

'They'd have got trampled by the elephants,' muttered Soll.

'Yeah,' said Dibbler, sadly. 'It was just a thought. Don't know why I said it, really.'

He stared at nothing for a while, and then shook his head briskly.

A shark, Victor thought. All the little golden fishes of your own thoughts are swimming away happily, and then the water moves and this great shark of a thought comes in from outside. As if someone's doing our thinking for us.

'You just don't know how to behave,' Victor told Gaspode, when they were alone. 'I could hear you grumbling under the chair the whole time.'

'I might not know how to behave, but at least I don't go mooning around over some girl who's letting dretful Creatures of the Night into the world,' said Gaspode.

'I should hope not,' said Victor, and then, 'What do you mean?'

'Aha! Now he listens! Your girlfriend-'

'She's not my girlfriend!'

'Would-be girlfriend,' said Gaspode, 'is goin' out every night and tryin' to open that door in the hill. She tried it again last night, after you'd gone. I saw her. I stopped her,' he added, defiantly. 'Not that I expect any credit, of course. There's some dretful in there, an' she's lettin' it out. No wonder she's always late and tired in the mornings, what with spendin' the whole night diggin'.'

'How do you know they're dreadful?'said Victor weakly.

'Put it like this,' said Gaspode. 'If something's shoved in a cave under a hill behind great big doors, it's not 'cos people want it to come out every night to wash the dishes, is it? 'Corse,' he added charitably, 'I'm not sayin' she knows she's doing it. Prob'ly they've got a grip of her weak an' feeble cat-lovin' female mind and are twisting it to their evil will.'

'You do talk a lot of crap sometimes,' said Victor, but he didn't sound very convincing even to himself.

'Ask her, then,' said the dog, smugly.

'I will!'


Exactly how, though? thought Victor, as they trudged out into the sunshine. Excuse me, miss, my dog says that you . . . no. I say, Ginger, I understand that you're going out and . . . no. Hey, Ginj, how come my dog saw . . . no.

Perhaps he should just start up a conversation and wait until it got around naturally to monstrosities from Beyond the Void.

But it would have to wait, because of the row that was going on.

It was over the third major part in Blown Away. Victor was of course the dashing but dangerous hero, Ginger was the only possible choice for the female lead, but the second male role -the dull but dutiful one - was causing trouble.

Victor had never seen anyone stamp their foot in anger before. He'd always thought it was something they did only in books. But Ginger was doing it.

'Because I'd look an idiot, that's why!' she was saying.

Soll, who was by now feeling like a lightning rod on a stormy day, waved his hand frantically.

'But he's ideal for the role!' he said. 'It calls for a solid character-'

'Solid? Of course he's solid! He's made of stone!' shouted Ginger. 'He might have a suit of chain mail and a false moustache but he's still a troll!'

Rock, looming monolithically over the pair of them, cleared his throat noisily.

'Excuse me,' he said, 'I hope we're not going to get elementalist about this?'

Now it was Ginger's turn to wave her hands. 'I like trolls,' she said. 'As trolls, that is. But you can't seriously mean me to do a romantic scene with a, a, a cliff face.'

'Now look here,' said Rock, his voice winding up like a pitcher's arm. 'What you're saying is, is OK for trolls to be shown bashing people with clubs, is not OK to show trolls have finer feelings like squashy humans?'

'She's not saying that at all,' said Soll desperately. 'She's not-'

'If you cut me, do I not bleed?' said Rock.

'No, you don't,' said Soll, 'but-'

'Ah, yes, but I would. If I had blood, I'd bleed all over the place.'

'And another thing,' said a dwarf, prodding Soll in the knee. 'It says in the script that she owns a mine full of happy, laughing, singing dwarfs, right?'

'Oh, yes,' said Soll, putting the troll problem on one side. 'What about it?'

'It's a bit stereotypical, isn't it?' said the dwarf. 'I mean, it's a bit dwarfs = miners. I don't see why we have to be type-cast like this all the time.'

'But most dwarfs are miners,' said Soll desperately.

'Well, OK, but they're not happy about it,' said another dwarf. 'And they don't sing the whole time.'

'That's right,' said a third dwarf. ' 'Cos of safety, see? You can bring the whole roof down on you, singing.'

'And there's no mines anywhere near Ankh-Morpork,' said possibly the first dwarf, although they all looked identical to Soll. 'Everyone knows that. It's on loam. We'd be a laughing stock, if our people saw us mining for jewels anywhere near Ankh-Morpork.'

'I wouldn't say I've got a cliff face,' rumbled Rock, who sometimes took a little time to digest things. 'Craggy, maybe. But not cliffy.'

'The fact is,' said one of the dwarfs, 'we don't see why humans get all the good roles and we get all the titchy bit parts.'

Soll gave the jolly little laugh of someone in a corner who hopes that a joke will lighten the atmosphere a bit.

'Ah,' he said, 'that's because you-'

'Yes?' said the dwarfs in unison.

'Um,' said Soll, and struck out quickly for a change of subject. 'You see, the whole point, as I understand it, is that Ginger will do absolutely anything to keep the mansion and the mine and='

'I hopes we can get on,' said Gaffer, 'only I've got to muck the imps out in an hour.'

'Oh, I see,' said Rock. 'I'm absolutely anything, am I?'

'You don't keep mines,' said one of the dwarfs. 'Mines keep you. You take the treasure out. You don't put it in. That's fundamental to the whole mine business.'

'Well, perhaps this mine is worked out,' said Soll quickly. 'Anyway, she-'

'Well, in that case, you don't keep it,' said another dwarf, in the expansive manner of one about to settle down to a good long explanation. 'You abandon it, propping and shoring where necessary, and sink another shaft on a line with the major seam-'

'Allowing for fault escarpments and uniclinal structures,' said another dwarf.

'Of course, allowing for fault escarpments and uniclinal structures, and then-'

'And general crustal shifting.'

'All right, and then-'

'Unless you're just cutting and filling, of course.'

'Granted, but-'

'I don't see', Rock began, 'that my face could be called-'

'SHUT UP!' screamed Soll. 'Everyone shut up! SHUT UP! The next person who doesn't shut up will never work in this town again! Understand? Do I make myself CLEAR? Right.' He coughed, and continued in a more normal voice: 'Very well. Now, I want it understood that this is a Breathtaking, Block-busting Romantic film about a woman's fight to save the-' he consulted his clipboard, and went on valiantly, '-everything she loves against the background of a World Gone Mad, and I don't want any more trouble from anyone.'

A dwarf tentatively raised his hand.

' 'Scuse me?'

'Yes?' said Soll.

'Why is it all Mr Dibbler's films are set against the background of a world gone mad?' said the dwarf.

Soll's eyes narrowed. 'Because Mr Dibbler', he growled, 'is a very observant man.'

Dibbler had been right. The new city was the old city distilled. Narrow alleys were narrower, tall buildings taller. Gargoyles were more fearsome, roofs more pointed. The towering Tower of Art in Unseen University was, here, even taller and more precariously towering even though it was at- the same time only one quarter the size; the Unseen University was more baroque and buttressed; the Patrician's Palace more pillar'd. Carpenters swarmed over a construction that, when it was finished, would make AnkhMorpork look like a very indifferent copy of itself, except that the buildings in the original city were not, by and large, painted on canvas stretched over timber and didn't have the dirt carefully sprayed on. Ankh-Morpork's buildings had to get dirty all by themselves.

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