Eric (novel)

novel by Terry Pratchett

Books: The Colour of Magic | The Light Fantastic | Equal Rites | Mort | Sourcery | Wyrd Sisters | Pyramids | Guards! Guards! | Faust Eric | Moving Pictures | Reaper Man | Witches Abroad | Main

Eric, stylized as Faust Eric, is a 1990 fantasy novel, the ninth Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett.


All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in February 2002 by Harper, ISBN# 0-380-82121-4
The Book of Ultimate Control. He knew about it. There was a copy in the Library somewhere, although wizards never bothered with it...
No-one had been able to find any rule about orang-utans being barred, although they had surreptitiously looked very hard for one.
  • Just erotic. Nothing kinky. It's the difference between using a feather and using a chicken. (p. 4)
  • The librarian was, ex officio, a member of the college council. No one had been able to find any rule about orang-utans being barred, although they had surreptitiously looked very hard for one. (p. 9)
  • You could always tell a wizard's robe; it was bedecked with sequins, sigils, fur and lace, and there was usually a considerable amount of wizard inside it. (p. 13)
  • When he was left alone he wandered over to the lectern and looked at the book. The title, in impressively flickering red letters, was Mallificarum Sumpta Diabolicite Occularis Singularum, the Book of Ultimate Control. He knew about it. There was a copy in the Library somewhere, although wizards never bothered with it.
This might seem odd, because if there is one thing a wizard would trade his grandfather for, it is power. But it wasn't all that strange, because any wizard bright enough to survive for five minutes was also bright enough to realize that if there was any power in demonology, then it lay with the demons. Using it for your own purposes would be like trying to beat mice to death with a rattlesnake. (p. 30)
  • ‘I thought you were stuffed,' said Rincewind.
[The parrot] ‘Up yours!' (p. 32)
  • ‘They never give him any of the things a sensitive growing wossname really needs, if you was to ask me.'
‘What, you mean love and guidance?' said Rincewind.
‘I was thinking of a bloody good wossname, thrashing.' said the parrot. (p. 33)
  • Demons have existed on the Discworld for at least as long as the gods, who in many ways they closely resemble. The difference is basically the same as that between terrorists and freedom fighters. (pp. 34-35)
  • Interestingly enough, the gods of the Disc have never bothered much about judging the souls of the dead, and so people only go to hell if that's where they think they deserve to go. Which they won't do if they don't know about it. This explains why it is important to shoot missionaries on sight. (p. 35)
  • Rincewind gave his fingers a long shocked stare, as one might regard a gun that has been hanging on the wall for decades and has suddenly gone off and perforated the cat. (p. 44)
  • The prayers of most religions generally praise and thank the gods involved, either out of general piety or in the hope that he or she will take the hint and start acting responsibly. (p. 76)
  • The entire priesthood was sitting around it and watching it carefully, in case it did anything amusing or religious. (p. 80)
  • Godless people might get up to anything, they might turn against the fine old traditions of thrift and non-self-sacrifice that had made the kingdom what it was today, they might start wondering why, if they didn't have a god, they needed all these priests, anything. (p. 83)
  • After all, the whole point of the wish business was to see to it that what the client got was exactly what he asked for and exactly what he didn't really want. (pp. 83-84)
  • He'd stopped wondering how he'd come to be here, wherever it was. Malign forces. That was probably it. At least nothing particularly dreadful was happening to him right now. Probably it was only a matter of time. (p. 86)
  • He crawled back to Eric.
"There's a door," he whispered.
"Where does it go?"
"It stays where it is, I think," said Rincewind. (p. 86)
  • That was the thing about time travel. You were never ready for it. About the only thing he could hope for, Rincewind decided, was finding da Quirm's Fountain of Youth and managing to stay alive for a few thousand years so he'd be ready to kill his own grandfather, which was the only aspect of time travel that had ever remotely appealed to him. He had always felt that his ancestors had it coming to them. (p. 92)
  • "You didn't have to go and kick me!"
"You're quite right. It was an entirely voluntary act on my part." (p. 101)
  • They were discussing strategy when Rincewind arrived. The consensus seemed to be that if really large numbers of men were sent to storm the mountain, then enough might survive the rocks to take the citadel. This is essentially the basis of all military thinking. (p. 102)
  • He decided to try the truth again. It was a novel approach and worth experimenting with. (p. 105)
  • "I want to be a eunuch, sir," Eric added.
Rincewind's head turned as though it was being dragged.
"Why?" he said, and then came up with the obvious answer at the same time as Eric: "Because you get to work in a harem all day long," they chorused slowly. (p. 106)
  • "That's what you call metaphor," said Rincewind.
"Lying," the sergeant explained, kindly. (p. 119)
  • "The trouble is," he said, "is that things never get better, they just stay the same, only more so." (p. 124)
  • He also appeared to have changed the course of history, although this is impossible since the only thing you can do to the course of history is facilitate it. (p. 126)
  • Forever was over. All the sands had fallen. The great race between entropy and energy had been run, and the favorite had been the winner after all. (p. 133)
  • It also appears that creators sometimes favor the Big Bang method of universe construction, and at other times use the more gentle methods of Continuous Creation. This follows studies by cosmotherapists which have revealed that the violence of the Big Bang can give a universe serious psychological problems when it gets older. (p. 134)
  • All he had to do was be patient, and he was good at that. Pretty soon there'd be living creatures, developing like mad, running and laughing in the new sunlight. Growing tired. Growing old.
Death sat back. He could wait.
Whenever they needed him, he'd be there. (p. 135)
  • "What're quantum mechanics?"
"I don't know. People who repair quantums, I suppose." (p. 145)
  • Most of history is pretty appalling, when you look hard at it. Or even not very hard. (p. 147)
  • He'd looked death in the face many times, or more precisely Death had looked him in the back of his rapidly retreating head many times, and suddenly the prospect of living forever didn't appeal. (p. 149)
  • "Multiple exclamation marks," he went on, shaking his head, "are a sure sign of a diseased mind." (p. 153)
  • The fact was that, as droves of demon kings had noticed, there was a limit to what you could do to a soul with, e. g., red-hot tweezers, because even fairly evil and corrupt souls were bright enough to realize that since they didn't have the concomitant body and nerve endings attached to them there was no real reason, other than force of habit, why they should suffer excruciating agony. So they didn't. Demons went on doing it anyway, because numb and mindless stupidity is part of what being a demon is all about, but since no one was suffering they didn't enjoy it much either and the whole thing was pointless. Centuries and centuries of pointlessness. (p. 163)
  • You take, for example, a certain type of hotel. It is probably an English version of an American hotel, but operated with that peculiarly English genius for taking something American and subtracting from it its one worthwhile aspect, so that you end up with slow fast food, West Country and Western music and, well, this hotel. (p. 164)
  • Astfgl had achieved in Hell a particularly high brand of boredom which is like the boredom you get which a) is costing you money, and b) is taking place while you should be having a nice time. (p. 165)
  • Now he realized what made boredom so attractive. It was the knowledge that worse things, dangerously exciting things, were going on just around the corner and that you were well out of them. For boredom to be enjoyable there had to be something to compare it with. (p. 169)
  • "This is really horrible," said Eric, as they walked away. "It gives evil a bad name." (p. 171)
  • "According to Ephebian mythology, there's a girl who comes down here every winter."
"To keep warm?"
"I think the story says she actually creates the winter, sort of."
"I've known women like that," said Rincewind, nodding wisely. (p. 172)
  • The speaker was Duke Vassenego, one of the oldest demons. How old, no one knew. But if he didn't actually invent original sin, at least he made one of the first copies. In terms of sheer enterprise and deviousness of mind he might even have passed for human and, in fact, generally took the form of an old, rather sad lawyer with an eagle somewhere in his ancestry. (pp. 173-174)
  • "Wossname!" said the parrot, who was sitting on his shoulder.
"Fancy that," said Rincewind. "I never knew animals could go to Hell. Although I can quite see why they made an exception in this case." (p. 178)
  • It was the voice of someone who had seen it all and hadn't liked any of it very much. (p. 180)
  • The kings of Hell might have heard of words like "subtlety" and "discretion," but they had also heard that if you had it you should flaunt it and reasoned that, if you didn't have it, you should flaunt it even more, and what they didn't have was good taste. (pp. 186-187)
  • Now their long war was over and they could get on with the proper concern of civilized nations, which is to prepare for the next one. (p. 193)
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