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The front cover of the book Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

Cover by Paul Kidby

Raising Steam is the 40th Discworld novel, written by Terry Pratchett. It was also the last one published before his death in 2015. Originally due to be published on October 24th, 2013, it was pushed back to November 7th, 2013 (and March 18, 2014 in the U.S.) It is the finale of the Moist von Lipwig trilogy in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, and features the introduction of locomotives to the Discworld a concept mentioned in Death's Domain. The book features an entirely new character in Dick Simnel, the inventor of the train. The book received mixed reviews from Pratchett fans, considered by many to not be one of his best because of the style of its writing in particular. Debate was ongoing about whether the fact that Pratchett's Alzheimer's Disease had progressed to the point where he could no longer type out his novel and had to rely on a dictation system, had altered his style of writing and editing. Others wondered whether the disease had progressed to the point where he simply could not write as effectively as he once did. My (Rob Bennie) feeling is that the word usage, the writing style and the sentence structure reflect that of many early Victorian era novels, the era when the trains were being developed and changing the British world. So perhaps Pratchett deliberately chose to utilize a writing style reminiscent of that era in Roundworld. No one will ever know but at least that is a more positive perspective than simply believing Pratchett couldn't deliver any more.

The cover of the novel for the UK edition was designed by Paul Kidby and revealed on Pratchett's Facebook page on 6 August 2013.

Publisher's Summary[]

To the consternation of the Patrician, Lord Vetinari, a new invention has arrived in Ankh-Morport - a great clanging monster of a mcachine that harnesses the power of all the elements: earth, air, fire and water. This being Ankh-Morport, it's soon drawing astonished crowds, some of whom caught the zeitgeist early and arrive armed with notepads and very sensible rainwear.

Moist von Lipwig is not a man who enjoys hard work. As master of the Post Office, the Mint and the Royal Bank his input is, of course, vital... but largely dependent on words, which are fortunately not very heavy and don't always need greasing. However, th does enjoy being alive which makes a new job offer from Vetinari hard to reuse.

Steam is rising over Discworld, driven by Mr Simnel, the man wi' t'flat cap and sliding rule h has an interesting arrangement with the sine and cosine. Moist will have to grapple with gallons of grease, bo blins, a fat controller with a history of throwing employees down the stairs and some very angry dwarfs if he's going to stop it all going off the rails...


Dick Simnel, a young self-taught engineer from Sto Lat (and whose father, Ned Simnel, appeared in Reaper Man), has invented a steam locomotive named Iron Girder. He brings his invention to Ankh-Morpork where it catches the interest of Sir Harry King, a millionaire businessman who has made his fortune in the waste and sanitation industry. Harry promises Dick sufficient investment to make the railway a success.

The Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, Lord Vetinari, wishing to ensure that the City has appropriate influence over the new enterprise, appoints the reformed fraudster turned civil servant Moist von Lipwig to represent the government in the management of the railway. His personal skills soon come in useful in negotiations with landowners along the route of the new line.

Throughout the story, Dwarfish fundamentalists led by a Dwarf grag named Ardent are responsible for a number of terrorist attacks, including the murder of railway workers engaged in building the new line as well as arson attacks on the towers belonging to the clacks telecommunications network. This campaign culminates in a palace coup at the seat of the Low King of the Dwarfs in Schmaltzberg, Überwald, whilst the King is away at an international summit in Quirm, over twelve hundred miles away. Vetinari declares that it is imperative to return the King to Schmaltzberg as soon as possible in order to restore political stability, and gives Moist the task of getting him there via the new railway. Moist protests that this is impossible because the railway is nowhere near its completion, but is told that achieving this target is non-negotiable.

On the journey, Moist and Vimes are faced by various problems, such as numerous attacks by Dwarfish fundamentalists, a poor attempt at infiltration, a landslide, and the revelation that the Low King is in fact a pregnant female. Nevertheless, the train eventually reaches the bridge, which has been badly damaged.

Faced with a bridge that is clearly too weak to carry the train, and insufficient time or workers to strengthen it, Moist commandeers the City's ancient golems, which are kept strictly for use only in times of national emergency. He does this is in spite of being expressly forbidden to use them by Vetinari (who knows that Moist has the necessary expertise to command the golems and, if he were so inclined orchestrate a coup with them under his control). Having tunnelled their way to the site of the bridge, the golems, concealed by mist in the gorge below, somehow contrive to carry the train safely across.

The Dwarf King retakes Schmaltzberg with little resistance, and Ardent, the leader of the fundamentalists, is held for trial. Feeling that the dwarfs are ready for a more progressive future, the King reveals that she is actually a Queen, and changes her name from Rhys to Blodwen, in honor of a dwarf who had been killed by the fundamentalists at her wedding. Following this announcement, a number of other senior dwarfs also "come out" as female.

Back in Ankh-Morpork, Dick Simnel is knighted, Harry King receives a peerage, and the City Watch officers who helped defend the train receive medals. Moist, upon questioning why he appears to be the only one not receiving a reward, is told that his reward is to remain alive. It is also revealed that Vetinari himself had been on the train, disguised as one of the locomotive's stokers, the legendary Stoker Blake, while his lookalike Charlie impersonated him back in Ankh-Morpork, and had surmised how the train had been carried across the ravine. However, he appears content that there is no evidence to prove this.


The main theme in the novel is the development of the railway network across the continent from Ankh-Morpork and there are many parallels between Discworld and Roundworld in this regard. Both have eager railway fans keeping track of the trains they see - trainspotters. Both drive a last golden spike like at Craigalachie in the Rocky Mountains when the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed across Canada. Both have their armoured cars to ward off bandits, both have the confusion of different gauge lines, Both have problems when crossing swampy ground, steep terrain and shaky bridging. Both had first, second and third class carriages and dedicated areas for single ladies. Both had dining cars and sleeping compartments. Both had the common misconceptions about what railways would bring; miscarriage of livestock, moral degradation of the citizenry as well as railways becoming a great equalizer of class. Both led to the rich buying vacation homes in the country and seaside, to commuters taking the train to work, to suburbs being built close to the tracks and stations, to day trippers going to the seaside for the day or for vacation and to the mobility of the working class, etc.

The second major theme is one that is common to many of his novels, about the influence of fundamentalism over normal society when people do nothing to prevent it. In this novel, the Grags (the equivalent of the mullahs in fundamental Islam, ultra-orthodox rabbis in Judaism or the religious right in the USA) try to prevent the dwarfs from moving with the times and accepting modern ways by murdering the bride in a mixed marriage, burning the communication towers that give Uberwald access to the outside world and by trying to stop the introduction of the railway. The fact that the grags and their followers live in caves, the grags influence impressionable young men to do their dirty work while themselves staying far from harms way and view every innovation and new idea as an abomination before their god Tak resonates most strongly with the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Not surprising they attack the tall Clacks towers (like the World Trade center in New York) and the railways (like the various train, subway and metro bombings in London,Madrid, Paris,Moscow, etc). Finally, Moist von Lipwig is put on a hit list by the grags much like the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo and novelist Salmon Rushdie.

A third theme is the idea of immigrants starting out at basic level jobs and then improving their lot and becoming professionals, often with the disapprobation of the populace who believe they are 'taking away our jobs' (ring any Roundworld bells?). Thunderbolt the troll becomes a lawyer, much to the surprise of many, including Moist, who don't realize that trolls have that level of intelligence; Teasy Weasy Fornacite, the troll becomes a hair dresser and the goblins who find they are skilled clacks operators. The novel shows how far things have progressed in Ankh-Morpork since the days of The Colour of Magic.

A fourth theme is the use of common tools as weapons. This is a continuation of a similar theme in Snuff . Pratchett's farmers do not seem to realize that their farm implements, hoes, scythes, shovels, etc could be used to defend themselves from attack. Similarly, the railway workers have large mallets, shovels, etc but fall victim to the dwarfs' traditional weapons, swords and knives. Harry King's man with the large tool box does know what to do with his weapon of choice. In reference to the Stoker's shovel, Vimes comments late in the novel that, 'a workman's tool used cunningly could give the average watchman a real headache.' In the Roundworld, farmers' implements such as scythes, axes, hoes and spades were used as weapons by the peasants.

Finally, Pratchett continues his spoofing of Steampunk in the Devices, the pseudo Victorian language and affectations (“Sorry, sir, you ‘ave to let t’steam out. It’s all about ‘arnessing t’steam.”) and the imaging of the railways which he started in Thud!

Popular References and Annotations[]

All page numbers taken from the Doubleday edition

Vetinari, like many 20th century dictators is keen on not only getting the railways running on time but expanded throughout the realm and beyond. A common remark about tyrants and dictators on Earth, at least since 1900, has been "At least he got the trains running on time". This was famously said about Benito Mussolini, who in fact couldn't keep the trains on time - there are limits to a Fascist dictator's power, and Benito discovered his was the Italian state railway. Adolf Hitler didn't have to exert himself - German state railways already ran to an incredible peak of efficiency without Nazi help. Pratchett uses this "trains running on time theme" in many of his novels, including a previous Moist von Lipwig book, Going Postal.

Page 12 and following - Dick Simnel the inventor of the train is based on George Stephenson (9 June 1781 – 12 August 1848) the English civil and mechanical engineer who was born in Northumberland in Northern England who is renowned as the "Father of Railways". Pratchett has also injected the mannerisms and life of Fred Dibnah (1938-2004) from Bolton, Lancashire, who was a steeplejack and mechanic and the epitome of the old-time Northern engineer into Dick's character as well. Fred became a celebrity on TV, initially for breath-taking steeplejacking, with a commentary delivered in a wry self-deprecating Northern voice, often hanging upside down a couple of hundred feet up. In later life, he had a second career restoring and driving old steam engines, which he loved and TV series were made about this aspect of his life. Although many of Dick Simnel's words stem from around northern England the key word he uses 'gradely' for 'great' or 'brilliant' identifies him with Lancashire and his other expressions and his flat cap link him to Fred. Vetinari outlines his parental lineage which was first mentioned in Reaper Man. Dick Simnel's name has obvious sexual connotations. Dick is the standard slang for a penis and 'Simnel' suggests "seminal" means 'groundbreaking' and 'pioneering' as well as the sexual meaning of 'semen". In effect, Dick's seed of an idea is creating the railway. In addition, Dick and Harry King make up two of the three 'everyman' figures, 'Tom, Dick and Harry" - just plain folk, suggesting that innovation and new ideas don't come from committees, aristocrats, governments and so-called experts but come from regular, creative people. This is reemphasized later in the novel when Dick is told that he needs to apprentice under an expert engineer by the Guild when in fact there is no one skilled in his field to apprentice under.

Page 13 - The city state of Ephebe where camels can do logarithms on their toes suggests the city of Alexandria with its library and Ephesus in ancient Greece (present Turkey) - both centers of learning in the ancient world. An ephebe originally was Greek for a young man entering military training but now has come to mean a young man between 18 and 20 entering manhood.

Page 13 - Dick's mother says, "Is that what you have been doing in the barn? Teck-olegy". This play on the idea of young people learning about sex behind the barn. vs learning a trade is played with later when his mother hopes he has got a girl friend when in reality he is playing with trains.

Page 19 -Vetinari travels by coach to Uberwald and comments that the potholes cause "fundamental discomfort". "Fundament" can mean "rear end" hence a sore bum.

Page 20 - The Pass of WIlinus is the entrance on the border of Uberwald just as Vilnius (the capital of Lithuania) is an entrance on the border to Russia. Since 'w' is pronounced 'v' in German and other Eastern European languages, there is a play on the word 'villainous' as well.

Page 23 - "Vox populi vox deorum" translates from the Latin as "the voice of the people is the voice of the gods."

Page 23 - "why are you wearing your helmet backwards, young dwarf?" Clothing makes you different and a target in Roundworld too, whether it is a street brawl between rival gangs provoked by one group supposedly insulting the other by wearing a ball cap backwards, a football fan wearing team colours at an opponent's pitch or women being assaulted when they are believed to "allow it" due to their clothing.

Page 24 - The Ankh-Morport "Rat Pack" is an obvious reference to the famous Hollywood rat pack of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. to name a few.

Page 25 - Schmaltzberg On Roundworld, Schmaltz refers to kind of pork, chicken or goose fat often used as a bread spread in German and Polish cuisine. "Schmaltzberg" literally means "Fat Mountain" in German. It also means "excessive sentimentality", especially in music or movies. However in the Discworld context "Fat Mountain" is closer to Pratchett's intent since it is the source of the fat mines created when the Fifth Elephant crashed onto the Disc.

Page 27 - Harry King's fortune had been made by "minding other people's business." Literally since he is the "King of the Golden River" taking away the urine and excrement from people's chamber pots, etc and selling it to the tanners and other businesses that use the urea in their trade. Doing your business is a slang term for using the toilet.

Page 28 - Effie says to Harry King, "after all you're as rich as Creosote". This is a reference to the expression 'As rich as Croesus" in Roundworld. Croesus was the king of Lydia who, according to Herodotus, reigned for 14 years from 595 BC – c. 546 BC and was renowned for being incredibly rich. In Discworld, Creosote was a Seriph of Klatch from the city of Al Khali also very rich. Creosote is a dark brown oil distilled from coal tar and used as a wood preservative.

Page 32 - "Effing Forest" is another one of Pratchett's puns that might be missed by non-British readers. Epping Forest is an ancient forest in the north London area and obviously "effing" is a euphemism for "fucking".

Page 33 - Harry King took the cigar out of his mouth and said, "What?! Throbbing?" The phallic sexual symbolism is obvious and is used regularly in the novel.

Page 34 - Iron Girder is introduced to Harry King - the first prototype of the steam engine.

Page 38 - The goblin, Of the Twilight the Darkness, refers to Moist von Lipwig as "Mister Slightly Damp" which is of course the definition of moist. The name Moist implies someone who is a bit "wimpy" which is how Of the Twilight the Darkness initially views Moist. Later in the novel he calls him "Mr. Damp and then Mr. Soggy, then Mr. Dripping (clearly not so whimpy as just "slightly damp" after killing the dwarfs), then Mr. Little Damp (in other words he is going up in the goblin's opinion.

Page 40 - It is not surprising that molybdenum disulphide would be used as an anti-ageing cream by troll women. It is a dry lubricant much like graphite so would act as a moisturizing cream on a troll as well as an anti-ageing moisturizing cream would work on a woman in the Roundworld.

Page 42 - 44 - Mr. Thunderbolt's dealings with Harry King and Dick Semnel are handled the way all people in Roundworld would like lawyers to behave, but which never happensa.

Page 46 - The painting of the Countess Quatro Fromaggio at her Toilette by Leonard of Quirm is likely based on Giovanni Bellini's painting, Young Woman at her Toilet even though Leonard of Quirm is a takeoff on Leonardo da Vinci. "Quatro Formaggi" is Italian for "four cheeses" which is a pizza topping.

Page 47 - Vetinari's crossword problem is the word "lagniappe" which as Moist tells Vetinari is pronounced differently than it is spelled (/ˈlænjæp/ LAN-yap, /lænˈjæp/ lan-YAP). lagniappe is a term that originates from Spanish (la ñapa) but is frequently used in South Louisiana, USA. It means "a little bit extra," and is used much like the common phrase "a baker's dozen."

Page 48 - Vetinari recaps events going back to Reaper Man, especially the life and interests of Ned Simnel. These included a wife and son.

Page 50 - The town in Llamedos named "Pantygirdl" is a too obvious play on the article of female clothing, panty girdle. Pratchett's towns and countries usually have some play on words, some more obvious than others.

Page 50 and following - The scene where the interspecies wedding is disrupted and the bride is killed resonates with so many inter-racial scenes throughout the years and into the present day in the Roundworld, from the Balkans, to Rwanda, to South Africa, to the deep south in the USA the list is endless.

Page 52 - Fflergant the dwarf says "You all know me. i don't like mixed marriages, but like you I can't abide those boody grags, the bastards! May the Gap take them!" Fflergant has the common double "F" beginning to his name found in Wales (Jasper Fforde for example). His name supposedly translates from the Welsh to English as flush or slander. The latter would be appropriate given that his words would be slanderous to some dwarfs. In the Long Earth series, the Gap is the space between parallel universes where there is no Earth and Pratchett hints at a similar kind of space-like limbo in Discworld cosmology. Given the train theme, this also resonates with the announcement when boarding or leaving the Tube (subway) "Mind the Gap" or watch the space between car and platform when boarding and leaving the train. (see reference page 136). Finally, Pratchett uses the Norse mythology as a link to the Dwarf cosmos, Ginnungagap which is the abyss. at the beginning and end of the world. (See reference page Page 112 Line 9 )

Page 52 - CMOT Dibbler Practically Real Estate has parallels in the Roundworld where unscrupulous real estate salesmen have sold land in the swamps of Florida to gullible buyers and salesmen have sold houses they don't own or sold them many times over. Pratchett puns with real estate and "real" as distinct from "fake".

Page 52 - Like cities all over Roundworld, Ankh-Morpork is plagued with good farmland being taken over for housing developments and subdivisions in what is now becoming the suburbs, which is surprising given that Vetinari is a dictator and could prevent this abuse of the land, unlike in Roundworld where the developers usually have a connection to key government politicians so there is no political will to prevent it.

Page 53 footnote - Oi Dong being not dissimilar to Shangri-La. Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton which has come to mean an idyllic place. Oi Dong is a monastery in the Ramtops creaed by the history monks.

Page 54 - "At the far end of the compound was a collection of large sheds" No novel involving Moist von Lipwig would be complete without a shed reference. The reader is going to make the connection to the sheds in Making Money in the Mint. The connection to the Monty Python skit involving "Arthur Two Sheds Jackson" is an obvious one.

Page 55 - In regard to Iron Girder, Harry King says to Vetinari that he "wouldn't be surprised if he eventually got her to fly." This foreshadows the train 'flying' across the bridge on its way to Uberwald near the end of the novel.

Page 58 - The train moves off with a "chuff, a jerk, another couple of chuffs, and another jerk, another chuff and suddenly they were moving". In fact, this is exactly the way a train starts up. The couplings between cars have to have some slack in between them because no engine can pull a loaded train unless it has a chance to get moving, bring the next car taut, and the next and then next in succession while it accelerates.

Page 59 - Swine Town resonates with the English city of Swindon (that name also means Swine Town), which also went from being a small agricultural village between London and England's second major port, Bristol with the introduction of the Bristol railway, the Great Western, which was built with the intention of bringing fresh perishable produce swiftly to the markets of the capital. Like Ankh-Morpork, the Thames was so foul that the local fish was utterly inedible so seafood was brought in from the west country. Swindon became an oasis of heavy industry in Wiltshire in an otherwise entirely agricultural economy. Until privatisation, it remained a key strategic location in the British rail network, its factories building locomotives and directly feeding them into the system. Today, Britain incredibly imports railway locos and carriages from Europe and transfers them to their destination by road.

Page 59 - The small boy with his notebook in which he writes down the number 1 is the first of many trainspotters in the novel; meticulously recording every locomotive they see. In case anyone misses it, Pratchett throws in the line from Moist, "Well spotted young man".

Page 61 - Moist comments on Iron Girder's new found and every increasing strength and says "Earth, fire, wind and rain, all of the elements. Here is magic without wizards." This is a variation on the four traditional elements of earth, fire, air and water and since Pratchett is so cognizant of the words he chooses is likely a reference to Earth Wind and Fire, the American R&B, funk and soul band popular in the 1970s. Interestingly enough, in one episode of the TV show Chuck, Big Mike mentions that he was a member of that band and was known as "Rain." Whether Pratchett was thinking of this is unknown but it is the kind of subtle detail he would use. The fifth traditional element on Discworld is 'surprise' which fits in well with what Iron Girder has in store for the villains.

Page 63 - Vetinari asks Dick Simnel "what is the judgement of your peers" whereupon Dick talks about Lord Runcible his landlord. Pratchett, as Vetinari explains in a follow-up, is punning on a peer of the realm and peer meaning equals (ie engineers).

Page 65 - Pratchett says that Captain Angua (was) the most notable werewolf in the Watch which hints that perhaps there may be more than one now.

Page 65 - Adora Belle Dearheart tells Angua that she "will press charges and press them very hard indeed". This line hints at Adora's previous activities in Going Postal where she pushes her stiletto heel into the foot of a stalker in a pub and in Making Money, where she tries the same trick to little effect on the troll Officer of the Watch, Detritus.

Page 67 -Vetinari adds, "This isn't war. This is a crime. There will be a punishment." - Pratchett loves injecting literary references into his works and this is a very clever one. It plays on two famous Russian novels. By linking crime with punishment, Pratchett is making an obvious pun on Dostoyevski's novel, "Crime and Punishment" - a reference Pratchett has used in other novels.. But by making this link the reader makes a similar link with the first part of the quote "war" which brings to mind another famous Russian novel War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, This link foreshadows a successful conclusion for Vetinari to his campaign - peace.

Page 72 - Albrecht Albrechtson's action in the heated debate when he smashes his axe into the middle of the conference table mirrors Sam Vimes' actions in the Rats Chamber during the last major period of dissent. Since the Blackboard Monitor is well known and respected among Dwarfs, Albrecht's actions are clearly a large hint to the rest of the dwarfs. "Rat" in German means 'advice' and is used in connection with governance (rathaus - city hall where decisions are made).

Page 72 - The derogatory reference to dwarfs as "lawn ornaments" is an obvious comment on the Round World tendency to place plastic figures of the seven dwarfs on one's lawn as a decoration. Pratchett uses this term throughout his works. Similarly, dwarf names are usually drawn from the names of these seven dwarfs, reflecting the same kinds of emotions; bashful, grumpy, dopey, sleepy, etc with a Scandinavian addition of adding 'son' to the end as in Bashfulson.

Page 72 - Albrechtson's calls down a "murrain" on the fundamentalists. A murrain is a plague or pestilence. So Albrechtson is cursing the fundamentalists.

Page 73 - "LOCOMOTIVE PROJECT DANGEROUS TO HEALTH or so it is claimed" This type of claim has heralded most new inventions throughout time with the newspapers and rumour mill promoting doom and gloom and sensationalism. The Roundworld railways faced the same hysteria and did the motor car.

Page 75 - Pratchett's playing with the word, "new fangled" reflects his love of words. Nowadays 'fangled' is obsolete and only 'new fangled' is used. Pratchett previously played with 'gruntled' and 'disgruntled' in a similar fashion.

Page 76 - The battle of Koom Valley description where the troll and dwarf put down their weapons, resonates with the famous Christmas truce in WW I where the Germans and the British troops stopped fighting and had a game of football in No Man's Land. Pratchett uses this anti-war theme in other novels as well (Jingo is one example)

Page 78 - The old dwarf very neatly sums up the way people in power (particularly extremists) manipulate their followers into doing stupid things through misinformation and coercion. In Roundworld we saw this during the Balkan wars, Rwanda and most recently in the USA attack on the capital.

Page 87 - Dick Simnel says that knowing how to use blown glass is important in his design. Blown glass sight glasses were used in steam engines and although float switches are more common nowadays, were once a critical safety feature for monitoring the level of the water in the boiler.

Page 89 - Harry King sends his 'boys' to guard Dick Simnel's equipment as "insurance" and no one bats an eye at the word, a far cry from The Colour of Magic, when Twoflower sells the then unknown 'in sewer ance" or "insurance' to the owner of the Broken Drum who burns the place and the city down to collect on the policy.

Page 90 - "Earth, air, fire and water, the sum of everything!" is a reference to the 'four classical elements' of ancient Greece. (also used on Page 61)

Page 91 - 92 - two children make friends with Sergeant Fred Colon. There are many references throughout the novel to E Nesbitt's novel,The Railway Children. In the film of Nesbitt's novel there was a similar friendship with a police sergeant who was also older, good-natured and somewhat bumbling.

Page 93 - Drumknott looks like a 'lotus eater who has run out of lotuses (or perhaps loti). Again Pratchett is playing with language (plural of hippopotamus is hippopotami, etc). The 'lotus-eater' denotes "a person who spends their time indulging in pleasure and luxury rather than dealing with practical concerns" and comes from Greek Mythology.

Page 95 - Moist's discussion of an armoured train to Uberwald to that Vetinari can travel in safety, foreshadows the Low King of the Dwarfs travelling by train to Uberwald to reclaim his throne. Armoured trains have been used in Roundworld both for carrying top officials like Adolf Hitler and for military purposes.

Page 96 - The discussion between Vetinari and Moist reflect the development of the railway in the Roundworld as well. First a basic platform pulled by a steam engine, then a separate car or train for heads of state, sleeping and dining cars, places to get fuel and water for the engines, stations, waiting rooms and development along the route.

Page 96 - Moist refers to Sto Lat as a 'nexus' for the Sto Plains and then starts to explain 'nexus' to the crossword wizard, Vetinari who stops him short saying, "I know what a nexus is." A nexus is a hub but is also a connection between groups of items.

Page 97 - Vetinari's comment about putting someone else on the train, somebody expendable and traveling the previous day in a suitable disguise foreshadows Vetinari doing just that, except in his case he disguises himself as a stoker and travels on the train in question while his double stays safely in Ankh-Morpork.

Page 98 - The fact that the surveyors treat Dick Simnel as an equal, just simply a different kind of engineers resonates with Roundworld where Civil, Mechanical, Structura and Chemical Engineers are all represented by Professional Engineers Associations.

Page 99 - The aristocrats hate 'the whole concept of the train on the basis that it would encourage the lower classes to move about and not always be available'. In the Roundworld, the trains in a very large way sped up the movement of people from the agricultural areas and farming jobs, to the cities and the manufacturing jobs located there - the mobility of the working class.

Page 100 - Lord Underdale is likely a combination of 'Lord Coverdale' from the TV series, Blackadder and 'Kirby Underdale' which is a town in Yorkshire.

Page 101 -Moist pretends to get drunk but diverts his host's alcohol to a hidden container inside his clothing. In the days of American Prohibition, FBI agent Izzie Einstein had a funnel and tube setup in the lining of his coat which allowed him to pour any alcohol he got out of illegal bars into a flask he kept in an inside coat pocket - the contents of which he would use as evidence in court.

Page 102 - Jimkin Bearhugger best Gin resonates with both Jim Bream Whiskey and Beefeater Gin.

Page 103 - Teasy Weasy Fornacite, the Troll hairdresser's name, like all Trolls' names, is derived from a rock, in this case fornacite which is a rare lead, copper chromate arsenate hydroxide mineral. Pratchett is obviously playing with the similarity to 'fornicate' in Moist's concern about Adora going to this hairdresser.

Page 104 - Harry tells Moist that his 'heart is in the iron... I mean, daffodils, I quite like them, but look at that sheen on the steel'. This is a common romantic kind of sentiment with a twist; 'My Heart is in the Highlands' by Scottish poet Robert Burns, and more recently 'My Heart is in Havana' by Cuban American singer songwriter Camila Cabello. Daffodils reminds the reader of the romantic poem 'I Wander Lonely as a Cloud' by William Wordsworth. All this romance is tied in to the romance of the railway. The poet reference is reinforced when Harry adds, "What we need is the right class of poet." He clearly needs a romantic poet not a classical one.

Page 105 - Bedwyr the dwarf is told by his mother, "this is your life and you have to live it"; a sentiment expressed in song by everyone from Johnny Clegg and Savuka in their song Cruel Crazy Beautiful World (it's your world so live in it) to Linda Ortega in her song Fall down or Fly (This your life, live it or die) to name a few.

Page 107 - Unlike the workers on the railway later, which this scene foreshadows, Bedwyr knows how to use his "simple miner's tools" as weapons.

Page 108 - Moist rides the golem horse into the palace and right up the stairs into Vetinari's office. Scenes such as this have been done in many TV shows and movies, especially "spaghetti westerns", most recently in Game of Thrones (after this book was published).

Page 109 - Vetinari calls Ankh-Morpork a 'dirty old town' a reference to the Ewan MacColl song of the same name.

Page 110 - The line, "Civis Ankh-Morporkianus sum" is Latin for "I am a citizen of Ankh-Morpork"

Page 110 and footnote - "Having kittens" is an expression meaning "to become very nervous or upset about something" which of course anyone would be who was placed in an Iron Maiden with a bunch of kittens and beaten by Cedric if the kittens meowed. Vetinari uses this threat regularly in the novel.

Page 111 - Bledlows are the policemen of Unseen University. They are mostly former watchmen and soldiers, heavy-set and have quite a good turn of speed for their age. Like watchmen everywhere, they believe in the universal guilt of everybody -- in their case, the students. They have a time-honoured and arcane key ceremony at two in the morning which is like the Changing of the Guards in other cities of the Multiverse, only louder and more obtrusive, involving the Patting of the Pockets, the I'll Swear They Were Here This Morning, and the Stone Me, They Were Here All Along, and ending with the signing-over of keys between the incoming and outgoing porters.

Page 111 - Lu-Tze is a sweeper at the Monastery of Oi-Dong who first appeared in Small Gods and had a pivotal role in Thief of Time.

Page 111 - The martial art "Deja fu" is an obvious pun on "deja vu" (a feeling that you have experienced something before even though you haven't) and "kung fu" (a term used in the West to describe the Chinese martial arts).

Page 112 - probably holds the record for more sly allusions, annotations, and shout-outs to music, history, and other works of literature on a single page than any other Pratchett novel outside of Soul Music.

Page 112 line 6 - "It's all about the Locomotion..." The whole theme of the discussion between Mustrum Ridcully and Lu-Tze is about the inevitable advent of the new - in fact a new dance. Everybody's doing a brand-new dance now! is from Carole King and Gerry Goffin's song, Locomotion which was a hit for their babysitter Little Eva in 1962. The song also includes the line Let's make a train, now. In fact, the very first George Stephenson-devised engine was called The Locomotion. The Rocket came later.

Page 112 Line 9 - In Norse mythology, Ginnungagap is the bottomless abyss that was all there was prior to the creation of the cosmos, and into which the cosmos will collapse once again during Ragnarok, the “Twilight of the Gods.”

Page 112 - Line 13 - 14 - Lu-Tze says, "The only problem I have yet to solve is how to get from the dying world into the new world." Lu-Tze is referring back to earlier history monk stories. The Abbot has no problem with this - he is an adept at being serially reincarnated from a dying world into a new one! Lu-Tze has to go about things differently.

Page 112 - Line 15 - 16 - The line, "even the Abbot is concerned about the arrival of steam-engines when it isn't steam-engine time is an aphorism originally coined by the chronicler of strange and anomalous things, Charles Fort. The full quote from his novel Lo! is:

If human thought is a growth, like all other growths, its logic is without foundation of its own, and is only the adjusting constructiveness of all other growing things. A tree cannot find out, as it were, how to blossom, until comes blossom-time. A social growth cannot find out the use of steam engines, until comes steam-engine-time.

Page 112 - Line 30 to end - The line "...even the very wise have neglected to take notice of one rather important Goddess...Pippina, the lady with the Apple of Discord. This invokes the Greek Eris, Goddess of Discord, who famously incited war among Gods and men with the Golden Apple casually rolled into a roomful of vain deities, all of whom thought an apple inscribed "KALLISTI" - to the fairest one - was of course theirs by right. The fallout from the war among Gods became the ten-year Trojan War on Earth. The connection to the apple causing the fall from the Garden of Eden is also obvious as is Pratchett's goddess' name - pips are the seeds in an apple and 'seeds of discontent' is a common expression regarding discord.

Page 112 - The conversation between Ridcully and Lu-Tze emphasises the need for balance between Chaos and Order. This is also a central theme of Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's Illuminatus! trilogy, which Pratchett references throughout his novels, where the Golden Apple is a plot -point, Eris walks the earth still as Goddess of Disorder, her adherents greet each other with "All Hail Eris!", and the Chaos-Order thing is symbolised as Eristic forces versus Aneristic forces.

Page 113 - Lu-Tze also concedes that even the history monks can become a less than beneficial force once they get complacent and become part of the established order - he deliberately uses the term "bureaucracy" to describe this danger. This not only brings the Cosmic Auditors to mind - guardians of never-changing sterility - but also Shea and Wilson's assertion that chaos is born, out of sheer desperation, from stifling strangling bureaucracy - which is Order taken to a destructive extreme. Shea and Wilson have a word for this state in their philosophy, the German word - Beamtenherrschaft, (literally 'Officials Rule' ie Bureaucracy. Beamtenherrschaft, in the original Illuminatus!, is in fact explicitly defined as the sort of state of mind that will ensure the trains run precisely on time, that their human cargo is satisfactorily documented, itemised, counted, and delivered on schedule to the right destination, who then sign for the delivery, in triplicate and in the right places - and in the midst of all the paperwork, nobody sees anything wrong or out of place with the destination being Auschwitz.

Page 113 - All (as in, 'is that all Jolson") Jolson's name is based on Al Jolson, the American singer and actor who at the peak of his career was dubbed 'the world's greatest entertainer.' In this and other Discworld novels he is a chef.

Page 115 - The line "those old guys in Ephebe who once built a little steam engine which worked" shows that Dick Simnel is familiar with the events of Small Gods, or at least the steam-engineering aspects. While he knows about "The Un-named" (Urn's boat) via old books, does he also know the steam-engine was transferred to a landship afterwards? This line also resonates with a sub-plot in one of Robert A. Wilson's solo novels where, in the 1760's, a brilliant mind devises (at least on paper) a theoretically workable steam engine - only to be universally derided and laughed at, even at the advanced universities he attended - France/Italy in the 1760's evidently not the right orchard or season for "Steam-Engine Time" to come to blossom.

Page 115 - 117 - When Mister Pony tells Dick that he has to serve an apprenticeship to become a member of the Artificers' Guild, even though there is no-one in the Guild who knows anything about working with steam, Pratchett is raising the very legitimate question regarding the bureaucratic need for so call professional qualifications trumping actual ability. A similar thing happened to James Watt (the Scottish inventor and engineer) in the Roundworld. "Watt travelled to London to study instrument-making for a year, then returned to Scotland, settling in the major commercial city of Glasgow intent on setting up his own instrument-making business. He made and repaired brass reflecting quadrants, parallel rulers, scales, parts for telescopes, and barometers, among other things. Because he had not served at least seven years as an apprentice, the Glasgow Guild of Hammermen (which had jurisdiction over any artisans using hammers) blocked his application, despite there being no other mathematical instrument makers in Scotland." The play on words of indentures (apprenticeship) and teeth (dentures) shows the ridiculousness of the whole thing.

Page 118 footnote - The trip to the country by train raises the concerns of the journalists that they will be attacked by pheasants - a nice play on words since the expression is the concern of being attacked by peasants (the rabble in the wilderness away from the safety of the city) but in this case the game birds of the aristocrats who own property along the route.

Page 120 - Pratchett throws in another play on words with 'waiting room' where they are waiting for the ceremony to begin but it is also the waiting room where the customers will wait for the train.

Page 120 - Queen Keli driving in the last golden spike is a reference to the last ceremonial spike driven to complete the continental railway lines across the USA as well as the Canadian Pacific line across Canada.

Page 121 - The media panic about cows miscarrying and horses bolting at the sight of the train was a common theme in print in the early days of rail, designed to terrify an ignorant populace. One common myth was that women's uteruses would fly out of their bodies at speed and that one's face would melt at 50 miles per hour (something which Pratchett has the reporter Hardwick suggest to Dick).

Page 123 - The toilets on trains traditionally did empty directly onto the tracks below. Only Harry King would think to save the waste and profit from it.

Page 123 - The slogan, "Let the train take the strain" - was for many years an advertising slogan of British Rail, but they were thinking in terms of the stress of driving not having a bowel movement.

Page 123 - The footnote says, "Mr de Worde and wife". William and Sacharissa are described as wearing wedding rings in other parts of the novel which suggests that they have tied the knot.

Page 124 - When the train arrives at the bridge it is met by a large troll which halts the train. Pratchett continually plays on the old Norwegian fairy tale, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, in his novels. He wrote a short story in 1991 called "Troll Bridge as part of the Discworld series. However, times have progressed and trolls have become part of society as this troll works for the railway company and has the appropriate red signal flag. He is proud that his bridge building crew has constructed the new bridge and is also competing in the best tended bridge competition (similar to the Best Kept Station contest in Britain) with the winner getting 20 goats. Later in the novel, Moist comes up with the plan to franchise the bridges to Troll families, who are natural bridge tenders and will be given homes in the bridge pillars - complete with lavatories - and a guaranteed herd of goats.

Page 126 - "Nobby Nobbs considered this information like a goat chewing the cud, and said, 'Well, you go and tell Vimesy you want to be the first Railway Policemen, eh? I'd love to see his face!"' The reference to the goat reinforces the troll and Billy Goats Gruff connection of the previous scene. In the Roundworld, the British Transport Police is one of the oldest forces in that country, instituted not long after the first railways began. The same Robert Peel who founded the first regular force authorised its commissioning. Author Andrew Martin has fictionalized this period in his Railway Detective novels featuring Sergeant Jim Stringer; author Edward Marston sets his railway police novels, featuring Inspector Colbert, in a slightly later period. however, Andrew Pepper sets his railway police mystery right at the beginning: The Revenge of Captain Paine investigates violent death and sabotage on a line being built. Additionally, it is worth noting that the Signalmen were originally in control of railway traffic by use of flags and whistles, just as the regular Police controlled road traffic. Signalmen to this day are still referred to as "bobbies", for this reason.

Page 129 - "You don't have to live in Ankh-Morpork to work in Ankh-Morpork." suggests the same kind of commuter trains and life experienced in the Roundworld (particularly in Europe) where people commute long distances by train to their place of employment.

Page 131 - "Chiens with deux tails" is fractured French/Quirmian for the expression "happy as a dog with two tails", in other words extremely happy and wagging both in joy. The proper French expression would be "heureux comme un poisson dans l'eau" or "as happy as a fish in water".

Page 131 - Chemin de fer is both the French and Quirmian for "railway" and a card game also known by the name Baccarat.

Page 131 - "Ruelle" is French/Quirmian for "Alley" so Harry is saying "Right up your alley". Similarly, "manche" is "sleeve" - "keeping an ace up your sleeve".

Page 136 - Archchancellor Ridcully says to Stibbons, "Perhaps we should be the ones who are minding the doors, not to mention the gap". For non British readers, this is a reference to the automatic announcements when the subway (tube) reaches the station to "mind the gap" between the coach and the platform.

Page 137 - Moist rescues two children who lay their heads on the track to feel the vibration of the oncoming train. This is a reference to all those Western movies where the "Indians" detect the coming of the white man's iron horse by doing the same and in the film The Railway Children the central characters are introduced with a similar scene although they have the sense to lift their heads well before the train comes. Not surprising given that the novel is about railways, there are regular references to E. Nesbitt's Railway Children book and the BBC TV series in the novel.

Page 137 - "RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!" is a reference to the 1990 Jesus Jones song of the same name, which has changing times as its theme and contains the lyrics "Right here, right now/Watching the world wake up from history." There is also a 1998 tune of the same name by Fatboy Slim in which these lines are the only lyrics, repeated incessantly, with all the insistency of a train at full throttle.

Page 143 - "More posh carriages for the nobs...for those who aren't quite nobs but aspire to be like them, well why not give them carriages that are not quite so plush, but visibly better than the very cheapest coaches". Moist has clearly invented 1st class, 2nd class and economy class travel.

Pge 144 - Pratchett plays with the notion of "getting above one's station in life" and a "railway station" - the trains as the great equalizer in allowing social and physical mobility.

Page 144 - 145 - The citizens living close to the border of Ankh-Morpork and Quirm speaking both languages resonates with most countries in the world with different languages but which share a common open border. Likely since Quirm is patterned on France, Pratchett is thinking of Alsace/Lorraine where this is particularly evident.

Page 145 - Moist reflecting on his escape dressed as a washerwoman resonates with Mr. Toad from Kenneth Graham's Wind and the Willows.

Page 145 - The border between Quirm and Ankh-Morpork is "theoretically locked and manned by a couple of officers. The reality is very similar to the border between Britain and France pre-Brexit and within the EU today.

Page 146 - Pratchett's reference to the inheritance system of Quirm (Patrimony) is a reference to the French system (after all this is Quirm) that protects children from being disenfranchised from the parent's estate. That part of the estate that is earmarked for descendants (children and grandchildren) is called la réserve; that part of the estate that is freely disposable is called the quotité disponible. As the Marquis explains to Moist, the system might ensure that everyone inherits from their parents but it also guarantees that the plot of land will be ever subdivided into ultimately useless plots of land - unlike systems that give everything to the oldest son and cut the rest of the siblings out entirely.

Page 146 - Throughout the novel the Quirmians are referred to as "lobsters" by the Ankh-Morporkians and the latter are called sphincters by the people of Quirm. The term "lobster" was a term for British soldiers because of their red coats (and originally their helmet style). "Sphincters" are obviously "assholes". Pratchett is likely using lobsters as a food based insult since the Quirmians catch, eat and export them. In the Roundworld the Quirminan equivalent, the French, are referred to as 'Frogs" by the English and the latter are called "Les Rosbifs (Roast Beefs). The Roundworld terms are both food related based on the French love of frogs legs and the English love of roast beef, potatoes and Yorkshire pudding. The Roundworld is full of national and racial insults based on what people eat. Jonathan Green, author of Cassel's Dictionary of Slang calls this "gastro-nationalism" and says it has "the benefit of several antagonistic worlds: not simply racial difference, but those ever-absorbing bones of contention, manners and taste". The Racial Slur database lists hundreds of such terms, including "locust eaters" for Afghans, "salmon crunchers" for Alaskans, and "goulash-heads" for Hungarians.

Page 147 -"Fusion Cuisine" is usually used to describe the best combinations of two cultures' cooking not the worst, with the emphasis being on worst on the English/Ankh-Morpork end of the menu - Lobster and Mash and spotted Dick.

Page 148 - The Marquis tells Moist that he will pay "dans le nez" and get "ze job done before les poules auront les dents" - pay "through the nose" and "get the job done before hens have teeth." The second expression is similar to the English one "when pigs get wings". The first one is a literal translation of the English and would not be used in French. The proper expressions would be "payez le prix fort".

Page 148 - The name of the Marquis Aix en Pain is a play on the French town Aix les Bain which was a spa town. Pain is the French/Quirmian word for bread.

Page 149 - Moist says, "when the humours were handed out, Ankh-Morpork got the one for joking and Quirm had to make do with their expertise in fine dining and love-making." This comment is a reference to the ancient theory of humourism, which was developed by the Greek physician Hippocrates (460–370 BC) into a medical theory. He believed that certain human moods, emotions, and behaviours were caused by an excess or lack of body fluids (called "humours"), which he classified as blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm which lead to the four personality types: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic. Everyone is made of a combination of these types.

Page 150 - Moist and the Marquis continue their discussion of the differences between their countries - Ankh-Morpork/Britain got humor (Monty Pythons, Beyond the Fringe, the Goon Show, the list is endless) while Quirm/France got love making and fine dining. The debate as to which country got the better deal is ongoing.

Page 151 - The dwarfs burning the Clacks towers and plotting to attack the railway have many similarities in the Roundworld, from the French resistance during WW 2 on. Disrupting lines of communications (the Clacks) and transport (the railway) is a standard way of wrecking your enemy's military plans.

Page 157 - An oubliette or bottle dungeon is a form of dungeon which is accessible only from a hatch or hole in a high ceiling. "Oublier" means to forget in French so the prisoner was dumped in this hole and "forgotten". The question, "is it like a privy?" is correct in that both are only accessible from above.

Page 160 - The scene and line, "when Tak needs you, you will be contacted again" is the kind of statement that one would expect if involved in some Jihad or plot on behalf of some fundamentalist fringe group plotting to blow up a train, metro, building, etc.

Page 160 - "NagNav" the navigation system for horses is an obvious play on 'satnav" GPS based satellite navigation systems.

Page 161 - Pratchett puns on manumission when the golem horse says "that would be horseumissions, sir" Manumission, or enfranchisement, is the act of freeing slaves by their owners. The root of manumission is not from mankind but is from the Latin manumittere (to free), from manus (hand) + mittere (to let go).

Page 162 - Of the Twilight the Darkness says, "if you cut me, do I not bleed?" which is a reference to Shylock in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. The parallel between the goblins in Discworld and the Jews in Roundworld as epitomes of downtrodden and persecuted races is obvious. The goblin is less pacifistic, however, adding that he will cut anyone who tries to cut him. All the goblins' names reflect a mystical quality to them, even the younger ones who take their names from railway jargon.

Page 167 - The name of the binoculars produced by Herr Fleiss in Uberwald comes from Zeiss, the famous manufacturer of optical devices in Germany founded by Karl Zeiss in Jena. It is not known if Pratchett was also thinking of the "Hollywood Madam", Heidi Fleiss with this name or if he selected the name because it means "dilligent" in German.

Page 163 - The Marquis asks Of the Twilight the Darkness if he drinks wine, a variation on a line that Pratchett uses over and over in his novels in reference to the vampires. The original line, immortalized by Bela Legosi, with the dramatic pause before the word 'wine' " "I don't drink....wine" "appeared in many subsequent movie versions of Dracula, down to the Francis Ford Coppola 1992 remake Bram Stoker's Dracula. It originally came from the Hamilton Deane stage play Dracula which was popular in New York in the 1920s. The connection to the original line is made when Pratchett says, "the goblin hesitated." Pratchett uses this line in other novels, usually associated with vampires.

Page 163 - Monsieur Bidet is seen by Moist as a human not as a bathroom fixture. Not surprisingly he did not shake him by the hand.

Page 167 - Of the Twilight the Darkness tells Moist that Goblin tastes like chicken which is a common Roundworld joke to describe any meat that is out of the ordinary.

Page 171 - During the fight with the dwarfs where Moist von Lipwig (normally a coward) leads the goblins, he is assessed by the goblins as in need of strong drink to give him courage. The goblin, Of the Twilight Darkness provides him with a goblin-brewed tonic which completely alters his personality for just long enough, turning him into a killing machine. This scene evokes two similar literary accounts of similar potions, both applied to people of a Moist-like inclination. The great Victorian poltroon Sir Harry Flashman is the beneficiary of an Arabian tonic administered by his lover just before a vital fight with the Russians in Flashman At The Charge. As he is the only man who can direct the fight, something to dampen his natural cowardice is essential. In The Stainless Steel Rat, intergalactic con-man and bunco-artist Jim DiGriz realises the only way to understand his lethal adversary (and later wife), the rather spiky Angelina, is to ingest a chemical cocktail that simulates her marked anger-management problems. Pratchett had definitely read all of the Flashman books and "Slippery" Jim and the spiky Angelina diGriz have too many similarities to Moist and Adora Belle to be coincidental. When Vimes interviews Moist later, he recognises the essential Flashman-like aspect of Moist when he reflects cowards fight harder and better as they have more consequences to fear.

Page 174 - The expression "bettter out than in" has many references in Roundworld, most to do with bodily functions; one of which is the idea that throwing up after getting too drunk is better than keeping the poison in. In Moist's case it comes from him killing the dwarfs and being sick about the idea of himself as a murderer. The character Shrek in the movies of the same name, regularly uses this line and the British grafitti artist Banksy used it for a series of residency artworks in New York in 2013, drawing on a quote from Paul Cezanne “All pictures painted inside, in the studio, will never be as good as those done outside.”

Page 175 - Of the Twilight the Darkness tells Moist, "Take your spoils, Mister Lipwig. You never know when useful." This in reference to the dwarf micro-mail armour is very prescient since Dick Simnel uses it to strengthen "Iron Girder" and make the engine impervious to the boulders rolled down the cliffs by the rebel dwarfs.

Page 177 - "the news of the massacre could only be described as volcanic one of those slumbering volcanoes that suddenly go off pop and the calm sea is instantly awash with dirty pumice and surprised people in togas." This is a reference to the Mount Vesuvius eruption of AD 79 which destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, Stabiae, and several other settlements Vesuvius is near the ocean, hence the sea reference. Pumice is a stone produced by the sudden cooling of volcanic rock after an eruption.

Page 177 - "Moist tried to calm him (Harry King) down but that was trying to put a cap on a geyser, and you can't do that to a geezer like Harry King". Another one of Pratchett's delightful plays on words in this scene using geyser and geezer to describe the volcanic Harry King.

Page 178 - Moist says to Adora, "I've brought you some little presents, say it with goblins, as you might say." The line, 'say it with flowers' was originally an advertising slogan created in 1917, by the Florists' Telegraph Delivery group (FTD).

Page 178 - The Tump Tower is clearly a reference to Donald Trump's "Trump Towers" in New York among other places but Pratchett gives it a delightful twist since a "tump" is a small hill or hummock - a far cry from the image of masculinity, virility and machismo Donald Trump is projecting with his phallic buildings but perhaps more accurate given his small hands.

Page 178 - Moist refers to Vimes as Chuckles when being interviewed by Angua. This is a common nickname for people who are deadly serious - the antithesis of Chuckles the Clown who was a fictional character on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS, 1970–1977). His character is best known for his off-camera death in the episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust".

Page 180 - It was only a matter of when not if Pratchett would use the line "The leopard doesn't change its shorts" in the novel, resisting the urge until page 180. This is a malapropism play on the old saying "the leopard doesn't change its spots" (people don't reform or change) as well as the idea of 'having to change one's shorts" after having an accident in them from being scared. This line is used throughout Pratchett's novels.

Page 182 - The trolley bus is an obvious pun on a trolley bus which is an electric bus powered by overhead wires not a ride on an actual troll. In Unseen Academicals, it is pointed out that this is a safe method of transportation because no one would mug a troll.

Page 184 - The dwarf tells Moist that he suspects "Tak will be requiring your services in the near future." This draws a parallel to the grags telling the dwarf later in the novel the same thing - from the other side of the battle. The old story that God is on "our" side. (see note page 190)

Page 185 - Vetinari says to Moist that "you do enjoy a quantum of frisson, she tells me." Pratchett uses James Bond motifs in many of his novels so the connection to the 2008 James Bond movie starring Daniel Craig Quantum of Solace is hardly coincidental. Excitement versus comfort.

Page 186 - Vetinari tells Moist that "one of the golem horses arrived here declaring 'give me livery or give me death'". This is a typical Pratchett style bad pun based on the Patrick Henry speech "Give me liberty or give me death." at the time of the American Revolution. "Livery" on the other hand is a uniform worn by servants and, in this case, a stable (home of horses).

Page 187 - Throughout the novel Moist is constantly reminded by Vetinari that he is alive by his sufferance. In this section Vetinari says "to think I once fed you to Mister Trooper's capable hands. He often asks about your well-being. .... he never forgets a neck" In another section the line "Dance to Mr. Trooper's tune". This means a date on the end of a rope with the Ankh-Morpork hangman named Daniel Trooper. At the end of the novel, when everyone else is rewarded, Moist is reminded by Vetinari that his reward is his life.

Page 189 - Aeron says to the Low King of the Dwarfs, "I can see this is taking a lot out of you.... And you do have another card to play". and then "there was the sound of a kiss." This clearly foreshadows the king coming out as a female, her pregnancy and the fact that Aeron is her lover.

Page 190 and following - When the would-be dwarf saboteur emulates the passing of Ned Simnel and leaves the world in a massive cloud of pink steam, the uneasy suspicion forms in the mind of Moist Von Lipwig that Iron Girder is sentient and somehow engineered the situation. This is much like an event in the Stephen King novel (and movie) "Christine", about a classic American car with sentience and a negative opinion of people trying to do her harm. Fortunately, Iron Girder is only malevolently inclined towards people who are actively attempting to injure her. She is definitely better adjusted to a human rival than Stephen King's Christine: she is heard to purr approval to Emily King buffing up her nameplate till it shines, and indicating her affection for Dick Simnel.

Page 190 - The dwarf saboteur says to Death that "I was doing the work of Tak, who will now welcome me into paradise with open arms!" This thought mirrors the kinds of statements made by Islamic extremists - the 72 virgins waiting in paradise for the martyr, etc. Death replies, "TAK MIGHT INDEED BE GENTLE, .....OR....NOT" Just like extremists in the Roundworld cannot really know if the dogma their priests are spouting has validity or not, so it is in Discworld. Death, however, does know and reflects what most people hope to be true.

Page 191 - After Iron Girder steams the sabateur and Fred Colon comes close to insulting her, he quickly corrects himself before he is at risk himself by saying, "Wonderful machine, though, aint'she, Nobby! Look at those beautiful smooth lines!" This speech resonates with the Monty Python dead parrot sketch, "Remarkable bird...Beautiful plumage!"

Page 192 - Iron Girder steams the dwarf saboteur to death - the first sign that perhaps she is more than a machine, more than "human", perhaps a goddess.

The feminisation of Iron Girder is also reminiscent of Zola's La Bête humaine (The human beast), the main subject of which is railway. In this novel, the train La Lison is famously heavily sexualized, often betraying a lover's or a wife's feelings towards his mechanician Jacques.

Page 194 - Dick says that he wishes he could be "deb on air" like Moist. Obviously he means "debonair" (confident, stylish and charming)

Page 195- Harry King clearly means "elocution lessons" not "electrocution lessons" but the latter is probably more in keeping with the way Harry feels about the whole process.

Page 195 - In his conversation between Moist and Harry King. King refers to "knobs" and "knoblyess obligay". Pratchett puns on nobs (slang for nobility or upper class people), knobs (a round handle) and noblesse oblige (the inferred responsibility of privileged people to act with generosity and nobility toward those less privileged) in this line. Knob is also British slang for a penis so a knob is also a "dickhead" or 'asshole".

Page 196 - The two Wesley brothers might well be from the equivalent of the Ozarks. They do demonstrate, by blowing themselves up, the dangers of steam. There were many accidents in the age of steam in the Roundworld, on trains as well as on steam boats where the boilers exploding causes the loss of the ship, passengers and crew. Ultimately, the risk of boiler explosion and the development of the diesel engine led to the demise of steam engines.

Page 201 footnote - "Black Ribboners" are vampire "teetotallers" who have forsworn drinking human "b-vord" (blood). The name comes from the Christian Women's Temperance League who forswore drinking alcohol and wore white (some groups wore blue) ribbons to indicate this.

Page 201 - "the rest of the press gang" - Another of Pratchett's plays on words. The "press gang" is in fact the news media, not the "the press" or the "press gang" which was the group of military men that grabbed men off the street for military or naval service by compulsion, with or without notice.

Page 201 -203 - Pratchett has chosen sexually related names for the male, more obnoxious, members of the press corp. Grievous Johnson connotes someone who has problems with his masculinity (Johnson being British Slang for a penis). Hardwick seems to flaunt his maleness. (Hard wick relates to a candle, another phallic symbol). These names and the leading questions that they ask which are designed to trap Dick Simnel suggest that Pratchett has a less than positive view of the press in Britain). This is in sharp contrast to the press dealings Moist and Dick have with Sacharissa Cripslock and Otto Chriek.

Page 204 - The Dwarf hoping to escape from the grags remembers the old Djellibeybi legend about how to get an ass down from a minaret and hopes she is going to be the jackass that got out of that minaret. In Jingo, the Patrician persuades the donkey to come down out of the minaret - likely in typical Vetinari fashion by using his power of persuasion to force his will on the donkey.

Page 209 - Vetinari tells Moist he will be "down with the kittens in short order". This is another reference to being tortured by being put in the Iron Maiden with the kittens and Cedric.

Page 209 - The new crossword compiler stumps Vetinari with 'quaestuary'. Not surprisingly given his previous life, Moist gives Vetinari the correct definition of the word - "someone doing business only for profit". Pratchett seems to delight in slipping an obscure word or two into his novels to expand his readers' vocabularies.

Page 211 = "Can you keep a secret....Capital. ... so can I" Pratchett reuses Adora Belle Dearheart's line from Going Postal, this time in Vetinari's mouth.

Page 212 - Vetinari tells Moist that he "needs to get the train to run to Uberwald on time." This was a common line said about Mussolini during WW2 that at least he made the trains run on time. In fact he didn't.

Page 212 - Vetinari tells Moist "The world lives between those who say it can't be done and those who say it can. And in my experience those who say it can are be done are usually telling the truth." This is a variation on the quote by George Bernard Shaw, "People who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those who are doing it".

Page 212 - Vetinari asks Drumnott, "How's Charlie's Punch and Judy business going these days?" This line hints at Charlie's role as Vetinari's double later in the novel. The follow-up line, "That's the way to do it" is one of Mr. Punch's standard lines as he whacks his wife, the baby, the policeman or the alligator.

Page 213 - 214 - "I know very well that when you and your lady first married you used to cut the matches in half to make them last longer". Obviously, this line indicates that Harry and Effie were poor but is a bit ridiculous since the striking part of the match is only on one end. (Although survivalists will tell you that paper matches can be split lengthwise in an emergency - better to carry a lighter)

Page 215 footnote - "And yet Harry was still a Titan, a humourous term meaning deep trousers and short fingers". In Greek mythology, the Titans were the pre-Olympian gods ; the twelve children of the primordial parents Uranus (Sky) and Gaia (Earth), The term is now used to mean "a person or thing of very great strength, intellect, or importance" such as "a titan of industry". Someone with "deep pockets" is an extremely wealthy person. However, combined with the second part of the phrase, "short fingers", Pratchett is playing with the expression for a "cheapskate" - "deep pockets and short arms" (ie your arms are too short to reach into your pocket to get your money out). Having short fingers is often used as a euphemism for someone who has a small penis; ie is impotent. The news media played with this in a humorous way regarding Donald Trump (an American "titan") and Pratchett refers to Trump in his Tump Tower analogies so he may have had him in mind in this "humorous" footnote.

Pge 216 - The name of the Quirm express train, "Fierte d'Quirm" is French for "Pride of Quirm".

Page 216 - The wife of the Marquis is "enceinte" or "pregnant".

Page 217 - The "Fruits de Mer" Express means the "Seafood" Express.

Page 217 - The names of the towns in places like the Shires and the Sto Lat plains like "Higher Overhang" and "High Mouldering" are takeoffs on the names of the small British towns in places like the Cotswolds - Upper and Lower Slaughter et al.

Page 218 - Chief constable Upshot Feeney of the Shires is privileged to have earned the right to call his Goblin constable simply Boney. Boney is likely a reference to the books of Arthur Upfield and to two 1970s and 1990s Australian TV cop shows. In the books the Boney of the title is Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte, the half-white, half-Aboriginal in the Queensland force, a man who uses native tracking skills and a shrewd understanding of people to resolve difficult crimes. The Upfield character is based on a real man known as "Tracker Leon".

Page 219 - 220 -In Thud!, Pratchett left the reader with a red herring; all indications were that the forthcoming novel about railways was going to involve Dwarfs building an Underground in Ankh-Morpork using the Dwarfish Devices for propulsion. Instead, the railway goes overland and the 'Undertaking' (Underground) is going to be created by the emancipated and newly technically-savvy Goblins who want a safe means of connecting all the major Goblin settlements and providing a means to create and link a Goblin nation. The Dwarfs, whose activities looked so promising in Thud! are instead the major impediment to the railway scheme and there is no further mention of the Devices.

Page 220 - Pratchett, through Feeney Upshot addresses the unfortunate conundrum about a race of people (the goblins) learning and developing the characteristics of the dominant culture (Ankh-Morporkian) until their own culture is submerged and vanishes. This has happened over and over around the Roundworld as western man, and white Englishman in particular, has expanded his sphere of influence and the local cultures have been absorbed, either willingly because they want the trappings of white society, or reluctantly because they recognize it will be at the cost of their own culture, or forcibly because the white man sees the native culture's value only as an impediment to exploiting the natives' labour.

Page 221- "Railway workers seriously needed a good sleep in a comfortable bed ....just as soon as the former occupant ....had hurried off for his shift" Sleeping in a bed that has just been vacated by its previous occupant is known as "hot bunking". It was common in situations where sleeping accommodations were limited in comparison to the number of people needing them. This is still practiced today in some military applications such as submarines.

Page 223 - Mrs Georgina Bradshaw, the chronicler of the railway network is based on George Bradshaw who, in the middle 1800's was a railway fan who made a living of writing traveller's guides, even meticulously collating timetables so that, ultimately, a traveller using Bradshaw guides could plot a railway journey, together with stays in recommended cities and local hotels, to confidently craft a journey from Waverley Station, Edinburgh, to Kursky station in Moscow - within five minutes of accuracy all along the way.

Page 223 - "Professor Dibbler" is clearly another incarnation of CMOT Dibbler since he is a conman selling patent cures for train sickness.

Page 223 - Mrs. Bradshaw comments that Morporkian has become the 'ligua Quirma' of Discworld, a reference to English becoming the 'lingua franca' and replacing French as the universal language of Roundworld.

Page 224 - Moist talks about the huge number of travellers going to Quirm for the day for the sunshine which parallels the rise of the seaside spas and resorts on the English coasts after the rise of the railways; Southport, Lytham, Fleetwood, Blackpool, Brighton, Dover, Ramsgate, Folkestone, Canterbury, Margate, Hastings, Eastbourne and Weymouth. Small towns were inundated with people taking their holidays, their half Saturday or going for a day trip. https://blog.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/2021/08/12/how-the-railway-revolutionised-the-british-seaside/

Page 224 - "strange sounding names ... like Twoshirts and Effing Forest and Scrote". Effing Forest has been covered before. Scrote is slang for scrotum or balls. Twoshirts is a public breastfeeding method but Pratchett may not have been thinking about that one in his choice of names for the towns. There are plenty of similar examples in the Roundword, particularly in Newfoundland with Conception Bay, Placentia and Dildo,

Page 227 - "0ne of Simnel's special sliding slabs" - clearly a sliding (slide) rule for trolls.

Page 228 - Meeting under the railway clock in Raising Steam, becomes so popular that Mr. Snori Snorisson suggests the railway provide stepladders to those waiting can see over the crowd of other people waiting. In fact, in the Roundworld, in the days before cell phones it was very popular to make arrangements to meet under the clock in the town square.

Page 228 - The Ankh-Morpork Times hires a railway correspondent, Mr. Raymond Shuttle, a very appropriate name for a railway correspondent. In fact, from the early days of railways well in the last century, newspapers did employ a railway correspondent.

Page 229 - With the interest in trains comes the inevitable spin-off: model railways and train sets as seen in Roundworld; everything from working steam engines, to electric to wooden Brio. Lady Effie is heard to complain that the trackside model of Sir Harry King makes him look too fat - an obvious reference to the Fat Controller in the Thomas the Tank Engine Series on British TV and based on the The Railway Series of books by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry and his son, Christopher.

Page 231 - Moist goes to sleep with "the dancing toadstools and Mr. Whoopee". Mr. Whoopee is an ice-cream van featured in every 3D Universe game except Grand Theft Auto Advance. The Dancing Toadstools are featured in the Disney movie Fantasia but also resonate with hallucinogenic magic mushrooms given their impact on Moist.

Page 332 - Firkytootle or Firkydoodle was a 17 th century term, obsolete by the 19 th century, meaning to caress sexually, to pet, what is known today as foreplay.

Page 233 - Aeron asks the low King about "the other thing" foreshadowing the revelation about her pregnancy.

Page 234 - Slake is described as a place to avoid unless you liked bad cooking and banjos - a reference to places like the Ozarks and the deep south as portrayed in the movies Deliverance and Green Fried Tomatoes. The word Slake comes from the same Old English root slacian (to become less eager) as slacken so implies the town is less advanced than any other town. Slake can also mean to "satisfy your thirst" and to "combine quicklime with water to produce calcium hydroxide. Since it is a needed water stop, the former definition seems appropriate and there is a connection to the latter.

Page 237 - Lord Vetinari is seen playing with one of the new scale model railway sets. To model rail buffs, miniature systems where the engines run on live steam are the most expensive, deluxe, desirable models of all but Vetinari is seen catching one as it derails and leaps over the edge of the table. His comments about rock slides and sabotage hint at what is to come in the novel and show that, as usual, Vetinari is remarkably prescient about what is going on around him. There is another reference to the Fat Controller in the Thomas the Tank Engine series.

Page 239 footnote - The elderly bandy-legged heroes climbing Cori Celeste are clearly Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Hordes seeking to return fire to the gods in The Last Heroes.

Page 239 - The Golem horse is "clamped". This is a Discworld variant of the "Denver Boot", "parking boot or " or "wheel clamp" where the wheel of a vehicle is blocked and locked until a fine is paid. Presumably the Golem horse had his leg clamped. A previous horse on which Moist used to escape Vetinari in Going Postal was also clamped.

Page 240 - Moist's attempts to make the golem horse animate are a progression in the development of what is a free sentient being which we are seeing in the Roundworld as well - moving from humans to dwarfs to trolls to goblins to golems to animals (the Golem horse). In the Roundworld, we have progressed from men, to women, to other races and now the discussion is whether whales and dolphins deserve the status of "personhood".

Page 240 - Harry says to Moist, "No train can run on thin air!" This line foreshadows Iron Girder running on what appears to be thin air across the gorge in Uberwald.

Page 241 - "I imagine Lady King would be most impressed by a man with 6 balls" is a double entendre, an obvious sexual reference. The silver balls on a coronet are known as pearls and there are rules for how a coronet is laid out, depending on rank.

Page 241 - "Tsort wasn't built in a day" is an obvious reference to the line "Rome wasn't built in a day" which itself originated in medieval France and was published in Li Proverbe au Vilain, in 1190.

Page 241 footnote - Miss Daisy Snapes is the first baby to be born on the train and receives a free season's pass. This is also common in Roundworld where, depending n the railway or ferry system, the baby often receives anything from free passage until adulthood to a life time pass.

Page 242 - The system of tokens to prevent head on collisions was in fact used until there became too many lines and too many trains to make it effective at which point lights were introduced. It is still used in some parts of the world where there are single tracks, either a token, shaft or key being passed back and forth between the trains.

Page 242 - The bureaucratic middle manager trying to save time by duplicating the token is so typical of the corporate world - conveniently forgetting what the purpose of the procedure was in the interest of saving time or money.

Page 243 footnote - The 'Netherglades' are an obvious reference to the Florida 'Everglades'.

Page 244 - 'Shankydoodle' is an obvious reference to the well know song Yankee Doodle which dated from the American Revolution. Naturally, Shankydoodle is a great exporter of racehorses since the song itself refers to horses and "shank's mare" means to go on foot.

Page 244 - The liason between the two people at the railway station is a reference to the 1945 David Lean movie, Brief Encounter.

Page 244 - The dwarf, Dopey Docson, has a name that reflects common dwarf names. The first name is a variant on one of the Seven Dwarfs of Disney Snow White fame. The last name reflects the patronymic style of Scandinavian surnames where the given name of the father is used for the surname of the son. Clearly Dopey is the son of Doc. Doc is another of the Disney Seven Dwarfs.

Little boys and big ones all around the world lay pennies on the track to flatten them.

Page 245 - Schmaltzberg means "Fat mountain" in German. Schmaltz is rendered chicken or goose fat. It has also come to mean excessively sentimental or cheesy.

Page 246 - The watchwords of 'restoring order' and 'going back to the basics of true dwarfishness' resonate strongly in the Roundworld of today; in the anti-immigration rhetoric throughout Europe, the slogans of "Make America great again" and "family values" etc emanating from the former US president, Trump and his ilk. Ardent's comments about not believing the stone images of the Troll King and Dwarf King playing Thud in Koom Valley also fit in with Trump's outcry about 'fake news' -denying what is in front of your face. Similarly, Ardent refusing to recognize the goblins as equals resonates with every despotic leader from Hitler and his remarks about the Jews to Trump and his comments on the Mexicans.

Page 246 - The Scone of Stone is an obvious reference to the Stone of Scone or Stone of Destiny on which the Scottish Kings and later British rulers weare crowned. Both it and its Round World counterpart were stolen by nationalists to return it to its rightful place in its country of origin. The name makes a natural parody for the dwarfs since a scone is a type of baked good and they make stone hard bread to use as food and weapons. The Round World version is kept in the ruins of Scone Abbey in Scone, Scotland. The actual theft is referred to as a stupid crime because as Vimes points out, "other people would notice if you had a great rock up your jumper." In the Round World, the thieves did in fact get away without being caught. It is clear that, even though most of the dwarfs now live in Ankh-Morpork rather than in Uberwald, those leaders in Uberwald believe its rightful place in Schmaltzberg, not in Ankh-Morpork as some of the new breed of dwarfs would wish.

Page 251 - The scene involving Adora aiming the crossbow at the palace guards who have interrupted her sleep is a very explicit reference to the Stainless Steel Rat novels of Harry Harrison. In The Stainless Steel Rat for President!, the opening scene is of the outraged police chief, Inskipp, sending men round to arrest the diGriz husband for embezzlement and misuse of Special Corps funds. The spiky Angelina diGriz, taking exception at having her beauty sleep interrupted, intervenes with a large and unfriendly weapon and suggests that good manners be used by the arresting officers.

Page 251 - In British slang a 'herbert' is a foolish man or scruffy child.

Page 253 - The king of the Dwarfs is referred to as the Low King since Dwarfs live underground and the farther underground one is the more important the Dwarf. The name Low King is an obvious play on Roundworld's High King, both fiction and real life where the High King is the supreme ruler. Examples include CS Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles and in real life Brian Boru, The High King of Ireland and the Roundworld equivalent of the Dwarfs' first king B'hrian Bloodaxe.

Page 254 - Moist says to Vetinari, "Miracles are us, sir!" an obvious reference to the company "ToysRUS".

Page 258 - The Low King employs a double as a decoy, hinting at a similar strategy from Vetinari later on.

Page 260 - Bashfullson says to Detritus, "Please remember there are grags and there are grags." Wise words that could be remembered more often in the Roundworld where there is a tendency to label all Muslims as fundamentalists and terrorists, even those who have fled those very people with whom they are being characterised. Let's not forget either that "Islamists" has not always meant "terrorists", and that it is still the case today: Islamists political parties claim to be guided by religion when it comes to political decisions, but this is not necessarily incompatible with, say, women rights (see in Morocco for instance).

Page 26o - Moist is "not required on this voyage" which in Roundworld is written on luggage tags to indicate that the particular suitcase is not needed during the course of the voyage.

Page 262 - Moist's comparison of the rail journey with all its pieces which need to be in the right order to a pyramid is a reference back to the earlier novel Pyramids; Moist contemplating the nature of the pyramid, its associations, and how it all has to fit together absolutely perfectly in the right sequence.

Page 262 - The little goblin that sat "on your shoulder and whispered" is a reference to the Roundworld concept of the devil and the angel, two sides of your conscience, sitting on your shoulder trying to lead you from the path or righteousness and to keep you on the straight and narrow.

Page 263 - Blackboard Monitor Vimes was the name given to Sam Vimes during his time at school when he was a blackboard monitor for a full term. His "Blackboard Monitor" epithet is used like a title in Snuff, implying it may actually have been accorded some official weight by the Low King of the dwarfs. The presence of "Blackboard Monitor Vimes" strikes terror in the renegade dwarfs when they do battle.

Page 265 and following - The plan to restore Rhys to the Low Kingship, involving running a train all the way to Überwald despite frequent attacks and attempts to derail it is a shout-out to war movies like von Ryan's Express, where a hijacked train carrying a lot of battle-hardened tough cases trying to make it to safety is subjected to all manner of attacks by increasingly desperate Germans. There are other movies with the same sort of theme: 1948's Berlin Express references similar ideas, set in Germany during the Cold War at its height, with the Russians monitoring activities closely, since the train is in East Germany. Similarly, the train has strange people aboard a train whose stories don't fit, sleeper carriages on a long-distance express heading toward the Discworld's equivalent of the East. Since Lady Sybil had decreed the next Ramkin family holiday would be on the Überwald Express, perhaps Pratchett had a Murder on the Orient Express type novel in mind for his next Vimes chapter if he had lived.

Page 266 - Moist says, "everything that ought to be attached still is, isn't that right, Adora Belle?" In short, he hasn't had his head lopped off or been castrated. This is a running gag between the two of them and a veiled threat with Vetinari.

Page 270 - Vetinari's dark clerks are his spies, assassins and undercover agents.

Page 270 - "Boffo's best artifical vomit" is obviously a product of Boffo Novelty and Joke Shop, no. 4, Tenth Egg Street, Ankh-Morpork.

Page 274 - Mrs. Simnel serves 'pease pudding in t'pot' and mentions that Dick likes it cold - a reference to the old nursery rhyme,

Pease pudding hot/pease pudding cold/pease pudding in the pot/nine days old/some like it hot/some like it cold/some like it in the pot/nine days old.

Page 275 - Dick's mom, the midwife, clearly recognizes that the king of the Dwarfs is pregnant although at this point it is only foreshadowing and it isn't revealed until the end of the novel.

Page 279 -Brassica World in Big Cabbage resonates with such theme parks as Disney World and Jurassic Park.

Page 280 - Zemphis likely draws its name from Memphis in Egypt rather than Memphis in Tennessee given that there are camels and no mention of Elvis.

Page 280 - Pratchett plays with the dwarfs' names in the line about "one sort were happy at being Ankh-Morpork citizens, and others eemed to feel grumpy". Happy and Grumpy were two of the seven dwarfs from Disney's Snow White. The Seven Dwarfs are Grumpy, Dopey, Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sneezy and Sleepy and Pratchett uses some most of their names in this and other novels. Bashful Bashfullson,

Page 283 - "This sir, is what assassins call a roundel, and I must tell you that even the professional killers don't use the. ..... cruel and has no finesse." Vimes says to the rebel dwarf. A rondel dagger /ˈrɒndəl/ or roundel dagger was a type of stiff-bladed dagger in Europe in the late Middle Ages (from the 14th century onwards), used by a variety of people from merchants to knights. It was worn at the waist and might be used as a utility tool, or worn into battle or in a jousting tournament as a side arm. It was round in shape (hence its name) with a very sharp point which was ideal for piercing the chain mail of a knight's armour.

Page 284 - When Vimes shows his forearm to the Dwarf, the Dwarf freaks out knowing its connection to death and to 'Blackboard monitor Vimes'. The symbol for the summoning dark (the eye with the long squiggly tail) has many parallels in Roundworld from the Third eye of enlightenment in the middle of the forehead in Buddhism to the "evil eye" painted on the bows of fishing boats in the eastern Mediterranean to ward off evil and misfortune. In literature ,beginning with Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island the Black Spot is given to a pirate if he is about to be deposed as leader, usually by violent means so it is a source of great fear. In the JK Rowling, Harry Potter series, the dark mark that appears on the arms of Voldemort's supporters is a sign that he is summoning them and both it and Vimes mark glow and throb when in use. The serpent shaped symbol Pratchett uses has an obvious resemblance to a sperm.

Page 285 -Moist's idea of sorting the mail on the train while it is in transit was a common practice on railways around the world where special cars with specially trained staff were used until the 1970s. The trains did not even stop but used a hook suspended beside the track and a scoop system to move the bag from the bag into the carriage.

Page 286 - "Catspaw" is an idiom, meaning "the dupe of another", derived from La Fontaine's fable "The Monkey and the Cat"

Page 288 - A hurry up wagon is an archaic, US, colloquialism for a rapid-response vehicle like an ambulance, or paddy wagon. In this case, Sergeant Willard would be driving a paddy wagon.

Page 289 - The bridge with the troll on guard is another reference to the Norwegian folk tale of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. See annotation page 124.

Page 290 - The line that 'too much travelling on the railways could make you a philosopher, although not a very good one." is a reference to the very popular radio philosopher of the 1940's n BBC panel show The Brains Trust. Doctor Joad, whose pronouncements were witty, down to earth and listenable, often travelled by rail and used railway analogies to explain philosophical conundrums, including the inevitable life is a journey.. to explain determinism/free will. (Joad's analogy was that life is a train journey. The lines are fixed - determinism - but you have a choice of routes - free will Your starting point - birth - and terminus - death - are also predetermined. But in between your choices of stations and routes are your own - free will.). Unfortunately, Joad's exercise of his own free will granted him the power to evade his fares and travel for nothing. Determinism caught up with him in the form of a ticket inspector. After the court case for fare evasion, Joad was sacked by the BBC and faded into obscurity.

Page 293 - 294 - Moist von Lipwig gets practice at moving safely and confidently on the roof of a moving train and leaping from carriage to carriage. The good guy battling it out on the roof of railway carriage is a standard movie cliche in everything from five James Bond movies (Skyfall most noteworthy) to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade to Mission Impossible to Spiderman to countless spaghetti westerns involving "Indians" or train robbers to name but a few. This scene foreshadows the later one where, both he and Sam Vimes - and an unremarked stoker with a shovel - fight it out with the dwarfs in a stand-up fight later on. Perhaps Moist knows subconsciously that the villain and hero inevitably battle it out on the roof and he decides to practice first.

Page 295 - Moist's sleeper cabin is "more suited to people who like toying with twisty cubes" - a reference to the Rubik's Cube puzzle.

Page 296 - Wheeltappers and shunters are mentioned in the discussion about railwaymen and their hierarchy as well as their activities in their down time. A popular TV show of the 1970's was The Wheeltappers and Shunters' Social Club, a live cabaret set in a fictitious Northern working-mens' club of a sort rooted in everyday reality. The real-life W&S Club would have been set up by and for wheeltappers and shunters; all other trades by invitation only. The show was hosted by the egregious Bernard Manning - very much like Harry King - who also made money from muck, in this case dirty and doubtful jokes. Manning was a larger-than-life character who could have been a Roundworld Harry King, both in looks and attitude.

Page 296 - Stoker Blake and his ability to use a shovel incorrectly hints at his role later on during the dwarf attack on the train.

Page 298 - The Low King says there will be no 'auto-da-fé when the rogue Dwarfs are apprehended. An auto-da-fé or auto-de-fé (from Portuguese meaning "act of faith") was the ritual of public penance of condemned heretics and apostates that took place when the Spanish, Portuguese or Mexican Inquisition had decided their punishment, followed by the carrying out by the civil authorities of the sentences imposed.

Page 299 -"Copasetic" is American slang for 'in excellent shape'.

Page 299 -Downsized Abbey is too obvious to elaborate on.

Page 299- Pratchett's description of the trading route in Zemphis, the Aglet Road seems very random (except Pratchett doesn't do random). In fact, this is another of Pratchett's very clever plays on words. As he says, an aglet is the round plastic or metal end on a shoe lace. But the word aglet and its variant aiglet come from the Middle French and Old French word aguillette, the diminutive of aguille, meaning "needle, pin" The aglets are being transported by camel. So the reference is to the old saying from the Bible (Matthew 19. 24) , "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich manl to enter the kingdom of God."

Page 300 - The Paps of Scilla are likely named for the Paps of Jura in Scotland or the Paps of Anu in Ireland, so named because they resemble breasts.

Page 300 footnote - The Klatchian migratory bog truffle which "was extremely rare and therefore a delicacy", is Pratchett's shot at the way humans covet rare species and hasten their extinction by ascribing some exotic attribute (usually sexual prowess) to them - rhino horns, bear gall bladders, elephant ivory, etc.

Page 302 - Sorortanium is said to mean the sister of iron but really combines 'soror' (Latin for sister) with 'tanium' (likely titanium). Iron is Ferrum in Latin.

Page 303 - "The silver carapce (of Iron Girder) ... could make a significant difference inother ways," Moist thought. This hints at the extra strong shell of Iron Girder which the dwarf thrown boulders bounce off of.

Page 304 - Like all Troll, Blue John takes his name from a mineral, in this case Blue John also known as Derbyshire Spar) which is a semi-precious mineral, a form of fluorite with bands of a purple-blue or yellowish colour. In the UK it is only found in Castletown in Derbyshire.

Page 309 - Not surprising given that the novel is about railways, there are regular references to E. Nesbitt's Railway Children book and the BBC TV series in the novel. The key reference is the one where a group of children flag down the Iron Girder with their pinafores to warn them about an avalanche which has blocked the line. Unlike Nesbitt's children, Pratchett's children have engineered the landslide themselves so that they can be heroes by stopping the train in time. Moist, an expert in cons, sees through the charade and suggests that, if they don't want to meet Cedric (the keeper of the kittens in the Iron Maiden) they should find another activity and he also says that they should not wave their pinafores when flagging the train as it could give the wrong impression - ie that they were prostitutes looking for customers. The connection to the Railway Children of E Nesbitt is obvious. Firstly, the ringleader's name is Edith Nesmith and Moist goes on to suggest that Edith might have a good career as a novelist. Pratchett also slips in a play on words here, calling the children 'kids' which makes the reader not only think about the Railway children, but also about the old song called Bill Grogan's Goat (kid) popularized by Burl Ives:

Bill Grogan's Goat

There was a man, who had a goat,

He loved that goat just like a kid.

One day that goat was feeling fine,

He ate red shirts right off the line,

The farmer grabbed him by the back,

And tied him to the railroad track,

Just then a train came into sight,

And that poor goat near died of fright,

He heaved a sigh as if in vain,

Coughed up the shirts, and flagged the train.

Page 318 and following - The scene where the Flyer is derailed and the whole expedition is held up in the forest and the Low King is helped by the forest Gnomes, echoes King Theoden and the Wild Men of the Druadan forest in Lord of the Ring - A King, on a mission to rescue a people from the Forces of Darkness, is stalled in impenetrable forest. with his way forward blocked, the forest-dwelling race, who are somewhat behind the times, timidly step out begging not to be hunted or killed. They provide the key to forward progress, and the King vows they will for evermore have his protection.

Page 319 - The ability of the gnomes to make good quality boots resonates with the Grimm's fairy tale, "The Shoemaker and the Elves."

Page 320 - The tale of the fisherman describing how the water in Lake Overshot simply vanishes resonates with Lost Lake in Oregon which disappears down a lava tube every spring only to be replenished by snow melt water and runoff the following year.

Page 324 - Ardent goes to the prison cell of Albrechtson to "chew the rat" - a play on the expression "chew the fat" or chat informally combined with the fact that rats are the meat of choice for Dwarfs.

Page 328 - The common line said about the goblins throughout the novel is that they smell, Albrecht Albrechtson comments that they smell of old sculleries and southernwood, in other words they don't smell of the artificial perfumes of the modern world but smell of their natural world. A similar line is often said about foreigners in Roundworld because westerners are not used to the smell of the foreigners' cooking which naturally permeates everything.

Page 329 - Mrs. Gwendolyn Avery comments to her friend Daphne that the sound was "like the sound of a lot of men marching past". This foreshadows the golden golems coming out of their underground home where Moist had them bury themselves in Making Money to create a golem bridge to support the train over the chasm.

Page 329 - The older generation of goblins have names such as Of the Happiness the Heart and Of the Sky the Rim while the younger generation take names connected to the railway such as Of the Water the Crane and The Rattle of the Wheels.

Page 330 + 331 - The reference to "lonely goatherds' beside the track is an obvious reference to the Rogers and Hammerstein musical "The Sound of Music" and the song "The Lonely Goatherd". Pratchett says that there was definitely "an out-break of dirndls". A dirndl is a traditional feminine dress worn in Austria, South Tyrol and Bavaria. It is based on the traditional clothing of Alps peasants and was worn in the Sound of Music.

Page 330 - "Something was tellling him that there was a better life than watching goats each their lunch...once, twice, sometimes thrice." Goats actually have four stomachs and regurgitate their food like cows do, hence eating their lunch three times.

Page 333 - Dick asks Moist why he can't tell him the secret of flying over the gorge. "I could" said Moist, "But Lord Vetinari would have me dead." This foreshadows the use of the golden golems which were buried in Making Money which Vetinari has forbidden.

Page 334 - When asked where he will get more help, Moist says, "I'll just whistle". This is a play on the train's whistle but also the line resonates with any of many similar lines in movies, novels and poems. A line like this was first used in Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad which was a 1793 poem by Scottish poety, Robbie Burns but a variation on it was made famous by Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not) when she says "“If you want me, just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow". In fact Moist does this on Page 339 when he whistles to the golems who hold up the flimsy trestle over the canyon so that Iron Girder can cross safely.

Page 334 - Moists conversation about the Low King add to the information from Dick Simnel's mother's home and foreshadow the "king's" pregnancy.

Page 336 - When the Low King reveals to Moist that he is a she, Moist replies, "Well, nobody's perfect, your majesty." This is an echo of the response to a similar type of revelation in the 1959 movie Some Like it Hot starring Marilyn Monroe.

Page 338 - Iacta alea est is a Latin expression meaning "the die is cast". It was attributed by Suetonius to Julius Caesar on 10 January 49 BC, as he led his army across the Rubicon river in Northern Italy meaning that they had reached the point of no return. He evidently borrowed if from Menander, the Greek playwright.

Page 339 - Moist's words to Dick when he walks out into the canyon apparently on thin air (the golem bridge), "Do you believe, Do you really believe?" resonate with JM Barrie's Peter Pan when Peter asks the reader/audience if they believe in fairies in order to save Tinkerbell's life.

Page 343 and following - The scene of the battle on the rooftop of the train resonates with countless spaghetti western movies involving "Indian" attacks, train robbers and the like. It was used in the opening of the 2012, James Bond movie Skyfall. Similarly, uncoupling the train car and having it shoot backwards down the track is a common movie trope.

Page 345 - 346 - Moist "grabbed a 'jim crow' and opened the trap door on the roof". Pratchett's choice of the word 'jim crow' instead of 'crowbar' is an interesting one. There is a common misconception that 'crow bar' stems from 'jim crow' because black slaves used the crow bar in their work. In fact the term comes from at least the 1400s in England and stems from the fact that the end of the bar looks like a crow's beak or foot. The term, 'jim crow' didn't' arise until the 1800 about 100 years after blacks began being called 'crows' because of their colour and 300 years after 'crowbar' came on the scene. No one calls a 'crow bar' a 'jim crow' but there have been attempts to purge 'crowbar' from the language and replace it with 'prybar' because of this misconception. Either Pratchett is fooled by the common misconception or is aware of it and playing with the reader to see if they can figure it out, likely the latter given his expertise with language.

Page 346 - "the commander went, as they say in Ankh-Morpork, totally librarian on them." As the reader knows, the librarian at Unseen University is an orangutan so Vimes has gone "totally Ape" on the grags. Pratchett uses this play on words throughout his novels.

Page 346 - Detritus the troll Watchman has a crossbow named the "Piece Maker". The Roundworld reference is to the Colt Peacemaker .45 revolver, a staple weapon of law enforcers and criminals alike in the American Wild West and - similarly to Detritus' weapon - made and kept the peace by making it impossible for the other side to continue being aggressive, which is difficult to do when you're dead.

Page 347 - Bluejohn's handcar, which he uses for towing the train, is a speeder or draisine (English: /dreɪˈziːn/) which is a light auxiliary rail vehicle, driven by service personnel, equipped to transport crew and material necessary for the maintenance of railway infrastructure. Moist's creative mind correctly speculates its future uses.

Pge 349 - The scene where Moist is about to meet his end on the roof of the train car but is saved by the tunnel has its roots in the movies as well as cartoons such as Wiley Coyote vs the Roadrunner. It is also used in the James Bond movie Skyfall. Pratchett pokes fun at the genre though by having the dwarf survive, he is too short to be knocked off by the tunnel roof.

Page 361 -The line, "Tak save The Queen!" would make a good opening to a national anthem if a similar line wasn't already taken. In any case the Dwarfs have the famous "Gold! Gold, Gold, Gold!" (which sounds like it should be sung to the Monty Python's "Bloody Vikings" tune of Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam.

Page 362 - "It had to be game, set and a whole boxful of matches." The correct expression in Roundworld is of course, game, set and match which comes from tennis at the final victory. Pratchett's use of matches as a play on the expression resonates with Vimes lighting his big cigar and the fact that the battle takes place in the dark, underground so a boxful of matches would be very useful.

Page 362 - The Queen says to the assembled Dwarfs, "Well well, the world is upside down." This is a reference to the English ballad "The World Turned Upside Down" which was first published on a broadside in the middle of the 1640s as a protest against the policies of Parliament relating to the celebration of Christmas. Parliament believed the holiday should be a solemn occasion, and outlawed traditional English Christmas celebrations. According to American legend, the British army band under Lord Cornwallis played this tune when they surrendered after the Siege of Yorktown (1781) but that is likely apocryphal as the legend first surface 100 years after the fact.

Page 364 - 366 -The Brick Joke from the beginning of the book : the brick finally drops as Iron Girder reveals who she really is, hearkening back to the very first page.

Page 367 - Charlie the Clown and owner of the Punch and Judy Show is revealed to be Vetinari's double who we met in Jingo when Lord Rust was attempting to oust Vetinari.

Page 369 - At the end of the novel the Low King comes out as a Low Queen and changes her name to Blodwen" after the Dwarf bride killed at her wedding by the Deep Downer Dwarfs. Blodwen is the name of the first opera in the Welsh (Llamedos) language and the name of the main character. In the opera the real father of Blowdwen is Rhys Gwyn. So both the male and female names of the Low King take their names from the opera.

Page 372 - Drumknott says, "there was that fall of pianos in the Fish Market last week." Pratchett combines two tropes in this image. Unusual phenomena raining from the heavens like fish or toads are often seen as a sign of the apocalypse, or at least a sign of some sort. Pratchett uses this trope throughout his novels. Falling pianos on the other hand are usually associated with cartoons where the piano crushes the unlikely victim like Wiley Coyote.

Page 374 - The Goblin,who invents the velocipede presages the next big development in Discworld; the mobility of man as an individual, first by bicycle and then by automobile perhaps. Vetinari tells the goblin to present his idea to Vimes. The image of the British Bobby (policemen) on his bicycle is an iconic one.


Main Characters[]

  • Dick Simnel – inventor of Iron Girder, Discworld's first steam train (Discworld's answer to Roundworld's Richard Trevithick).
  • Lord Vetinari – Patrician of Ankh-Morpork
  • Moist von Lipwig - former thief and conman who is the CEO and manager of the Post Office, the Royal Bank and Mint and now a key figure in the railway
  • Harry King - Wealthy businessman who made his money in collecting and reselling "shit" and urine and is now diversifying.
  • Low King Rhys Rhysson - Low king of the Dwarfs and later Low Queen.
  • Adora Belle Dearheart - wife of Moist von Lipwig and owner of the Clacks system
  • Samuel Vimes - Commander of the Watch

Minor Characters[]

  • Albrecht Albrechtson
  • Drumknott
  • Ardent
  • Of the Twilight the Darkness
  • Margnus Magnusson
  • Lady Margolotta
  • Mrs. Simnel - Dick's mother
  • Bowden Jeffries - seafood seller
  • Relief Jeffries - Market gardener
  • Bashful Bashfullsson
  • Effie King - Harry King's wife
  • Mr. Thunderbolt - lawyer for Harry King and Dick Simnel
  • Captain Angua von Überwald
  • Sulien Heddwyn - fat miner.
  • Billy Slick - one of Dick Simnel's crew in charge of hiring
  • Mr. Hardwick - editor of the Pseudopolis Daily Press
  • Crucible Wesley - Blacksmith and would-be engineer - soon deceased.
  • Jed Wesley - also blacksmith and would-be engineer - also soon deceased.
  • Mr. Of the Wheel the Spoke - Goblin who invents the velocipede or bicycle


  • Dick Simnel's grandfather
  • Diamond King of Trolls
  • Tears of the Mushroom - Goblin singer
  • Crossly - Adora and Moist's butler
  • Mrs. Crossly - Adora and Moist's housekeeper and cook
  • Crisp- Adora and Moist's gardener and handyman
  • Wally and Dave - Dick and Harry's employees
  • Blodwyn Footcracker - Dwarf bride-to-be of Davy Counter who was murdered at her wedding by the grags
  • Davy Counter - Human husband to be of Blodwyn Foootcracker
  • Fflergant - a dwarf who attacks the grags at the wedding.
  • Shatter of the Icicles
  • Igorina - The Watch's forensic expert (a female Igor)
  • Mr. Trooper - The Hangman
  • Trouble - one of Harry King's security guards and a troll
  • William de Worde - Editor of the Ankh-Morpork Times
  • Sacharissa Cripslock - William de Worde's wife and reporter for the Times
  • Otto von Chriek - Iconographer for the Times
  • Chief Constable Feeney Upshaw - police chief in Higher Upshaw in the Shires
  • Special Constable Of the Chimney the Bones - assistant to Feeney Upshaw and a goblin
  • Mrs. Georgina Bradshaw - railway chronicler
  • Marjorie Painsworth - owner of the little coffee shop in a railway waiting room in Sto Lat
  • Crackle - a young troll librarian in a railway waiting room coffee shop
  • Dopey - a young dwarf library who meets Crackle in a railway waiting room coffee shop.
  • Tagwen Tagwensson - The Low King's double
  • Mrs. Gwendolyn Avery - spinster in Schmarm
  • Daphne - Mrs. Gwendolyn Avery's friend
  • Mrs Plumridge -mother of Jack Plumridge and emptier of chamberpots on grags
  • Jack Plumridge - railway lineman
  • Cedric - Vetinari's dungeon master in charge of the "kittens"
  • Mr. Nesmith - railwayman in charge of section of trackk
  • Edith Nesmith - daughter
  • Humphrey and Jake - Mr. Nesmith's sons and fellow railwaymen
  • Mr. Skiller - landlord of the Fiddler's Riddle and mayor of Ohylan Cutash
  • Slam - leader of the gnomes
  • Geoffrey Indigo - fisherman whose lake disappears
  • Rattle of the Wheels - goblin who brings messages to Albrecht Albrechtson
  • Happiness of the Heart - Rattle of the Wheels' mom
  • Of the Sky the Rim -Rattle of the Wheels' father
  • Of the Water the Crane - Rattle of the Wheels' younger brother
  • Humphrey - The burgomeister of Bonk
  • Shod Orebreaker - one of the rebels who is suddenly loyal to the Low Dwarf Queen


Science fiction author Cory Doctorow, in his review on Boing Boing, remarked that Pratchett "never quite balanced whimsy and gravitas as carefully as this, and it works beautifully. This is a spectacular novel, and a gift from a beloved writer to his millions of fans."

Ben Aaronovitch for The Guardian, noted that, while Raising Steam may be "heavy-handed" in its moralising, Pratchett "can be forgiven" because he remains one of the most consistently funny writers in the business.

Sara Sklaroff for The Washington Post, praised Pratchett's innate ability to balance the silly and the serious. Pratchett "blasts fundamentalists who resist all progress." But mostly he seems to be "having fun with words in the very British strain of absurdist humor."

Karin L Kross for Tor.com, praised Raising Steam as "the latest transformation of a remarkable fictional world that has evolved and grown with its creator."

Far Beyond Reality was more critical and found the writing "not as crisp as it used to be" and the characters "starting to blend together".

Interesting Additional Features[]

In a promotional tour for Making Money, Pratchett hinted a new Moist Von Lipwig book to be titled Raising Taxes and in that earlier novel there are hints that Vetinari has a new job in mind for Moist when the tax man Mr. Creaser retires or "is retired". Previous books had also hinted that Vetinari was considering using the dwarfs' mining skills to build an underground metro so readers were initially surprised by Moist's new venture, above ground. Perhaps Vetinari and Pratchett realized Moist's people skills would be lost in the dismal world of tax collection and would be better suited on the railways.

Doubleday hardback features an expanded two-page map of the book Central Sea region on pp8-9, (or at least of its Hubwards side), which provides interesting detail as to locations of places previously only hinted at or else vaguely located. The map covers the region Quirm-Ankh-Morpork - Scrote - Überwald - Lancre with The Chalk, Sheepridge and the Octarine Grass Country shading in. No indication of scale is given, save for the incidental detail in the text that the completed railway line from Ankh-Morpork to Überwald is 1,200 miles long.

The Doubleday hardback special edition contained an additional extra short story Humphrey Newt's Thunderbolt Carriage.

This book had two deleted scenes cut from it called 'The Skeleton in the Cavern' and 'Counterblast.' These were reprinted in the convention exclusive Terry Pratchett's Folio.


  • Raising Steam (2013) by Terry Pratchett also appeared as:
    • Translation: Toller Dampf voraus [German] (2014) - great steam ahead
    • Translation: Deraillé [French] (2014) - Derailed
    • Translation: Op stoom [Dutch] (2015) - On Steam