The characters of Pin and Tulip are somewhat frustrating for Terry in the sense that many, many people feel that they are 'obviously' based on Mr Croup and Mr Vandemar in Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere (who refer to themselves as the Old Firm, and call each other 'Mr'). Or 'obviously' based on the thugs Jules Winfield and Vincent Vega from the 1994 movie Pulp Fiction (and there are a good number of Pulp Fiction references in The Truth). Or obviously based on Mr Wint and Mr Kidd from the James Bond movie Diamonds are Forever. Or obviously based on the two Rons (who called themselves 'The Management') from the BBC Hale and Pace series. Or...
Terry himself had this to say:
"1. The term 'The Old Firm' certainly wasn't invented by Neil. I think it first turned up amongst bookies, but I've even seen the Kray Brothers referred to that way. Since the sixties at least the 'the firm' has tended to mean 'criminal gang.' And, indeed, the term turned up in DW long before Neverwhere.
2. Fiction and movies are full of pairs of bad guys that pretty much equate to Pin and Tulip. They go back a long way. That's why I used 'em, and probably why Neil did too. You can have a trio of bad guys (who fill roles that can be abbreviated to 'the big thick one, the little scrawny one and The Boss') but the dynamic is different. With two guys, one can always explain the plot to the other..."
"A point worth mentioning, ref other threads I've seen: Hale and Pace's 'Ron and Ron' worked precisely because people already knew the archetype."
The history of two-man crime teams aside, Croup and Vandemer are so similar to Pin and Tulip in attitudes, speech patterns, and actions that it's hard for me to see how Pterry created his characters free of Gaiman's influence. Vandemer's obsessive habit of eating any crawling thing becomes Tulip's obsessive habit of trying to consume any inorganic powdery substance as drugs. Both Croup and Pin speak in an artificially "civilized" manner. Croup is literally a consumer of fine art (although Pterry makes Tulip the art expert, which is much funnier). And in the end, Croup trying to save his own life by leap-frogging over Vandemer becomes Pin's murder of his partner to save his own skin.
Pterry may claim that he wasn't influenced by Gaiman, but all of these literary similarities make it hard to believe he wasn't.
Glitz: Whereas yours is a simple case of sociopathy, Dibber, my malaise is much more complex. A deep-rooted maladjustment, my psychiatrist said, brought on by an infantile inability to come to terms with the more pertinent, concrete aspects of life.
Dibber: That sounds more like an insult than a diagnosis, Mr Glitz.
Glitz: You're right there, my lad. Mind you, I had just attempted to kill him.
Douglas Klump: The perimeters of our assignment were described to us with specificity, Mr. Shlubb. We are to deposit our cargo into the body of water which we now overlook. It was likeways made clear to us that any embellishments of said perimeters would not be advisory.
Burt Shlubb: I cannot prescribe to such a narrow interpretation of the perimeters which you now invoke, Mr. Klump.
(raisindot) "speak in an artificially "civilized" manner"
Again, that's not actually unique. I mentioned earlier Sabalom Glitz and Dibber. Glitz in particular attempts to speak in an artificially civilised manner, to sound more intelligent than he really is [....]
In addition, Shlubb and Klump, from Sin City, make (what I am sure) is their debut in 1996, four years before The Truth. And they, well, let's just put it this way: they have, as TV Tropes puts it, 'delusions of eloquence'.[...]
Not that Terry Pratchett would have read any Sin City graphic novels...
raisindot wrote:I'm really trying very hard to figure out what all the fuss is about with Gaiman. So far, I've read American Gods, Anansi Boys, Neverwhere and Stardust . All pleasant reads, by they all seem to have the same formula: Ordinary guy gets involves with fantasy/supernatural/gods, discovers he is part godlike/supernatural himself, discovers inner heroic qualities he never knew he had, ends up leaving the regular world for the fantasy realm. Other than American Gods, which was very good if a bit scattered, most of these don't really stand out in any way.
Do his other (adult) books continue this same formula? I'll read them, too, but in terms of this genre I wouldn't put him anywhere near Pterry or even similar authors like Chris Moore in terms of originality, wit and literary ability.
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