05 June 2008

So quiet you could hear a pun drop

I love Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin books. They are probably the best historical novels ever written.

As well as being an extremely agressive and successful naval officer he is not averse to giving the world some of the most terrible puns ever uttered. This one is from the sixth Aubrey-Maturin outing The Fortune of War:

Jack Aubrey:"Do you see those two weevils doctor?"

Stephen Maturin:
"I do."

JA:"Which would choose?"

"Neither. There is not a scrap a difference between them. They are the same species of curculio."

"If you had to choose. If you were forced to make a choice. If there was no other response..."

"Well then if your going to push me, I would choose the right hand weevil. It has significant advantage in both length and breadth."

"There! I have you! Your completely dished! Do you not know that in the service, one must always choose the lesser of two weevils!"

So there you have it!


jmb said...

No, no. Patrick O'Brien is good but the best historical novels every written were by Dorothy Dunnett! Get with the program Jams.
Actually that is very clever.

Steve Bates said...

That pun was visible to the unaided eye no less than a mile away...

I've always liked the equally obvious one from Pratchett's The Light Fantastic:

"There was a whole bunch of people across the street helping themselves to musical instruments, can you believe that?"

"Yeah," said Rincewind..."Luters, I expect."

jams o donnell said...

I've not read any Dorothy Dunnett, jmb. I'll look her up.

Ah Steve, TP is a master of such puns. Only he could get away with the ones he uses!

Anonymous said...

I have read half the Aubrey/Maturins five times. It is only my sight that prevents me bring the remaining ones beyond two readings.

John Gray said...

Hi Jams
POB’s are probably amongst the best novels (historical or otherwise) ever. I envy everyone who is about to start a POB novel for the first time. (Start with “Master and Commander”)

jams o donnell said...

Ah Aileni. I can strongly recommend the audiobooks. Audible do the unabridged ones for a very reasonable price.

I agree John. To pick up Master and Commander is to start a wonderful journeu.

CherryPie said...

Yes a truly awful pun!! They managed to work it into the first film, the whole cinema groaned ;-)

Anonymous said...

Who was it who suggested that punsters should be rewarded? And that bastinado appeared to be suitable?

Oh, someone who has not read Dorothy Dunnett - Such a treat is in store for you!

jams o donnell said...

I wish I had seen Master and Commander at the cinema Cherie!

Yikes Archie that's harsh! Well with two strong recommendations for Dorothy Dunnett I must giver her a go.

Randy said...

archiearchive: That was Robert Heinlein, I believe via Lazarus Long. A quick Google....
A practical joker deserves applause for his wit according to its quality. Bastinado is about right. For exceptional wit one might grant keelhauling. But staking out on an anthill should be reserved for the very wittiest.
Yes, Lazarus, but note that it's for practical jokers, a completely different class than punsters.