- [cover] The drawing of the old nome Torrit (the one holding the Thing) in Josh Kirby's cover for this book is actually a caricature of Terry Pratchett himself.
- [p. 12] "Masklin scanned the lorry park."
The name Masklin is a pun on the word 'masculine'. Duh.
- [p. 47] "[...] the long argument they'd had about the chicken boxes with the pictures of the old man with the big whiskers on them."
Refers to Colonel Sanders, symbol for the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain of fast-food chicken restaurants.
- [p. 55] "'Life, but not as we know it.'"
Refers to another cliché Star Trek phrase, also parodied in the Star Trekkin' song by The Firm (see the annotation for p. 78 of Johnny and the Dead ).
- [p. 58] "'Um. It was my idea of what an Outsider would look like, you see,' said Dorcas."
This whole scene immediately made me think of the American pulp science fiction magazines, which would often feature elaborate drawings depicting, for example, what a Martian might 'scientifically' look like.
In fact, I have in my possession a 1965 issue of Fantastic Stories, featuring on the cover a reprint of a 1939 painting by Frank R. Paul called 'The Man from Mars', with an accompanying explanation that Dorcas' description of the Outsiders is almost an exact equivalent of. This Martian has, for instance, disk-shaped suction feet (because of Mars' lesser gravity), very big ears (because of the thin atmosphere making it harder to catch sounds), white fur and retractable eyes because of the extreme cold, etc. etc.
- [p. 76] "'Unless you know how to read books properly, they inflame the brain, they say.'"
Everything we learn about the Stationeri, from the audience with the Abbot to this point about censorship, indicates a fairly obvious parody of the Roman Catholic Church during the time that the Holy Office (which oversaw censorship) was in power.
- [p. 103] The Store will be closed down and replaced by "an Arnco Super Saverstore in the Neil Armstrong Shopping Mall".
The Neil Armstrong Shopping Mall is also prominently featured as the place where Johnny and his friends hang out in the 'Johnny' books, thus establishing firmly that the Nomes and Johnny inhabit the same universe (see also the annotation for p. 191).
- [p. 130] "'Breaker Break Good Buddy. Smoky. Double Egg And Chips And Beans. Yorkiebar. Truckers.'"
A 'Yorkie Bar' is a brand of chocolate bar sold in England. Very chunky, like one of the thick Hershey bars: Solid Chocolate. Due to a series of adverts depicting a truck driver carrying on through the night, etc. etc., all because he has his chunky milk chocolate to hand, the words 'Yorkie Bar' instantly summon up 'Long Distance Lorry Driver' to any Briton.
- [p. 132] "'Angalo has landed,' he said."
Pun on "The Eagle has landed", the famous Neil Armstrong quote from the Apollo 11 moon landing.
- [p. 133] "'It's a small step for a man, but a giant leap for nomekind.'"
In the category Bloody Obvious References, this is of course a reference to Neil Armstrong's first words on the occasion of being the first man on the moon: "That's one small step for [a] man, but a giant leap for mankind".
- [p. 145] "[...] he walked proudly, with a strange swaying motion, like a nome who has boldly gone where no nome has gone before and can't wait to be asked about it."
Star Trek. See the annotation for p. 221 of The Colour of Magic .
- [p. 154] "'Amazing things, levers. Give me a lever long enough, and a firm enough place to stand, and I could move the Store.'"
Another reference to the famous Archimedes quote. See the annotation for p. 101 of Small Gods .
- [p. 171] "He recalled the picture of Gulliver. [...] it would be nice to think that nomes could agree on something long enough to be like the little people in the book..."
If it has been a while since you actually read Swift, the rather bitter irony of Masklin's musings may escape you. The point being that the Lilliputters in Gulliver's Travels were anything but capable of "agreeing on something long enough"; in fact they were waging a generation-spanning civil war with each other over the burning question of whether one should open one's breakfast egg at the pointy end or at the flat end.
- [p. 191] "'-- Anyone seeing the vehicle should contact Grimethorpe police on --'"
Minor inconsistency: by the time we get to the second book in the Nome trilogy, the place of action has been retconned from Grimethorpe to Blackbury (which is the place where Johnny lives, see the annotation for p. 103).
A possible explanation might be that there already is a real place called Grimethorpe (in Yorkshire), and that Terry'd rather use a fictional setting after all.
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