13/05/2019

The Light Fantastic (by Terry Pratchett)


I started my current re-read of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series with ‘The Colour of Magic’, at the end of March. So I was looking forward to reading ‘The Light Fantastic’, which I last read back in 2007. It’s a direct sequel - ‘The Colour of Magic’ ends with the somewhat incompetent wizard Rincewind falling off the edge of the world, and this book sees what happens, and why this is not in fact the end of Rincewind.

The Discworld is a flat world which balances on the backs of four enormous elephants. They in turn are on a giant turtle. In most of the books, this is mere background information, but in this book it’s quite significant. Great A’Tuin the turtle is mentioned several times, and we even get a glimpse or two into his thought processes.

But the main story in 'The Light Fantastic' involves Rincewind, and his friend - if that’s the word - Twoflower, the cheerful tourist, who finds disasters exciting, and sees the best in everyone. Twoflower is accompanied by his loyal luggage, which follows him around on hundreds of little legs, and produces such useful items as clean laundry, or gold, as needed.

It’s basically a story of adventures - lots of them, accompanied by various people - and a good introduction to some of the people and species who inhabit the Disc. The wizards, mostly very elderly, have parts to play; we also meet trolls, although they’re a lot more rock-like than those who are important characters in later books. Death, too, gets a few scenes, and already is more of an interesting ‘person’ than he was in ‘The Colour of Magic’. Twoflower attempts to teach him a card game...

I smiled in several places, amused by the late Sir Terry’s use of language. Literary and classical references abound, and while there isn’t a great deal of story, it’s an enjoyable book. Essentially it’s the tale of a quest - Rincewind wants to find his way home, and get rid of the spell which is caught in his mind. The wizards in their turn want to find Rincewind, because they think his spell may be necessary.

Oh, and there’s a large red star looming, getting closer all the time. It inspires new religions, a fair amount of violence, and a great deal of panic.

Recommended, but read ‘The Colour of Magic’ first.

Review copyright 2019 Sue's Book Reviews

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