The following is in response to three Terry Pratchett books, Eric, Witches Abroad, and The Light Fantastic.
Gosh where to begin? Terry Pratchett, may he rest in peace, has created a very unique series in a world called Discworld—a world that is a literal disc on the back of four elephants, all of which is standing on the back of the great turtle A’Tuin. The discworld books, a series of over forty novels, falls within the comic fantasy genre and no one does it like Pratchett. The other great thing about the series is that you don’t have to read them in order. Each book is complete within itself. After reading these three books in the series—The Light Fantastic, Eric, and Witches Abroad—I have become a big fan. If you stick around with my reviews, you will see more of his novels.
The Light Fantastic fell into the eleventh spot of my Goodreads challenge this year. In the story, wizard Rincewind, Twoflower, and the Luggage—an actual suitcase that becomes one of the most interesting characters in the series—have fallen off of Discworld. Rincewind was recently expelled from Unseen Univeristy, the premiere school for wizards in the bustling city of Ankh-Morpork. Falling out of Discworld would have killed most people, but these three are kept alive because of the information in Rincewind’s head; he knows the spells of the Octavo, the most powerful magical book in all of Discworld. The book’s magic keeps the trio alive, and they end up getting back to Unseen University in time to chant the spells so that the world is not ended—in the most hilarious ways possible of course.
I don’t want to give too much away about The Light Fantastic, but I will mention one thing: an unprecedented metaphor for sex using magic. Rincewind has to use his powers at some point in the journey and he describes brilliantly: “It filled you and lifted you and you surfed down the rising, curling wave of elemental force. (p. 182)”
The twelfth book I read this year was Eric. Eric is a young demonologist that inadvertantly summons Rincewind from the dungeon dimensions. The boy has three wishes: to be ruler of the world, to meet the most beautiful woman of all history, and to live forever. And in a way all three things are achieved. The story is a parody of Faust.
In Witches Abroad, the thirteenth book that I’ve read this year and the last book that I finished by Mr. Pratchett, we are still in the realm of Discworld, but this is not a Rincewind story. This novel follows the adventures of three witches, Magrat Garlick, Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg. The story sort of challenges the ideas of popular fairy tales like fairy godmothers and cinderella. From this book I offer you the following idea: “And this is because people are riddled by doubt. It is the engine that drives them through their lives. It is the elastic band that in the little model airplane of their soul, and they spend their time winding it up until it knots. (p. 93)”