The following is in response to Terry Pratchett’s first Discworld novel The Color of Magic.
Ahhh. Can you smell that? It’s the first book of the year, and like the first cup of coffee in the morning this book will wake you up and crank-start the gears in the old noggin. My preamble to this post is that I started my journey of Rincewind the wizard (or should I say excuse-for-a-wizard) and the tourist from elsewhere, Twoflower, with the second book in the series. That is, I read The Light Fantastic before The Color of Magic. Luckily for me the story doesn’t follow some central plot; Pratchett does weave treads through his work, but they are more about humor than creating a fixed story line. Anyways, I mention this to share this anecdote: I found The Light Fantastic (and Witches Abroad and Eric for that matter) at the dollar store I worked in after college. They were a dollar each, cradled haphazardly in a metal display rack that swiveled with a flick of the wrist. Of course the entire thing, books and all, was covered in a layer of dust—I guess no one wants to read one-dollar-fantasies but this guy. In one full rotation of the metal rack, I found these gems stuffed between the rough of cheesy romance novels with cowboys and half-naked heroines on the cover. I sat on them for a while, as one does after exiting college, and I didn’t read them until last year.
Fast forward to me buying The Color of Magic, which I had to find online for around ten dollars. That’s right, ten times more expensive. It was worth the search and the money.
The Color of Magic (which is Octarine by the way) was about how Rincewind came to know Twoflower. As it turns out, our first and only tourist of Discworld is from the island of Bes Pelargic and he is an insurance agent. A few pages in the book and he manages to start a fire in Ankh-Morpork and the two have to flee the city only to get separated and then reunited at the temple of Bel-Shamharoth, the eater of souls. And there’s more. The story jumps around a little, as most of the Discworld fantasies do, and there is over six months of adventures for our two characters. They ride dragons, a plane, and a boat to the edge of the world. Pratchett’s brew of fiction-coffee is a little strange at first but it will have you laughing and turning pages.