Friday, 14 May 2010

The Light Fantastic

I really am having a lovely time with Marg's Terry Pratchett challenge. Having previously avoided the half dozen or so that concentrate on the wizard, Rincewind, I've now discovered them it seems and almost have a new fantasy series to read! Anyway, this is book two in the Discworld series, The Light Fantastic, and is the continuing adventures of Rincewind, Twoflower, the world's first tourist, and The Luggage.

In the previous book the last we see of our heroes is them falling off the edge of the world. But Rincewind can't die because the spell from the Octavo is lodged inside his head and won't allow him to die. So the next thing Rincewind and Twoflower know they are in a forest of talking trees. They come across The Gingerbread house but unbeknownst to them they are being hunted by wizards from the Unknown University who ambush them inside. They escape and meet Cohen the Barbarian, aged eighty and with no teeth, but still up to rescuing maidens in distress, which is lucky because the druids are about to sacrifice one and she needs rescuing.

After a while it becomes apparent that there is other trouble afoot in the shape of a red star which is on a collision course with the discworld. It also becomes apparent that the one with the key to saving the planet is Rincewind. The spell in his head is linked to the other spells in the Octavo and Rincewind needs to be in Ankh-Morpok if disaster is to be averted. But how is he to get there and once there how will he find the courage to confront the new head wizard of the Unknown University whose idea it was to kill Rincewind...

It's so easy to see what Terry Pratchett's discworld books will become from these first two books. The humour is already very well developed:

In fact Rincewind never spoke to this particular tree again, but from that brief conversation it spun the basis of the first tree religion which, in time, swept the forests of the world. Its tenet of faith was this: a tree that was a good tree, and led a clean, decent and upstanding life, could be assured of a future life after death. If it was very good indeed it would eventually be reincarnated as five thousand rolls of lavatory paper.


'Yeah,' said the most junior wizard, 'but who keeps talking to us? They say this is a magic wood, it's full of goblins and wolves and--'

'Trees', said a voice out of the darkness, high above. It possessed what can only be described as timbre.

It's also in this book that we meet for the first time The Librarian - an Orang-utan who can only say, 'Oook' - Cohen the Barbarian who I believe is a regular character in other books, and Death's daughter, Ysabell - I assume the mother of Susan in Hogwatch but I haven't quite figured that out yet because it might not be the case...

Anyway, great fun and very enjoyable and I've now made a list of all the Rincewind books I haven't read and plan to work my way through them, starting with Sourcery and then Eric. I can see I'll be reading far more than the six to eight books I'm supposed to read for this challenge!

The Light Fantastic is book four for Marg's Terry Pratchett challenge and book five for Carl's Once Upon a Time IV challenge.


DesLily said...

if i were in good frame of mind this review would make me add to my wish list big time. But I am still in a big time slump (for months now) and i'm barely reading and barely buying.. not sure if that's good or not.

the review reminds me a little (little is the key word) of the books written by Piers Anthony. The Zanth series where nearly all he writes are *puns*..quite enjoyable back when I read them)

Marg said...

I am so glad that you are enjoying the challenge, and more importantly the books you are reading.

kiirstin said...

Yay Rincewind! He's so loveable. I really enjoyed this one, I think because I felt so invested in Rincewind and Twoflower and the Luggage, even though I wasn't as wild about the plot.

Really wasn't all that keen on Sourcery myself, compared to other Discworld novels, but it's still a far sight better than many other books I've read.

Booklogged said...

I really got a kick out of the Luggage in this book. Reading your review puts me in the mood for another Pratchett book. I love his humor. I've only read a handful of his books, but so far my favorite is Mort.

Cath said...

Pat: you would certainly like the trees in this one but it's not a large enough chunk of the book for you to rush out and get it.

In all my years of reading sci fi I've never read anything by Piers Anthony. I just looked up that series - it's lonnnnng!

Marg: I think it's my favourite challenge at the moment. :-)

kiirstin: the plot is slightly bitty and I read it over about 10 days so that didn't help me get a handle on it either, but there was certainly enough in it to entertain and amuse.

Booklogged: I hope you read more! Try his Tiffany Aching YA series, or the Sam Vimes, crime, Discworld books. Lots of fun.

Booklogged said...

Cath, I have read up to but not including Wintersmith in the Tiffany Aching series. I listened to Hat Full of Sky and laughed so hard when Tiffany was teaching Rob how to write his name. Absolutely delightful!

Vintage Reading said...

Cath, hi. Missing your posts lately! Hope you are still blogging.

Cath said...

Hi Nicola. It's been an odd few months, my father died in May and I stopped blogging temporarily and have yet to get back into the swing of things. I haven't been reading as much but have now started to read again and hope to do a post soon. Have got my grandaughter here this week so am not expecting to get much done until next week though. Thank you so much for wondering about me.