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The Light Fantastic - Terry Pratchett

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    23 Reviews
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      13.08.2012 17:30
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      A much more confident entry in the Discworld series

      Whilst there's no doubt that The Colour of Magic launched a modern publishing phenomenon, it's a book I always personally find a little disappointing. As a first novel and series opener, it's fine but inevitably, there are parts which are a little underdeveloped where it is clear that Pratchett is still finding his feet.

      In many ways, The Light Fantastic is the beneficiary of the groundwork laid by Colour. Having established the parameters of his universe and introduced the reader to The Discworld, Rincewind the Wizard and his style of humour, Pratchett can focus in a little more on the characters and the humour. This second book shows that the author has found his distinctive voice and bears many of the hallmarks you expect from Discworld books: a mad plot, odd, amusing characters and a slightly skewed look at life that make you laugh out loud and think.

      In many ways, you could argue that the Discworld series is the spiritual successor to the Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy books by Douglas Adams and there are passages which could almost be taken from one of those books. It shares that same sense of the absurd, the ability to create humorous moments from fairly mundane situations and a wonderful turn of phrase that can turn an ordinary observation into something that will make you laugh loud. Yet, whilst Discworld might share some DNA with Hitchhikers', it's also clear that Pratchett is becoming far more confident at asserting his own distinctive style and has a much better idea what he wants to do with his various creations.

      A mainstay of the Discworld series has always been the humorous observations on human nature and this is one of the real highlights of The Light Fantastic in particular. Pratchett is a keen student of people and has a superb ability to capture all the failings of human nature in his characters then use those observations to poke fun at all sorts of targets. His characters might be exaggerated and over-the-top, but they all contain elements of behaviour that will be familiar to most of us.

      It's really the cast of characters who make The Light Fantastic stand out. The characters Pratchett creates are relatively standard for the fantasy/sci-fi genre, yet Pratchett is able to use the conventions to his advantage, without producing stereotypes. From Cohen the aged and arthritic barbarian, Rincewind, the world's most incompetent wizard and Twoflower, the naïve little tourist they are a fantastic bunch. Pratchett uses their various world outlooks to create culture clashes and hilarious misunderstandings aplenty, and it's noticeable that when the pace of the book sags a little, it's because the main cast are split up and sent along different plotlines for a while.

      The Light Fantastic even has a more coherent plot (of sorts), more so perhaps than later books which tend to rely on increasingly bizarre plotlines. In this one, The Discworld is being threatened by the appearance of a red star, which is on a collision course with the Disc. Only by saying the Eight Great Spells at exactly the right time can disaster be averted. The problem is that one of them is lodged in Rincewind's head and no-one (including Rincewind himself sometimes) knows exactly where Rincewind is

      OK, it might not sound like the most cohesive plot in the world, but it works surprisingly well. It's a reasonably satisfying story in its own right (impending doom is always a good plot), but it also gives Pratchett the opportunity to subvert the traditional science fiction/sci fi genre and poke fun at some of its clichés. Sure, the plot might be inconsequential in the overall scheme of things, but it gives the author a chance to expand on both his characters and the Discworld setting.

      Unusually for a Pratchett book, The Light Fantastic is a direct sequel to The Colour of Magic, picking up directly where the previous book left off, so you will need to read The Colour of Magic to full appreciate many of the references in this one. You could just about read it as a stand-alone title, but you would be missing out on an awful lot of important (and funny) background information. On the plus side, if you have read The Colour of Magic, you will immediately feel at home with this one, because you already know most of the main characters and the events that have befallen them.

      Although actually the second book in the series in a way, The Light Fantastic marks the real birth of the Discworld since it's really sets the tone and style of all the books that followed. As ever, if you don't buy into Pratchett's brand of bizarre humour, funny (but oh so accurate) observations and sci-fi send-ups then you won't get on with this. For fans of the series, it's a great early title and one you will want to read time and time again.

      Basic Information
      ---------------------------
      The Light Fantastic
      Terry Pratchett
      Corgi New Edition, 1986
      ISBN: 978-0552128483

      © Copyright SWSt 2012

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        29.06.2010 19:57
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        A great, funny, fantasy book. Highly original

        Terry Pratchett's second book, a follow up to the hit Colour of Magic continues on the story of Rincewind and Twoflower as they travel the disc. However, back in Ankh-Morpork - the Disc's premier city - the wizards of the Unseen University discover a red star - slowly but surely coming its way towards the disc. And as it so happens, Rincewind is the only one who can save the Discworld - due to a spell that was lodged away in his brain when he was a student. Meanwhile, however, the sneaky wizard Trymon wants to put all seven forbidden spells into his head to save the world and gain ultimate power - but with Rincewind the host of one of them, it's going to be a battle for power, and for the life of the Disc.

        ---

        This book is a lot better than the previous one, in my opinion. It's a lot more focused, and the jokes seem a lot more structured than the Colour of Magic. The story works a lot better now that it has a direct cause and the characters now have a reason to be doing what they are.

        We are also introduced to a few characters who'll make appearances later on in the series - like the Last Hero - the highly aged Cohen the Barbarian, and Death's daughter Isobel, who plays a large role in the book Mort, which pretty much affects thew character of Death (one of the most important in the whole series).

        Like the Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic does suffer from the same problems the first one did - as the Discworld is still quite new and there's a lot of freedom, which while it can be good (it shows off Pratchett's seemingly never-ending imagination), it does mean that everything is still a bit all over the place.

        However, for what it's worth, The Light Fantastic is a great second novel - an incredibly promising start to the series. Now that it's getting into the pace of things, it's starting to really pick up.

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        15.06.2010 13:30
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        Great read

        Having finished reading this book yesterday I figured it was the best time to review it while it was still fresh in my memory. This is the sequel to the Colour of Magic which I previously reviewed, hopefully this time round I'll be able to do a better job of collating my thoughts so they're a bit more coherent.

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        The Novel
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        As mentioned the book is a sequel to the Colour of Magic in which we were introduced to the characters of Rincewind and Twoflower. The book picks up where COM left us and guides us through the continuing adventures of this mismatched pairing. Rincewind is still trying to get the Spell out of his mind but something greater is happening in Discworld. The sun is heading for Discworld and the residents are in fear that it's going to collide with them and so are doing everything they can to prevent it.
        As Rincewind and Twoflower attempt to find a way to ride Rincewind of the spell they're kidnapped, fall off the edge of the disk, meet Cohen the Barbarian and a handful of other characters that show up in other Discworld novels and are always accompanied by the Luggage who is a character in its own right.
        Rincewind is forced to face up to his past as a failed wizard as he tries to rid himself of the Spell (it's the reason why he's failed and not the success he wanted to be). But this Spell is tricky, it entered him through a book known as the Octavo and has lodged itself there as an uninvited guest ever since and made Rincewind's life a misery.
        There's a nice twist at the end of the novel in which the residents of Discworld see why the (Edit:) star's (/Edit) been heading towards them at a terrifying
        pace and Rincewind is finally able to make a decision about his future.

        ------------
        Discworld
        -------------

        So what is Discworld? I realise that I wasn't overly clear in my last review of COM, so I shall explain here: Discworld is a giant disc that's floating on the back of four elephants who are balancing themselves on a giant turtle (A'Turin) who is floating through space. Ankh-Morpohk seems to be the major city in the world and it's inhabited by Wizards, Trolls, talking trees and the odd gnome. Many have said that certain aspects of Discworld are supposed to mirror our own and when reading it becomes clear which parts do just this.

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        My Opinion
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        After reading COM I really enjoyed Pratchett's writing and his unique style is continued in this book and it doesn't disappoint. I love his take on description and how he occasionally mocks the writing profession. It's as though he is writing what he truly thinks rather than what an editor might want him to say. He has created an interesting plot that I haven't seen in other fantasy books and the chemistry between Rincewind and Twoflower works really well. The introduction of the new characters is seamless and they're like-able. The only problem I had was with the dialogue that was written for Cohen the Barbarian but this was because the character was supposed to have no teeth so spoke with a lisp and Pratchett wrote in such a way.
        Overall I would definitely recommend this book but obviously read COM first so that you know what's going on.

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          04.11.2009 17:40
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          Keep at it - it gets better!

          The Light Fantastic, the second of the Discworld novels, is the only straight sequel within the series. It shares many features with The Colour of Magic, as one might expect, and like its predecessor gives the impression of a writer not yet entirely sure of his ground. Given that the said writer is Terry Pratchett, however, there's still plenty to enjoy, even if a part of that enjoyment is the knowledge that you have a large number of better books ahead of you in the series.

          This book follows Rincewind, the Disc's most incompetent "wizzard" [sic] and Twoflower, the planet's first known tourist. The former has lived all his life in the bustling, dangerous city of Ankh-Morpork, while Twoflower has appeared without warning from the Agatean Empire or "Counterweight Continent". This almost unknown and indeed semi-legendary place has a number of unusual features, as are made clear in later books in the Discworld series, but one of these is that gold there flows like water. (Well... not *exactly* like water, but you see the point.)

          Twoflower, impressed by the charming antiquity (for which read "murderous filth") of Ankh-Morpork and in the wizzard's ability with languages, one of his very few genuine skills, has offered Rincewind a fee of such staggering vastness - in local terms - to be his guide as to overcome the latter's suspiciousness of strangers, foreign travel and indeed anything that might require him to indulge in his outstanding ability: that of running away from things. (As Rincewind points out in another novel, never mind where to; the important thing is the *from*.) Unfortunately, things have not gone entirely to plan, and Rincewind begins the book having fallen off the edge of the world.

          The story in The Light Fantastic has a slightly more expansive feel to it than does that of its prequel, despite the fact that you'd think you couldn't get a lot more expansive than falling off the world into infinite space. Well, fairly infinite: some of it is occupied by Great A'Tuin, the huge turtle on whose back the Discworld stands. With four elephants providing intermediate pillars, of course. Not having those would just be silly. The turtle is unfortunately heading directly for a red star, and the only way of saving the world is apparently to read the Eight Great Spells of the Octavo spellbook - except that one of those is lodged - squatted might be a better word - in Rincewind's head. The top wizards (fewer zeds but more power) at Unseen University are therefore after him, though exactly what they intend on doing when they find him is not something Rincewind wishes to stop and find out.

          The Light Fantastic introduces two of the Discworld's best recurring characters. A magical accident results in the transformation of the University Librarian into an ape; an orang-utan, to be precise. He seems remarkably content with this state of affairs - unless, of course, he is called a monkey - and remains so in future books. Many miles out on the endless steppes, we also meet Cohen the Barbarian, an ancient and grizzled hero whose whip-like muscles and feats of derring-do are matched only by his wish for a world of "hot water, good dentishtry and shoft lavatory paper".  He is one of Pratchett's earliest really memorable guest characters, and the scenes involving him are rarely less than excellent.

          The book also fleshes out - a rather unfortunate phrase, admittedly - the character of Death, who from the slightly stereotypical and really quite nasty figure in The Colour of Magic here starts to move towards the much more sympathetic and in some ways very human Death familiar to readers of the later novels. He is still summoned by the senior wizards by means of the ancient and terrifying Rite of AshkEnte, but is perfectly capable of appearing out of the mists holding a cheese-and-pineapple-on-a-stick snack - "I WAS AT A PARTY" is his perfectly reasonable explanation. It is really in this book where it starts to become clear that Death is, as many have pointed out, in some indefinable way "on our side".

          Several other characters are used only in this book and then dropped, most disappointingly Bethan, the young woman rescued from a ritual sacrifice (and not altogether happy about the fact) who becomes a companion of Rincewind, Twoflower and Cohen for a while. The non-reappearance of the character - if you can say that about a slavering nightmare from the Dungeon Dimensions - of Bel-Shamharoth was probably inevitable, however, as he/it/whatever would have seemed out of place in the more advanced - one might say "civilised", but only with due caution - society of the later books. This also means that something of a running gag about wizards not being able to say the number eight - "or you'll be ate alive" - is gradually forgotten about as time goes on.

          The classic cover design of The Light Fantastic is that by the late and much-missed Josh Kirby, showing the main characters hurtling through the sky while clinging to the Luggage, Twoflower's ferociously loyal travelling-chest-with-feet. The picture doesn't really tell you anything much about the story, and Rincewind looks far too powerful, but Kirby's style is so distinctive that it works pretty well nevertheless. The demand for similar "grown-up covers" to those that the Harry Potter books offered, together with Kirby's untimely death, means that there is an alternative version, as shown here on Dooyoo as it happens, showing a spellbook on a plain black background - but really, why would you want that?

          It's hard to sum up The Light Fantastic on its own, so closely bound up as it is with the story begun in The Colour of Magic that the two really form a single tale. However, subtle as they may be, the differences are there. Pratchett does seem to be gaining confidence as his world takes shape, and while the humour and parody is still quite broad, there seem to be more occasions - such as the aforementioned summoning of Death - on which something happens which takes a fantasy convention in a completely new direction, not actually murdering it but certainly giving it a good going-over behind the bike sheds. The Light Fantastic is not yet mature Discworld, but it's growing up fast.

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            09.10.2009 21:34
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            A great sequel long may they come

            The sequel to the brilliant opener to Terry Pratchett's Discworld series The Colour of Magic. The Light Fantastic picks up right where The Colour of Magic leaves off and if you liked the first book you won't be disappointed in the new offering.

            The continuation of the story and Rincewind's plight is quick, in fact I don't think I have ever been engrossed in a book as quickly as this one. Pratchett's lack of chapters once again means you are reading a really fasted passed story that flows so brilliantly.

            In this story you are also introduced to more of the regulars of the Discworld stories, with the introduction of Cohen the Barbarian, the Librarian, Ysabel and the Four Horsemen of the Apocralypse.

            Again you also find yourself rooting for the lovable losers and anti-heros that Pratchett fills his books with. With events building up into one of the most memorable conclusions in the series' history.

            A must read in the Discworld series.

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            17.01.2007 11:15
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            The Discworld heads towards it's destiny as it approaches a bright red star.

            Funnier by far than its predecessor, The Light Fantastic is the second book in the Discworld series (set on the back of four elephants riding a giant turtle through space) and carries on where Colour of Magic left off....well almost.

            Because when we last saw Rincewind he was sailing off the edge of the world- in this book he wakes up in a forest full of talking trees. The reasons for this soon become apparent, meanwhile the Discworld is headed towards a fearsome red star, the inhabitants begin to panic and start their own doomsday cults (as you do in these times-remember the millenium) and the Seven remaining spells of the Octavo are starting to get restless. Soon the time for which they have been waiting will be upon the Disc and only Rincewind, currently holding the Eighth and final spell in his head, can help prevent potential disaster- except nobody knows where he is not even Rincewind!!

            This sets the scene for the assorted Wizards of The Unseen University (the University of Magic on the Discworld) to run around trying to out-do each other as they each attempt to be the first to find the failed wizard. Apparently the succession of Wizardry is highly competitive and before long the Halls of Unseen University are full of treachery, back-stabbing and manipulation of the slap-stick variety normally found in all good comedy.

            Once again Pratchett demonstrates why he is the top of his field and, while this is still not his greatest effort, once again you can see the humble begininings of his genius. The book is once again laugh out-loud funny in places and there is plenty of contemporary humour for everyone. Discworld favourite Death has a bigger role to play in this episode too though still his appearance is disappointingly short. You do get to learn a bit more about him however and this merely whets the appetite for future books to come.

            A worthy successor to The Colour Of Magic and definetly worth a look in but its probably best to read the previous novel first as this is a direct sequel. Pratchett books are available whever people wear silly hats and talk in tongues alternitively check out any good online book store for any of his back-catalogue of which there is a multitude.

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            22.02.2006 11:00
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            I Think I am Going Mad as I Love Discworld.

            Well I have just finished reading my second Terry Pratchett novel and I never thought I would say this a year ago but I absolutely loved it. You see I tried to read his books a while ago but just couldn’t get into them, and then fast forward to joining dooyoo and seeing that everybody loved the books, I just had to give them another go. I read and reviewed the first one a while back now but I am back again on my Discworld marathon (which considering how many there are it might take me a few years) to tell you about the light fantastic.

            -----

            So what is the book about?

            (Reading from the back of the book)
            When the very fabric of time and space are about to be put through the wringer – in this instance by the imminent arrival of a very large and determinedly oncoming meteorite – circumstances require a very particular type of hero. Sadly what the situation does not need is a singularly inept wizard, still recovering from the trauma of falling off the edge of the world. Equally it does not need one well-meaning tourist and his luggage which has a mind of its own. Which is a shame because that’s all there is…


            Verdict on the story:

            One thing I can safely say about Pratchett and that everybody will agree with me is nobody comes up with anything like the stories he does. The light fantastic is extremely mad, funny, touching, dramatic, emotional and scary all at the same time. This story is great because it is easier to follow than the first Pratchett book and the story follows a straight line if you know what I mean. With this story Pratchett has made it so that people who have read the first book can instantly get into this one because it has the same characters and the story begins in the same style as the end of the first book.

            The thing I like about this story is that it is a truly original concept and the fact that the Discworld is obviously just created in Pratchetts mind, he can take the story wherever he likes. There is a lot more magic involved because they believe they need to say spells together to stop the meteorite and I liked this because it actually made the story fun and totally unbelievable which I love because it makes me say wow.

            -----

            Characters:

            Rincewind – Yes the little wizard is back and still getting himself into more trouble than he can handle. As readers will know he carries the eighth spell in his head so he is a valuable asset in this book and it is quite funny him being valuable because he is actually hopeless.

            Twoflower – Well Rincewind could not be in the book without his little chubby tourist. Twoflower returns and he as enthusiastic and optimistic about everything as ever and provides the book with some great humour with his insistence on getting a picture of everything.

            Luggage – Although we do not really learn much about luggage he is still a great character with his beady little keyhole, hundreds of legs and snapping lid.

            Cohen – The barbarian (see what Pratchett did there). Cohen is quite an old hero at nearly seventy but he still likes to think he can tackle everybody although he has weak joints and no teeth.


            Verdict on the characters:

            Of course the characters listed above are not the only ones in the novel and of course Pratchett throws in some very strange ones. You have death, wizards, trolls and even magical moving shops in this one which all adds to the strange atmosphere of the story. I think that the characters themselves are extremely memorable for being so wacky and again because Pratchett can get away with making them as magical as he wants you just love them even more.

            -----

            Things to know:

            Price - £6.99 on Amazon (this is for the new version with a black cover)
            Number of pages – 285
            Author – Terry Pratchett
            Number 2 in the Discworld series
            Publisher – Corgi

            -----

            Verdict:

            The only way to describe this book is to use one of the words in its title and that is fantastic! Pratchett has a way of gripping the reader and keeping them till the very end but it grips you in a strange way because although you find the book mad and a little bit disturbing you are addicted.

            The story is probably the strangest I have ever read and I know that with the first book I spent so much of it confused, well I don’t know if I have become as mad as Pratchett from just reading one book as I understood this one perfectly. Pratchett has a great talent for making us innocent readers come over to his way of thinking and I am still not sure if I am scared of that or not. The light fantastic is one book which I got absorbed in and the only reason it has taken me so long to read is because I read every single word which to be honest I do not do in many books.

            My favourite characters in the book are luggage and death and I still feel odd about saying I like death, I told my Mom and she just looked at me like I was mad until I told her he was a character (you see she had overheard me talking to Sam so didn’t hear the whole conversation). I like luggage because he reminds me of a dog because he is loyal to his owner and you wouldn’t want to cross him if he bares his teeth at you, or in case of the luggage his zip. What makes me laugh about the way luggage is portrayed is that nobody can see how the luggage is staring at them but they just know he is. Death on the other hand is a very funny character although he is known for being quite nasty.

            I will just give you a little section on what I found to be hilarious with respect to the character of Death.


            ‘The air in the centre of the octogram shimmered and thickened, and suddenly contained a tall, dark figure. Most of it was hidden by a black robe and hood and this was probably just as well. It held a long scythe in one hand and one couldn’t help noticing that what should have been fingers were simply white bone.

            The other skeletal hand held small cubes of cheese and pineapple on a stick.

            WELL? Said Death in a voice with all the warmth and colour of an iceburg. He caught the wizards gaze and glanced down at the stick.

            I WAS AT A PARTY, he added, a shade reproachfully.’


            The above excerpt shows exactly what you can expect from this book which is a touch of madness coupled with comedy and then also a hint of danger thrown in for good measure. If you think the above is quite funny then I can expect you will find the book funny so I would give it a go.

            The writing style in this book is the same as in the first one but now I have read one of his books it is easier to read and with this book I managed to get absorbed from the very start. Everything about the way he writes is perfect from the level of dialogue he uses to the descriptions of people and place he uses.

            In conclusion I am going to give this book five stars and say that I cannot wait to read the third which I will start pretty soon. I think that Discworld is not particularly somewhere I would like to visit but it surely makes for good reading and the light fantastic explores more of the world and leaves you hungry for more.

            Thanks for reading.

            xxx

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              06.10.2005 11:44
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              A Sequel to 'The Colour of Magic'

              The Discworld is heading towards a large red sun, and nobody knows why apart from Great A’Tuin him/herself (there is a strong possibility here of the latter). Rincewind and Twoflower have cheated Death again, miraculously landing unscathed in a lush talking forest, but soon find themselves hunted for the spell lodging inside Rincewind’s head. Twoflower just sort of hangs around for support and adventure and stuff.

              ‘Twoflower didn’t just look at the world through rose-tinted spectacles … he looked at it through a rose-tinted brain, too, and heard it through rose-tinted ears.’

              The second book in Terry Pratchett’s continuing Discworld series introduces more oddities and develops those features of the disc introduced in ‘The Colour of Magic.’ Focusing on failed magician Rincewind and the arrogant, power-crazed wizards of Unseen University, ‘The Light Fantastic’ sees the Discworld slowly heading to its destruction and a mad rush to find Rincewind’s brain, preferably still inside his skull.


              THE SEQUEL


              This book was originally sub-titled ‘A sequel to The Colour of Magic,’ and that’s effectively what it is: a second part to a previous tale that ended with a dramatic cliffhanger. Or rather, cliff fall-off. Not having read the first book I did feel like I was missing out on character development and history that seemed to be taken for granted a little, despite the author’s attempts at clearing up what led to the current situation. Namely, that of Rincewind and Twoflower plummeting off the edge of the world. Don’t worry, they’re alright really.

              ‘It was always a considerable annoyance to any Disc citizen with pretensions to culture that they were ruled by gods whose idea of an uplifting artistic experience was a musical doorbell.’

              The Discworld, a flat plane supported by four elephants who in turn stand on the back of Great A’Tuin the space turtle, is obviously developed a little more at this early stage of the series. Confused talking trees, drudic computer programmers and a barbarian called Cohen add to the encyclopaedia, while many characters are re-introduced: most memorably Death (sadly seeming less original now thanks to the character’s overuse in pretty much every adult cartoon series since) and the brilliantly conceived Luggage, a loyal, magical chest with a bad attitude and hundreds of sprawling legs to carry itself after its owner. The wizards of Ankh-Morpork were presumably a prominent feature of the last book based on their actions here, but on the whole they don’t seem particularly cunning or terrifying as the sort-of-villains of the story.


              STYLE


              Terry Pratchett’s writing style is popular and has helped him shift many books. I haven’t read any of his other books so I can’t compare the level of humour or literary accomplishment, but this feels less like an epic read than something that will entertain and make the reader laugh for 285 pages. The plot does make sense and leads to a logical and actually surprisingly tense and exciting conclusion, but it’s littered with distractions and asides that aren’t necessary to the driving story arc but are welcome in a book of this type. Pratchett doesn’t divide the book into evident chapters, simply using double spaces to separate each paragraph, and although it’s a nice, personal touch it does make it more difficult to keep track of exactly what’s going on sometimes.

              There are some very obviously contrived paragraphs that discuss a completely irrelevant issue just so Pratchett can end on a bit of a rubbish joke – most memorably a parody of the ‘what is best in life’ scene from the 1981 film ‘Conan the Barbarian,’ which lasts for two pages and ends with the rather weak statement, ‘hot water, good dentishtry and shoft lavatory paper.’


              INFLUENCE OR COINCIDENCE?


              First published in 1986, this is post-‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ stuff, and whether intentional or not, the style is often very similar to Douglas Adams. Pratchett’s excellent descriptions that litter the pages and are, for me, the highlight of this book read like they could have been penned by Adams, especially when describing usually inanimate objects showing traces of personality.

              Pratchett’s ideas of ‘charm, persuasion, uncertainty and bloody-mindedness’ keeping the sun and moon orbiting the world and a rock being able to fly just so long as the riders don’t let themselves realise that it’s impossible seem, at times, directly lifted from Adams’ ‘Life, the Universe and Everything.’ Even the double act of sarcastic, reluctant hero Rincewind and strange, otherworldly Twoflower also made me think of the interaction of Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect (from Hitchhiker’s Guide), but as a fan of that series I found these similarities quite fun and nostalgic.

              Also, being a huge fan of the recent sci-fi adventure show Farscape, the idea of obsessively hunting someone down for the knowledge inside their head seemed eerily familiar, but that’s fifteen years down the line.


              VERDICT


              Terry Pratchett confesses in the short biography at the start of the Discworld books that ‘it became obvious that [writing] the Discworld series was much more enjoyable than real work.’ The author’s sense of fun shines through here as he creates an expansive fantasy world to make himself and others laugh and, occasionally, get involved in the plot. But this is early days; doubtless the other Discworld books are aimed a little more at newcomers than this ‘part two,’ although as an introduction to the books in its own right, it doesn’t fare too badly.

              As can be expected from a male author’s pet project, the book is dominated by witty and heroic blokes. Bethan acts as little more than a bizarre love interest for the octogenarian Cohen while Pratchett’s introduction of Herrena, a potential but underused warrior woman, is littered with incomplete descriptions of her leather-clad body that lead the author to admit he requires a cold shower. Potentially enjoyable for people of all sexes and backgrounds, it’s not uncommon to see a multi-coloured row of Discworld book spines occupying the same shelf as an adolescent’s Warhammer army.

              Recommended for fans of funny and fantastical books alike, but I’d recommend reading The Colour of Magic first. That makes it better, I expect. The cover art is fun too.

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                28.06.2005 17:18
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                To be honest what drew me to the very first Discworld book I ever read was the cover, and this is probably what would catch any new-comer to the series' eye. Bold and exciting with plenty of cartoon characterisations of, well the characters and story held within. I could hardly wait to read the story and must admit I sat in the library for a good couple of hours as I found myself hooked after the first couple of pages. The funny thing is that this book was actually the third in the series and for a long time I hadn't even bothered about the first two books. But just recently I decided to "bite the bullet" and buy my very own copies of all the Discworld books (not all at once I'm not that rich), and began with the foresaid first two.

                The first in the series (The Colour of magic) was quite good, although nowhere nearly as good as the later books, and The Light Fantastic is the second, and very unusually is actually a sequel to the first. As such it doesn't make a very good standalone read, and is certainly not the best place to start your adventures in Discworld. But the question is how does it compare to other books in the series, well read on and you may just find out my thoughts on that matter……

                ---The Story---

                The hero (if you could really call him that) of The light Fantastic is Rincewind, who knows he's a wizard, after all if there's ever any doubt, it's written on his hat for everyone to see. The trouble is that even while Rincewind's completely convinced of his calling, he isn't actually a very good wizard, and in fact if he should die the actual average magical ability of the entire world would probably increase. This is, in part, down to the fact that a powerful spell has taken up residence in his brain, and quite frankly this spell doesn't like company.

                In the Colour Of magic, Rincewind had survived a tour of Discworld, while guiding the world's first tourist, TwoFlower. His knack of avoiding DEATH* had put him in good stead in his confrontations with such magical creatures as dragons**, but the ending of the book left him flying through space as one of Discworld's first astronauts.

                As this new chapter in the adventure begins, a threat to the very existence of Discworld appears in the form of a large red star that seems determined to collide with the Great A'tuin***. And it so happens that only Rincewind and his resident spell can save the world…..

                What follows is a race against time and across the world as Rincewind finds himself hunted (by those who want to save the world for themselves), meets up with some almost familiar characters (such as Cohen the Barbarian) and generally does what he does best****

                *Due to his uncanny ability to run away.

                **Who only exist if you believe in them hard enough?

                ***Discworld, is a magical world which is as flat as a pancake, and rests on the shoulders of four rather large elephants, who in turn stand on the back of a huge space turtle, The Great A'tuin, who is slowly making his way through space

                ****That is run away and cheat DEATH*****

                *****DEATH is always referred to in capitol letters, as on Discworld he is something of a personality

                The storyline and plot are actually quite fast-paced, there is very little time to get bored, and of course as with all the Discworld books there's plenty of parody to be found within the pages. But I would say that it's not as complex, well developed or "funny" as some of the later books. Really it is still as if Pratchett is still just coming to grips with his fantasy world.

                ---The Characters---

                Some of the Discworld books focus on The Witches (by far my favourites), some focus on DEATH and some on the Night watch but this book focuses on The Wizards of the Unseen University, of which Rincewind is just one of the less able among a group of bumbling idiots.

                While I admit that I find The Wizards to be the least interesting of Pratchett's creations, Rincewind is a fairly well portrayed character. In fact I can't help but find myself rooting for this ultimate of underdogs and hoping against hope that he will prevail in the end.

                Of the other characters, I don't have too much to say, TwoFlower of course returns, but I still find him to be a somewhat disconnected being. Perhaps the most interesting character in the book isn't even a person, but is instead simply known as "The Luggage", which would say it all if it wasn't made of sapient pearwood*, have hundreds of little legs, vicious teeth and a temper to match.

                *Like ordinary pearwood, but it grows in areas where there has been a great deal of magical activity and tends to be bad tempered.

                ---The Writing Style---

                I love the way this book is written, it is simple enough that even a younger reader will be able to follow the action and even get some of the puns and jokes, and yet so complex that there is no-way that you can actually notice every joke in one reading. Amazingly, the author often seems to go off at a tangent, and start discussing events that seemingly have little or no relevance to the matter at hand. Yet these interludes are so amusing, with such sharp observations that they are easily forgiven.

                What I really like about the style though is the use of footnotes* which add an even deeper layer to the story, and while these can be confusing at first after completing any of the Discworld books, you will find yourself automatically checking the bottom of the page with any book you read.

                Perhaps I should add a little here about what genre this book could be pigeon-holed into. And I would say that we are looking at a book that is pure science fiction, but with a comedy angle. It is a book that allows us to drift into a fantasy world, where anything can happen** and our own mundane lives can be made fun of, without any offence being taken.

                *Like this

                **And usually does.

                ---Questions The Book Answers---

                I just thought I'd add a few of those so puzzling questions the book answers (just for fun)

                * Where's the gods' lawnmower gone?

                * Where do those fly-by-night shops go when they disappear from the High Street?

                * Can The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse learn to play bridge?

                ---My Final Opinion---

                I've read quite a few of the Discworld books, and with many of them I could sit and tell you at least a little of the plot without needing to refer to the book in question. For example with the book that follows this (Equal Rites), which I haven't actually read for about 10 years, I could waffle on for ages about Esk and the opposing magics that flowed through her. Unfortunately, the plot of this book, doesn't seem to have stuck in my head in quite the same way, even though I only finished reading it a couple of weeks ago. Quite simply, while this is a pleasant enough and amusing read, is it basically forgettable* and is in no way even nearly the best in the series, for this reason alone.

                However, I do have to say this does have a huge re-readability factor, for that is what makes this series what it is, and I found myself more engaged on the second reading. So although slightly disappointed overall, I would still recommend this book to any lover of science fiction, or fantasy that is looking for a lighter more comical read (and has already read The Colour Of Magic).

                *I had to re-read the book before writing this.

                ---Technical Bits---

                ISBN : 0552128481
                Format : Paperback
                Publisher : Corgi Adult
                No. Pages : 216

                Price : £4.89 at Amazon (UK)

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                  21.08.2004 23:32
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                  Now I know there have already been countless review on Pratchetts work, but that only proves to me what a fabulous author this guy is. The Light Fantastic is the second book in the discworld series,second to The Colour Of Magic. Terry Pratchett's writing style is like no other, he is purely and simply a literary genius and if I was given one last book to read before I died I would choose a Discworld novel. He plays with words like Beckham plays with his balls, style, grace, and superior acuracy (pardon the pun!) Although sometimes you feel like you have missed somthing, and find yourself sometimes skimming back over things to be sure, but it always makes sense in the end so don't worry. You have to just persivere sometimes and the story will become crystal clear, and you get used to his way quickly. Then he has you in the palm of his hand and you become a prisoner to a book that you just can't seem to put down. Anyway onwards with the review at hand. The Story ***************************************************** As all of the Discworld novels this one starts out in the same way, explaining just what the Discworld is. So if you have forgotten or plain just don't know, the Discworld is a giant disc situated on the back of a giant turtle called A' Tuin. This in turn is on the back of four elephants, which in turn is floating through an Infifnty with an unknown destination. Although there has been an ongoing debate on the Disc as to where the exact destination is, and as to the actual sex of the turtle, how exciting life must be for them. The story itself starts with the typical Pratchett humour in the first line"The sun rose slowly, as if it wasn't sure it was worth the effort" Then you plunge straight into the story, firstly he tells us of a powerful
                  book of spells which was left behind by the God that first created the Discworld (oopsydaisy silly God) This book is called the Octavo, it is so powerful that it has to be locked up and chained down in a locked basement room. This basement can be found at The Unseen University, which is where all the wizards live (so they like to be called) Most of them you wouldn't even trust to clean a public toilet, but never the less they are all gifted in their own way. Now this book has just one default, there is one spell missing leaving only seven. The other is inside the head of the most bungling and useless wizard ever to live. This wizard is called Rincewind, who at the present moment is busy falling of the edge of the Discworld. He has been employed by the only ever and probably last visitor to the Hub, this person is called Twoflower. He in turn is followed around by what can only be described as a suitcase with legs(honest you have to read it to see the obsurd humour about this fact) Now Rincewind when he was much younger snuck into the basement and somehow managed to open this book. Then the spell in question simply jumped into his head, and for his troubles he was booted out of the University. Not that he was any good at magic anyway so it was no loss, but now the spell is needed badly. You see if the eight spells aren't used together on Hogswatch night(christmas night) then it will spell the end of the Discworld forever. This is only two months away, sounds easy, but they have to find Rincewind and his funny little companion first to reunite the spells. Now as I said earlier Rincewind has fallen of the edge of the Discworld, but don't worry he is ok. You see the spell won't let him die, most spells just let themselves off when a wizard dies, although they do get to live for a long time.
                  This is unless they are killed off by their piers eager for advancement up the wizard ranks"You know when a wizard has given up when he stops looking for broken glass in his food, or a scorpion in his bed" But this spell is different to other spells it is almost like it needs him, for it's own ends of course. Oh and if a wizard does happen to die it is best to be FAR away as there is no telling what all the stored up spells will do when they go off at once. Along the way there are a few suprises, my favourite part is where they discover a gingerbread house. They are then set upon by the brotherhood of the watch, trying to catch them and return them to Ankh Morpork. So they make their escape on a witches broom, which had been left by the witch that used to live there. That was before two children came along years ago and pushed her into her oven (sound familiar?) Then after escaping they crash land onto a great big flying rock (Shhh!, but don't tell it, we don't want to give it the idea that it can't fly!!!) And this rock is being flown by a crazy Druid. If you like the sound of that, there is plenty more where that came from. Once you pick up this book you will not want to put it down, it is just one laugh after another. So then will Rincewind and his naive little travelling friend Twoflower (and the luggage of course) save the Discworld. Well you will just have to read it and find out, and I guarantee you will just love it. There is one other thing that Pratchett says that I just howled with laughter at, whilst they are in the mystical forest of Skund(with talking trees) He says that, if a tree is good it will be guaranteed an afterlife. However if it is very good it will be reincarnated as five thousand rolls of toilet paper....LOL....Not that a tree has any choice but be go
                  od unless maybe it drops a branch on your house or somthing, I don't quite know!!!! So if you enjoyed this review, what are you waiting for, buy the book and read for yourself...

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                    04.09.2003 02:06
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                    • "Very addictive (under bad points due to the cost of buying the full series)"

                    Having set myself the challenge of reading and reviewing every one of the thirty or so Discworld novels, I am now proud to announce that, after much time, effort and several really deep paper cuts, I have finally reached ... (drum roll please) ... Book Two. Er ... sorry about that but it's just that I've been a bit busy on the Playstation 2 of an evening recently although, thanks to the delights of public transport, I have been able to keep up with the reading while I've been waiting for buses that don't turn up or sitting on buses that do ... and then break down. I'm currently reading book five in the series but as far as reviewing is concerned I seem to be lagging behind somewhat. But you don't care about that do you? You'll be wanting to know why you should be reading the book I'm reviewing. Well, I'm about to tell you. 'The Light Fantastic' is Terry Pratchetts' second book in the rather successful and extremely humorous Discworld series. Whereas most of the books in this series appear to be stand alone stories, 'The Light Fantastic' is slightly unusual in that it's a direct sequel to book one - otherwise known as 'The Colour Of Magic' - and kicks off by resolving the (literal) cliff-hanger we had been left with. For those yet to experience the joys of the Discworld books perhaps I should explain that they are a series of stories following the adventures of a number of characters living on the Discworld which, as the name suggests, is a disc shaped world which happens to be supported on the backs of four giant elephants who, in turn, are standing on the back of a huge space turtle known as Great A' Tuin. Obviously. This world contains a seemingly inexhaustible supply of magic so tends to be populated by characters such as wizards, witches, adventurers, trolls, talking trees, thieves, in fact a whole world full of strange individuals not to mention
                    the odd character or two dropping by from other dimensions. Previously we had been introduced to Rincewind, a cowardly, inept wizard and Twoflower, the Discworlds' first tourist, who is a little naïve and seems not to know the meaning of the word fear, instead treating everything they encounter as an adventure. As 'The Colour Of Magic' drew to a close Rincewind and Twoflower were about to unwittingly become the Discworlds' first astronauts. Meanwhile, at the beginning of 'The Light Fantastic' ... The inhabitants of the Discworld have become rather alarmed by a large red object that has recently appeared in the sky and seems to be growing larger. Since the Gods are otherwise engaged, it's down to the wizards to find out what's going on and to do so they summon Death, who is a little annoyed because he was at a party at the time. He explains that the Discworld is going to be destroyed in about two months time by a rapidly approaching star. Fortunately a solution appears to be at hand. All the wizards need to do is recite the eight great spells from the most powerful magic book in the Discworld, known as the Octavo. Unfortunately the book currently contains only seven spells, the eighth having long ago taken up residence in Rincewinds' head when he opened the book for a dare back in his student days. Even more unfortunate is the fact that we last saw Rincewind (and Twoflower) disappearing over the edge of the world. Hopefully I'm not giving too much away when I say they both survive this experience. Well, it would be a pretty short book otherwise. While it's not essential to have read 'The Colour Of Magic' first I would definitely recommended it. The circumstances that led our heroes to their current situation are briefly covered but you'll definitely get more enjoyment by having journeyed with them through the events of book one. If you've ever enjoyed a
                    ny of Douglas Adams books you'll be right at home with the humour here. Pratchett likes nothing more than taking a few concepts and ideas from o ur world, giving them a twist, and dropping into his Discworld. He would appear to be much more relaxed with his creation and it was nice to see that after the jumble of ideas present in the first book we now have more of a plot here; nothing less than the threat of the Discworld being destroyed. As before, the two leads form a great double act and quickly drag you along with them for the ride. In addition to these, and other returning characters (DEATH makes a couple of brief appearances), we also get introduced to a handful of new faces. There is Cohan, the eighty-seven year old barbarian who, along with his somewhat younger bride to be, Bethan, lends the tale an air of romance. We also learn a little more about the Luggage, Twoflowers' fiercely loyal wooden case (made of sapient pearwood don't you know) which follows his master everywhere on hundreds of little legs. Add to that a scheming wizard called Trymon, not to mention a brief visit to a wandering shop, and you'll soon understand that this is set to be another busy chapter in the lives of our heroes. Like the first book, it's a complete joy to read and it kept me entertained from the first page to the very last. More importantly it left me wanting more, which was fortunate as I'd already bought the next two books in the series. As is Pratchetts' style the book is not split into numbered chapters, instead there are just section breaks between scenes. In my review of book one I commented that this often means there is not a good place to stop reading after a session, but I've come to the conclusion that this has more to do with the fact that these books are so enjoyable that you just won't want to stop reading until you reach the end. Pratchett has a gift for no
                    t only creating interesting and funny characters and giving them interesting and funny things to do but for describing the little touches and details which help to bring the Discworld to life. You'll also find that he likes to include the odd footnote, like this* These tend to enhance the history and background of events, locations or individuals and are a constant source of amusement. Despite the more structured, plot-driven story the laughs still come thick and fast whether they be simple throw-away lines ... --Discussing a recent incident at Ankh-Morpork, the largest city on Discworld-- "But devastating fires were a regular feature of Morporkian life and it had always been cheerfully and meticulously rebuilt, using the traditional local materials of tinder-dry wood and thatch waterproofed with tar." ... or entire scenes, such as the one in which Twoflower attempts to teach Death, Famine, War and Pestilence how to play Bridge. Over the past few years we've had something of a revival in the fortunes of wizards in the form of Harry Potter and the epic film versions of the Lord Of The Rings books and you may well think that you've had your fill of magic and fantasy. But, if it's an antidote to some of the more serious fantasy adventures that you are after then perhaps there is no better time to get into the series. These are wonderfully comic books and are full of characters who have their own day to day problems and for whom the existence of magic is just another fact of life. They take established ideas from the fantasy genre, turn them on their heads, wind them up and let them go. It's usually about here that I would have a moan about the things I didn't like but having had a good think about it I can't honestly think of anything serious. 'The Colour Of Magic' may have seemed a mismatch of ideas thrown together with no obvious ending in site, but 'The Ligh
                    t Fantastic' has resolved that by giving us a stronger plot and something to aim for at the books conclusion; avoiding the destruction of Discworld. Fair enough, my previous references to the next twenty-eight books in the series may give you some clue as to the outcome but it doesn't actually detract from the enjoyment. I have already pointed it out but I honestly think that in order to get the most from it that you should start with the first book. The only other problem I can think of is perhaps a tad petty. Having finished and thoroughly enjoyed this second instalment I was completely and utterly hooked. With about twenty-eight more books in the series, each costing around £7 or £8, that's ... err ... quite a lot of cash needed to complete the set. Obviously (or it will be if you've read any of my previous ops) it will be a cold day in Hell before I pay the full RRP for anything so there are a couple of options to save a little cash. If you're a fast reader (unlike me, although my girlfriend can complete a book in less time than it takes me to choose one off the shelf) you may want to visit you local library to see if they have any of the Discworld series in stock. This may be easier said than done; if you have a library like mine then simply getting to it during it's limited opening hours is a difficult enough task. However borrowing, be it from library or friends, is especially recommended if you've yet to sample the Discworld as they do tend to be something that you'll either love or hate. If you're intent on buying them then have a hunt about first. At the time of writing Amazon.co.uk appear to have most of the series on offer at £3.99 each. If you're more of a technophobe then WH Smiths are currently running a two-for-£10 promotion on all paperbacks or Waterstones have a three-for-two offer which includes a few of the Discworld titles. If you are planning to colle
                    ct the whole series it may be worth knowing that selected titles are available as trilogy editions. These are basically three stories from the series brought together in one book, the link being that they are all about the same characters. Thanks go to Calypte for leaving a comment on my 'Colour Of Magic' review telling me about these, as I'd never heard of them before. So, all in all another highly recommended read and I'd even suggest a look if you're not usually a fan of fantasy books. Some of my quibbles with book one have been addressed in this sequel and in truth I almost award it five stars but I'm going to hold that last one back mainly because I think you do need to have read the first book to get the most from it. There is also the fact that I've read a little further ahead in the series and I know for a fact that there is better to come. Talking of which, I will shortly be starting a review on the third Discworld novel, 'Equal Rites'. I'll try to squeeze it in before I buy any more Playstation 2 games. Thanks for reading. © Nomad 2003 * I was actually just thinking about those couple of paragraphs that I used to introduce the Discworld series. Specifically I was wondering if I was going to have to rewrite them every time I write a review of a Discworld novel. If so, that's about another twenty-eight times that I'm going to have to describe the same thing in a slightly different way. Oh well, back to the op I suppose. Book information -------------------- 'The Light Fantastic' by Terry Pratchett 285 pages, published by Corgi, £6.99 ISBN : 0-552-12848-1 Some websites worth a look ------------------------------------ The L Space Web - http://www.ie.lspace.org/ Discworld monthly - http://www.ufbs.co.uk/dwm/ Terry Pratchett Books - http://www.terrypratchettbook
                    s.c om/ Other Discworld book reviews by me ---------------------------------------------- 'Destination Discworld' an opinion on Book 1 - 'The Colour Of Magic'

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                      28.12.2002 20:11
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                      I am going through another Pratchett phase at the moment. I have read three of his novels over the past month or so and the enthusiasm is still there. In fact, I have Equal Rites out already to read next. I finished The Light Fantastic yesterday, about the same time as I began not being able to look at chocolate without feeling sick. I needed to forget about Christmas, to restore some semblance of normality into a house strewn with strange glittery purple things, a large tree and a huge Tweenies tent that takes over the whole dining room. Unfortunately, normality for Pratchett involves wizards, ageing heroes, talking trees, walking trolls and a big treasure chest with lots of legs. Perhaps it’s best to read this with a large Baileys for good measure. Well, that was my excuse and I’m sticking to it. The Light Fantastic is Pratchett’s second Discworld novel and follows on from The Colour of Magic, so I suggest you read these two in the right order. I enjoyed them both as much as each other and although Carpe Jugulum was my favourite of the three I’ve recently read, that isn’t to dismiss the earlier novels, which are well worth a couple of days of your time. The Light Fantastic reunites defunct wizard Rincewind with the naïve tourist Twoflower and his sapient pearwood Luggage with countless legs and a nasty bite. This time they are rather important to the future of the whole Discworld, which means quite a few species are trying their hardest to keep Rincewind alive. This is an unusual experience for him, but he makes sure he has several near-death (and near-Death!) attempts and some (often literal) cliffhangers throughout. The Discworld’s future is being threatened by a big red star, which is heading towards them. The Gods are too busy feuding with their neighbours to deal with it, so it’s down to the wizards to save the day. The problem they have is that the Octavo – the vita
                      lly important book containing the eight major spells – only harbours seven. The eighth one jumped into Rincewind’s head previously and has squatted there ever since. It is believed that he needs to return it to save the world. This is the reason behind the rather picturesque and dramatic chase that continues through most of the book, as Rincewind is pursued, hunted and urged gently along towards Ankh-Morpork, home of the Unseen University and the smelliest city in the Discworld. We meet all the wonderful creations and characters typical of a Pratchett novel (though sadly no dragons), including the first encounter with Cohen the Barbarian, who’s rather a legend. The enigmatic trolls make an appearance too, with some of the best and funniest moments in the book. As always, Pratchett cleverly weaves our own culture into the Discworld one. With some brilliant wordplay such as this on page 226 - “Mind you, there is a saving on the rates.” “Rates?” “Yes, they’re-“ the shopkeeper paused, and wrinkled his forehead. “I can’t quite remember, it was such a long time ago. Rates, rates –“ “Very large mice?” - and unique takes on ideas we often wonder about. For example, you know those shops that are there on the High Street one day, then you go back the following week and they’ve disappeared? Yes, well, that’s magic. It’s all explained in this novel. Fantastic stuff. Makes everything so much clearer. This is very much an adventure story. We have the mission or quest, the (often unenthusiastic) hero and his sidekick (and his sidekick) and their troubled paths from one place to another, conquering a multitude of enemies on the way and finding a few new friends. In fact, it’s a bit like Doctor Who in this respect, but with the impending doom of Armageddon – thankfully without Bruce Willis
                      . We even have a little romance as Cohen the Barbarian (87) finds his soulmate in Bethan the nearly-sacrificed virgin (several decades younger). Their relationship is sure to succeed. I’ve never yet seen Neil Morrissey on the Discworld. We get to meet Herrena the Henna-Haired Harridan who is described with an obvious enthusiasm and great humour. She is accompanied by a gang of men who “will certainly be killed before too long anyway, so a description is probably not essential.” (p. 117) Unfortunately, the best character ever created by Pratchett – Death – doesn’t feature in this novel as much as in others, but there is an excellent scene where Twoflower is teaching Death, War, Famine and Pestilence a card game. Twoflower’s grasp of languages is fairly basic (Think Brit in Spain!), but he manages to describe this particular card game as “a thing you put across a river”! (p. 128) Overall, it’s a very good story and seems much more ‘professional’ than The Colour of Magic. Pratchett seems to have settled down into his familiar style by this point and has ironed out most of the flaws present in the first Discworld novel. Well worth a read. And a guffaw or seven.

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                        06.04.2002 00:53
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                        This is the second book in the Discworld series and so it carries on from where The Colour of Magic finishes. It is about the continuing adventures of an incompetent wizard called Rincewind, who has NEVER successfully cast a spell, and the naïve tourist Twoflower, who is almost terminally trusting. Twoflower still has the Luggage (a vicious chest on legs that is probably the reason that Twoflower and Rincewind are not dead). They were last seen plunging over the edge of the disc and it doesn't seem likely they will survive however... Rincewind has one of the eight great spells in his head and The Octavo (the Creators spell book that contains them) is not about to let Rincewind die, as the spell will escape. So instead of plummeting to his death over the edge of the world he finds himself hanging upside-down in a talking pine tree. The senior wizards of the Unseen University have no idea what is causing the strange events, demons are unhelpful and even crystal balls are clouding over. Out of desperation they decide to summon Death using the Rite of AshkEnte and from this they discover they only have two months to find Rincewind because all the eight spells must be together on Hogswatch night or the disc will be destroyed. Rincewind as usual when seeing people chasing him, runs very quickly in the opposite direction. The rest of the book centres around "a race to save the disc" idea. Throughout the series footnotes are included and these give a sense of history to the Discworld and its inhabitants that is especially useful in the first few novels. In these the hierarchy of the wizards in the Unseen University and the role of magic are not the same as in the later books but the Discworld series spans over 20 novels so it is not surprising that the earlier books are a little different to the later ones. In my opinion this book is better than the first and could easily be read without having read another Discworld bo
                        ok first. Its still not as good as later ones, but this does not mean that it isn't worth reading, there are lots of funny bits and some of the characters have more personality than in the previous book. It is a good book to start with in the series because although it starts on a cliffhanger the situation is explained enough for it not to detract from the story.

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                          22.11.2001 17:35
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                          The Light Fantastic is the second novel in Terry Pratchett's enormously successful Discworld series. It is also the only 'sequel' in the entire series pretty much continuing on from where the last left off although I can't really say why without ruining the ending of the previous novel 'The Colour Of Magic'(see my previous review on that novel). Do I need to explain about the Discworld? Probably so here goes again... The Discworld is a large flat disc-shaped world which is mounted upon the back of four huge elephatns themseles standin gon top of the giant turtle A'tuin who is flying through space on an age old quest to...well probably to self destruct. The world itself was apparently inspired by a table of all things which the author saw in India and is probably the most bizarre you are ever liely to come across. The Discworld is a world populated by wizard's, elves, vampires...you name it, it lives here and is a world in which all of the natural laws of this world are there to be broken...in fact they seem very alive and mischievious if not down right malignant at times. Magic is a wild thing here, studied by some and harnessed by few with great difficulty...none more so than the failed wizard and main charcter of this novel - Rincewind. He returns along with the tourist Twoflower and his carniverous luggage who he has been assigned to protect in his trips around the Discworld to find that it may be afutile thing because A'tuin is on a collision course with a great red star which is becoming larger and brighter in the sky with each day that passes. The Discworld needs a hero...but does that hero really have to be Rincewind - the most bumbling cowardly wizard ever to walk the face of that world? well apparently so, and the fate of the Disc now rests upon his quivering shoulders... The Light Fantastic is another great novel from Terry Pratchett and another which is packed full of satire, wit and
                          some of the most bizarrely charming characters you are likely to meet. The most notable new one is Cohen The Barbarian(CONAN The Barbarian on the sleeve of the book I have before me...Must be nice to be a proof reader) who is 87, still rescuing virgins and still the toughest guy on the planet. He is one of the many characters who Rincewind and Towflower stumble across in their many and varied bizarre adventures in a novel which contains a fair number of laugh out loud moments and should keep you smiling throughout. If you are a fan then you've no doubt already read it, if not then you'll want to start with The Colour Of Magic first and then read it because its best to read this rather lengthy series in chronological order to be able to appreciate all the jokes and characters who are reintroduced regularly throughout. The Light Fantastic is again(Like the Colour Of Magic) not one of the best in the series in my view but is still well worth the read and kicks ost other humourous novels into touch. Its easy reading, something you can no doubt complete in one sitting if you are a fast reader and something I would recommend to people of all ages although younger readers may miss out on some of the social commentary winkingly hidden about the text. The bottom line is its funny and if you want a novel, or a series of novels which poke fun at the fantasy genre and life in general then you can't do better than these ones - great stuff!

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                            25.09.2001 18:14
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                            I'm just in the process of re-reading all the Discworld novels for the umpteenth time, which is what I do whilst waiting for the next one. And although I am Terry Pratchett's biggest fan, and although I wouldn't ever let anyone else knock the books, I have to say that 'The Light Fantastic' isn't as hilarious as I remember it being, all those years ago when I discovered the Discworld. Possibly I've got so familiar with the plot that the absurd incongruities no longer produce the same effect. But I think its more that I've become used to Pratchett's phenomenal style of the later novels, and this one is simply less refined. There is much more of a 'make it up as you go along' feeling to it, as though Terry never expected to be staying in the Discworld for another 20 something books. The plot picks up immediately where the Colour of Magic left off, with Rincewind and Twoflower falling off the edge of the Discworld. The Great Spell which is lodged in Rincewind's mind comes to his aid in a roundabout way. It turns out that all eight spells must be said together to prevent the Discworld being destroyed, so the other seven spells alter reality, placing Rincewind back on the disc to save their fellow spell. A fairly weak device, but well written enough that you don't notice. From then on the book becomes a chase, with every order of magicians wanting to be the one to find Rincewind and save the world. Rincewind, needless to say prefers being lost. I'm not going to ruin any more of the plot, so you can open your eyes now. The problem for me was that all my favourite characters are wrong. Like Death. He later gets fleshed out in several books of his own, but it's clear that at this stage he was just an extra, who Pratchett didn't expect to be using again, so he behaves in a way which is at odds with the later books. Similarly the order of Magicians at the Unseen University isn't pr
                            operly defined yet. There seem to be a whole bunch of 'orders' which all disappear later on in favour of the familiar bunch of Wizards we all love. And magic itself hasn't properly been thought out yet. In the later novels magic is made much more powerful by the economy of its use, and the difficulty of mastering just one spell. In the first two books, though, wizards blast each other with levitation spells, thunderballs and all manner of other pleasantries seemingly every other page. Don't get me wrong. This is still a very funny book. But once you have read your way through the evolution of the Discworld series, this one will seem much less refined, and actually feels like a slightly foreign place. It should definitely be read though.

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                            As it moves towards a seemingly inevitable collision with a malevolent red star the Discworld has only one possible saviour. Unfortunately this happens to be the singularly inept and cowardly wizard called Rincewind who was last seen falling off the edge of the world.