Book – The Light Fantastic
Author – Terry Pratchett
Year – 1986
Genre – Fantasy/Comedy
Pages – 217
Series – Discworld (Book 2)
During the first (failed) Book Challenge in 2009, one of the books that I read was the first of the Terry Pratchett penned series of Discworld books – The Colour Of Magic. Whilst I have been a reader of fantasy books and comedy books for about ten or eleven years now, I had never been into Pratchett, and although I enjoyed it, I don’t feel that the first book in the series was anything massively special. However, I liked it enough to – eventually – get around to reading the second in the series.
And far better this one was indeed. Picking up where the first book left off, and following the inept wizard Rincewind – I am led to believe that there are several different people who are followed over the course of the five thousand odd Discworld books that there are, each with their own fanbase – as he tries to cope with having one of the most powerful spells in the world stuck in his head. Add to that a walking suitcase that eats people, a galactic tourist who teaches bridge to Death, an old aged barbarian and various other particularly ridiculous conceits, and it is simple to understand why Pratchett’s books are always slightly askew of the more traditional fantasy that is churned out.
That is not to say that it is not proper fantasy. Far from it, the Discworld books seem to bring in every single concept that could exist in fantasy writing – druids, gnomes, elves, wizards, swords, spells, flying turtles with elephants on their backs carrying circular worlds – together into one place. And importantly, they are written in a way that is genuinely funny. It is tough to find yourself laughing out loud when reading a book by yourself, but I did sneakily find myself doing so from time to time here – even if some of them are from terrible puns “Can you believe that all of those people are stealing musical instruments from that shop during this riot?” “Oh, they’re probably just luters”.
With over seven million books in the series, Discworld is going to keep me going for a little while. But after this book, I think I might just push on with it.