Thursday, July 09, 2015

Memory Lane: "The Light Fantastic" by Terry Pratchett

Continuing my return journey through the Discworld, I find Terry Pratchett getting more in his groove with “The Light Fantastic” ($9.99, Harper).

Rincewind and Twoflower continue the wild journey that began in “The Colour of Magic” as the world begins to go crazy. A huge giant start has appeared in the night sky, and it’s getting closer as Great A’Tuin swims through space toward it. Cults pop up, magic falls out of favor, and many people think it’s the end of the disc.

Meanwhile, an ambitious wizard at Unseen University has set his sights on moving up in the world. To do that, he needs the lost spell from the Octavo, the most powerful magical book on the disc. That spell just happens to be lodged in Rincewind’s head, and the easiest way to get it is to kill him.

On revisiting the “Colour of Magic” after 20 years or so, I still thoroughly enjoyed it, but I found it to be maybe a bit weaker than I remembered. It was kind of a wandering piece, with a few subplots that didn’t really seem to go anywhere. “The Light Fantastic,” though, seemed to me to be where Pratchett really starts hitting his stride. It’s a bit tighter and maybe a little funnier.

Where the “Colour of Magic” spent a lot of time introducing us to the strange geography and history of the Discworld, “The Light Fantastic” seems to settle a little more into the characters, their quirks and their stories. I found it more entertaining and in the groove.

As the Discworld begins to expand over the next few books, I’m looking forward to seeing how they hold up. Next, I get reintroduced to Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, and then, two of my favorites – “Mort,” and of course, where it all started for me, “Sourcery.” My only question is whether or not I’ll have the patience to space them out a little bit.

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