Book Review: The Light Fantastic by Sir Terry Pratchett

Posted May 27, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Book Review: The Light Fantastic by Sir Terry Pratchett

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Light Fantastic by Sir Terry Pratchett
Series: ,
Genres: Fantasy
Published by HarperTorch on February 2nd 2000
Pages: 241
Format: Paperback
Source: the library

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In The Light Fantastic only one individual can save the world from a disastrous collision. Unfortunately, the hero happens to be the singularly inept wizard Rincewind, who was last seen falling off the edge of the world...

Also by this author: I Shall Wear Midnight, Sourcery, Mort, The Shepherd's Crown, Guards! Guards!, Moving Pictures, Small Gods, A Blink of the Screen, Reaper Man

Second in the Rincewind subseries and the overall Discworld series and revolving around Rincewind the Wizzard. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Discworld books on my website.

My Take

Every once in awhile, ya need a book that will stimulate your brain while you ROFLYAO, and The Light Fantastic is a fascinating bridge novel that will require your using the loo as it explains Rincewind’s lack of magic and exposes the idiocy of Unseen U.

I’m late come to Sir Terry’s Discworld series, and it is a crazy world he’s created. One of parody of our contemporary world and drawing on myths, folklore, and fairy tales from a variety of cultures as well as a variety of authors. Talk about turning the clichés on their heads…

I do love the start of The Light Fantastic. Well, it is only the start as Pratchett’s style of writing and sense of fun wends its way consistently throughout the entire story. One page alone will yield a ton of wildly varying ideas and hysterical pokes at our society. It’ll keep you grinning away as the story unfolds.

Pratchett cautions us early on to be careful what we say, for Olaf Quimby II passed legislation forbidding simile. What we say must be extremely accurate lest we be punished.

“…if a legend said of a notable hero that ‘all men spoke of his prowess’ any bard who valued his life would add hastily ‘except for a couple of people in his home village who thought he was a liar, and quite a lot of people who had never really heard of him’.”

So, watch it.

Who knew? Those rolls of toilet paper we use up every year? Yep, it’s part of an ancient religion. Another ancient religion, druidism, finds a very angry virgin being rescued. No, it’s the rescuing she objects to, all those years she wasted staying home on Saturday nights when she could have been having fun. Not really a religion, but since Death does come for us all… you will enjoy Twoflower teaching Death, Famine, War, and Pestilence how to play poker.

The “ruling” wizards are really just a bunch of old farts frumping along in their fuzzy slippers, telling everyone how great they are, and pretty much faking it. They do keep in shape with fending off and attempting their own assassination attempts. Well, it’s the only way to get promoted, really.

“‘…I’m sure it’s not right to eat other people’s furniture.’

‘Don’t worry,’ said Swires. ‘The old witch hasn’t been seen for years. They say she was done up good and proper by a couple of young tearaways.’

‘Kids of today,’ commented Rincewind.

‘I blame the parents,’ said Twoflower.”

Hee-hee, hee, I did enjoy those trees. Wonder if they know the Ents?

“You haven’t really been anywhere until you’ve got back home”

The Story

It’s a Change spell. By the Octavo which was worried about that eighth spell dropping off the disc. The one that escaped the book into Rincewind’s head all those years ago. It’s the trolls who bring Rincewind’s attention to the star looming larger and larger in the sky, threatening to burn Discworld to a cinder.

The Characters

Rincewind is the world’s most incompetent wizard and was hired by Twoflower to be his guide in Color of Magic, 1, as he plays tourist in Discworld.

Twoflower is Discworld’s first tourist. Luggage is made of sapient pearwood and has hundreds of little legs. Luggage is someone, thing?, anyone would want while on vacation as, besides being very protective, it will do your laundry. Swires is a gnome who knows where to find a quite tasty gingerbread cottage.

Cohen the Barbarian is the Discworld’s greatest hero and has words of advice on what the greatest things are in life: “hot water, good dentishtry, and shoft lavatory paper”. He does have a rather skewed idea about books, though. Bethan is the druids’ virgin.

Ankh-Morpork is…

…the largest city around the Circle Sea with its own very unique, um, aroma.

The Unseen University is…
…the world’s premier college of magic. Galder Weatherwax (any relation to Granny?) is the Supreme Grand Conjuror of the Order of the Silver Star, Lord Imperial of the Sacred Staff, Eighth Level Ipsissimus, and 304th Chancellor of Unseen U. Ymper Trymon is second-in-command of the Order and is inching to take over and bring order, committee meetings, and memos into the Order. Rhunlet Vard is a possible successor to Greyhald.

There are eight societies within the order and include the Hoodwinkers led by Jigald Wert, the Venerable Seers are led by Ganmack Treehallet, the Ancient and Truly Original Sages of the Unbroken Circle is led by Greyhald Spold who is the oldest wizard, the Illuminated Mages of the Unbroken Circle, and Lumuel Panter heads up the Brothers of the Order of Midnight.

DEATH comes for all of us, eventually. Meanwhile he’s enjoying himself at a party that serves up small cubes of cheese and pineapple on a stick. Ysabell is Death’s adopted daughter and feeling quite lonely.

Belafon is a druid with a flying rock, and he specializes as a computer hardware consultant. Herrena the Henna-Haired Harridan is a heroine currently hiring herself out as a mercenary. Gancia is the leader of the gang of Morpork mercenaries. Weems is one of them

Kwartz, his wife Beryl, Krysoprase, Breccia, and Jasper are trolls whose legends tell them to look out for Rincewind. That snooty talk about sedimentary being under an igneus’ status…hmmm… Old Grandad has been asleep for centuries.

The Skillet, Wang, Yrxle!yt, Bunglestiff, Cwmlad, and Patel is a wandering starshop. Lackjaw is the dwarf jeweler who makes Cohen a set of dim-chewers.

The Octavo is the most famous book of magic and contains eight spells with their own lives. Only one of those spells escaped. Cori Celesti is the home of the Discworld’s gods. Blind Io is their leader. Great A’Tuin is the giant turtle who carries four giant elephants on his back who, in their turn, support the flat world of Disc on their own backs. The Potent Voyager is a spaceship created by the priests of Krull who were able to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is such a thing as a free launch. The Dungeon Dimensions are filled with Things that, if they escaped into Discworld, would destroy it.

Old Granny Whitlow was the old witch with the gingerbread house. I hear she did great meringues.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a deep yellow green with a black vertical border on the left. A much lighter shade of the yellow green highlights the author’s name and the title that appear on either side of a chained black book emitting a glowing light from the quarter moon and sun emblazoned on its cover.

The title could be referring to The Light Fantastic that flashed when Trymon grabbed for power or it could be that view at the end as new worlds came into being.

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2 responses to “Book Review: The Light Fantastic by Sir Terry Pratchett

  1. Do start with the first book to best understand Twoflower, and how he ends up hiring Rincewind. Expect nothing to make sense. Just roll with the parodies, the satire, the laughter…do pee before reading.

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