Ankh-Morpork! Pearl of cities! This is not a completely accurate description, of course — it was not round and shiny — but even its worst enemies would agree that if you had to liken Ankh-Morpork to anything, then it might as well be a piece of rubbish covered with the diseased secretions of a dying mollusc.
The Light Fantastic
By Terry Pratchett
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…
Of the 1,000,000* Discworld books published, only one acts as a direct sequel to another. Now, obviously I’m referring to the very book I’m reviewing, as otherwise that would be a rather pointless and silly statement to even make.
Yes. So, when The Color of Magic, the first of Pratchett’s titles, ended on a world-falling cliffhanger in 1983, this book picked up in free fall three years later. Three real-life years, not in-story timeline years.
Because it wasn’t hampered down by world introductions, details of colleges, and pantheons, and the geography of great A’Tuin himself (or herself?), The Light Fantastic is able to jump, literally, into the story of a possibly ending world and the strange inhabitants who are trying to prevent such a thing from happening.
Along the way we journey with familiar characters, Rincewind, Twoflower, and the Luggage, while meeting up with some delightful new ones- Cohen the Barbarian (rife with allusions to one of my favorite of Schwarzenegger features) and Bethen the sacrifical virgin who loves him.
The narrative itself is a standard “hopeless wizard is the only one who can save the world” story, but the telling is incredibly funny. Pratchett’s dry humor, sarcasm, and bizarre references to very real things in the real world (which are deemed quite silly in Discworld) make the novel delightfully funny.
And have I mentioned Death? Death might be one of my new favorite characters in all of Literature, and I think he showed up on maybe ten pages.
This was an easier and more enjoyable read than its predecessor, which can probably be attributed to the fact that I didn’t need my hand held as hard through this one. I knew the basics of the world, I knew what sort of silliness was possible, and I could sit back and snort-laugh through the ride. Also, the fact that this quote happened –
The chieftain nodded, and said: “Surely it is the sight of your enemy slain, the humiliation of his tribe and the lamentation of his women.”
I really like Conan the Barbarian, ok?
I hear that this isn’t even one of the best, or funniest, of the Discworld books by far. I’m already enjoying the hell out of the ride and I can’t wait for it to continue!
*I lied, there are only 46.
Summary from Goodreads