The Light Fantastic (1986) – Terry Pratchett

I ventured back to Discworld this week, as I dove into the second tale written by Terry Pratchett. This one picks up moments after the ending of the book and sees our somewhat hero, the questionable wizard, Rincewind, plunging over the edge of the world, which in case you weren’t aware, is a disc on the back of four elephants, which in turn rests on the back of a giant spacefaring turtle.

Rincewind is accompanied by Discworld’s first tourist, the eternal optimist, Twoflower, and his seemingly sentient and mobile luggage. But there are no heroes joining the quest including a comely young woman named Bethan and Cohen the Barbarian.

They are pursued by wizards from the Unseen University who are eager to get something out of Rincewind’s cowardly mind.  He has one of the most powerful spells lodged in his head, and it doesn’t want out. The wizards have other ideas.

Along with that it seems that star-turtle is heading towards a giant red star which could spell the death of all life for the disc (and elephants) he/she (?) carries on his/her (?) back. This of course inspires an all new form of doomsday religion, and of course, Rincewind and company find themselves caught right in the middle of all of this.

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With a turn of phrase, or the crafting of a word, or a joke, Pratchett had me laughing aloud countless times per page, and it just made the story such a joy to experience. I think I read somewhere that he said he took serious situations, fantasy, drama, whatever, and let them play out with humour.

Well this one certainly does that.

There are so many wonderful moments not just through the book, but through the pages, as the situations just gets so absurd, and yet so recognisable. In some of the things that are said, I can hear myself, or my friends, and how they would say the same thing.

I won’t complain about the book being too short, not even two hundred pages, because I have no doubt that it took some serious amount of brainstorming, writing, re-writing, break for a cuppa, editing, and settling on a final text to make this book as brilliantly enjoyable and hilarious as it is.

I’m glad I waited as long as I did before I started reading them, and there are so many to read, because now I can appreciate all the humour, moments, and characters that fill this world.

I hear Death even has his own series,which delights me to no end, because I love when he pops up in these stories.

Have you read them? Do you have a favourite story?

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