Monday, March 7, 2011

Book Twenty-One - The Colour Of Magic

Terry Pratchett

All I knew about this book is that the series is called Discworld, so I expected to be in another world. (Logical, eh?) I didn’t know whether it would be more science fiction than fantasy or the other way around, and I hoped it wouldn’t be yet another dystopian society. I was not prepared for what happened when I read the first few pages. This book is HILARIOUS! I’m so glad there are four other Terry Pratchett books on this list. I love our heroes Rincewind and Twoflower and even the luggage! Well, it would be difficult not to love the luggage. 

Pratchett does so many things in this book! (I know I am exclaiming a great deal, but sometimes it is necessary!) In addition to the colour of magic we learn of the nature of magic, the limitations of wizards, the limitations of Death in connection with wizards, unknown dimensions of time and space, the power of imagination in relation to the proximity of magic, and the way a hero really feels when called upon to perform heroic actions. So many things for a nerd to love. Oh, there are also things like insurance but Pratchett makes those things fun, too! I’m anxious to begin the next Discworld book!

Did I hear someone ask for samples? I aim to please. Rincewind plays interpreter, trying a variety of languages with a visitor. They finally discover that both speak Trob.

“At last!” he said. “My good sir! This is remarkable!” (Although in Trob the last word in fact became “a thing which may happen but once in the usable lifetime of a canoe hollowed diligently by ax and fire from the tallest diamondwood tree that grows in the noted diamondwood forests on the lower slopes of Mount Awayawa, home of the firegods or so it is said.”)
It was upon reading the above paragraph that I realized I love Terry Pratchett. It's on page 16, so it didn't take long.
“Well,” said the voice. “You see, one of the advantages of being dead is that one is released as it were from the bonds of time and therefore I can see everything that has happened or will happen, all at the same time except that of course I now know that Time does not, for all practical purposes, exist.”
There is also a very useful barbarian (it stands to reason that in difficult times a barbarian could come in handy) with, as it turns out, a heart of gold. He stole the gold, but still.
“Kill them” she said.
“I kill in my own time,” he said. “In any case, killing unconscious people isn’t right…”
“I am surprised that you are so merciful…”
“A man in my position, he can’t afford to be anything else, he’s got to consider his image.”
How can you dislike a barbarian concerned about such things? I mean, I don’t believe I’ve ever been fond of a barbarian before but I definitely like this one. There tend not to be many sympathetic barbarians in literature, at least in my experience.

At one point Rincewind and Twoflower are offered a fermented drink from the next year’s harvest. The drink is called “Ghlen Livid.” As my friend Lily is a connoisseur, I happen to know Glenlivit is a brand of Scotch. (I took a sip of Scotch once and that was enough. They say it is an acquired taste but I’ve never been able to figure out why I would work to acquire a taste for something I dislike. Same goes for brie cheese. But I digress.)


  1. I've heard of Terry Pratchett, but I have yet to read any of his books. I'm so glad you liked this one. I haven't read a really great funny book lately so maybe I'll have to pick this one up soon. It's okay to exclaim a lot! It really is necessary sometimes.

  2. I've just downloaded this one to read, I loved Good Omens that he wrote with Neil Gaiman, and hadn't given the Discworld books a try. Coincidence! I'm looking forward to it, thanks for the review!

  3. I’m so glad you liked this one! I still don’t understand why The Colour of Magic missed the mark with me. The concept is hilarious. I also utilize the BBC list to populate my TBR pile, so I have no choice but to keep reading about the Discworld. Mort is next on my list and I’m really crossing my fingers with this one.