Although a direct sequel to The Colour Of Magic, The Light Fantastic can stand on it's own-and it certainly does.
I read this book with no previous knowledge of the discworld series, and I loved it to bits.
What makes this story so incredibly funny is the motley crew of characters; Rincewind the wizard-a self proclaimed coward with a deadpan sense of humour who'd rather sit down and have a beer than save the world; Twoflower-the endearlingly stereotypical tourist who unintentionally annoys the living hell out of every person he meets; and finally the infamous Luggage; an adorable little carry case with legs (and a mind) of it's own.
These three may cause more trouble than they prevent, but now it's up to them to save the Discworld from collison with a Red Star.
Don't you just know it's all going to go horribly wrong?
This was a truly fun read, and I can't wait to buy more in the discworld series.
Having introduced the Discworld to Roundworld readers with "The Colour of Magic", Terry Pratchett enhances our knowledge of it through this volume. New characters, previously unexplored regions of the Disc and deep questions about The Great A'Tuin almost garner answers. Rincewind, the failed wizard, is still acting as a guide to Discworld's first tourist, Twoflower. It's not always clear however, who's doing the leading and who the following. Twoflower, who is thrilled by everything and refuses to feel threatened by anything, absorbs all the novelty introduced to the reader. Through it all, Pratchett's delightful wit and innovative abilities keeps the reader's full attention. Only your laughter will interrupt the flow of narrative.
There's magic to this book, and no little magic in the story. Rincewind, having been catapulted over the Rim marking the edge of the Disc, inexplicably finds himself lodged in a pine tree. The entire universe has been rearranged to let him survive. Why should one timid outcast be so favoured? Twoflower, in a side gesture of cosmological justice, isn't far off. Rejoined, the pair struggle to find a way home to Ankh-Morpork. A sense of urgency over that return has appeared in the sky - and the Disc is likely to be destroyed soon.
Rincewind's role in changing the universe and coping with a "new star" that's appeared soon become apparent. As a student wizard, one of The Eight Great Spells entered his mind. Those spells are the glue holding the cosmos together. To survive, the Spell must keep Rincewind alive - not out of danger, but a survivor of many dire threats. Even Twoflower has noticed Rincewind's special role in life. The tourist has actually counted the number of Rincewind's near-death experiences. Those threats keep the wizard in a state of tense expectation. Rightly so, since there are yet more to come. Including the end of the world.
In their attempt to return, Rincewind and Twoflower encounter some fascinating characters. Perhaps the most engaging is the aging hero, Cohen the Barbarian, the Disc's Greatest Warrior. He, too, is a survivor, having long ago shed the notion of a "fair" fight. Fast with sword and knife, he knows the value of treasure, the delight in rescuing virgins, and the comforts of "soft lavatory paper". Trolls are encountered - those night creatures who live backward in time and who "suffer from philosophy". Yet, the Discworld isn't lodged in some parallel of the Roundworld's Middle Ages. There are computers and hardware consultants serving them. The Ring of Stones on the Vortex Plains "has gone down again" - a phrase every computer user will recognise. Who but Terry Pratchett could so successfully broker a liaison between such disparate concepts? And adapt from a hotly contested work about the meaning of the Stonehenge monoliths? **
There are other elements Pratchett considers in this tale. Death, who can be seen by wizards, joins the party to observe people's reaction to the new star. Death's perplexity is manifest at encountering humans who fear him, yet will subject themselves to a "death of the mind" almost without hesitation or reflection. Pratchett will keep you pondering many paths as you wend your way through this book. It's a delight to read Pratchett at any time, but taking up this book again after a long hiatus proved even more enlightening. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
** Note: for young folks who find this meaningless today, Gerald Hawkins published "Stonehenge Decoded" in 1965, explaining that chalk- and charcoal-filled pits at Stonehenge provided a "computer" to forecast eclipses.
"The Light Fantastic" is the second book in Terry Pratchett's hugely popular Discworld Series. He has gone on to win the Carnegie Medal for "The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents" and was awarded the OBE in 1998.
"The Light Fantastic" follows on directly from "The Color of Magic", and focuses on the same two characters : Rincewind and Twoflower. Twoflower, from the Counterweight Continent, is the Discworld's first tourist and had employed Rincewind (a single-spell wizard, a native of Ankh-Morpork and a coward of some renown) as his guide. As "The Color of Magic" closed, both characters were close to Krull - Twoflower was boldly going where no tourist had gone before, while Rincewind was in a rather precarious position. (You could say "The Color of Magic" finished with a cliff-hanger). A standard wizard may have been able to save himself, but the only spell Rincewind knows came from the Octavo - the Creator's spell book, which had been carelessly left behind after the universe's completion. He doesn't know what it does, but it's so powerful that no other spell is brave enough to stay in his head. Fortunately, as the book begins, the spell realises that any harm to Rincewind may be fatal to itself - so, it contributes to Rincewind and Twoflower finding a way out of their current situations.
While "The Color of Magic" saw the two characters generally running away in random directions, there seems to be more of a point to their actions in this book. Rincewind has started suffering from homesickness and wants to return to Ankh-Morpork. His spell is also rather keen on this idea. This, Rincewind suspects, is connected to the strange new red star that has appeared in the sky - he fears it may also involve saving the world. The pair's journey back to Ankh-Morpork involves sacrificial virgins gingerbread cottages, trolls, druids and the Discworld's greatest hero - Cohen the Barbarian.
While I enjoyed this instalment more than the previous one, I'd still recommend reading "The Color of Magic" before "The Light Fantastic". This book continues the story began there, while the pair form a prelude to the seventeenth Discworld book, "Interesting Times". Pratchett's books are always very funny, while Rincewind and the Luggage are strong selling points. Definitely recommended !
on 23 March 2005
For those of you that are not familiar with Discworld, let me give you a very brief introduction to this magnificent world, which has the shape of a disc, and stands on top of four elephants, which in turn are supported by a giant turtle named A'Thuin. Philosophers have asked themselves two questions throughout history: a) what is the turtle's sex? b) where is the turtle going? Pratchett assures us that we are very close to finding the answer to the second question.
Now, I have to tell you, if you have not read "The Color of Magic", you should get it and start your journey there. This second book stands on its own, but it is considerably more enjoyable if you have the prior book as background. Besides, "The Light Fantastic" picks up the action exactly where "The Color of Magic" ended. Rincewind, the most inept magician in Discworld, and Twoflower, the extravagant tourist, are in a spaceship in the space surrounding the Disc. But soon enough Rincewind is expelled from the ship and starts to roam through the cosmos.
Meanwhile, in the cellars of the Unseen University, the Octavo, a book left behind by the Creator of the Universe, is showing a disturbing behavior. The Octavo contained the eight most important spells (eight is a crucial number in Discworld) in the world until Rincewind had one of them accidentally transferred to into his head. Now, the eight spells are needed by Hogswatch night or Discworld will be destroyed. This places Rincewind in a very important role, but one that may be extremely dangerous too.
Pratchett's humor is sublime; the author presents cleverly crafted situations that show dazzling parallelisms with our world. One of the funniest comments I found in this book has to do with Christopher Columbus and the reason why ships look as if they are disappearing over the edge of the world. Another tool used by the author is choosing a known character and create a satire around it. In this case, we meet Cohen the Barbarian, who as you can imagine reminds us of Conan. Cohen is / was the greatest hero in Discworld, but now he is old and not even close to the prime of his life. You can certainly imagine how much fun Pratchett makes of this poor character. In some cases though, the satire is so complex that it is hard to notice all of the witty remarks.
Another big plus for this series are the characters. Besides Cohen the Barbarian and Rincewind, we are delighted with the presence of Death. This character shows up mostly unannounced of course, loves to party and tries to remain stress free. On the other hand, we have Twoflower, who clashes constantly with every other inhabitant of Discworld, is really weird, and shows striking similarities to the people in our own world! My recommendation for those of you that like unscripted spontaneous fun is that you should seriously consider picking up this series. On the other hand, those that like linear narrations and tidily created worlds, may want to pass this one up, since as Pratchett himself says "you can't map a sense of humor".
on 10 November 2005
One minute Rincewind and Twoflower were dangling off the edge of the world and then, without warning and for no obvious reason, they found themselves somewhere else - somewhere safer. The luggage is also confused. The wizards of the Unseen University are having trouble with a restless book of spells. The Discworld's greatest hero is suffering something wicked with his piles and lumbago. And if all this were not challenge enough, the world seems to be hurtling inexorably towards a red star - or perhaps it's the star that's doing the hurtling. Whichever massive body is doing the actual hurtling, it looks the same viewed from the surface of the Disc. Either way, a collision looks inevitable. Or, then again, perhaps something magical is about to happen. It could go either way. Great A'Tuin is, in any case, determinedly carrying the Discworld towards some momentous event and it's all a bit worrying. There's a prophesy. The believers have expectations. A sharp wizard could turn a profit if he incants the eight spells at the right time, according the ancient prophesy. A bunch of end of the world fundamentalists are roaming the streets hunting down those who dabble or deal in magic. Wouldn't you just know that the outcome of all this apocalyptic potentiality hangs on the good sense of a failed wizard?
I'm just listening to it all again. Brilliant. Even though it's abridged. There are bound to be several absolute gems criminally omitted, in any *abridgement* of a Terry Pratchett book. There are 3 discs in the box and the running time is about 3 hours. Far too short. I have to give the reader, Tony Robinson, credit though. He reads it, complete with what seem to be just the right voices for all the characters, to perfection, or near enough.
on 8 February 2001
If you were smart enough to read Colour of Magic (A riot) then you will be looking for more Rincewind, Luggage, and laughs. Light Fantastic is here to the Rescue answering all questions and concluding the story that started it all.
Once again Terry has collected an off-the-wall collection of humorous encounters for our heroes. Rincewind and friends must once again save the world. One of the world's eight most powerful spells is hiding in his head, and the wrong people want it. So he must call upon all his finely tuned abilities... of running away! Twoflower and the Luggage are there to help along with Diskworld's greatest warrior... who is now a ridiculously old man.
-Many people consider this one to be better than CoM... They are both awesome. End of story. However, they are both too short and should have come in one normal sized book.
The Light Fantastic is the second book in Terry Pratchett's brilliantly funny Discworld series, continuing the tale related in the first book The Colour of Magic. The last we knew, Rincewind and Discworld's first tourist Twoflower had fallen off the rim of the world, which is an especially dangerous happenstance on a world that is totally flat and carried on the backs of four elephants who in turn stand atop the great cosmic turtle Great A'Tuin. While Rincewind is Discworld's most incompetent wizard and all-around unlucky fellow, he manages to evade the clutches of Death (although he does bump into him fairly often) time and again (27 times by Twoflower's count at the midpoint of this novel). Why this is so is, we discover, is because Rincewind carries one of the eight most powerful spells from the magical Octavo. Reality keeps having to reshape itself in order to keep rescuing the wizard. Although Rincewind, the eternally optimistic Twoflower, and the magical Luggage of sapient pearwood are once again on the disc, they face a number of obstacles in getting home to Ankh-Morpork. They are fortunate enough to join forces with Disworld's greatest hero Cohen the Barbarian; Cohen is an old man now, but he doesn't let that stop him from rescuing maidens, stealing treasures, and doing other heroic things. At this particular time, the Discworld itself is in danger, threatened with an imminent collision with a giant red star heading its way. The wizards of Unseen University believe that all eight powerful spells from the Octavo must be read in order to save the Discworld, so the missing Rincewind must be found in order to release the necessary eighth spell locked inside his brain. A series of adventures and misadventures ensue for our motley crew of characters, including a stopover at a vacated witch's house made of candy, a wild ride on a broomstick, a collision with a druid-steered cloud, and a trip to the home of Death himself before Rincewind manages to return home. Whether he can actually make use of the eighth spell and somehow manage to avert the Discworld's total destruction by the onrushing red star is, as is typical for this inept failed wizard, questionable at best.
The Light Fantastic builds upon the story of The Colour of Magic and breathes more life into the unique Discworld of Terry Pratchett's imaginative construction. More areas of the world are revealed to the reader, and we for the first time get a decent look at what goes on in the school of wizardry. Not only do we meet Cohen the Barbarian, we are also introduced to the ape librarian of Unseen University, who will become a significant character in later novels. You should certainly read the previous novel before this one because the two are closely connected in terms of plot, characterization, etc. It will also help you to recognize just how much more vibrant and real Pratchett's Discworld seems by the end of The Light Fantastic. The comedy quotient of both novels is about equal, but the storyline seems much stronger and flows much more naturally in this one. Pratchett was honing his already sharp scythe of quick wit and nascent satire in these first two Discworld novels, building a compellingly unique little world and populating it with unforgettable characters. This is high-brow comedy of the highest order, and we readers are privileged to be able to say we were there from the start with Rincewind, Twoflower, and the Luggage.
on 15 December 2007
Thankfully for him I love it! (Not all of it!) Rincewind the unsuccessful wizard, is one of the most powerful chararters you would come across in your adventures in the DiscWorld. Sadly I don't like other charators, but the sarcastic impression in which Rincewind is, it comes across very well in the atmosphere. Espeically when the whole of the Disc (or pizza many people are saying!) is riding on the back of a turtle, in which four elephants are carrying the world is heading for a big, red star in which would bring to an end of the whole of the Disc. Don't get upst about the way in which the few pages are written. If you carry on, and head towards the further pages, you'll get into it. Note of Warning: There aren't any chapters. Enjoy the book I did! So have many others! and if you missed Tino Georgiou's--The Fates--I strongly recommend reading it.
I've read most of the Discworld books many, many times over the years but I've not actually written reviews for most of them so I figured it really was about time I started yet another reread and this time actually sing their praises to the world!
If you've read The Colour of Magic you'll know it ended on quite a cliffhanger as we saw our two intrepid heroes, Rincewind and Twoflower, literally fall off the edge of the world. Luckily for them Rincewind happens to be carrying a very important spell around inside of him, and the Octavo (the magical book that the spell came from) can't let that spell disappear so it has to bend reality to rescue them. So Rincewind and Twoflower are now back on the Disc but they're in the middle of nowhere and they're going to have to try and figure out the way back to Ankh-Morpork, when Twoflower has finished sightseeing that is.
As I'm sure anyone who is familiar with the series will imagine lots of hilarious hijinks ensue as Rincewind and Twoflower, followed closely by the Luggage, meet up with the rather ancient and very toothless barbarian Cohen and proceed to accidentally rescue a virgin sacrifice. Meanwhile the lives of everyone on the Disc are in peril if the eight spells from the Octavo can't be reunited and spoken on a very specific date so every wizard from the Unseen University is taking part in a giant man hunt trying to find Rincewind before it's too late. Throw in a visit to Death's house and the Great A'Tuin's determination to fly the entire world into a giant red star and you're in for a bumpy ride.
Although most of the books in this series work as standalones I really think the first two books (The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic) should be read as a pair because the events from both books are so closely entwined. Rincewind and Twoflower have always been favourites of mine, I love the banter between them and like the way Twoflower's over enthusiastic love for everything balances out against Rincewind's fear of the unknown. The Luggage always steals the show though which is quite impressive since it's a wooden box that doesn't speak a word. It does have a lot of legs and very sharp teeth though so it can pull of menacing rather well whenever Twoflower is in danger. Although the series just gets better and better these earlier books will always be amongst my favourites just because they introduced me to this weird and wonderful world created by Terry Pratchett. I have never come across a series quite like this one and I seriously doubt I ever will.
on 8 June 2014
I think that this story gets better and better. This is book 2 in the series and once again follows Rincewind and Twoflower who are both wacky and amusing characters. This book continues where The Colour of Magic leaves off (a cliffhanger) and is highly entertaining from the outset.
The world is a wild one with all manner of creatures, craziness and romping storyline which takes us throughout a large amount of the Disc. This story certainly improves upon book 1 and I am very much looking forward to continuing on with this series asap.
I love Rincewind's cynical and pessimistic view of the world which is offset by Twoflower's optimism. It's as if the two of them were made to contradict one another and yet they work so well as a duo that you can't forget them and you follow their mis-adventures with glee. They get into all sorts of scrapes and they find themselves in a variety of highly amusing situations.
They also meet some new characters in this story, Cohen and Bethan are two quirky characters, Cohen is a grandfatherly figure who was actually a barbarian (very highly regarded) in his prime and still practices to this day. He's bitter and grumps a lot but he's also strong of heart and has great morals making him very endearing.
Bethan is a little less approachable at first but she warms up as a character when it progresses. We first meet her in a rather unusual fashion which I found very entertaining and from then on things speed along with her situation making her a very odd but equally intriguing character.
The world is just as vibrant and phenomenally imagined as ever with even more madness being introduced throughout and lots of puns and laughs along the way too. It's a fabulous place to reside and a brilliant world to fall into or onto.
I would say that the writing and plot of this story is a LOT better than book one and I would certainly recommend this. If you like magic then this story is a brilliant one although you need to read The Colour Of Magic first to understand it. A very fun read all round, 4*s!