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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Come for a spin, it is a fun ride, 23 Mar 2005
This review is from: The Light Fantastic: A Discworld Novel: 2 (Paperback)
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".
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