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Aug 26 2017

The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind #2) by Terry Pratchett

I was too busy to do a proper review of the first in the series once I’d finished reading, so this covers both, sorry not sorry.

With the help of my local libraries, I’ve decided to read all the Discworld books that I haven’t yet attempted in order. I actually picked up The Color Of Magic ages ago but found the beginning, for whatever reason, too frivolous for my mood at the time (so wound up reading Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange instead, which was definitely not the better choice.) But the passing of years before I came back to these books was probably for the best, as at this point in my life, I’m rather sick of authors who take themselves too seriously, and can better appreciate Terry Pratchett’s skill and humor. I was actually prepared for TCoM to be terrible, and was ready to forgive it in sight of how excellent Small Gods and Nation and many others after have been: after all, I’ve already read the exceedingly awful Interesting Times and still feel the worth of his books overall outweigh the perishing rare duds. So I was extremely happy to find that not only was TCoM not awful but that it did lay a decent groundwork for what was to happen next here in The Light Fantastic.

I really enjoyed this book, as well, and probably more than TCoM. It builds keenly off of the foundation of the first book, taking all those loose fantastic elements and making for a sharp-witted, bitingly observed novel of wit and mostly good humor. I did very much like Mr Pratchett’s criticism of order for its own sake, and how that desire for order when combined with fear can make monsters out of everyday people. And, of course, it was pretty amazing to see how outstandingly feminist this book is. Is it weird for me to feel that way about a book written in 1986, as if that year was somehow all that distant in time? Perhaps it feels revolutionary because he was a male mainstream fantasy writer, and some thirty years on, the battle over whether women have and should have autonomy and representation in that particular field still rages. It’s nice to be reminded that we have support in his legacy now, and perhaps allies in fellow fans, especially whilst living under this miserable American administration.

And now I’m sad not only because of politics but because Terry Pratchett was a great man who wrote great books, and his passing was a loss for all thoughtful readers. RIP, Sir Terry.

About the author

Doreen Sheridan

Professional book critic, amateur housewife, full-time polymath. I like a good story.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/08/26/the-light-fantastic-discworld-2-rincewind-2-by-terry-pratchett/

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