I finished The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett the other day. It is the first book in the Discworld series and I will read many more.
For people not up to speed (I wasn’t), Discworld is a satire fantasy world created by Terry Pratchett. Mr. Pratchett died this year and he left quite the legacy in his wake, with over 45 Discworld books or spinoffs published from 1983 to 2015. The last Discworld novel will be published posthumously, this month!
I was real skeptical at first, and it took a while for it to grow on me, but I really enjoyed The Color of Magic. Pratchett has surprisingly sophisticated humor in the book and I really enjoyed the clever turns of phrase or offhand comments the characters make. Rincewind is a non-hero for our age.
Three things really struck me in this book. The first is that I loved the extreme variance of settings within the Discworld that are portrayed in the novel. You go from cities to oceans, to the Rim, to high mountains. It really felt like an epic fantasy novel, although intimate enough to be accessible. The character of Hrun the Barbarian is a nice nod to Robert E. Howard’s Conan, pointing out a lot of the absurdity of the character, which we love.
My second big takeaway was that I really enjoyed the “meta” story involving Gods fighting each other over who would claim Rincewind as their own. I revelled in the “Lady” as a character and how her full name isn’t fully revealed but is easy to figure out.
Finally, Death following Rincewind around creates a lot of sublimely macabre situations that are a joy to explore. I look forward to the Death novels, and other Discworld books. After finishing this one, I immediately went to eBay and purchased a collection of 11 of them for a very reasonable price. There are years of reading ahead.
The real beauty of the Discworld books is that they are all stand alones, but there are references to four or five basic story arcs that will provide allusions to other books. So, I may try to stick with a thread before going onto another, or I may read all of the introductory novels first and then consider my options.
Pratchett created a wonderful Universe here and I am looking forward to exploring it!
Right now I’m reading Storm Front by Jim Butcher, the first in the Dresden Files books. Its ok. Its modern supernatural detective noir.
Also on the reading list: Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and Ringworld by Larry Niven!