Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

(Book Review)

Yet another book in the Discworld series. I’ve decided that if I’m going to keep reading these Discworld books (and I think I am) then I might as well start from the beginning and read the remaining books in order. This is the first book in the series.

At this point I think it’s safe to say I’m completely on board with Terry Pratchett. I’ve drunk the kool-aid, and you’re unlikely to catch me saying anything negative about him in my reviews. It is however evident in this book that he hasn’t completely hit his stride yet. You can see the potential, but he hasn’t fleshed out all the characters and concepts as fully as in the later books.

As Terry Pratchett writes in the introduction to the reprinting, “Discworld is not a coherent fantasy world. Its geography is fuzzy, its chronology unreliable.” Some of the characters portrayed in this book, Death in particular, do not seem consistent with their later portrayals in subsequent books. I’m not sure if this will be explained away later, or if this is just an example of the wobbly first steps of a series that hasn’t quite gotten its rhythm yet. But there are plenty of good laughs in these pages, and all the silliness Pratchett is famous for. Enchanted Swords that won’t shut up, imaginary dragons, dead wizards who won’t go away, and the edge of the world.

Useless Wikipedia FactIn the song "Ob-la-Di, Ob-La-Da" The second time that the story is retold, the names are switched around in certain places, which many see as a casual challenge to traditional household gender roles, and possibly a reference to transvestism, a theme also seen in McCartney's later hit "Get Back". However, McCartney himself has dismissed the switch as a slip of the tongue; he decided to keep it in simply because he liked it.

Link of the Day
Congragulations to Maria, whose Blog Post on Voting here was picked up by the Wall Street Journal Here. She joins Phil as the second person I know who's blogging has gotten picked up by a major publication. Or have I missed someone?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Egad - you're intent on reading all the Discworld books?! And keeping track of the inconsistencies?!? I don't know what to say ... I'm speechless!!

ジョエル said...

I think of it as a long term project. Like over the next 5 years. As for the inconsistencies, I'll just take them as they come.

Anonymous said...

I also find the quality of the discworld books increases as the series progresses, with the occasional outlier. Color of Magic was my 9th or 10th discworld book, and I remember being disapointed. I don't think you've read any of the pratchett witches books yet, they also improves with time.

You should try reading one of Pratchett's favorite authors, P.G. Wodehouse. Try Code of The Woosters. If you can contain your anti-bourgoise sentiment, you'll be unable to avoid loving it.

Uncited internet factoid: Wodehouse used the word death 8 times in 98 novels.