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Discworld - iameven.com

- Even Alander

I've just completed reading The Light Fantastic, and before that The Colour of Magic. They're quite good.

The Colour of Magic

It was all very well going on about pure logic and how the universe was ruled by logic and the harmony of numbers, but the plain fact of the matter was that the Disc was manifestly traversing space on the back of a giant turtle and the gods had a habit of going round to atheists' houses and smashing their windows. ― Terry Pratchett, The Colour of Magic

This is the first book in the series where you learn about the Discworld placed on top of four elefants balancing on the top of a great turtle swimming through space. I get the impression it is mentioned in every book, but I've only read three. It is also a reference I've seen a lot of places on the internet, flat-earthers being a thing these days.

The first tourist of the Discworld, Twoflower, arrives in the city of Ankh-Morpork and hires the useless wizard Rincewind to be his guide based on him being the only one who understands some of his language and paying a high fee. The tourists sentient luggage which walks by itself is a travel companion along with a hero at one point.

Twoflower was a tourist, the first ever seen on the discworld. Tourist, Rincewind had decided, meant 'idiot'. ― Terry Pratchett, The Colour of Magic

At the same time the gods of the disc are playing a game deciding their faith. Something that takes the characters from one crazy situation to the next. Like being captured in a dryad inhabited tree. Or nearly being killed by Bel-Shamharoth, a god that is the opposite to both good and evil, in its temple, but being saved by a hero.

No, what he didn't like about heroes was that they were usually suicidally gloomy when sober and homicidally insane when drunk. ― Terry Pratchett, The Colour of Magic

Being captured in an upside down mountain where the inhabitants can summon dragons by imagining them. And after a couple more episodes they end up actually falling off the disc.

In an instant he became aware that the tourist was about to try his own peculiar brand of linguistics, which meant that he would speak loudly and slowly in his own language. ― Terry Pratchett, The Colour of Magic

As there is no curvature on the disc it's mentioned that when it looks like a ship is dropping off the horizon it actually is.

The disc, being flat, has no real horizon. Any adventurous sailor who got funny ideas from staring at eggs and oranges for too long and set out for the antipodes soon learned that the reason why distant ships sometimes looked as though they were disappearing over the edge of the world was that they were disappearing over the edge of the world. ― Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

The humor often builds on common fantasy tropes or breaking common expectations. At one point it follows Rincewind's thought process about how a picture box might work with sheets covered in chemicals exposed to light, to just reveal there being a small demon inside doing paintings.

Rincewind tried to force the memory out of his mind, but it was rather enjoying itself there, terrorizing the other occupants and kicking over the furniture. ― Terry Pratchett, The Colour of Magic

With this praise it is worth mentioning that the book is a bit hard to read. In the start it mixes several events at once. Some sections are a bit slow. It's also not as funny as the other Discworld books I've read. And that is probably the reason I'd given up on it before.

The Light Fantastic

“Are you a hero, actually?”

“Um, no. Not as such. Not at all, really. Even less than that, in fact.” ― Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

This is a direct sequel to the first book and I would recommend you read this to get a proper conclusion to the story the first book starts. It is also a lot funnier than the first book. I'm sort of surprised he did get to write this after the first one came out, but it really pays of.

Rincewind had been generally reckoned by his tutors to be a natural wizard in the same way that fish are natural mountaineers. ― Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

Rincewind is useless because a spell is attached to him which scares off every other spell a wizard can learn. He also doesn't know what the spell will do if he uses it, and dares not do it. Part of the laws of spells is that they can only be used once by a wizard so they have to make it count when to use them. Another law is that you usually have to put in the same amount of work to learn a spell as it would take to physically do the work the spell does. The spell Rincewind knows jumped from a book into his mind because the spell knows it will need Rincewind to save the world at some point later.

Twoflower didn't just look at the world through rose-tinted spectacles, Rincewind knew--he looked at it through a rose-tinted brain, too, and heard it through rose-tinted ears. ― Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

The gods role in the first book was a bit unclear to me and they play no part in this one.

In fact the Gods were as puzzled by all this as the wizards were, but they were powerless to do anything and in any case were engaged in an eons-old battle with the Ice Giants, who had refused to return the lawnmower. ― Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

Where the first book is mostly about happening to be in crazy situations this story is more about the character having a set goal which they need to reach. At the same time there are various groups trying to stop the main character. Wizards who wants the glory for themselves would like to steal the spell from Rincewind. There is also a group set on destorying all magic in the world because they believe that will save them.

The sun rose slowly, as if it wasn't sure it was worth all the effort. ― Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

The Luggage said nothing, but louder this time. ― Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

Small Gods

While we're on the topic of the Discworld I wanted to mention this one as well. This is the tirteenth book in the series and the first one I read. Someone I know who read them all recommended I start with this, and I agree that it is just a really good book by itself. The story is entertaining, the book is easy to read, and it is funny. Like really funny:

‘Does a falling tree in the forest make a sound when there is no one to hear?’ Which says something about the nature of philosophers, because there is always someone in a forest. It may only be a badger, wondering what that cracking noise was, or a squirrel a bit puzzled by all the scenery going upwards, but someone. ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

History has to be observed. Otherwise it’s not history. It’s just … well, things happening one after another. ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

Time is a drug. Too much of it kills you. ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

It was the way he looked at you when you were talking, as if he was listening. ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

The trouble with being a god is that you’ve got no one to pray to. ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

He also had the habit of moving his lips while he thought deeply, as if he was rehearsing every sentence. And this was because that was what he was doing. ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

It is a popular fact that nine-tenths of the brain is not used and, like most popular facts, it is wrong. ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

Gods don’t like people not doing much work. People who aren’t busy all the time might start to think. ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

If you spend your whole time thinking about the universe, you tend to forget the less important bits of it. Like your pants. ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

People think that professional soldiers think a lot about fighting, but serious professional soldiers think a lot more about food and a warm place to sleep, because these are two things that are generally hard to get, whereas fighting tends to turn up all the time. ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

‘How do I find a philosopher?’ he said. ‘Around here? Throw a brick, I should think.’ ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

‘What do philosophers look like?’ said Brutha. ‘When they’re not having a bath, I mean.’ ‘They do a lot of thinking,’ said Om. ‘Look for someone with a strained expression.’ ‘That might just mean constipation.’ ‘Well, so long as they’re philosophical about it …’ ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

The trouble was that he was talking in philosophy, but they were listening in gibberish. ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

‘Yessir. Prodded him a bit, but he dint want to move, sir. And he’s carrying a dead body, sir.’ ‘On a battlefield? It’s not bring-your-own, you know.’ ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

The disc has several gods and their power and size is determined by how many believers they have. It touches on topics like people belonging to a group just to belong and not really doing what it takes. And about how just one dedicated soul (a stupid one in this book) can be enough to change the faith of one small god (who used to be a major one).

Clearing out a shelf

As I've mentioned I've tried reading these books before, buying the first and second book at once. Failing that I placed them in my book shelf. I've moved at one point and kept both books in the hope that some day… Then I bought Small Gods later and read that at once.

This fall I ended up reading a book by Marie Kondo and her KonMari medthod. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is the most inspiring book I've ever read. I took it to heart and have cleaned up all my clothes and books at this point. The rest is a work in progress.

I found The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic and since I enjoyed Small Gods so much I decided to read these at once. I now have 7 books left on my physical books to read list that I really want to read and plan to get rid of those books somehow after reading them (Håvard told me he would like to look through them).

Not sure if I'll get around to reading any more books from the Discworld series (there are 41). At least not just yet. And if I do I might look for the best ones to read.

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