Tuesday, December 25, 2007
54. The Colour of Magic - Terry Pratchett

The Colour of Magic is Terry Pratchett's first book in his Disc World series and follows the adventures of Rincewind the almost-Wizard.

He was, he would be the first to admit, a coward, an incompetent, and not even very good at being a failure...

Kicked out of magic university before completing his degree, Rincewind knows only one spell, but it's one of the Eight Great Spells, and that's only because it leapt from the pages of a forbidden book and implanted itself in his brain. And yet, no one knows which spell it is, nor what it does. His one true skill? He's a wizard when it comes to languages. So, when a strange tourist with bags upon bags of gold arrives in the bifurcated city of Ankh-Mopork but doesn't speak the local language, who better to show him the sites? Unfortunately, Rincewind has bit off more than he can chew when the oblivious and extremely naive tourist leads the wizard on a series of unlikely adventures across the Disc World followed closely by Death himself and a strange chest with dozens of little legs and even more razor sharp teeth.

First published in 1983, the Disc World series now spans over 30 books and has a number of "mini-series" throughout including more adventures of the incompetent wizard Rincewind, the City Watch, and the Witches. You don't have to be a fan of fantasy novels to enjoy Pratchett's books. Even if you can't stand fantasy novels, these are hilarious and you'll soon forget your feelings about the genre. I had read Robert Aspirin's "Myth" series when I was a teenager and Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series in my 20s but haven't read much else since. Sadly I could have been enjoying this series for years rather than just being introduced to it this year.

The books are punctuated with jabs at our own world and popular culture which make them even more hilarious. I'd highly recommend giving them a try - they're a quick read (most, I believe are around 250 - 300 pages). And they don't necessarily have to be read in order although I'd recommend it.


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