I’ve been a fan of Terry Pratchett’s novels for as long as I care to remember. Just after Mort was published a colleague introduced me to The Colour of Magic in paperback and within a few days I had got up to date. I’ve been getting each new Discworld novel as it comes out, until very recently. Due to various other pressures I failed to notice the publication of Unseen Academicals at the end of 2009 and it wasn’t until last Christmas that I managed to remedy that situation.
As ever, (Sir) Terry Pratchett manages to combine familiar characters with new ones in a way that enables him to take a theme or genre or even a well-known story and give it a different and unaccustomed polish by viewing it from the Discworld perspective. His wordplay is, of course, legendary – to my mind both he and Douglas Adams are equal and otherwise unrivalled masters of the witty turn of phrase that we all wish we had thought of first
Not being much of a fan of football, I suspect some of the more subtle jokes and references passed me by. But then one of the greatest, and cleverest, beauties of Terry Pratchett’s writing is that the humour frequently works on multiple levels and can appeal simultaneously to audiences of all ages, backgrounds and experience. I was glad to meet many of the inmates of the Unseen University again, especially the Librarian. The Discworld novels effortlessly portray a wide variety of inhabitants of this remarkable and surreal world, in a way which makes even the most bizarre creatures endearing – where else would you encounter and empathise with a Troll, dwarf, vampire, zombie, assassin and dodgy fast-food retailer all at the same time?
So, you don’t need me to recommend this as I would be mad not to!