Monday, June 15, 2015

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett (1983)

For as much as I love Terry Prachett - I really do consider him one the best writers of the 20th/21st century, a satirist on the level of Jonathan Swift - I haven't read all of his books.  Wikipedia says that he has "about 40 Discworld novels" - read: about, meaning those experts don't even know quite how many books he's written.  It's a bunch, of which I've read a large chunk.  All the Witches books for sure.  Many of the Watch books.  I decided when Pratchett died a few months ago, I would read all of his books in order.  The Color (aka Colour) of Magic is his first Discworld book, and it was my first time to read it.  (I think I've read book 2, The Light Fantastic, because I am vaguely familiar with Rincewind, the failed wizard.  Maybe I did read Color/Colour, but if I did, I only remember Rincewind.

Color/Colour is (surprisingly, which is why I don't think I've read it before) four short stories / novellas.  They are also more parody than the sharp satire  that comes in later Discworld novels (although there is always parody as well).  His later books are more fun, but Color/Colour is still great fun.

The Luggage is pure Pratchett.  I hope it makes more appearances.  It really comes into its own in the last story, where it's one part King Kong and two parts Godzilla, and all fun and funny.

I love that the innkeeper of the Broken Drum is named Broadman, which is obviously a nod to Tolkien's innkeeper Barleyman Butterbur.

The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind #1)The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The sparkling satire of later Discword is in its infancy here in the first book in the series;  The Color of Magic (or  Colour) is still great fun. although more parody than satire.  Four novellas really, jammed delightfully together in one book.   I would hate for someone to read this first and think that the rest of Discworld was based merely on these four books; Pratchett is just sharpening his baby kitten claws here; the true and hilarious skewering of society and culture and everything else comes soon enough.  The parody and broad humor found in this first novel are a gateway drug to something more addictive and wonderful.

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