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The Colour Of Magic, by Terry Pratchett

Second paragraph of third section ("The Lure of the Wyrm"):
At its base it was a mere score of yards across. Then it rose through clinging cloud, curving gracefully outward like an upturned trumpet until it was truncated by a plateau fully a quarter of a mile across. There was a tiny forest up there, its greenery cascading over the lip. There were buildings. There was even a small river, tumbling over the edge in a waterfall so wind-whipped that it reached the ground as rain.
Many many years since I read this, and I had forgotten a lot about it. I remembered of course the Lankhmar / Lovecraft / Pern structure in a divine D&D framework, and most of the Ankh-Morpork scenes. I'd forgotten about Hrun the Barbarian, who of course adds Conanity to the middle two sections. The last section, "Close to the Edge", is largely Pratchett's own imagination and shows him already into the politics of technology, but still developing the comfort with his own creations that later books displayed.

There are various schools of thought about where to start reading the Discworld books. Back in the day, of course, we had no choice as this was the only one out there. I think that genre fans who for some reason have not previously read Pratchett will still find this a good place to start. I can see that it might have less appeal for those readers less familiar with the fantasy genre. It was good to return to it.

This was the most popular book on my shelves (as measured by LibraryThing) that I had not yet reviewed online. Next in that sequence is Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 1st, 2017 06:00 pm (UTC)
Oof. I'd definitely have to disagree about this being where a modern reader should start. I say that because I read this just a few years ago, and hated it.

(As mentioned in my review, part of my problem was a lack of context. But that's bound to be the case with any new, modern reader coming to it for the first time.)

A couple years later I tried reading the second one and found it far more enjoyable, more substantive, and less overwhelmingly in-jokey. It didn't blow me away or anything, but Pratchett's writing had significantly improved by Book 2 to the degree that I would totally be interested in checking out more some day! (Which was not the case after Book 1.)
Feb. 4th, 2017 10:02 am (UTC)
this being where a modern reader should start

Not actually what I said.
Feb. 4th, 2017 05:09 pm (UTC)
Gosh, you're ... right! (Oddly enough, it took three or four re-reads of the sentence to see what my words were actually *saying*. At which point I reacted strongly against them: "That's not what I meant at all!")

I suppose I meant to say "where a modern reader COULD (easily, viably) start". Although some still do...!
Feb. 1st, 2017 10:17 pm (UTC)
I got a few funny looks when I decided to start with this (because I like to begin things at the beginning) but I really liked it. Then again, Rincewind is still probably my favourite character.
Feb. 4th, 2017 10:03 am (UTC)
Yes, I miss the early Rincewind in the later books!
Feb. 2nd, 2017 10:31 am (UTC)
I really liked this and the other early Pratchetts and actively prefer them to the later books, which seems to make me unusual. I think various other people are better at doing Meaningful Story but no-one beats Pratchett at combining an actually pretty strongly self-consistent story and real relatable characters with huge piles of references and close parodies while keeping it actually funny.
Feb. 2nd, 2017 11:11 am (UTC)
I reread this in 2015, and my then-self disagreed. I said: "...if I had been reading it now for the first time I doubt I would have finished it, let alone picked up any of the sequels. Books have their time, and this one caught it."
Feb. 2nd, 2017 02:36 pm (UTC)
I started at the beginning and probably only got to be a fan because a friend had all the first books (there weren't that many of them back then) and had lent them to me and was asking me what I thought fairly regularly. So I kept going. And eventually the flame caught and the fire was lit. But the first two books for sure did little to entice me. I considered them merely data once I actually got into the world.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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