Discworld, #2, The Light Fantastic

The Light Fantastic
Published 1986
293 pages

My Discworld Challenge:

Over the summer, I committed to reading the Discworld series! I’m starting a new Discworld book on the 1st of each month, going in order of publication date.

Synopsis for The Light Fantastic:

In The Light Fantastic only one individual can save the world from a disastrous collision. Unfortunately, the hero happens to be the singularly inept wizard Rincewind, who was last seen falling off the edge of the world…

My rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

My reaction:

The Light Fantastic proves that you can dislike a book’s plot and still enjoy the writing.

I’m not sure I can even describe what happens in this book. The failed wizard Rincewind has further difficulties because of the powerful spell hidden in his brain, there’s a comet that threatens to collide with Discworld and destroy it, there are helpful trolls, an elderly warrior named Cohen the Barbarian, dastardly conspiracies, and of course, the tourist Twoflowers and his amazing Luggage.

It was all just kind of one random scene after another, sometimes ridiculous, sometimes funny, but none of it felt like a compelling narrative that made any sense at all. My eyes were glazed over for at least half of this book! And it drives me crazy that there are no chapters, just one long story.

At the same time, I do appreciate Terry Pratchett’s cleverness and awesome use of words, so even though this Discworld book’s plot left me unengaged and even bored at times, I loved so many passages. I’ll wrap up by sharing a few random samples:

He felt that the darkness was full of unimaginable horrors—and the trouble with unimaginable horrors was that they were only too easy to imagine . . .

They had dined on horse meat, horse cheese, horse black pudding, horse d’oeuvres and a thin beer that Rincewind didn’t want to speculate about.

Horse d’oevres! I had an uncle who would have loved that joke (and/or said it himself.)

It wasn’t that he was particularly wise. Every wizard considered himself a fairly hot property, wisewise; it went with the job.

Another voice, dry as tinder, hissed, “You would do well to remember where you are.” It should be impossible to hiss a sentence with no sibilants in it, but the voice made a very good attempt.

It was not a grin to inspire confidence. More horrible grins had probably been seen, but only on the sort of grinner that is orange with black stripes, has a long tail and hangs around in jungles looking for victims to grin at.

“… Rincewind, all the shops have been smashed open, there was a whole bunch of people across the street helping themselves to musical instruments, can you believe that?”

“Yeah,” said Rincewind, picking up a knife and testing its blade thoughtfully. “Luters, I expect.” 

I’m not giving up on Discworld! I’d heard from the start that the first few books aren’t great, so I’m hanging in there. Next month’s book looks good, and I’m dying (ha! see what I did there?) to get to #4, Mort.

Up next:

October 2020: Equal Rites

6 thoughts on “Discworld, #2, The Light Fantastic

  1. Here’s a suggestion . Because I have tried to read discworld previously. Please dont read it in publishing order. I think by that order you would understand a lot of about the world and the writting style is hard to consume too. Daniel Greene on youtube has a video guiding the best sequence. All the best!

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