Interesting Times was on the library shelf when I took Thief of Time back. I wasn’t going to read any more this quickly but… and it was due back on Wednesday this week, so I had to finish it, since I had another to pick up for a GMGR bookclub read. Does this sound like I’m making excuses? Well, the Wee Free Men was on offer at Amazon for a pittance that at the start of the month, but I’m not reading it this year. Probably.
Interesting Times (Discworld #17)
by Terry Pratchett
MIGHTY BATTLES! REVOLUTION! DEATH! WAR! (AND HIS SONS TERROR AND PANIC, AND DAUGHTER CLANCY)
The oldest and most inscrutable empire on the Discworld is in turmoil, brought about by the revolutionary treatise WHAT I DID ON MY HOLIDAYS. Workers are uniting, with nothing to lose but their water bufffaloes. War (and Clancy) are spreading throughout the ancienct cities.
And all that stands in the way of terrible doom for everyone is:
Rincewind the Wizard, who can’t even spell the word ‘wizard’…
Cohen the barbarian hero, five foot tall in his surgical sandals, who has had a lifetime’s experience of not dying…
…and a very SPECIAL butterfly. [goodreads]
My niece warned me that some Discworld novels aren’t as good as others. This started out promisingly, got a little tedious, then ramped up to a huge finish. You can tell this from my percentage read on consecutive days: 20, 33, 60, finish. 60 to the end took two hours in bed on Monday night. It was nearly Tuesday morning, but…
The slow bits were caused mainly by the wizards. The wizards of Ankh-Morpork are a funny peculiar lot, and Rincewind is a useless wizard with extraordinary luck. So lucky is he, he gets his own sub-series. We find him on a desert island, then he quickly gets brought back to wizard hall and consigned forthwith to the ends of Discworld as we know it.
Then we meet the Heroes. Ancient Heroes. So ancient one of them is in a bath chair, and most people think they are legendary and/or dead. Nothing is farther from the truth, and all they need are impossible odds and a cause worth getting out of bed for, to prove it. Frankly, I found them hysterical. I would go to the ends of Discworld with these guys. Death also shows up from time to time, but not in the way he did in Thief of Time. There is a baddie as bad as they come, lots of amazing things in the Forbidden City of Huanghuang, and a battle of the five armies (700,000 trained and armed men) against our Heroes. Actually the Heroes v Ninjas was absolutely amazingly wonderful.
So if you like Discworld, you’ll like Interesting Times. I’d start elsewhere if you haven’t read any. But it’s full of laughs and good humour and ridiculous inevitability as well as reductio ad absurdem. I particularly like the lesson in how to persuade people, which is obviously correct, and a motto of our politicians. Interesting Times was written in 1994, so maybe they learnt from Sir Terry.
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