Officially, Unseen Academicals is the 8th and final novel in the Rincewind subseries of the Discworld novels. Unfortunately, Rincewind isn’t in particularly much of it. A few pages? He’s a professor now… and that’s about it.
The Last Hero is a quick read, much shorter than some of the other Discworld books. It does manage to say relatively self contained though, which is nice.
Basically Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde have conquered the world. Next up? The gods. Unfortunately that will apparently have negative consequences, so Rincewind and friends have to stop them. Once again Rincewind goes over the edge, this time in a rocket DRAGON powered spaceship. That’s certainly a thing.
The Last Continent is something of a disappointment after Interesting Times. That’s not to say that it’s strictly speaking ‘bad’, just that it’s not quite as good as many of the other Rincewind novels.
Basically, this time around, Rincewind’s adventures have dropped him off on XXXX, the ‘Last Continent’ of the Discworld. Basically, it’s bizarroworld Australia with something of a funny relationship with the whole time-space thing.
Interesting Times is a fantastic Discworld novel, an excellent example of everything people expect when they talk about Terry Pratchett and the Discworld novels.
In a nutshell, Twoflower has taken everything he learned in The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic and written a book about it. One thing leads to another and suddenly Rincewind is being summoned across the world to lead a revolution. The ending is a bit convenient, but it’s really it’s all about the journey, isn’t it?
Eric is an amusing enough story and an interesting continuation of Rincewind’s story, after the events back in Sourcery. Not entirely long story slightly shorter, Rincewind gets accidently summoned by a budding 14 year old summoner. Unfortunately for all involved, this seems to actually grant him some demonic powers… and hijinks ensue.
The basic plot leaves something to be desired. Basically Eric makes three wishes and things go badly about as one might expect. It’s even more random feeling than many of the previous Rincewind novels, which is saying something. Characterwise, Eric just isn’t particularly interesting, so we’re just left with Rincewind. As amusing as he is, he’s not quite enough to carry an entire novel all by himself. Previously, we had Twoflower or Cohen… Not so much this time.
Sourcery is the first of the Rincewind subseries of Discworld not to also feature Twoflower. It makes sense–his story seems to have been told–but it still does feel a bit different.
Instead, we deal with the 8th son of a wizard (already the 8th son of an 8th son themselves)–a Sourcerer. Basically, one who can intuitively do magic on a scale wizards literally cannot dream of. They’re the entire reason that wizards are banned from having sex (see the 8th son bit above). And now there’s a new one in the world–a ten year old boy.
I still feel like The Light Fantastic and The Color of Magic could really be combined into a single larger novel, given that the second takes off running pretty much where there first went off… and promptly dumps Rincewind and Twoflower back onto the disc somehow.
It’s an odd little story, jumping from section to section with a whole cast of new bizarre and amusing character (including the spell in Rincewind’s head and a small pile of trees) and locations.
Once upon a time, I tried to read the Discworld books, starting (against several people’s advise) with the first and working through all of them. I made it a few books in and put them down, saying that some day I would give them another chance. Well, this is that chance.
This time around, I’m listening to them all on audiobook. This actually seems to help quite a lot, since it allows me to keep listening while at the same time doing something with my hands and, unless I stop it myself, will keep going without me. It turns out that, given those circumstances, I quite enjoyed the Color of Magic this time around.