TERRY PRATCHETT – DISCWORLD THE COLOUR OF MAGIC (1983) / THE LIGHT FANTASTIC (1986) Victor Gollancz.
The first two books of the growing Discworld series are strictly speaking, one book in two volumes. The work introduces the disc and its eccentric inhabitants. The Disc is a world in which many of the beliefs we have held about our own planet in the past are laterally true. The Disc is a Flat earth. It is carried on the backs of giant elephants, and they in turn are carried on the back of a giant star-turtle, The Great A-Tuin. The novel begins when a cowardly apprentice wizard, Rincewind, from the Unseen University, (An Ivory towers of Oxford-Cambridge spoof centre of scholarship) gets involved in a madcap expedition to prove that the disc is round. It will literally take him over the edge of the World. On the way, Rincewind encounters other inhabitants of the Disc, notably Twoflower, a daring adventurer who drags the hapless wizard into endless adventures. Twoflower has his own unique ‘Luggage’, which is literally a walking giant chest, made of Sapient Pearwood, designed to take a nobleman’s clean clothes along, no matter where the owner goes, even if it is into the underworld. Over the course of the story, the Luggage latches onto Rincewind, following him like a puppy while fighting off his opponents with the tenacity of a Rotweiler. The other major introduction in the first books is Death, a very literal presentation of the Grim Reaper, complete with scythe, and horse, (who we will come to know as Binky). Death is able to fool any attempt to escape him when his duty beckons, but Rincewind seems to be a rare exception to the rule. We see a few minor recurring Discworld touches too in these books. Cut Me Own Throat Dibbler is an Arthur Dailey type of dodgy back street entrepreneur and black marketer figure, always amazed if people actually eat his out of date foods. We also see the demon cameras. Here, a demon lives inside a camera and paints portraits extremely quickly. Told of such a devise, Rincewind concocts a theory about light sensitive paper and prisms, When he opens the back of a camera, the demon tells him off for letting too much light in. Later books in the series will flesh out the characters and the plots will grow and mature considerably. Pratchett is one of the few series authors whose work goes from strength to strength. His genius begins to announce itself from The Colour Of Magic onwards though. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld
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