Adventures in Reading

Fiction: The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett, 1986

“The sun rose slowly, as if it wasn’t sure it was worth all the effort.”

Terry Pratchett’s The Light Fantastic continues from the cliffhanging finish of The Colour of Magic. Our heroes, the wizard Rincewind and the tourist Twoflower, begin the story dangling off the edge of the world; thanks to one of the eight great spells (left behind by the creator) lodged in Rincewind’s head, the two travelers find themselves on a haphazard journey to save the Discworld.

The Light Fantastic is a great and early example of Pratchett’s literal engagement with the Discworld; for example, Great A’Tuin the world turtle acts like a regular, old turtle. Thus the strength of the main plot doesn’t have to rely on too far fetched ideas, something that seems to crop up particularly in fantasy, but rather depends on a turtle doing turtle-like things. This early book in the series does have a couple of developmental issues ranging from scene switches to some thematic humor issues, but these don’t take away from the story.

A lot of the fun in rereading The Light Fantastic is in discovering the loose assortment of foreshadowing. Pratchett seems to reference at least three future books. If not the best of the Discworld series, The Light Fantastic is a satisfying read with the usual Pratchet philosophical wanderings.

Conclusion: Keeper.



My oldest son was seriously into his books…loved them.

Comment by J. Kaye

This is the only “real” Discworld novel I’ve read (the other Pratchett books I’ve read are set, I think, on Discworld, but are pretty stand-alone), and I wasn’t terribly impressed. From what I understand, it wasn’t the best place to start, though, right?

Comment by fyreflybooks

Oh yay! I tend to prefer “realistic” fantasy as well and really enjoyed those aspects in the first Discworld book. I picked this one up after reading that one and haven’t gotten to it yet, but your review reminds me that I need to get to it soon! Nymeth has kind of given me some direction on where to go after I’ve finished LF–what do you suggest?

Comment by Trish

Yay for Rincewind!

Comment by Lightheaded

J. Kaye: I wonder if I’ll ever grow out of them, but considering my 50+ year-old father loves them as well I don’t see that happening!

fyreflybooks: When it comes to the first two books of the Discworld series (at least chronologically the first two), the only reason to read them is because you’re a fantasy/sci-fi nut and particularly of those published during the 60s and 70s OR because you’ve already fallen in love with the series and have returned to them. It’s not that the books are bad, but I’d argue they have limited interest other than the two I stated above. I started with Small Gods, which was a completely random selection, but is a nice introduction and gets into the philosophical side of Pratchett.

Trish: I adore the “witches series” within the Discworld. It starts with Equal Rites, and while not the best in the series, it does offer some interesting background for the characters.

Lightheaded: And the luggage!

Comment by bookchronicle

Thanks for the tip! I’ve heard good things about the witches books as well.

Comment by Trish

“A lot of the fun in rereading The Light Fantastic is in discovering the loose assortment of foreshadowing. Pratchett seems to reference at least three future books.”

You’re making me want to read it again just to pay attention to this!

Comment by Nymeth

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