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The Colour of Magic: The First Discworld…
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The Colour of Magic: The First Discworld Novel (original 1983; edition 1985)

by Terry Pratchett

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14,657269136 (3.75)487
Member:TigerBeast79
Title:The Colour of Magic: The First Discworld Novel
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:Corgi (1985), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 283 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (1983)

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Showing 1-5 of 247 (next | show all)
This was my first experience with Terry Pratchett, although I’d seen enough comments about Discworld to have a general idea of what to expect. I was skeptical about reading it, because I knew it employs the type of humor that I just don’t seem to properly appreciate, but I was also curious about it. I’m talking about that unrealistic kind of humor that makes you laugh at the author’s cleverness, yet at the same time pulls you out of the story because it’s too ridiculous to take seriously. Is there a word for this type of humor? There has to be a word so that I don’t have to write an entire paragraph every time I want to explain it! Breaking the fourth wall might be one term for it, but I’m not sure that properly encompasses it. I like the type of humor that feels like a more natural extension of the characters and the story.

So, anyway, back to the book. I didn’t hate the book, but it also didn’t surprise me by being more entertaining than I had expected. It made me laugh at times, and I’d say the story held my interest to an average degree. It did have that “too ridiculous to take seriously” factor that I had expected, though. If there’s anybody out there who doesn’t already know the basic premise of the Discworld series, the following info might help explain what I mean by "ridiculous". This is what we learn about the Discworld within the first few pages of the book. The Discworld is a flat, disc-shaped world. This world is balanced on top of four elephants. The elephants are all standing on a really, really large space turtle. This space turtle is crawling through space. Slightly ridiculous, yes?

The story itself focuses primarily on the shenanigans of two particular residents of the Discworld. One is a wizard (sort of) named Rincewind and the other is an insurance agent (I guess?) named Twoflower. Twoflower is a visitor from a far-off area of the Discworld and he’s fascinated with everything he sees. He’s often cluelessly oblivious to danger, seeing everything as one big adventure. Rincewind, on the other hand, has no sense of adventure and he tries to avoid anything that seems like trouble. That avoidance would include Twoflower, but circumstances conspire to force them together. Rincewind does his best to keep both of them out of trouble, with little success.

The book is split up into four large chapters, and they read sort of like a series of short stories rather than one book. The over-all story includes magic and gods. These are the type of gods who don’t always get along with each other very well and who frequently interact with mortals. There was also a lot of repetition, and we’re reminded of certain things over and over. Sometimes repetition can be used as a form of humor, but I’m not sure whether that was the intent here. Sometimes it seemed like Pratchett thought his readers all had holes in their heads.

The whole story is written with a kind of sardonic tone, and some of the humor was pretty funny. As an example, Twoflower doesn’t speak the same language and there were some words he couldn’t translate into a language Rincewind could understand. Rincewind does his best to figure out their meaning based on the context. This means that he decides the word “tourist” must mean “idiot”. Throughout the book, Rincewind thinks of Twoflower as a “tourist” several times and that always made me chuckle a bit.

There’s was also some more risque humor, although it was fairly subtle and not too frequent. One example of it came early on in the story, when the narrator was explaining the whole space turtle thing. We’re told about a couple of the theories people have about where the turtle is going. One theory is that the turtle is crawling between the place he was born to a mating ground, where all the other space turtles in the universe were also slowly converging and would give birth to new turtles to carry new worlds. We’re told this is called the “Big Bang” theory. I was probably a couple sentences past that part of the book before the double entendre suddenly hit me and I have to admit I burst out laughing.

One thing that did surprise me was that the story ended in a classic cliff hanger. For some reason I’d thought these books were fairly self-contained, each telling a single story. Maybe that’s true later in the series, but it wasn’t true in this book. We end with the fate of one of our characters up in the air, with some general confusion about how he got where he is, and with no idea where some of the other characters are.

So I was moderately entertained by this book, probably more than I would have been if I hadn’t been well-prepared for what I was getting into. I plan to try at least a few more of the books. I know some people like different book groupings within the Discworld series better than others, so I’m curious to see how they differ. For those people who follow me closely enough to know that I usually read a series all at once, I can assure you that there is absolutely no chance that I’ll be reading all 50+ of these books all at once! Not even in the unlikely event that I do get addicted to them. That’s just too much even for me. If I do decide to stick with it, I’ll probably just read a few at a time and then move on to other things for a while. ( )
1 vote YouKneeK | May 1, 2016 |
Splendiforous. A rousing tale of magic and hilarious misadventure. Pratchett's writing is airy and very easy to read and there are plenty of jokes there for even the most discerning fantasy nerd. Overall, pretty amazing. I'll have to pick some more Discworld novels in the near future. ( )
  bemidt | Apr 20, 2016 |
Splendiforous. A rousing tale of magic and hilarious misadventure. Pratchett's writing is airy and very easy to read and there are plenty of jokes there for even the most discerning fantasy nerd. Overall, pretty amazing. I'll have to pick some more Discworld novels in the near future. ( )
  bemidt | Apr 20, 2016 |
After reading Wyrd Sisters, I decided to read the Discworld series in chronological order. This book was amazing, although it seems that Sir Pratchett hadn't quite hit his stride yet. The characters are believable, and utterly hilarious. My favorite character was The Luggage (what I wouldn't give to have my own Luggage!!), closely followed by the naive and utterly optimistic Twoflower. One of my favorite things about this book is that it ended on a literal cliffhanger. ;) ( )
  silva_44 | Mar 18, 2016 |
A friend of mine recommended this series years ago, saying what an amusing and crazy series it was worth checking out with some British humor thrown in. Recently, I finally decided to check it out and I wasn't disappointed in being entertained.
This book was entertaining, amusing, at times off the wall and very much worth reading. At times the writing did remind me of reading Douglas Adams' Galaxy series such is making no sense at times and British humor but also different with a mostly medieval world, Magic and little to do with Earth other than a brief glimpse of an alternate dimension.
This fascinating series revolves around Discworld which is on the back of a giant turtle floating through space and there's glimpses of an elephant too. Rincewind is a wizard who was kicked out of the magical school of Unseen University for managing to take one of the eight big powerful spells into his brain. Eight is a powerful number and also seen as something not to be talked about nor thought of.
As Rincewind is traveling through the town of Morpork, he chances upon a barbarian whose name is Twoflower from Bes Palargic and speaks Trob due to learning it from some beTrobi sailors at his home port. Twoflower is a tourist who one day became bored from working at his job and decided he wanted to see the world along with his mysterious wooden chest known as Luggage who really is not to be messed with.
After much reluctance and a threat thrown in from the Patrician, Rincewind finds himself trying to help give Twoflower a tour of the area. What starts out as a seemingly harmless way of entertaining Twoflower who is more than willing to pay his way, turns into the Trio fleeing for their lives.
They find themselves on many interesting adventures that involve dragons that disappear when their riders go to sleep, Death trying to get his way, Gods playing a form of chess with humans' lives, the fear behind the number eight, seeing the literal edge of the world and some heroes thrown in to the mix.
This book was a joy to read and I think Pratchett was a brilliant writer. I can see why his books continue to be so popular and I'm so glad it's such a long series of books so I can savor this hilarious and fascinating world of Discworld. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series and find out what happens to Rincewind, Twoflower and Luggage. ( )
  Eire2011 | Mar 11, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 247 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rockwell, Scottmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Callori, NataliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirby, JoshCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Macía, CristinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Planer, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Player, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robinson, TonyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In a distant and second-hand set of dimensions, in an astral plane that was never meant to fly, the curling star-mists waver and part...
Quotations
Tourist, Rincewind decided, meant "idiot".
"Let's just say that if complete and utter chaos was lightning, he'd be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting 'All gods are bastards'."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Terry Pratchett has invented a phantasmagorical universe in which a blissfully naive interplanetary tourist called Two-flower joins up with a drop-out wizard whose spells only seem to work half of the time.

Together they undertake a chaotic voyage through a crazy world filled with monsters and dragons, heroes and knaves. Pratchett has taken the sword and sorcery fantasy tradition and turned it in its ear to create an entertaining and bizarre spoof.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061020710, Mass Market Paperback)

The Colour of Magic is Terry Pratchett's maiden voyage through the bizarre land of Discworld. His entertaining and witty series has grown to more than 20 books, and this is where it all starts--with the tourist Twoflower and his hapless wizard guide, Rincewind ("All wizards get like that ... it's the quicksilver fumes. Rots their brains. Mushrooms, too."). Pratchett spoofs fantasy clichés--and everything else he can think of--while marshalling a profusion of characters through a madcap adventure. The Colour of Magic is followed by The Light Fantastic. --Blaise Selby

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:49 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A slightly disorganized and somewhat naive interplanetary tourist named Twoflower joins up with a bumbling wizard and embarks on a chaotic voyage through a world filled with monsters and dragons, heroes and knaves.

(summary from another edition)

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