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Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

Sourcery (original 1988; edition 2001)

by Terry Pratchett

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7,86391425 (3.69)143
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:HarperTorch (2001), Edition: Reissue, Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, Fantasy, Discworld

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Sourcery by Terry Pratchett (1988)



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Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
In publication order, this is the 5th book in the Discworld series and the 3rd book in the Rincewind subseries.

The general premise is that sourcery comes to the Discworld for the first time in many, many years. Sourcery is more powerful magic than the kind your typical wizard or witch can do, and in the past it led to wars that made sections of the disc uninhabitable. Rincewind flees the university to avoid the trouble and naturally ends up in even more trouble.

I had fun seeing Rincewind again. I expect, once more time has passed, Rincewind will be the character from Discworld that I look back on the most nostalgically, even if there are other characters I enjoy more. He was my first introduction to the series, and he has such a memorable personality. The luggage is always fun too; I liked that it was given a little more personality in this book and we even got to read from its perspective for a little while.

As with the earlier two Rincewind books, the story kind of zig-zags all over the place. Even though I could guess where it would end up, there was really no predicting where it would go throughout the middle. The book is funny of course, with the higher level of ridiculousness found in the earlier Rincewind books. One benefit of such a zany story is that continuity errors just kind of blend in with the madness. I tried to be vague in describing the continuity error, but decided to put it in spoiler tags anyway to be safe: When Rincewind went back to the university, he seemed to immediately know who the salamander was even though those events had happened while he was away and he hadn’t yet had any apparent opportunity to learn what had happened. But I guess, if you can converse with a monkey without confusion, surely you can handle such minor tasks as recognizing the original identity of a newly-converted salamander without being introduced. I guess the dog might have been a hint for him if he'd met the "salamander's" dog in the past.

The ending was a bit open-ended, but I wasn’t too bothered by it because there were plenty of hints. I look forward to hopefully getting more definite answers in the next Rincewind book, though. One thing that bothered me more was that Rincewind said something that contradicted events from Equal Rites, without any mention of Esk or anything that had happened in that book..

I’m moving on to Wyrd Sisters next, the second book in the Witches subseries. After that, I’ll probably take another Discworld break. ( )
  YouKneeK | May 17, 2016 |
Summary: The eighth son of an eighth son becomes a wizard, able to use magic. But the eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son becomes a wizard squared, a sourcerer, a source of magic. After the early sourcerers nearly destroyed the whole of reality, wizards were forbidden to have families to prevent any more sourcerers entering the world. But one renegade wizard left the university, and had eight sons, and the youngest, Coin, has come to claim his place as archchancellor of the Unseen University. But Coin's arrival (along with the spirit of his father in his enchanted staff) threatens to shake things up, and while the wizards enjoy the initial increase in their powers and abilities, once the status quo gets really threatened, they start to have second thoughts. So it's up to Rincewind, the Luggage, the Librarian (who happens to be an orangutan) and their unlikely cast of allies to stop Coin from destroying everything. But how can they, when he's the source of any magic they might try to use against him?

Review: This installment is the third of the Rincewind books, after The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic. And it's definitely less loose and more self-contained and less sprawling than either of the previous two. It doesn't share the same episodic travelogue feel of those two; instead, all the action centers around the Unseen University (although we aren't with Rincewind the whole time; there are other characters who get points of view.) This is good in some ways - there's a very clear story thread and way less narrative wandering - but making the story more centralized also makes it feel smaller. And small is not really what you want in a novel when the fate of the fabric of reality is at stake. I also didn't feel like it had quite as many funny bits as the previous novels, either. That's not to say it wasn't funny - there were some great bits and one-liners, to be sure (although I don't think any of Pratchett's early books can stack up to his later ones) - but Twoflower added a comic element that was missing from this one, although the Luggage remains, and is frequently the best character around. Overall, I enjoyed this fine while I was reading it, although it didn't bowl me over with its awesomeness, and although lightness was what I was after when I picked it up, it was light enough that it's mostly evaporated from my memory a few months later. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: While this would work okay as a standalone, it's much better knowing who Rincewind is. And while I don't think the Rincewind books are Pratchett's best, they're good fun when you're in the mood for his combination of dry humor and utter silliness. ( )
  fyrefly98 | Feb 26, 2016 |
This is fifth in the Discworld series, but not one of my favourites. There are lots of viewpoints, lots of people. Rincewind the incompetent wizard finds himself in the midst of another adventure, with a barbarian girl who wants to be a hairdresser, and a young geeky guy who wants to be a barbarian. We meet a genie with an answering machine. And the librarian, who is an ape, seems to be the only person around with any idea of what’s going on when the eighth son of a wizard turns up and starts to do some real magic, rather to the dismay of the mostly bumbling wizards of Ankh-Morpork.

It’s classic Pratchett, and I’m glad I re-read it, of only to appreciate the cleverness of his convoluted plots, and his original similes and metaphors that appear when least expected. But it didn’t really do anything for me; the classical and other allusions were minimal, the satire on humanity almost nill. The end of the story was a bit of a let-down, too. Worth reading as part of the series - Pratchett never wrote a BAD book - but not, in my view, one of the best Discworld books. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
In Discworld the only thing for an eighth son of an eighth son to do is to become a wizard. So it follows that an eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son would be a sourcerer, or a source of magic. The problem is that a sourcerer's magic is too powerful for the universe, so when one shows up at Unseen University, the whole Disc is threatened. It's up to everyone's favorite inept wizard, Rincewind, to save the world.

I did enjoy this book, but it's not one of Pratchett's best (his later books tend to be better than his earlier ones). It just seems like sometimes Pratchett doesn't explain how things in his universe (or multiverse, I should say) work well enough for me to fully grasp why something is happening. His hilarious characters make up for any shortcomings in the plot, however. I especially especially like The Luggage, so that was a definite plus for this book. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
In this Discworld novel, a sorcerer has been born on the Disc. Can Rincewind stop him from bringing about the end of the world? This was a typical Disworld novel with returning characters, such as Rincewind, the Luggage, and the Librarian, and some new ones too. I think I liked Rincewind a little more in this one than in previous novels he has been the focus of, but I still found myself skimming a lot of passages to get to the end of the book. ( )
  Cora-R | Jan 13, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kidd, TomCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirby, JoshCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Planer, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, DarrellCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Many years ago I saw, in Bath, a very large American lady towing a huge tartan suitcase very fast on little rattly wheels which caught in the pavement cracks and generally gave it a life of its own. At that moment the Luggage was born. Many thanks to that lady and everyone else in places like Power Cable, Neb., who don't get nearly enough encouragement.
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There was a man and he had eight sons.
The subject of wizards and sex is a complicated one, but as has already been indicated it does, in essence, boil down to this: when it comes to wine, women and song, wizards are allowed to get drunk and croon as much as they like.
Two thousand years of peaceful magic had gone down with the drain, the towers were going up again, and with all this new raw magic floating around something was going to get very seriously hurt. Probably the universe.
Strangely enough, he wasn't particularly angry. Anger is an emotion, and for emotion you need glands, and Death didn't have much truck with glands and needed a good run at it to get angry. But he was mildly annoyed. He sighed again. People were always trying this sort of thing. On the other hand, it was quite interesting to watch, and at least this was a bit more original than the usual symbolic chess game, which Death always dreaded because he could never remember how the knight was supposed to move.
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There was an eighth son of an eighth son. He was, quite naturally a wizard. And there it should have ended. However (for reasons we had better not go into), he had seven sons. And then he had an eighth son...a wizard squared...a source of magic...a Sourcerer.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061020672, Mass Market Paperback)

When last seen, the singularly inept wizard Rincewind had fallen off the edge of the world. Now magically, he's turned up again, and this time he's brought the Luggage.

But that's not all....

Once upon a time, there was an eighth son of an eighth son who was, of course, a wizard. As if that wasn't complicated enough, said wizard then had seven sons. And then he had an eighth son -- a wizard squared (that's all the math, really). Who of course, was a source of magic -- a sorcerer.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:59 -0400)

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Rincewind, the world's most inept wizard, magically returns after falling off the edge of the world, this time carrying the Luggage, in a humorous fantasy of magic and mayhem.

(summary from another edition)

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