Sunday, January 3, 2010

Review - The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic

The Light Fantastic: A Discworld NovelThe Colour of Magic Film Tie-In Omnibus (A Discworld Novel)I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I sat watching The Colour of Magic and The Hogfather around Christmas time, because Sky decided to show them both. I know for a fact that I'm not alone in having gone out to start reading Terry Pratchett after this, because a young boy bought both books of the movies. Of course, I laughed. If I recall, I'd bought and read The Colour of Magic before Christmas and was then comparring it to the movie (or rather, comparring the movie to it). I discovered then, as Episode 2 came on, that The Light Fantastic actually comprises the second half of the movie...

For that very important reason, I'm reviewing the books as one piece of literature, with my head caught somewhere between the two by the events of the movie. As masterfully written as they are, I'm rather more impressed that the script writers managed to combine the books so fluidly and use an awful lot of the actual words Pratchett himself used.

As for the books themselves... if you don't know, they follow a man named Rincewind, who's a very bad wizard, and another man named Twoflower, who's a very stupid tourist. He's actually the only tourist, ever, but he's stupid nonetheless (I suppose that's why he's so likeable). With Twoflower's inability to perceive danger, Rincewind is constantly put in increasingly levels of danger, and nearly always almost dies. But that's just some of the fun involved in the books.

Death plays a very prominent role in the books, adding a strange level of comic relief where it's not needed - Rincewind and Twoflower, and the other characters they're always running in to, provide enough humour to last after the final page has been turned (and lets not forget that the very ideas in the book are also hilarious, many of which I have laughed out loud at in my living room, with my brothers thinking I'm laughing at Top Gear a few seconds before anything funny has actually happened). Of course, Death is also there to remind us that not everyone in the Discworld is both as lucky and unlucky as Rincewind - many don't survive miraculously from near death experiences, particularly not when Rincewind's escape causes them some problems in living.

These books, this series, is a must read. Pratchett more or less sums himself up in his own book - "He's a legend in his own lifetime." If you haven't read the books, you really must. There's not an awful lot of magic, even in the first of the books, and the world is so funny that it's hardly a Fantasy book; I'd place this alone in its own genre - Fantastic Regardless of Personal Taste. Where else do you find universal truths, social commentary, humour, philosophy and brilliant writing? Probably nowhere, though maybe in another universe. Most likely everything else Pratchett has written too.

He's given me a few things, this man. I had two movies to lounge to, and two books to get absorbed in to, and now I have a story in the making inspired largely by how he tells a story, and a little by his actual stories themselves. And a small hole in my pocket where I find pouring out freely... but that's to be expected. I've got Equal Rites on order and Mort sitting in a bag recently purchased (I bought it earlier today, in fact). They've both cost me money. Good thing I know they'll be worth it when I get around to reading them!

Now, stop reading stuff on the Internet and get reading The Colour of Magic! You won't regret it.

No comments: