Fire roared through the bifurcated city of Ankh-Morpork.
–Terry Pratchett - The Colour of Magic - c.1983
Many years ago I used to babysit most weekends for a woman who had an extensive Terry Pratchett collection. At first I was not impressed, the cover images just looked messy and all over the place to me. And comic books weren’t really my thing. But eventually I was at the house with nothing to read and nothing on the telly and I started to read one. I’ve been a Terry Pratchett fan since then.
But it has been a long time since I’ve read a lot of the books, and there are some I’ve never read, so I’ve decided that this year I’m going to read the entire series, in publication order, one book a month. My Oook Reading.
So of course I started with The Colour of Magic. This was never one of my favourite Discworld books, the early books just aren’t as good in my opinion. Pratchett, I’m guessing, had no idea back in the 1980s that he’d be writing these books for decades, and a lot of the ideas get a lot more developed and nuanced as he wrote more and more.
And on my reread I’d have to say that my opinion of this book hasn’t really changed. It is amusing, and I enjoyed my read, but it isn’t a patch on the later books.
The story revolves around Rincewind, a wizard “of sorts” who is forced to take a tourist under his wing. Hijinks ensue across the Discworld, which is a disc shaped world that sits on the back of four elephants who stand upon the back of a giant turtle as it makes it way through the universe.
There are plenty of one-liners and puns throughout this book, so if you enjoy that sort of thing then do pick this up. Personally while I can appreciate them the social commentary of the later books is much better. I also wonder if it has dated a little, do the younger people1 still read Pern books? Would they get those references? Don’t forget about the Annotated Pratchett if you think you’re missing out on some of the references.
Still I’m glad I read it, and I’d have to recommend it, with the proviso that the later books are better so if you don’t quite get it you shouldn’t’ give up on the Discworld all together. Try a Watch book, Vimes is one of my favourite characters.
I’m old now so what would I know about the cool and the hip ↩