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    Review of THE COLOR OF MAGIC by Terry Pratchett (see his website)


    HarperTorch, 1983

    The great city of Ankh-Morpork has seen many tourists, but this one--Twoflower, from the mysterious counterweight continent, a continent reported to consist largely of gold--is different. His gullible appearance attracts an army of thieves but Twoflower is too innocent to even notice--and his walking luggage is dangerous enough to offer some protection. One of the men hoping to take advantage of Twoflower is Ankh-Morpork's worst mage. Rincewind knows only one spell. Unfortunately, he doesn't know what the spell will actually do if he uses it. When Twoflower pays Rincewind, in advance, to show him around the city, Rincewind decides to get out while he still can. Unfortunately, he's misjudged his timing. The Patrician wants Twoflower alive and decides to task Rincewind with the assignment. No one can escape the Patrician so Rincewind gets caught up in a series of inprobable adventures.

    THE COLOR OF MAGIC is the first in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series--and it shows. Pratchett hasn't quite decided whether Discworld is pure farce--with its counterparts for Robert E. Howard's Conan and Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser and his choice of a purely cowardly and incapable wizzard for protagonist with the most frightening monster being a many-legged travelling trunk--or something unique and wonderful. Over time, Pratchett has developed Discworld to be a compelling universe of its own, with complex characters, interesting situations, but keeping its tongue-in-cheek attitude. COLOR is essential reading for a full understanding of Discworld and fans of the series (like me) won't want to miss it. Still, although COLOR is the first Discworld novel, I don't recommend you read it first. Read some of the later stories, get hooked, then pick up COLOR to see where it came from and to get more of the details on how, exactly, a disc-shaped world travels on the backs of four elephants--each of whom, in turn, stands on a single huge turtle swimming toward--well, that is the question, isn't it?

    See more reviews of novels by Pratchett.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 10/03/04

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