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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The devil may hath power
to assume a pleasing shape according to Hamlet but only on Discworld could the devil or any demon assume the shape of Rincewind. But that is exactly what Terry Pratchett calls up in "Eric", Pratchett's Discworld homage to Faust.

Eric, the protagonist, is a teenaged `demonologist' from Pseuodopolis. Eric is also a spoiled brat according to Eric's parrot. Eric...
Published on September 9, 2005 by Leonard Fleisig

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Be careful what you wish for
The Discworld novels starring the inept wizard, Rincewind were never my favorites, and I think "Eric" is probably the least interesting of the lot. In fact, this fantasy is the closest Pratchett ever gets to a 'standard' plot: boy (Eric) summons a demon (Rincewind, who was sent to the netherhells in "Sourcery") and demands the standard three wishes.

Eric is a...
Published on January 28, 2006 by E. A. Lovitt


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The devil may hath power, September 9, 2005
By 
Leonard Fleisig "Len" (Virginia Beach, Virginia) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Eric (Mass Market Paperback)
to assume a pleasing shape according to Hamlet but only on Discworld could the devil or any demon assume the shape of Rincewind. But that is exactly what Terry Pratchett calls up in "Eric", Pratchett's Discworld homage to Faust.

Eric, the protagonist, is a teenaged `demonologist' from Pseuodopolis. Eric is also a spoiled brat according to Eric's parrot. Eric was trying to summon a demon in order to have the demon grant Eric's wish for power, women, and eternal life. Instead, through a series of Discworldian circumstances Eric calls up Rincewind, last seen locked in the Dungeon Dimensions (Sourcery).

What follows is a Discworld version of a Hope and Crosby Road movie that parallels Faust. Eric and Rincewind travel to the ends of time (actually the beginning of time among other places) and Rincewind faces adversity and the threat of death in his own inimitable fashion (feet don't fail me now).

There are some great set pieces in Eric. DEATH makes two brief, but very funny appearances. First, when the Wizards determine something strange is going on they summon DEATH and demand answer. Of course, they realize quickly that perhaps they should speak to him in the same manner that people in Ankh Morpork speak to the Patrician. Later in the book, DEATH patiently awaits the moment for life to begin is priceless Pratchett fashion. Having the universe start with a paper clip and not a big bang was a very appealing concept.

Similarly hilarious is Rincewind's trip to the new and improved version of hell. Physical torture has been replaced by endless viewings of someone else's holiday slides, elevator music, and the recitation of thousands of pages of regulations only a hellish bureaucrat could construct. Interestingly, Rincewind's conversation with a creator of universes who takes special pride in the creation of trees had a nice resemblance to Slartibartfast from Douglas Adams Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who award for creating the jigsaw like coastline of the fjords of Norway.

Despite these typically brilliant bits Eric lacked some of the cohesion found in most of the other Discworld books I have read. Apparently, Eric was originally published as a graphic novel and the illustrations went a long way towards fleshing out the story line. In a sense this version seems to be akin to reading a comic (a very good comic book) without the comic art. There does seem to be something a bit lacking.

However, even if Eric is not Pratchett's finest Discworld book it is still very much worth reading. There is an old cliché that a bad day of fishing is better than the best day of work. In this instance I think it fair to say that a good but the best Discworld book is better than the best that many other authors can put out. I recommend this book to any Discworld fan. I would not recommend this to anyone new to Discworld. Eric works best once one has got to know a bit about Discworld generally and Rincewind specifically.

Eric, despite any flaws, is still very much worth reading.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Discworld anomaly, December 31, 2002
This review is from: Eric (Mass Market Paperback)
When last we left the inept wizard Rincewind (way back in Sourcery, the fifth Discworld novel) he was trapped in the Dungeon Dimensions. He returns quite unexpectedly to the real world at the behest of the unique planet's only demon hacker Eric, who also happens to be a twelve-year-old kid. Having conjured a demon to grant him whatever he desired, Eric is rather disappointed to find that the "demon" Rincewind cannot really do anything at all except give lessons in how to run away from danger. All Eric wants is to rule the world, meet the most beautiful woman to have ever lived, and to live forever. Rincewind insists that he can't just snap his fingers and grant wishes, but said finger snapping miraculously takes him, Eric, and (always lagging behind) the Luggage to the land of the Tezumens where Eric is hailed as a god (pity the Tezumens hate their god so much). Later they wind up in ancient Tsort during the climax of the great war with the Ephebians; here Eric meets the world's most beautiful woman and is not impressed, while Rincewind finds an ancient ancestor pursuing the art of war without having to fight or creating a fuss. Next stop is the very creation of the Discworld itself, complete with creator-if you want to live forever, after all, you have to start at the beginning. The journey is far from complete, though, until Rincewind and Eric make their way to Hades, a land suffering (or not suffering, to be precise) under the micro-management of the new King Astfgl. Finally, we find out what has really been going on all along, and Rincewind and Eric try to find a way to get back home.
Eric is a play on the Faust concept; you can tell because the word Faust is crossed out and replaced with Eric right there on the cover of the book. Conjure a demon, demand your heart's desire, that sort of thing. It is really an unusual Discworld novel. It is short for one thing, less than half the length of most in the series, the kid Eric is about the only child one ever finds anywhere in the Discworld and is annoying enough for all the ones we don't see, and, despite his constant troubles, we really don't see very much of Rincewind's back gradually fading away from us as he runs from danger. The book isn't that bad, really-the story is pretty good once you grasp all of it, there's an entertainingly irritable parrot that makes up for his small vocabulary by referring to things as wossname all the time, and we get a very revealing look at the Discworld's realm of eternal punishment. Still, Eric is just not fulfilling and never strikes a strong chord with the reader. I view it as quite the Discworld anomaly. Just because it isn't as good as Pratchett's other novels does not mean it is not funny, witty, and enjoyable, though.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun enough, July 2, 2002
This review is from: Eric (Mass Market Paperback)
Possibly the shortest and most plotless Discworld novel, "Eric" nevertheless has some enjoyable commentary and spoofing, two of the things that Terry Pratchett does well and delightfully. Hardly his best, but not his worst.
In the aftermath of "Sourcery," Rincewind is lost in the Dungeon Dimension. But in a million-to-one-chance, he is drawn back into the real world by a fourteen-year-old demonolist awash in hormones and delusions of grandeur. Eric is convinced that Rincewind is a demon, and is demanding three things: that Rincewind make him live forever, give him control of the entire Disc, and give him the most beautiful woman in the world. Rincewind, unsurprisingly, can't do these things.
An unwary snap of the fingers sends Eric, Rincewind, the Luggage, and a very sarcastic parrot to the land of the Tezumens, who serve the bloodthirsty demon-god Quetzovercoatl. Their misadventures in the void of non-creation, back in time to the topless towers of Tsort, and finally to hell itself give Eric what he wishes -- or does it?
The first word that comes to mind to describe "Eric" is SHORT. This book is slim even with the larger typeface and margins, but in Pratchett's spare style it packs a fair amount of story into the 200 pages. Old favorites like Rincewind and the Luggage return; Eric steals many of the scenes he's in, as he is obsessed with women and power, but whiny and immature - a teen boy with delusions of grandeur.
Pratchett adds some delightful spoofing of the Aztecs, especially their preoccupation with human sacrifice and feathered headdresses, and the Trojan War (in which we meet his versions of Odysseus and the relatively plain Discworld counterpart of Helen of Troy), complete with "toppleless towers" and a wooden horse. His vision of a revamped hell -- in which demons show vacation slides to damned mortals -- is somewhat reminiscent of Craig Shaw Gardner's Netherhells, but is perhaps the funniest part of the book. And Pratchett's cleverness shows up in the "fulfillment" of Eric's wishes -- it's a clear example of "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it."
Rincewind is gradually growing in dimension, beyond "cowardly wizard," and shows that he does, in fact, have some brains and thought processes. Eric is a twitty teenage boy, a little too clueless to be plausible. And the parrot really steals the show; his acid wit, aggressive demeanor, scruffy appearance, and constant use of the word "wossname" make him a hilarious essential. It's too bad he doesn't appear again in the series.
"Eric" is hardly the best book in the series, but it does make a nice diversion for readers who enjoy madcap antics and spoof-filled stories.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best work of a brilliant writer, October 3, 1997
By 
mkew@iee.org.uk (Hitchin, England) - See all my reviews
Rincewind's career as a demon is far more successful than his life as a wizzard (sic). Just by clicking his fingers, he grants the traditional three wishes of adolescent demonist hacker Eric.

The satire in this book, however, is not directed at the traditions of Faust or Aladdin - Pratchett seems to have real affection for these potentially soft targets. Rather, he describes the politics of Hell: a savage reflection of modern corporate politics. The Demon King's devastating insight is that, for a demon to incite a whole nation to conquer, slaughter, torture and sacrifice their neighbours is, in the long run, far less damaging than telling them 'to labour day and night to improve the lot of their fellow man.'

Among the book's strengths are its brevity, pace and its oblique insight into the implications of some of our traditional ideas. Nearly all Discworld novels are brilliant, but this one stands out as the masterpiece.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short on page count, long on laughs, June 6, 2002
By 
Beau Yarbrough (Between Disneyland and Las Vegas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Eric (Mass Market Paperback)
First things first: "Eric" is the shortest Discworld novel to date. Even printed in a larger type face, it's slim on the bookshelf placed next to the rest of the series.
What that means is that Pratchett didn't provide this novel with multiple interwoven plots, there isn't the female friend/companion who turns into a love interest (a staple of his novels) and all of the action is very narrowly focused on failed wizard Rincewind's escape from the Dungeon Dimensions, where he was trapped at the end of "Sourcery."
He gets out when Eric, Discworld's would-be Doctor Faustus, a spoiled brat turned amateur demonologist, summons a demon from Hell and gets ... well, him. Somehow, Rincewind has been gifted with the power to grant Eric's rather venal wishes. These take the duo (trailed by Rincewind's sentient and extremely dangerous Luggage) through time and space. Along the way, we get parodies of Aztec religion and Ponce de Leon, a particularly well-done riff on the Trojan War (superior in every way to the quicker one in "Pyramids"), visit the beginning and end of the universe and see what Hell is really like.
Without the need to slow down for a B-story, Pratchett moves through the story at a rapid clip, making this one of the best Rincewind tales to date, as well as tying up a loose end. (Pratchett has a bad habit of doing that with Rincewind; the first Discworld novel ended with him falling off the edge of the planet.)
Know that you're getting what amounts to a novella in a novel's packaging, but otherwise, "Eric" lives up to the high standards Pratchett has set with his previous works.
Recommended to fans of Discworld and Pratchett's collaboration with Neil Gaiman, "Good Omens."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Any chance of the old edition?, February 15, 2003
By A Customer
The trouble with the novel Eric, is that it was originally printed as a graphic novel, with paragraphs accompanied with large illustrations by Josh Kirby, and as such made much more sense (and had a much lighter tone than a normal Discworld book did). Unfortunately, that edition isn't printed, and so quite a few people seem to be disapointed by the lightweightness of Eric. Bear in mind that it isn't as it was intended, and that it's a light tale (about Rincewind...always less than serious) and it should prove quite enjoyable
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thin Discworld book, thick with hilarity, May 1, 2001
I don't think "Faust" (or, rather, "Eric") deserves the scorn it has received. It is only a lesser Discworld novel because it is so short. Call it a novella, get over your preconceptions, and dive in for the fun.
The chief element of fun here is the welcome return of the (ineffectual) wizard Rincewind. He is my favourite Disc-denizen. When last we left him in "Sourcery", he was in a curious predicament, trapped in a dimension he couldn't run away from. Summoned to our world by a 13-year old demonologist (the title character), Rincewind must figure out how to grant wishes. This is all a very curious set up, kind of flimsy and flaky. Fortunately, Pratchett uses it as a diving board into a grand pool of hilarious satire.
Pratchett touches on some large issues in this slender volume. We get a sarcastic retelling of the Trojan War, and then a dip into the Odyssey. There's a section that concurrently examines both the beginning *and* the end of the universe (this is Douglas Adams territory Pratchett is treading in, and he more than holds his own). And we get a neat trip to Hell, that satirizes both eternal damnation and corporate culture (not a groundbreaking comparison, I know, but still a funny bit in Terry's hands). Eric (the character) is nothing more than Twoflower-lite. But that's okay, because the relationship between Twoflower and Rincewind in the first two Discworld books ("The Colour of Magic" and "The Light Fantastic") was golden. Eric continues in this tradition, his youthful ignorance and passion meshing perfectly with Rincewind's cynicism and cowardice.
My one complaint is that I wanted to spend more time in each location with these characters, and for the life of me I can't figure out why Pratchett didn't stretch this book out to usual length. I guess he wanted to leave us wanting more. I did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite Faust, November 2, 2005
By 
This review is from: Eric (Mass Market Paperback)
The edition I read was the original "Discworld story" illustrated by Josh Kirby--however, this version was only published in Great Britain (I purchesed it on-line from the UK). The pictures are enjoyable and add to the story, but aren't essential.

Rincewind is fleeing through the nether regions, though his flight echoes through Death's Domains and Ankh-Morpork. He has chances of a million to one of escaping, which of course means that he will be summoned by a fourteen year old "demonology hacker" named Eric.

In the tradition of Rincewind tales much of Eric is spent fleeing from one danger or the other, and always suspecting apparent good fortune. As with Twoflower, Rincewind's companion Eric doesn't believe that he is just an inept wizard--rather he must be a powerful and crafty demon!

Besides being a parody of the German tale of Faust, Eric contains several other parodies and mockeries as is quite traditional for Pratchett. All in all I thought it was a good showing.

While this is the fourth Rincewind novel it doesn't require strictly require knowledge of the previous volumes and thus could serve as an introduction to the Disc. If you're a longtime fan then you should definately read this tale, though if you can find the illustrated edition I would recommend that one over the purely textual version.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Be careful what you wish for, January 28, 2006
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This review is from: Eric (Mass Market Paperback)
The Discworld novels starring the inept wizard, Rincewind were never my favorites, and I think "Eric" is probably the least interesting of the lot. In fact, this fantasy is the closest Pratchett ever gets to a 'standard' plot: boy (Eric) summons a demon (Rincewind, who was sent to the netherhells in "Sourcery") and demands the standard three wishes.

Eric is a teen-ager, with hormones on overdrive, so perhaps you can guess at least one of his wishes. Alas, when he finally meets Helen of Troy (Elenor of Tsort), she turns out to be dumpy, middle-aged, and surrounded by children.

Well, it was a long siege.

Poor Eric is eventually disappointed in all of his wishes, but Rincewind's Luggage becomes a god--or at least is worshipped as one.

There is a subplot involving demons, who make it appear as though Rincewind is actually granting Eric's wishes. Hell is a huge bureaucracy where the gofers and clueless bosses and suck-ups all have exoskeletons and/or horns.

In fact "Eric" very much resembles a Dilbert cartoon combined with a Discworld travelogue.

Rincewind and his gawky adolescent master visit the Tezuman kingdoms ruled over by the Great Muzuma, and are almost sacrificed to the god Quezovercoatl.

They drop into the Tsortean War out of the rear end of a gigantic wooden horse, and Eric meets Elenor of Tsort before the topless towers burn down.

Still very much on the run, Eric and his hapless 'demon' end up in...well, let the characters describe it:

"'So we're surrounded by absolutely nothing,' said Rincewind. 'Total nothing.' He hesitated. 'There's a word for it,' he said. 'It's what you get when there's nothing left and everything's been used up.'"

"'Yes. I think it's called the bill,' said Eric."

Travelling by magic is not for the weak of stomach. The boy and his wizard finally end up in a cave with a single door.

The sign over the door states: "You Don't Have To Be Damned To Work Here, But It Helps!!!"

Is Rincewind back where he started?

According to the author, "it is essential that the proper use of three wishes should bring happiness to the greatest available number of people." Obviously this does not include Eric, Rincewind, or this reader who expects better of Pratchett.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny, but not Pratchett's best, February 9, 2000
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This book is definitely GOOD, but not a GREAT. Definitely entertaining, but not as original as a lot of the Discworld novels. It's just another lighthearted romp through the absurd with Rincewind and the Luggage.
Don't get me wrong- this is not a bad book at all; in fact, it's a very good book- and if you read and enjoyed other Discworld novels, you'll like this book. But if you're looking for a really GREAT Discworld novel, or looking for a good place to start reading the series- this ain't it.
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Eric (Discworld Book 9)
Eric (Discworld Book 9) by Terry Pratchett
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