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Interesting Times (Discworld) Mass Market Paperback – March 4, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Marvelous Discworld, which revolves on the backs of four great elephants and a big turtle, spins into Interesting Times, the 17th outing in Terry Pratchett's rollicking fantasy series. The gods are playing games again, and this time the mysterious Lady opposes Fate in a match of "Destinies of Nations Hanging by a Thread." --Blaise Selby

From Library Journal

When the Agatean Empire requests the Great Wizzard, Lord Vetinari of Ankh-Morpork sends a pathetically inept wizard named Rincewind 6000 miles away to the Counterweight Continent to intercede. The latest novel in the satirical fantasy "Discworld" series; for fantasy collections with the series.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Discworld (Book 17)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (March 4, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061056901
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061056901
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on February 18, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
With some minor magic, seasoned with a touch of quantum physics and a liberal dose of archeaology, Pratchett sends Rincewind the Wizzard across the Discworld. From Ankh Morpork, he arrives at the Agatean Empire on the Counterweight Continent, cushioned by a snowbank. Those studying Auriental history [knowing where the gold is] will recognize the failed wizzard is entering an alien environment. Luckily, familiar faces emerge. The first is the Discworld's most revered barbarian hero, Ghengiz Cohen - who is accompanied by some geriatric colleagues, the Silver Horde.
Rincewind isn't a tourist in the Agatean Empire, as Twoflower was in Ankh Morpork. He's been sent for in the midst of a political crisis. A dying emperor, five families contending for power, a revolutionary cadre and a mythical army must all be brought together to make this story work. Oh, yes, plus the Horde and Rincewind. Who else but Pratchett could seamlessly weave all these elements together? And keep you smiling with the turning of every page?
Yet, as usual, Pratchett does even more. He can maintain a balance between a reflection of ancient and modern China [sorry, Agatean Empire], bring forth a string of fascinating personalities and turn an impossible situation into reality without missing a beat. At the same time we are given a dose of chaos theory, familiar images of today's world politics and some philosophical images of the universality of human nature. For an added touch, something you won't see in any other "fantasy" novel, Pratchett's astute perception allows him to resurrect the 6 000 terra cotta warriors found in a tomb in China and have them march again.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Carl Malmstrom on March 18, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For those of you that aren't familiar with Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, they're broken up into what are, essentially subseries. Different novels focus on different characters throughout the Disc and each follow a certain storytelling style. The Rincewind novels, of which this is one, are a sort-of antiheroical adventure mixed with what are, essentially, various travelogues. "Interesting Times" deals with what happens when the Disc's least impressive wizard - and greatest survivor - meet the Agatean Empire - a rather odd hodge-podge of Imperial China and feudal Japan run through Pratchett's colander of Discworld reality.
"Interesting Times" follows a half-mad, half-Machiavellian plot where Rincewind, the aforementioned 'wizard', gets shipped off to the Agatean Empire following a request by the revolutionary "Red Army" for the "Great Wizzard" that will help them in their time of greatest need. What results from this is a mad rush through Chinese peasant culture, Japanese martial arts, an group of ancient barbarians with a most unbarbarian plot and revolution that can't help but have things go the right way for them.
As with most of Pratchett's books, "Interesting Times" is a joy to read. Pratchett somehow seems to take every 'commonly known' reference about East Asia, mix them together in a large metaphorical bag, and spread them throughout his book, regardless of the history or accuracy involved. As with all of his works, what transpires is less a view of what foreign countries are actually like, but how it is that we as people view foreign cultures.
Having recently reread "Interesting Times", I found myself liking it more in retrospect than I did when I first read it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Zeta Thompson on June 3, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book may have finally goten my husband to read a Pratchett novel. Whilst looking over my sholder in the dentist's office he caught the names Cohen the Barbarian and Ghengiz Cohen. that piqued his interest.
Interesting times seems to be mainly about the characters who have successfully avoided Death in the past. Rincewind is back with the luggage (which promptly gets lost) and takes on the wrestless wrestlers. Cohen has joined forces with 5 other barbarians and a teacher to form the Silver Horde. And Twoflower's memoirs of his trip to Ankh-Morpork have become the manifesto for a revolution.
Yes, I would say Terry Pratchett did a good job on this one. The puns are awful as usual and even when you see the set up for them you wind up groaning or giggling. (This tends to cause people sidle away from you in a crowded room.)
Fate and Lady are at it again. Lady, of course chooses her favorite character and the Unseen university receives a message asking for the Great Eizzard to be sent to the Counterweight Continent. After much arguing about the dangers inherent in such a trip, they decide to locate Rincewind and send him. He finds himself in the middle of a revolution being run by polite revolutionaries. He runs into Cohen and his horde who are out to steal something really big. From there the usual chaos ensues. If you enjoy the dryer humor of Terry Pratchetts discword novels, you'll enjoy this one.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig VINE VOICE on August 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
they first make mad." So said Euripides and so say the small gods of Discworld who set the plot in motion for Terry Pratchett's hilarious yet thoughtful "Interesting Times". The title of the book is based on the curse "may you live in interesting times" and because the phrase is reputedly of Chinese origin (its actual origin remains a mystery) the story is placed squarely in the Discworld equivalent of Asia - the Aurient. A group of gods, including Fate and Lady Luck are engaged in a pleasant evening of gambling. They decide to play "The Fall of Great Houses" and pick the Agatean Empire as the playing ground.

The game requires a Great Wizard (actually a Great Wizzard) and the spectacularly un-great Wizard Rincewind is elected to play the role. Rincewind is packed off to the Aurient. Bluesman Albert Kings sings that "if it wasn't for bad luck you know I wouldn't have no luck at all." That is also what Rincewind has to say for himself: "Luck is my middle name," said Rincewind, indistinctly. "Mind you, my first name is Bad." Upon his arrival in the Aurient Rincewind finds, through no fault of his own, himself working with a cadre of young revolutionaries known as the Red Army who are determined to overthrow the Agataen Empire. They recite some extraordinarily obstruse and silly slogans in support of their cause. The Red Army seems based on Chairman Mao's cadres of the same name. On the other hand, this could be a sly reference to the supporters of the Aberdeen (Scotland) Footbal Club who refer to themselves as The Red Army, after the colors of their team. With Terry Pratchett you never know for sure.

Apart from Rincewind, Interesting Times features two other recurring Discworld players, Cohen the Barbarian and Two-Flower.
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