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The Color of Magic: A Novel of Discworld Kindle Edition
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A failed wizard. A tourist from an unknown place. Semi-sentient luggage. A somewhat easily thwarted Death. These are the characters we follow across a world that ranges from sort of traditional fantasy to science fantasy. In the course of this tale, they will encounter great heroes, sometimes misunderstood villains, locales that are bigger on the inside than the outside and strange gods that seem to have only moderately more understanding of things than our protagonists.
His comedic presentation is undeniable. The scope of his creativity is as impressive as it is daunting and his perspective is unique and utterly refreshing. Dragons as creatures of pure creation, powered by imagination and an active mind? Death (as a conscious, if somewhat imperfect entity) that becomes petty when unable to collect its due, so instead it collects the life of a nearby cat (leaving it with the magic eight instead of the normal nine lives)? The fact that, on occasion, falling from great heights permits trans-dimensional travel? Genius.
Pratchett's prose is eminently accessible, which makes this book not only a breeze to read but rather difficult to put down. He may not have the sheer command of language that Vance and Leiber did, but he is every bit their equal in terms of sheer imaginative prowess, wit and tale-telling. Truly, one of the titans of fantasy and an incredible storyteller.
TLDR: A must read for any fan of humorous, ingenious and surreal fantasy. On to the quotes:
"Precisely why all the above should be so is not clear, but goes some way to explain why, on the disc, the Gods are not so much worshipped as blamed."
"He's got a box with a demon in it that draws pictures," said Rincewind shortly. "Do what the madman says and he will give you gold."
"No, what he didn't like abut heroes was that they were usually suicidally gloomy when sober and homicidally insane when drunk. There were too many of them, too."
"The Disc gods themselves, despite the splendor of the world below them, are seldom satisfied. It is embarrassing to know that one is a god of a world that only exists because every improbability curve must have its far end; especially when one can peer into other dimensions at worlds whose Creators had more mechanical aptitude than imagination. No wonder, then, that the Disc gods spend more time in bickering than in omnicognizance."
The story starts off with telling us what's so special about Discworld. Disworld is actually a flat plan, a 'disc', if you will, resting on the back of four giant elephants, which are themselves standing on the shell of an even more giant turtle crawling through space. Things only get more ridiculous from there. Pratchett introduces us to two great characters. The first, Rincewind, is a washed out drop out of the local wizard college, who a knack for both languages and finding his way to trouble. The second, Twoflower, is a foreigner bored with his life as an insurance salesman, who comes to Rincewinds city as tourist looking for adventure, and willing to pay for it handsomely. Together, the two traipse across the Disc on all sorts of wacky adventures.
I want to compare Pratchetts writing to Douglas Adams, or even Kurt Vonnegut, but that wouldn't be accurate. Those authors are massively cynical, and while Pratchett can do satire, his humor is much more kind-hearted. You really just need to read the book for yourself to see what I mean.
The color of magic is the opening book to one of the best series ever written. It is light hearted and fun to read. The subtle and sometimes not so subtle pokes at the fantasy genre make it interesting enough to avid readers of fantasy. Although not my favorite of the series, it is a great introduction to discworld and well worth the time to read. It will also help to know something of Rincewind, who is a reoccurring character throughout the series. The topography of the world will better enable you to understand the later novels better. It is worth reading just for the origin of the luggage alone.