Fantasy

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Read: The Light Fantastic

The second Discworld novel is remarkably different from the first. While The Colour of Magic was almost chaotic, the plot a collection of seemingly random episodes of a Discworld-wide journey mixed with some clever puns and references to modern culture, The Light Fantastic is characterized by an almost linear plot, a few running gags, and barely any references to our modern world. Instead Pratchett includes relatively more allusions to ‘standard’ Fantasy novels. By doing so he tries very hard to (re-)define a genre: Comedic Fantasy Fiction.

The Light Fantastic follows the Law of Sequels. It does not achieve the entertainment value, the originality, and the appeal of its predecessor. The attempt to introduce a running gag is too stilted, it fails miserably. If it was not for Pratchett’s skillful writing the Discworld series [c|sh|w]ould have ended here. Mercifully, there are still a few rather funny lines that made me laugh out loud and saved the day.

Read: The Colour of Magic

As a result of a friends recommendation I already have read Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic some 15 years ago. Though I cannot remember wheter it was a German translation or the original I had a faint recollection of what the book is about. Having seen the TV adaption some time ago and having read the more recent Going Postal and Making Money I thought the Discworld novels would make a nice entry on my vacation reading list. I like regularity and structure, so I naturally start with Discworld novel one.

Now, during the last 15 years quite a bit changed and so did I and the way I perceive things. It is therefore not the funny, ironic style and cultural references of Pratchett’s that strikes me most. I first noticed that he really is a professional writer, his rhetoric includes all the moves that you would learn in an academic writing course. My second observation was that already in his first book I has some clever references to economic principles. This time it is the pitfalls of well intended but badly implemented (insurance) policies, how human behavior responses to economic incentives. In short, the unintended consequences of otherwise sound economic policies.

Read: Going Postal

I already read Making Money last year after a long period of Pratchett abstinence. And thus I desperately wanted to read the prequel Going Postal that introduces Moist von Lipwig. Alas, there is only so much time.

Last week’s trip to Berlin – I was invited to a workshop – finally led to me reading the book on my by now not so new any more Sony ebook reader.

I am not an expert on the postal system. But, I think this novel took a lot less research than Making Money. It is rather the typical Pratchett paltering with stereotypes. Nevertheless, nice. I really do like Pratchett’s takes on the state, government, and democracy. Vetinari’s precious few remarks on these societal phenomena alone are worth reading the novel. I will most definitely read the next von Lipwig novel that is, again, supposed to deal with an economics topic: Raising Taxes.

Gelesen: Making Money

Es ist schon eine Weile her, dass ich ein Buch von Pratchett gelesen habe. Ich mag den Humor, den Wortwitz. Ich habe keine Ahnung, warum ich in der Discworldreihe nicht weitergelesen habe. Aber bei dem aktuellen Titel Making Money konnte ich nicht widerstehen.

Zum einen scheint die Zeit für den Titel gerade richtig zu sein, zum anderen habe ich auch eine kleine Vorliebe für den Humor meiner Profession.

Pratchett hat sich gut informiert. Nicht, dass viel Recherche notwendig gewesen wäre. Aber es erfreut einen schon, dass es keine inhaltlichen Patzer in Bezug auf das Geld gibt. So habe ich dann auch an einigen Stellen herzhaft lachen müssen. Vielleicht sollte ich doch wieder mehr Pratchett lesen… zumindest in das Prequel werde ich wohl hineinschauen. In Going Postal tauchen die Protagonisten von Making Money auch auf. Und vielleicht ist es nicht schlecht etwas mehr Hintergrund zu den Figuren zu haben. Pratchett hat ja die Angewohnheit seine Figuren über mehrere Bände hinweg weiterzuentwickeln.

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