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Old 03-01-2011, 06:06 PM   #1
leebase
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The Colour of Magic - Terry Pratchet

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchet is the first in the vast series of Discworld books. I listened to the audible version of the book. I must say that I found the book kind of bizarre and couldn't quite figure out if I was bored to tears or being entertained. Not that some parts were boring and some entertaining, but I couldn't determine if I was or was not enjoying ANY of the book.

The books is completely silly. I think folks either "get it" or don't. It will be either very funny or not. There is no reason or rhyme to it. It's like one big trip through Alice in Wonderland minus any thought of plot. It's an unending stream of wonder/strangeness.

I've enjoyed the book more than any other book I've hated. Is that a strange thing to say? It could very well have been a line in the book.

I usually enjoy audible versions of books, but I'm not sure the reader was up to the task of inventing interesting voices for the myriad characters in the book. It would have been a challenge for anyone. Too many of the characters just did not have an interesting "voice". They really needed a talented cartoon voice person to do this book justice.

I may read more books in the series, but I'm certainly not hopping right on the task. I absolutely hated this book more than any other book I've loved.

Lee
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:17 PM   #2
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The whole Discworld series is on my TBR list, but from comments I've read Guards! Guards! is a much better place to start if one is new to Discworld.
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Old 03-01-2011, 07:22 PM   #3
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I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the first two Discworld books (The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic), but then I'm a huge fan of British comedy like Monty Python. Yes, his later books in the world were deeper and more involved, but there's something about the slapstick of the first two that still makes me giggle.
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Old 03-01-2011, 08:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jgaiser View Post
I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the first two Discworld books (The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic), but then I'm a huge fan of British comedy like Monty Python. Yes, his later books in the world were deeper and more involved, but there's something about the slapstick of the first two that still makes me giggle.
I'm British, a Python fan and enjoys similar authors like Robert Rankin, but I cannot get into Pratchet and do not see what the fuss is about.

Horses for courses I guess
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Old 03-02-2011, 04:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leebase View Post
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchet is the first in the vast series of Discworld books. I listened to the audible version of the book. I must say that I found the book kind of bizarre and couldn't quite figure out if I was bored to tears or being entertained. Not that some parts were boring and some entertaining, but I couldn't determine if I was or was not enjoying ANY of the book.

The books is completely silly. I think folks either "get it" or don't. It will be either very funny or not. There is no reason or rhyme to it. It's like one big trip through Alice in Wonderland minus any thought of plot. It's an unending stream of wonder/strangeness.

I've enjoyed the book more than any other book I've hated. Is that a strange thing to say? It could very well have been a line in the book.

I usually enjoy audible versions of books, but I'm not sure the reader was up to the task of inventing interesting voices for the myriad characters in the book. It would have been a challenge for anyone. Too many of the characters just did not have an interesting "voice". They really needed a talented cartoon voice person to do this book justice.

I may read more books in the series, but I'm certainly not hopping right on the task. I absolutely hated this book more than any other book I've loved.

Lee
hehe. Yeah you nailed it. I think it's written like that on purpose. I've read the first one, and will eventually read the others, but I've been saying that for 3 years now. LOL
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Old 03-02-2011, 07:06 AM   #6
David Munch
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I didn't get the "Colour of Magic" either. It was okay in some parts, weird in others, and I didn't really like the flow of the story.

Will try it out again though.. Just for fun..
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:47 AM   #7
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The Colour of Magic and Light Fantastic were both made into a television film by Sky, shown a couple of years ago. The film was pretty true to the books, though it missed a number of the "side remarks". However, it is a good indication of Pratchett's humour.

More recently, "Going Postal" also followed the television film route.

If you can get hold of the audiobooks, mostly narrated by Nigel Planer (ex-Young Ones), they are well worth the effort.

Like many, it seems, I also struggle with the written versions, having the whole series in ebooks and half of them in tree books. I think that too much attention is given to people's names and place names and trying to piece everything together, rather than just letting go and going with the flow.

Obviously, looking at Terry Pratchett's sales figures, he must be getting it right. I know there is the argument that "one hundred million flies can't be wrong - eat more sh*t", but I am certainly going to keep trying (reading, that is, not eating.....!)
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:48 AM   #8
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My son started reading them aged 8, and has the whole canon, and always rereads them.
Along with Mr. Potter, they probably did more for his reading skills than anything at school or home! ( He remains a voracious reader, but still a "real book" adherent.)
I quite enjoy them, in that Monty Python way, but, being involved with old rugs & weavings, I find "The Carpet People" fantastic fun.
My personal hero is James Lee Burke, I have all his, and reread 'em all the time.
A wonderful writer, and his "Tin Roof Blowdown" was a stunning portrayal of the disaster that was Katrina, and a damning indictment of the Bush government. He has never written a bad book, IMO.
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:12 PM   #9
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The first two Discworld books have always felt to me to be the most experimental of the series - Pratchett messing about before he has a clear idea of how to write the Discworld books. They are simple paradies of the most stereotypical Sword and Sorcery questlines - while his later books fleshes out a world and it's characters, with more emphasis on parodying modern life.

I often feel that Pratchett finds his feet in the fourth book, Mort, and the first three are books are almost non-canon. A lot of the places visited in the quest of the first two books are never mentioned again and the characters of Death and Granny Weatherwax (from book three, Equal Rites) are pretty much rewritten from scratch in Mort and Wyrd Sisters. From Mort onwards there is a consistency to his world, though Sourcery and Eric return to a story style similar to the first two.

Having said that, his early books are still very enjoyable and funny books - they are just a little bit jarring if you are used to reading his later works.

Last edited by Pernicious; 03-02-2011 at 12:15 PM. Reason: misspelt "feet" as "feed"
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Old 03-02-2011, 02:24 PM   #10
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It seems to me that The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic have a very different feel from the rest of the Discworld series. I've tried to read those books so many times and have never ever made it through, and I know exactly the feeling you're describing. I wasn't quite bored, but didn't find it very amusing, but didn't know if I didn't like it. It nearly put me off Terry Pratchett forever until I was caught with nothing to read except Reaper Man, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I like the rest of the series quite a bit though, so you may want to check out one of the later books and see if you like those better. ^^
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leebase View Post
The books is completely silly. I think folks either "get it" or don't.
yes, it is the same for Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy too.

there's nothing to get besides knowing it's not about magic nor scifi, nor about silliness for silliness sake, just the authors witfully satirizing mankind silliness...

perhaps the two authors are too witty for most people's tastes...
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:36 PM   #12
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1+ for Pernicious' analysis. Mort is indeed a turning point and a mindblowing book at his own.
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Old 03-03-2011, 11:39 AM   #13
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I would say the better books to start the Discworld series it the Guards, Guards and the Watch Arc. Or the Witches stories.

Color of Magic is a very different book, as Terry was writing what felt like a one off.
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Old 03-04-2011, 01:10 AM   #14
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I am a big Pratchett fan - so of course my opinion is biased, however...

I find that all of the Discworld books about the Wizards to be a sort of slapstick - indeed some of the books even have scenes reminiscent of the Keystone Cops. "The Colour of Magic" and "The Light Fantastic" feel to me like a collection of experimental writing, fun but just mucking about. Add to that the fact that the early books are intentionally just a parody of fantasy and you can see why they are the weakest books. It's only later that he really starts to have more depth and detail in his books. I enjoy them all, but the wizard books are certainly my least favourite.

All that aside, if you truly couldn't stand the first book (and can't convincingly blame it on the audio rendition), then there is a chance you wont like the subsequent stories. Certainly Pratchett's story telling and writing style matures and improves, but it is still very much his own style and you can pick it, whether reading his first books or his latest books or his kids books. If you don't like the style you aren't going to like any of them. If you are inclined to give him a second go then I'd suggest trying "Pyramids" or "Guards! Guards!", these are more substantial stories and you may find them more satisfying.
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Old 03-04-2011, 03:12 AM   #15
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The colour of magic is available as a graphic novel too. For some reason, I liked it better in that format (the rest of Pratchett's books I liked quite well the normal way ). Can't wait to watch the movie now (on Netflix streaming if you can believe it ). The Death books are pure unadulterated joy. In fact, I would consider the Rincewind books among the least interesting in the series. My preference: LP>Death>Witches>Guardsmen>[UU/Rincewind]. LP is of course "literary parody" (Faust, anyone? I mean... Eric ). The sole exception being the book where (I forget which one) they build a computer (Hex?) at UU with a running ants (Anthill inside ) and a Ram's head nearby for some reason .

I wouldn't call it a parody of fantasy exactly. It falls into a weird meta-genre that encompasses all other genres (including the mongrel genre we call 'literary fiction'). I guess you could call it "sausage fiction" (I trust the allusion is clear). In other words, an in-depth look at the nitty-gritty mechanics of the themes on which the other genres rest. Hence, Pratchett's Discworld for Fantasy, things like The Dresden Files and Dead Like Me (and even Reaper) for Contemporary Supernatural. We need entries for SF in this meta-genre . The genre's defining question is simple - "Say that X exists. How would it really work? Down at the mundane, everyday level? What kind of bureaucracy would need to exist to make X work properly?" Oh, how I love the answers to that question .

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