The Light Fantastic is the second book in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. At the end of the super-entertaining The Color of Magic, our anti-heroes Rincewind, the wizard who cannot cast a spell to save himself, and Twoflower, the naive tourist, were falling off the edge of the Disc. In true movie-sequel fashion, they are saved at the beginning of this novel and put out on another romp through the Disc here. Harmful spells have been set free that have set the Disc on a collision course with a star. And the only person who can save the world is Rincewind, quite obviously. There are more adventures, more damsels, more knights and more laughter. Pratchett is really good at presenting the technologies and ironies of our world and embedding them in the fantasy world of the Disc. But since this book is essentially the same as the first one, it is not that much fun. Still, this book is guaranteed to deliver some snortling hours of fun. Rating: 3/4
Twoflower was a tourist, the first of the species to evolve on the Disc, and fundamental to his very existence was the rock-hard belief that nothing bad could really happen to him because he was not involved; he also believed that anyone could understand anything he said provided he spoke loudly and slowly, that people were basically trustworthy, and that anything could be sorted out among men of goodwill if they just acted sensibly.
It has already been hinted that around this time there was some disagreement among the fraternity of wizards about how to practise magic. Younger wizards in particular went about saying that it was time that magic started to update its image and that they should all stop mucking about with bits of wax and bone and put the whole thing on a properly-organised basis, with research programmes and three-day conventions in good hotels where they could read papers with titles like “Whither Geomancy?” and “The role of Seven-League Boots in a caring society.” Trymon, for example, hardly ever did any magic these days but ran the Order with hourglass efficiency and wrote lots of memos and had a big chart on his office wall, covered with coloured blobs and flags and lines that no-one else really understood but which looked very impressive.
Then the chieftain turned respectfully to his guest, a small figure carefully warming his chilblains by the fire, and said: “But our guest, whose name is legend, must tell us truly: what is it that a man may call the greatest things in life?” The guest paused in the middle of another unsuccessful attempt to light up. “What shay?” he said, toothlessly. “I said: what is it that a man may call the greatest things in life?” The warriors leaned closer. This should be worth hearing. The guest thought long and hard and then said, with deliberation: “Hot water, good dentishtry and shoft lavatory paper.”
“He’s mad?” “Sort of mad. But mad with lots of money.” “Ah, then he can’t be mad. I’ve been around; if a man has lots of money he’s just eccentric.”“I know you don’t. Rincewind, all the shops have been smashed open, there was a whole bunch of people across the street helping themselves to musical instruments, can you believe that?” “Yeah,” said Rincewind, picking up a knife and testing its blade thoughtfully. “Luters, I expect.”