The Light Fantastic Review
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The last time I was in the local used-book store, chatting with the owner and trading some of my not-so-favorite books for credit toward new books, I decided to try something different. A bit of light science fiction, perhaps. Now, Iím not a science fiction person at all. I rarely touch the stuff if at all possible. But I remembered that Iíd once read a book that Terry Pratchett had co-authored -- and which I still remember as being one of the most hilarious books Iíve ever read. So I decided to give The Light Fantastic a try.

If you like Douglas Adams, youíll most likely enjoy Terry Pratchett. They have the same quirky, tongue-in-cheek style that makes science fiction not quite so intimidating.

I had a difficult time getting into the story -- and I guess I never really did get into it. The book tells about Discworld, a flat disc of a planet thatís moving through the multiverse on the back of four gigantic elephants, which, in turn, are riding on the back of a giant turtle. In the beginning of the book, the wizards at the local school of wizardry discover that their world is headed toward certain destruction. And the only one who can save it is an incompetent wizard, Rincewind, whoís traveling around the planet with an obnoxious tourist and his vicious, man-eating wooden luggage. The story skips back and forth a lot, and itís often hard to follow. And, when itís all said and done, it didnít really seem like much of a story at all.

I will admit, though, that reading this book is a bit like riding your bike to work. When you arrive at the end of your journey, itís not all that exciting -- but getting there was fun. Reading Pratchett isnít always quick and easy, but itís definitely entertaining (even for someone who doesnít like science fiction). He plays with words and mocks his own craft -- often so subtly that I found myself going back to read a page over again to catch the joke. But if you take the time to read carefully and pay attention to what Pratchettís saying, youíll see just how bizarrely brilliant he is.

So while I was frustrated by The Light Fantasticís disjointed feel and somewhat weak plot, I still enjoyed the ride.

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