Long Lost Review: The Colour of Magic (#1) by Terry Pratchett

Long Lost Reviews is a monthly meme created by Ally over at Ally’s Appraisals which is posted on the second Thursday of every month. The aim is to start tackling your review backlog. Whether it’s an in-depth analysis of how it affected your life, one sentence stating that you only remember the ending, or that you have no recollection of reading the book at all. 

Published: 18th January 1985 Goodreads badge
Pages: 287
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fantasy
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell like our own, but which looks completely different. Particularly as it’s carried through space on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown).

If you’re new to the Discworld don’t worry, you’re not alone . . . Twoflower is the Discworld’s first tourist, he’s exceptionally naive and about to get himself into an array of dangerous and fantastical situations on his travels.

And if that didn’t sound fateful enough, it’s the spectacularly inept wizard, Rincewind who is charged with safely chaperoning Twoflower and his Luggage (a walking suitcase that has half a mind of its own and a homicidal attitude to anything threatening) during his visit.

Safe to say chaos ensues…

I’ve wanted to start reading the full Discworld series for years and finally started. They can be read in any order but I’m not one to read things out of order so I’m starting at the beginning. This is a great introduction in that you get introduced to the world but also you get thrown into this bizarre reality and have to make sense of how things work there.

Pratchett’s writing is wonderful in that it’s quirky, strange, and incredibly funny but also makes a lot of sense in the right circumstance. It has a similar tone to Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide, and even in some way The Never Ending Story. I loved this absurdist, fanciful world where things are magical but based in some reality, and logic comes into play but it isn’t the right sort of logic you’re used to.

Twoflower is an ideal character because he brings his own quirks on top of trying to navigate Discworld as the first tourist and with Rincewind acting as guide the pair of them have some fantastic encounters which are chaotic in different ways.

It’s easy to fall in love with these characters and this world Pratchett has created. The humour is brilliant in its absurdity and the whole book is a fun little adventure that makes you want to dive right into the next one.

A Few Words on Sir Terry Pratchett

Today I woke up to the incredibly sad news that author Sir Terry Pratchett had passed away. Pratchett has brought so much to the world through his books and I think the world is truly a lesser place without him.

I am not going to claim to have read all of his books yet, but I don’t think that excludes me from adoring him as an author and immersing myself in his Discworld creation through quotes and references or from having an intense adoration of him as a person.

Pratchett was a man adored by many people and there are many people who knew him a lot better than most. Neil Gaiman wrote a great piece in his introduction to A Slip of the Keyboard, a collection of nonfiction works by Terry Pratchett. In it he spoke about the man Pratchett was, but also how others seem to know him when they actually didn’t, not the true man anyway. What Gaiman writes is true for many celebrities and famous people. The person on television or seen in interviews, the person you meet at conventions is not who the person really is, and is not the same person that they are to people who really know them. Gaiman’s article reveals a lot about who Terry Pratchett was to him, but it is still just touching the surface to who he was.

The way I appreciate Terry Pratchett is admiring the immense world he has created and the skill and creativity he had to bring Discworld to life in the first place. Not only that, but reading and seeing his thoughts on Alzheimer’s and dying with dignity, and the fact he could make the serious issues funny without taking away its importance, both in real life and in his books. That is why I love him.

I’ll admit I was a late comer to his work. After having seen his books on our bookshelves for years growing up I was never old enough to appreciate who he was or what they were. My first Pratchett book was The Hogfather and I was 19 and at university. Having come into his career so late didn’t worry me and still doesn’t really, what saddens me is not being able to look forward to any more of his works. Though it must be said of him, at over 70 published works he had not left a meagre pile behind.

The world is going to miss the mind and creativity that is Terry Pratchett. There are hundreds of quotes from his books that are profound and beautiful, that talk about the simple things in life, the humorous, and those that question the makeup of the real world. What I noticed about Pratchett was his ability to look at life through the eyes of fiction and fantasy and through quirkiness and peculiar characters  use them as a way to discuss the world.

At only 66 years old it is a shame to lose him so early but as Pratchett himself wrote in Reaper Man, “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away” and I do not see that happening anytime soon.