Saturday, September 21, 2019



The fourth Rincewind novel of the late Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is a loose parody of the tale of Faust, opening with Death tending to his bees, and the mention of summer getting underway in the franchise’s world. Rincewind finds himself summoned to the eponymous teenage protagonist, Eric Thursley, who, thinking the wizard is a demon, yearns for three wishes: mastery of all kingdoms, meeting the most beautiful woman who ever existed, and immortality. Meanwhile, Astfgl, the new King of the Demons, keeps a close eye on Rincewind and company throughout the story.

Rincewind and Eric soon find themselves in the jungles of the Tenzuman Empire, where they meet an imprisoned explorer named Ponce da Quirm, who seeks the fabled Fountain of Youth, intended as a sacrifice to the primitive people’s god Quezovercoatl. Rincewind’s Luggage, in the meantime, has its own adventures, with the wizard himself launched back in time to the Tsortean Wars due to Eric’s desire for the supposedly most beautiful woman of all time, Elenor. They witness the creation of the Universe, and have a brief excursion through hell itself.

In the end, the story is a short but sweet parody of the tale of Faust, and I definitely could get the literary allusions to the folktale, alongside the analogy to the Trojan War in the real world, but while the many situations are comical, I didn’t personally laugh out loud. Regardless, one could consider Pratchett to be a contemporary Lewis Carroll, given his penchant for penning literary nonsense, of which there exists plenty in the book, and I would recommend it to those who enjoyed its predecessors and audiences seeking a good break from the norm of traditional fantasy stories.

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