Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Last Continent


The sixth Rincewind novel of the late Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series opens with the statement that all tribal myths have a semblance of truth. Discussion arises about a supposed Lost Reading Room at Unseen University, with Old “Bogeyboy” Swallett having led an expedition to find it. Conversation also comes about the continent of EcksEcksEcksEcks, with the university professors making it a point to study the land, and ultimately finding themselves marooned on a deserted island. Rincewind also finds himself on the eponymous last continent, where he befriends a kangaroo named Scrappy, who tells him he is fated to bring “the Wet,” in other words, a massive rainstorm.

On the mentioned island, the Faculty attempts various means by which to escape, such as building a boat out of vegetation, during their solitude meeting a god who has created various things such as a cigarette tree, which he regrets. Rincewind’s Luggage in the meanwhile has its own adventures, with mention of Petunia, the Desert Princess. The Faculty eventually sets sail from the island, whilst Rincewind finds himself incarcerated, and scheduled for execution, when mistaken for stealing sheep instead of rescuing it like he insists. With the help of a message from the past criminal Tinhead Ned, the bumbling wizard plots his escape.

A temporal anomaly causes chaos among the Faculty, Rincewind visits a city on the continent, and a woman named Neilette takes him to a fledgling university. The novel ends on a humorous note, and is overall a good parody of Australian culture, although mostly Australians will understand the various references, and the book in general has limited appeal. Regardless, it has a decent sense of humor, and one could consider Pratchett’s work to be spiritual successors as literary nonsense to Lewis Carroll’s Alice books. Those interested in a more lighthearted take on the fantasy genre will certainly get the most enjoyment out of this story.

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