Since I finished reading Interesting Times in October last year, I’ve put myself at a little disadvantage with writing this review. I really don’t like leaving it so long because of immediate impressions from reading the book fade over time. You forget things. Well, I do, as my whole family will attest to!
I’ve had a lot of other blogging obligations, such as reading and tours to get on with, so reviewing the books I have chosen for myself “for fun” have gone on the backburner. Maybe I shouldn’t take on more than I can handle.
Anyway, enough excuses – let’s delve into the realms of the Discworld!
‘A foot on the neck is nine points of the law’
There are many who say that the art of diplomacy is an intricate and complex dance. There are others who maintain that it’s merely a matter of who carries the biggest stick. The oldest and most inscrutable (not to mention heavily fortified) empire on the Discworld is in turmoil, brought about by the revolutionary treatise What I did on My Holidays. Workers are uniting, with nothing to lose but their water buffaloes; warlords are struggling for power – and what the nation wants, to avoid terrible doom for everyone, is a wizard. Rincewind is not the Disc’s premier wizard – in fact, he can’t even spell ‘wizard’ – but no-one specified whether competence was an issue. And they do have a very big stick…
Mighty Battles! Revolution! Death! War! (And his sons Terror and Panic and daughter Clancy).
“May you live in interesting times” doesn’t exactly feel like much of a curse to you or I. On the Discworld though, there’s never a dull moment! Karma could be just around the corner…
Beloved Rincewind finds himself in more trouble when the Unseen University finds the prime opportunity to get rid of him. The Counterweight Continent is in dire need of a wizard, but perhaps they hoped for one better than him.
I really enjoyed the links this book has to the first two of the series, The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic. Up until this point, I had seen those two books as an introduction to the Discworld universe more than a cohesive part of it. The reappearance of Twoflower and the tales of his holiday to Ankh Morpork play a large part in the narrative of Interesting Times; the link back to those first two books is refreshing. Of course, Twoflower is causing mayhem again. As if he hadn’t caused Rincewind enough trouble in the first place ON his holiday… he also causes him grief after it too!
I also enjoyed the appearance of some of the Discworld’s famous heroes – Conan the Barbarian and his crew throw themselves into the fray with swords raised, (as can only be expected).
Without his humour, Pratchett couldn’t have made the Discworld series the way it is today. I can’t say it often enough – it’s such an approachable series to read, enjoy and laugh at. Yet in this light-hearted, comical narrative, Pratchett always has something to say. In this particular novel, I think the focus is the farcical fighting over power and leadership. Topics like gender roles, death and religion are on the agenda in other parts of the series too. If Pratchett had something to say, his books were his outlet. Even in writing the books and achieving the success he did left behind a powerful message to the people who told him he would never amount to anything in his life.
They are a lasting legacy of a genius of our time.