Saturday, May 17, 2014

Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

Unseen Academicals: A Novel of Discworld by Terry Pratchett --- 416 pages

This is the 37th novel in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, and was the first one published after he announced that he had been diagnosed with a variety of Alzheimer's that impairs visual recognition and short term memory but leaves the sufferer all too aware of the slow, insidious decline of his mental abilities. 

That said, this is one of Pratchett's most brilliant efforts in a long-running series that very few authors can match. Pratchett's comic genius has been compared to P.G. Wodehouse and this is a story that Wodehouse would have loved.

The Patrician of Ankh-Morpork has decided it's time to regularize the until now completely unregulated game of football, and the Shove that surrounds the matches. To do this he involves the wizards at Unseen University, whom are inveigled into fielding a team to challenge the footballers of the city --- use of magic strictly forbidden on the field. Let's just say this is the "War and Peace" of football combined with a Romeo and Juliet motif, a Dwarf fashionista, and the rehabilitation of one of fantasy's most iconic villians.

A British television network that has created three previous made-for-TV films of three Discworld novels is making a film of this one too. I have all the books and the DVDs in my personal library. There are few writers who do really intelligent fantasy and even fewer who can do really intelligent comic fantasy. I'm happy to say that Pratchett continues to write and has published several novels subsequent to this one.  Long may he fight the good fight!

Click HERE to read Terry Pratchett's comments on how the story came together.

Click HERE to read a fan discuss both the book and how Pratchett is coping with his disability.

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