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(P) ISIS Publishing Ltd, 1995; Copyright © Terry Pratchett, 1986; Cover Illustration © Josh Kirby
"Planner is confronted by a variety of eccentric characters and with brilliant flair he brings them off well. Great stuff." (AudioFile)
This book continues the adventures of Rincewind, Twoflower and his luggage. I enjoyed it a lot and it had me laughing out loud at many points. As usual, it never takes itself seriously and pokes a lot of fun at the fantasy genre.
As usual, Nigel Planer's reading is excellent. The audio quality, on the other hand, suffers from "changing tape syndrome," where the pitch of the narrator's voice changes from time to time because the speed of the tape playback wasn't consistent. It's a minor nit, though... it happens infrequently enough that it doesn't annoy for long.
Lord of petty electronics
Basically this breaks down to the difference between the story and narration, which are great, and the sound quality and intro, which are bad.
Good: Terry Pratchett is dead funny, and the narrator does a great job.
Bad: I suspect this is a digitization of an older audiobook format. Volumes go up and down from section to section, and they've used a chime noise to designate a change of scene/chapter that's a bit annoying. Listening to the whole book means adjusting your iPod volume up and down every 10 to 20 minutes as the next sections volume will likely be different from the last.
Worst: Just skip the first minute. Terry Pratchett apparently thinks we're all stupid or criminal and feels the need to have someone nag us for the first minute about not sharing/reselling his work by reading us portions of the Audible liscence we obviously already agreed to.
Overall: Good book, worth the audible credit and fun enough you can listen to it more than once :)
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.
Is it possible to be too clever? Probably not. Unless cleverness becomes your only pitch. I have read a number of Pratchett's later books and enjoyed them thoroughly. His characters are endlessly amusing but they are also deeply human, and his plots are composed of whimsy steeped in wisdom. This book, on the other hand, seemed to be working on only one level with the characters existing primarily as mannequins upon which the author could display his sparkling wit and bantering wordplay. He just seemed to be trying too hard, and in the end it all came off as "cute." That is not Pratchett at his best. Still, even second rate Pratchett is entertaining, and his creation of a superannuated "Cohen the Barbarian" is probably worth the credit all by itself.
I just finished listening to "The Light Fantastic" for the second time, and I enjoyed it even more than I did the first time. It has convinced me to start listening to all Pratchett's Discworld novels in sequence. I can't heap enough praise on Nigel Planer's narration. Mr. Planer has consummate acting skills, with a plethora of voices and accents, which he uses masterfully. Normally, I would dock a star for the bad sound quality on this recording; but I enjoyed this audiobook so much -- despite the tinny sound -- that I overlooked that drawback. Considering the print publication date of this novel -- 1986 -- and the fact that the audio version was probably recorded shortly thereafter -- on tape -- one can forgive the sound quality. I can't imagine why anybody would not like this audiobook. Certainly, anyone who likes Douglas Adams' books will certainly like Terry Pratchett's books. The two authors have the same kind of brilliant, off-beat imagination and sense of humor. I suppose if one prefers non-fiction or romance, one might not appreciate Terry Pratchett's offerings; but, otherwise, one can hardly go wrong with Terry Pratchett. Just prepare yourself for an alternate reality.
Terry Prachett is one crazy writter. I can't tell you how many times people stopped and stared at me while I was listening to this book. (Due to uncontrollable laughter at the characters lines.)I view this as my all time favorite type and style of writing. Comedy and Sci-Fi. I can say I got so many laughs from this book that I will continue with the rest of his series. I'm hoping that he continues with the hillarity in the rest of the stories.
This file has various volume changes and some sections sound hollow and echo. I love this series, but I'm disappointed in the quality. There's also an anoying little bell-ring when the scene changes but that's a production paux.
How to describe the plot - if Harry Potter had been,
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. If you haven't read it, shame on you. If you have and liked it, you'll love this book.
I'm still entranced by the luggage. It follows its owner everywhere, and eats anyone who tries an unauthorized search. We could balance the nation budget with that feature alone; it would eliminate an entire useless goverment agency.
I would be worried I would miss something if I weren't concentrating enough.
This book was just hilarious. I've listened to half a dozen books in the series. This is my favorite. The sound quality did seem a little off. But not enough to stop me from enjoying the book
This is a good book that continues the series but I have found that listening to what I call page chimes (the tone in children's books that let them know to turn the page) every few "pages" annoying. I can only hope that this is exclusive to this book since it wasn't present in the first book. The Narrator does a very good job reading and gives you the feeling of multiple actors playing the different roles of a play.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
The Light Fantastic is a direct sequel to Terry Pratchett’s first DISCWORLD novel, The Color of Magic, in which we met the failed and cowardly wizard Rincewind, his traveling companion Twoflower (a rich and naively brave tourist), and Twoflower’s animated sentient Luggage. I believe that The Light Fantastic is the only DISCWORLD novel that’s a direct sequel of a previous novel.
The reason Rincewind is such a poor wizard is that he’s got a dark powerful spell (“the eighth spell”) lodged in his brain and it won’t let him memorize any other spells. Nobody knows what the eight spell is for, but Rincewind is pretty sure that nobody wants to find out. At the end of The Color of Magic, Rincewind, Twoflower and the Luggage had tumbled off the edge of the Discworld which is a flat disc held up by four elephants standing on the back of a giant turtle. When we catch up with Rincewind et al. in The Light Fantastic, we discover that they’re still alive and hoping to make it back to Rincewind’s hometown, Ankh-Morpork.
Meanwhile, an ominous red star has appeared in the sky and is on a collision course with the Discworld. The magicians at the Unseen University have learned that to rid the world of this threat, they must convene and recite all eight magical spells of the Octavo. Since the eighth spell is lodged in Rincewind’s brain, he must be found and induced to participate. Otherwise, the Discworld is surely doomed.
I think it’s fair to say that Rincewind is not Terry Pratchett’s most beloved character. Many fans find him cowardly and dull. It’s true that Rincewind’s most natural instinct is to preserve himself by running away from danger, but now he’s finally forced to act when he is the only person who can save the world (and therefore himself). Fortunately, Pratchett brilliantly uses Rincewind’s dull personality for comic effect, creating some truly absurd scenes and amusingly dry humor. This is welcome in The Light Fantastic because a lot of the other humor in the novel feels forced and obvious. In general, The Light Fantastic isn’t as witty as later DISCWORLD novels because the gags are nearly non-stop and often silly — these early books feel like they’re written for the jokes rather than the other way around.
Pratchett loves to good-naturedly mock his predecessors and the early DISCWORLD books are, in many ways, a parody of epic high fantasy. Thus in The Light Fantastic we meet Cohen the Barbarian, a toothless old man who was once the Discworld’s most fierce warrior. Now he seems decrepit, but warrior chicks still adore him and Cohen’s got other surprising tricks, too. Perhaps the most likeable and memorable character, however, is the Luggage; this strange walking suitcase plays an important role in The Light Fantastic.
Nigel Planer beautifully narrates the audio version of The Light Fantastic which is 7 hours long. In case you’re wondering, the phrase “the light fantastic,” which refers to dancing, originally came from a couple of works (Comus and L’Allegro) by John Milton.
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