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Interesting Times (Discworld #17)

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  20,296 ratings  ·  335 reviews

'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 Wh

Kindle Edition, 387 pages
Published December 5th 2008 by Transworld Digital (first published 1994)
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I'm going to just say right off the bat that the Rincewind novels are not my favorite. I realize that it is Discworld blasphemy, but hear me out. Out of the entire Discworld main character cast, Rincewind makes the fewest decisions and has no desires other than to flee from trouble. As sort of a Forrest Gump/Scooby Doo hybrid (Forrest Doo? Scooby Gump?), his misadventures consist of finding himself in trouble, trying to escape, and then lucking out in some grand fashion. While it makes for good ...more
There is a saying, often attributed to the Chinese - "May you live in interesting times." Usually when this is invoked, it's done so as a curse, the idea being that interesting times are more likely to cause you trouble than nice boring times, and perhaps that's true. The folks in Baghdad, for example, are certainly living in interesting times right now. The trouble is that not everybody is able to stay alive to enjoy them.

That's one of the problems with life as we know it - we long for things t
I rarely think of rereading this particular discworld book - not for any reason I can guess. My kids started reading this one aloud and sucked me right into it, and I am very glad. It is a truely delightful book, although we all tend to moan a bit about the awful things that Terry Pratchett came up with to keep doing to Rincewind.
Molly Westerman
Hmm. Well. My husband read this one immediately before I did and said, handing me the book, "I'm interested to know whether you think this is racist, or somehow parodying stereotypes of Asian people?" Having finished it, I too feel uncertain.

This is a really funny book. It's Pratchett, after all, and it's got Ridcully and Ponder Stibbons and Rincewind's talent for surviving (aka running away while screaming ohshitohshitohshit I'm going to die) and Conan and some other extremely elderly barbarian
Yay for seeing Twoflower again! And any story with Cohen tends to be funny. I wish Lord Hong had been less one-dimensional though: his whole character revolved around "I can do everything better than everyone else." That gets boring very quickly. I would have loved to see him interact with Vetinari, since he held him in such high regard.
Richard Kirby
The seventeenth novel in Pratchett’s Discworld series, the title of this novel, referring to the Chinese curse ‘May you live in interesting times’, alludes to the setting as the fictional Agatean Empire, an amalgam of different aspects of Chinese and Japanese culture and history. The hapless hero Rincewind is sent there following a request from the Agatean Grand Vizier, the villainous Lord Hong, who aspires to be Emperor.
More by accident than design, Rincewind foils Lord Hong and helps his frien
Rebecca Huston
A bitterly funny, satirical look at Asia and its culture, viewed through the eye of Terry Pratchett. Plenty of earlier characters make a comeback, including Rincewind, The Luggage, and Cohen the Barbarian. There's another, but I won't give it away as it would ruin the plot. Let's just say that this was a lot of fun to read, with plenty of laughs, some serious thought, and plenty of twists. Five stars and very much recommended.

For the long review, please go here:
Short version? Pratchett tries to return to his earlier style with the lessons he's learnt along the way. This starts out promisingly. Unfortunately then he tries to combine that earlier, sillier style with multiple serious political discussions and several unrelated books, all in a setting that is, to put it mildly, culturally insensitive. It doesn't work.

There are some great lines, but by and large it's just too dull and despite its good qualities it outstays its welcome (50 pages of long, dra
Once again Rincewind finds himself a pawn in the game of the gods. Even on the Counterweight Continent trouble befalls him, for no matter where he goes the people are the same, just in a different setting. In this highly structured society, the people are oppressed into obedience and politeness. Some have had enough, but how do you start a revolution in a country that doesn't know how to rise up? Rincewind's original adventure comes back to haunt him, when Twoflower's book on his "holiday" becom ...more

Nueva entrega de las aventuras del Mundodisco, con Rincewind como protagonista. En esta ocasión, Terry Pratchett [TP] manda a Rincewind a China (bueno, al equivalente de China en el Mundodisco, situada en el Continente Contrapeso). Rincewind deberá ayudar a que tenga lugar una Revolución muy educada, al tiempo que se hace amigo de la Horda, formada por Genghis Cohen y seis ancianos más. Al mismo tiempo, todo se ve trastocado por la Mariposa Del Clima™. Sí, hombre, esa mariposa que bate las alas

Complete Discworld Reread

Pratchett has hit a stride in the Discworld series by now. ‘Interesting Times’ is yet another book where Rincewind runs away from everything he can, the wizards back in the university are hilariously barely competent, we are reminded that the only way to be an old barbarian warrior is to be a very good barbarian warrior.

Not a hard hitting satire of anything specific; rather we are treated to a light romp through a revolution in the making, with some of the worst revoluti
Michael Clemens
"Discworld's Greatest Hits" might have been an alternate title for this book. Long-suffering Rincewind is pulled back in for the amusement of the gods (and the reader), and has the usual Rincewind-ish adventures: that is to say, fleeing danger whenever possible, and landing in it just as often. Surely fan service for the original two novels, secondary characters are broadly drawn but thinly developed, falling into one of Pratchett's favorite formulas of Terrible Villain Receives His Comeuppance. ...more
Duncan Mandel
SUMMARY: "May you live in interesting times" is the worst thing one can wish on a citizen of Discworld -- especially on the distinctly unmagical sorcerer Rincewind, who has had far too much perilous excitement in his life. But when a request for a "Great Wizzard" arrives in Ankh-Morpork via carrier albatross from the faraway Counterweight Continent, it's he who's sent as emissary. Chaos threatens to follow the impending demise of the Agatean Empire's current ruler. And, for some incomprehensible ...more
Lance O.
"Mighty battles! Revolution! Death! War! (and his sons Terror and Panic, and daughter Clancy)." Interesting Times is a comedic fantasy novel written by the famed British author, Terry Pratchett. Set in the complex and magical land called the Discworld, Interesting Times can be read by teenagers and adults alike. Young children under ten might not be able to fully understand or grasp some of the themes and concepts in the book. I greatly enjoyed reading this novel. It had a lot of interesting ch ...more
Stuart Langridge

Hilarious stage adaptation of a best-selling Pratchett novel.
Hilarious stage adaptation of a best-selling Pratchett novel.
"May you live in interesting times" is the worst thing one can wish on a citizen of Discworld -- especially on the distinctly unmagical sorcerer Rincewind, who has had far too much perilous excitement in his life. But when a request for a "Great Wizzard" arrives in Ankh-Morpork via carrier albatross from the faraway Counterweight Continent, it's he who

The second time through was even better than the first.
I love all the Terry Pratchett I've read so far, so I really wanted this to be better than it was. I've heard that the Rincewind books are the weakest of the Discworld novels, and the first few pages were certainly an oddly paced morass of characters coming towards a cohesive plot, but my real problem with the book was the way it excused casual racism, especially in Cohen the Barbarian (who was a pretty awesome character otherwise.) Contrary to Pratchett's assertion, charisma is no excuse for bi ...more
"Además de ser una parodia de las convenciones más manidas del género, Mundodisco es una vía para abordar algo mucho más parodiable: nuestro propio mundo. En Tiempos Interesantes, el pragmatismo de Rincewind es el contrapunto humorístico al idealismo de unos revolucionarios que, como todos los revolucionarios, se toman demasiado en serio a sí mismos. Se intuye además en esta novela cierto escepticismo hacia las Grandes Causas y su capacidad para me
Other than Hat Full of Sky and the various Witches books in the Discworld series, this is my favorite strictly-in-the-Discworld-series book so far. The Agatean Empire with its enclosing wall, incredibly polite rebels, Red Army and terracotta soldiers is an obvious stand-in for China (and occasionally Japan, with "tsimo" wrestlers of great fatness, kimonos, and samurai). Rather than being or seeming racist or nationalistic, Pratchett is an equal opportunity gadfly regarding human foolishness and ...more
Richard Stueber
Our old friend Rincewind, the very inept and very lucky wizard, is teleported (not exactly as on Star Trek) by the goofy wizards of the Unseen University to the Agatean Empire on the Counterweight Continent. They have asked for the Great Wizard and get something else.
Over in the Empire we find some familar charcters: the Luggage, Twoflower and Cohen the Barbarian. Cohen and the Silver Horde, seven extremely ancient warriors decide to attack the Agatean Empire which has hundreds of thousands of w
I've been reading Discworld books here or there for twenty years or so now, but for the longest time the Rincewind-centric books never clicked with me. I think the would-be romantic in me just wanted to see him turn and fight, to win the girl, and do the sort of things that teenage boys read fantasy books to see done. Maybe five years or so ago, having read a number of the later Discworld novels, I decided to return to the start and picked up the initial Rincewind Trilogy (sort of a duology with ...more
Pedro Silva
An absolutely splendid novel that hits parody and humor quite excellently, but falls a bit short on commentary and drama and under develops certain other elements such as Fate and the Lady, or the return of Two Flower and the Red Army

It also shares some of the failings, the seams if you will other long series such as the witches novels in which characters like Cohen the barbarian or Rincewind, in which the story doesn't really challenge itself.

It does do a lot of things cleverly, and the putting
Jim Martin
I liked this book, but not as much as many of the other Disc World titles that I have read. One problem that I had was that I kept thinking of it as "Magic Flashman and the Dragon," which anyone who has read Fraser will know what I am talking about. Rincewind is not one of Pratchett's stronger characters, and having to carry almost the entire plot on his scrawny shoulders results in some weak spots. However, do read the book especially if you want to read the follow on novel "The Last Continent, ...more
Jonathan Palfrey
This is the only Discworld book set mostly on the Counterweight Continent, occupied by the Agatean Empire, loosely based on the traditional societies of China and/or Japan prior to European influence.

In the story, the Agatean Empire is subject to some upheaval due to the simultaneous but separate arrivals of Rincewind the failed magician and Cohen the Barbarian (accompanied by his small Horde of elderly heroes).

Frankly, I'm not keen on the character of Rincewind. He's fairly inoffensive, but a r
Arthur Hall
It just gets better with every reading/listening. Nigel Planer is Rincewind.
Simcha Wood
I suppose I'm just not much of a Rincewind fan, as the Discworld books in which he features are not among my favorites in the series. Interesting Times is one of the better Rincewind books (second only to Sourcery , but it doesn't quite keep up with the strong run of books that began with Witches Abroad .

Pratchett's storytelling skills and his sense of humor are both considerably sharper now than when he wrote the early Rincewind books, and even some of his sense of satire makes it in to Interes
Lukáš Lovas
It's been a while, since I truly enjoyed a discworld book. I've read some great ones, then I had a string of those, that I didn't quite like....and then I noticed, I can't read them all at once, because I'm not enjoying them anymore. So I didn't read Pratchett for a while...and now...finally, the good stuff is here, and I loved it :)
The book is a classic discworld has Rincewind, the God's play a game of something, and there's a lot of absurdity....what more could I ask for? Pure del
Rincewind is back and this time he's off the Counterweight continent which is apparently China with a bit of Japan thrown in.

Twoflower and the Luggage are back though both play minor parts. The big player is Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde.

It's full of the typical Pratchett humor though Rincewind seems a bit grumpy in this installment. I'm less fond of the Rincewind stories but this introduces many new characters and new places. Hex looks like it is shaping up to get a novel of its own
It is just not to be.

Although there are plenty of belly laughs in this book, and although the story is well crafted, I just do not like Rincewind. At times I find him annoying, and his role as 'a hero whether he likes it or not.. and without doing anything to earn it' goes against my sense of justice.

Personal preference- there are many Terry Pratchett books I love, so this review should not be misconstrued to mean TP is anything other than a master at his craft. This storyline is just not my fav
In the seventeenth installment of Discworld, our belovedly incompetent "Wizzard" finds himself in the middle of the Auriental where warlords are vying for the throne of their aged emperor. Trouble arises in abundance and constantly steps on the heels of the cowardly and unwitting hero, but Luck is on his side, even if Fate is not. Some old friends turn up along the way too. Interesting Times is a fun continuation of Rincewind's story, but it becomes a little bogged down by the repetitive tropes ...more
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Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel,
More about Terry Pratchett...

Other Books in the Series

Discworld (1 - 10 of 41 books)
  • The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1)
  • The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2)
  • Equal Rites (Discworld, #3)
  • Mort (Discworld, #4)
  • Sourcery (Discworld, #5)
  • Wyrd Sisters (Discworld, #6)
  • Pyramids (Discworld, #7)
  • Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8)
  • Eric (Discworld, #9)
  • Moving Pictures (Discworld, #10)
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1) Mort (Discworld, #4) Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8) Night Watch (Discworld, #29)

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“Whatever happens, they say afterwards, it must have been fate. People are always a little confused about this, as they are in the case of miracles. When someone is saved from certain death by a strange concatenation of circumstances, they say that's a miracle. But of course if someone is killed by a freak chain of events -- the oil spilled just there, the safety fence broken just there -- that must also be a miracle. Just because it's not nice doesn't mean it's not miraculous.” 419 likes
“And therefore education at the University mostly worked by the age-old method of putting a lot of young people in the vicinity of a lot of books and hoping that something would pass from one to the other, while the actual young people put themselves in the vicinity of inns and taverns for exactly the same reason.” 10 likes
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