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Unseen Academicals (Discworld #37)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  34,845 Ratings  ·  1,578 Reviews
Discworld lives on in Unseen Academicals, the latest novel from Terry Pratchett. Delivering the trademark insight and humor readers the world over have come to expect from “the purely funniest English writer since Wodehouse” (Washington Post Book World), Unseen Academicals focuses on the wizards at Ankh-Morpork’s UnseenUniversity, who are reknowned for many things—sagacity ...more
Audio CD, Unabridged, 0 pages
Published November 3rd 2009 by HarperAudio (first published September 10th 2007)
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Dan Schwent
Jun 29, 2009 Dan Schwent rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pratchett
Football (soccer to Americans like myself) is all the rage in Ankh-Morpork and Vetinari, the Patrician, has given Unseen University the duty of refining it from a street game to an organized event. Only some people don't want it organized. Can the Unseen Academicals, with Trevor Likely and the mysterious Mister Nutt, overcome football's rowdiest hooligans?

The thing about Terry Pratchett is that while his stories take place in a fantasy world, they are about real world events and concepts. This o
When I was a teenager, a friend and I wrote a behemoth of a three-page letter on A4 paper to Terry Pratchett. We were amazed and grateful when a reply arrived from him a few months later, apologising for the delay and attempting to answer some of our many questions. One of the questions we asked was, "What football team do you support?" He replied something to the effect of not watching football because he thought it was weird.

Warm, fuzzy memories aside, I wanted to love this latest Discworld no
Jun 25, 2012 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book when it came out in 2009, and to be completely honest with you, I was kinda disappointed.

The book wasn't bad, mind you. But it was merely good. Pratchett's work is usually somewhere between brilliant and excellent.

Still, I wasn't particularly surprised. I've known about Pratchett's struggle with Alzheimer's for a while. I've known it was just a matter of time before it started to impact his work.

That said, even a somewhat lackluster Pratchett book is pretty good, and I
Jun 26, 2010 Shovelmonkey1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: old skool discworld fans
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: all of the previous discworlds
Football has come to Ankh-Morpork. Strange that, in the scale of Ankh-Morporkian evolution, football arrives after the genesis of iconographs and moving pictures but there you have it. That is one of the joys of evolution is it not? The element of surprise?

Surprisingly the arrival of football also coincides with the arrival of high fashion, fashion models (maybe not that surprising given the association between fashion and football a la posh n becks), the rediscovery of the Orc (like the redisc
May 01, 2010 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Contrary to popular belief, I don't hate sports.

I know this may come as a surprise, since I studiously avoid all but the most cursory acknowledgment of current sporting events. I finish the paper when I hit the sports section, and the sport report on the news is, for me, time to wash the dishes. I have no favorite teams of any kind, no players I look up to, and no interest in following play-offs, bowl games, championships or derbys. Hell, even with the Olympics my interest plummets after the ope
Nov 19, 2009 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The challenge with trying to review a book by the inimitable Terry Pratchett is finding something to say that hasn’t already been said. The man’s unquestionable skill as a writer and the extensive body of his work makes it all but impossible to say anything about a new addition that hasn’t already been said—often.

I had the pleasure of receiving an advance copy of the newest Pratchett, Unseen Academicals, from the publisher, Harper. And trust me, it was very much a pleasure because once again Mr.
What do you get when you mix football, magic, academic rivalry, an orangutan, the world of high (sorry) low fashion, a thumbing of nose (if not outright rasberrying) of Harry Potter, commentary on religion, and a designer named Pepe?

Unseen Academicals.

Most readers consider the last few Discworld novels to be good, though not great. In Unseen Academicals, Pratchett is back to his top form. Perhaps, a break from Discworld to write the wonderful and thought provoking Nation was what he needed. Rega
Mar 25, 2017 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Or futbol, or football, or whatever.

Terry Pratchett has created a sports novel, or not, or whatever.

Yes, Lord Vetenari has agreed to allow a disorganized sport for ruffians and street thugs to have rules and even develop a league of sorts. Like crime, if there is going to be sports, it should at least be organized.

The 37th Discworld novel, first published in 2007 is about sports, but like all of Pratchett’s books, Sir Terry stuffs a Librarian (OOK!) sized amount of charisma, philosophy, a
Talulah Mankiller
Apr 22, 2010 Talulah Mankiller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dear Mr. Pratchett,

You have given me much joy in a cold, dreary life filled with vet visits and chemical adjustments to my brain. I was born to bleed from my vagina, expel copious amounts of snot from my nostrils (seriously, what is UP with my sinuses?), and watch GI Joe because my sister thinks terrible movies are funny. Or maybe she just finds my screams of pain amusing. ANYWAY, what I’m saying is that I suffer, I suffer mightily, but your books make things just a little bit more bearable. You
Oct 23, 2009 Seth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-f-h, discworld, fantasy
There isn't much to say about a Discworld novel at this point.You like the series or you don't, you shouldn't start with this one (although it isn't that bad of a starter, it doesn't give a lot of background on the characters--start elsewhere), and you just want to know if it's one of the (rare) standouts, either as extra genius (Night Watch) or a klunker (Monstrous Regiment).

It's a solid Discworld book, and we seem to have precious few of those left, so cherish it.

For recurring characters, it
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
The wizards have never been my favorite, and we keep getting a dose of new characters, and football is hardly my favorite topic, but, for all of that, it was still an enjoyable story. It'll most likely never be one of my faves, but it was good.

I liked Nutt and Glenda, and wouldn't mind seeing them again, but I particularly liked the addition of Mr. Hix to the UU staff - the man with the skull ring who has license to be just a little bit evil, and to say the things everyone else is thinking. He w
Kirsti (Melbourne on my mind)
I find this book a somewhat perplexing addition to the Discworld series. Technically, I think it's classed as a Rincewind book?? And yet Rincewind shows up for approximately two pages.

It's a book about football, in which the game goes from being played in a totally disorganised, stab-your-opponents-if-they-get-in-the-way fashion with a heavy wooden ball to a game with rules and specific positions and a lightweight inflatable ball. Which is fine, except that Jingo, some sixteen books earlier in
Dec 11, 2015 Antonio rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Empecé a leer este libro porque se me había dicho que era el último libro de la saga de Rincewind (el mago más cobarde de todos) pero…

Rincewind no es el protagonista, y si tiene cuatro líneas en la historia es mucho. Luego me dije, no será de Rincewind, pero va de magos y futbol, debe ser algo así como el Quidditch, pero…

Los magos de este libro no hacen magia, lo que para mí es un gran desperdicio, admito que no debió causarme tanta sorpresa, ya que Rincewind por lo general no es muy diestro en
Jun 07, 2013 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this might even be the first Pratchett book I read since his death. And somehow it felt so fitting that most of his main characters at least visited this book. As it was fitting that the whole book ends with a big "do you think it is over?" thing. Because it sort of is, and it is sad. I personally still have a few books of his unread, but it is still sad.

The book itself was not one of his best books, but there were parts that made me chuckle aloud and there were parts that moved me. I a
Jan 18, 2010 Asya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very fun to read, but it ended quite quickly, without the usual bang. I didn't like all of the new characters. The continuation of the story would be very interesting. All in all, it's a good Discworld book.

And something I've been thinking while reading the book, but not really provoked by it:

It seems more and more civil concepts from our world are starting their own life in Ankh Morpork. The more the Discworld gets populated by newspaper agencies, mobile communications, banks, post offices, fas
Jul 01, 2012 Petr rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aby bylo jasno, Zeměplochu mám rád - obzvlášť ty dvě epizody, v nichž se vyskytuje Vlahoš von Rosret, ale výborná je i Noční hlídka, Pátý elefant, Pravda, z těch starších třeba Sekáč nebo Otec Prasátek. Četl jsem je všechny, k některým se rád vracím.

To ale neznamená, že se Pratchettovi povedlo vždycky všechno - a ano, jsem si vědom, že pro nezanedbatelnou část českého geectva je Terry bůh a Jan Kantůrek jeho prorok.

Po těchto varováních přistupme k věci. Nevídaní Akademikové vyšli česky už předl
Oct 29, 2014 Lammoth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Само Наште! Само Наште!

Още преди много, много години всички очакваха тази книга да излезе. Тя бе въпрос на време. След като Пратчет с думи ни нарисува гротесков свят и ни поразходи из музикалния бизнес (Музика за душата), киното и телевизията (Подвижни картини), операта и театъра (Маскарад), пресата и медиите (Истината), сред пощите и телекомуникации (Пощоряване), монетарна система и банки (Опаричване), философия и религия (Малки богове), туризъм и пътувания (Вещици в чужбина), всички се питаха
Phil McCrum
Feb 21, 2012 Phil McCrum rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


"Unseen Academicals" arrives new into a series that is already well over 30 books deep. The series is referred to as the "Discworld" series. For those of you unfamiliar with Discworld, it is a mythical flat world being carried through space on the backs of four cosmically huge elephants that are, themselves, standing on the back of an even larger tortoise. This tortoise is slowly making her way through the universe carrying millions of eclectic entities with her. If you loved "The Hitchh
Sam Quixote
Aug 06, 2011 Sam Quixote rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first Discworld novel in 4 years, the last one I read being the largely mediocre "Thud!" and a below average outing for the City Watch. I tried "Making Money" a couple of years ago but it was the first Discworld I couldn't finish it was so poor. That was really it for me, I thought I'd not be returning to Pratchett again. I felt sorry for Terry hearing of his illness but his continued forays into the dubious realm of "Young Adult" fiction often yielded poor books for a bloke in his 20 ...more
Oct 27, 2009 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: discworld
Loved it. Like all recent Pratchett (roughly speaking, those since "The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents") this book isn't just a loosely-connected set of sly references. Something happened around a decade ago, and his books began to be much more about life and people. In particular, "Unseen Academicals" tackles the question of social expectation, the mob, and being worthy of being.

This isn't as smooth a read as his other recent works, which might have something to do with this one being
Mar 26, 2013 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, humor
I've never been a sports fan, unless I were actually doing the sport in question, but I found a discworld adaptation of a sport completely apropo and more than a little snide. Fortunately for those of us who don't care too much about sports in-general, the reoccurring characters more than make up for the intrusion. I will always enjoy these series of books because they're gentle and wise and so wise-cracking and quite un-genteel.
I think, for lack of a large cast of favorite Orcish characters in
Nicholas Karpuk
Jan 18, 2010 Nicholas Karpuk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wizards play soccer. I could leave it at there and let you imagine their pointy hats wiggling across the field. That's almost a sales pitch in and of itself.

No artists ailments affect me quite like Pratchett's weird version of Alzheimer's. If it were some authors I like, I'd be upset, but for many of them, their best work is in the past. It's troubling with Pratchett because his books just keep getting more compelling.

What sounds like a high concept comedy ends up being a pretty bright discussio
I'm not sure exactly why I haven't been enjoying the last few Pratchett books that I've read. Several theories present themselves; I don't like the subject matter (entirely possible here, I don't have a keen interest in football), I am tired of the genre and style (it's happened before) or this just isn't as funny as it could be.

Somehow this book in attempting to lambast such a subject just managed to make the the sport, fans and players seem pathetic and not laughably so (personal opinion poss
Jan 31, 2016 Helena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
You can read my review here:
Jan 31, 2017 Sonia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
El atlético invisible cierra la saga de los magos de MundoDisco de una manera curiosa ya que cobran protagonismo aquellos que hasta ahora habían permanecido en las sombras: los empleados que mantienen en pie la Universidad Invisible. En esta historia los personajes principales pasaran a ser las cocineras y los veleros y el hilo argumental estará ocupado por algo tan banal y poco fantasioso como el fútbol. Abandonamos a Rincewind y el equipaje queda reducido a un mínimo párrafo, los magos pasan a ...more
Moira Russell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Harold Ogle
Jan 02, 2012 Harold Ogle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of comic fantasy
Shelves: fantasy, humor
This is a fun novel, even if it doesn't attain the depth of pathos of some of the better Discworld novels (Night Watch, Thief of Time). In large part this is because we are meeting the main character for the first time.

Many people like to quickly characterize the Discworld books as being one of a few "types": Rincewind novels, Death novels, the Watch novels, and the Witches novels (though a couple of more recent ones have been about Moist). Then there are quite a few left over, of course, and th
Oct 12, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pratchett, fantasy
I ordered this book from Amazon on Friday, and a nice man knocked on my door and handed the book to me on Saturday. Now that's service! Needless to say, it was read by Sunday.

We're back on Discworld with Pratchett's newest, and back to a favorite Pratchett plot: Discworlders invent something familiar to those of us in the real world (a la Moving Pictures, Soul Music, The Truth, and many more). He's never attempted sports before, and as much as normal sports books make me want to snooze and never
Oct 16, 2010 Velvetine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a longtime Discworld reader I thought for a standalone book I would not recommend it for first-time readers of the Discworld series.
It is one of his best written works in the use of language and has a lot of heart where it addresses issues about racial stereotyping and the crab-bucket analogy but lacks the amount of spark and punch his best books have. Less than perfect Pratchett though is still very good, hence the 4 stars.

The Good: it ticked all the boxes with Pratchett humour; word-play,
Discworld. Unseen University gets a football team, a university cook gets a chance to be repeatedly awesome, and an abused child just gets a chance.

I was looking forward to this book because hi, Discworld. And it was a pleasure to read, sure. But it's sort of like he took all the bits of a really great Discworld book – an extremely smart heroine, an absurd cultural artifact, people with something to prove – and assembled the whole thing, but then forgot to, I don't know, strike the match. There
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Unseen Academicals 1 4 Jul 29, 2012 03:45PM  
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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; Rincewind #1)
  • The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind #2)
  • Equal Rites (Discworld, #3; Witches #1)
  • Mort (Discworld, #4; Death, #1)
  • Sourcery (Discworld, #5; Rincewind #3)
  • Wyrd Sisters (Discworld, #6; Witches #2)
  • Pyramids (Discworld, #7)
  • Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8; City Watch #1)
  • Eric (Discworld, #9; Rincewind #4)
  • Moving Pictures (Discworld, #10; Industrial Revolution, #1)

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“The female mind is certainly a devious one, my lord."
Vetinari looked at his secretary in surprise. "Well, of course it is. It has to deal with the male one.”
“Juliet's version of cleanliness was next to godliness, which was to say it was erratic, past all understanding and was seldom seen.” 126 likes
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