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Interesting Times (Discworld, #17; Rincewind #5)
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Interesting Times (Discworld #17)

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  26,600 Ratings  ·  500 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 What
Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 4th 1998 by HarperTorch (first published 1994)
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The Colour of Magic by Terry PratchettThe Light Fantastic by Terry PratchettMort by Terry PratchettEqual Rites by Terry PratchettGuards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
Discworld In Order
9th out of 41 books — 15 voters
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna ClarkeHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiGood Omens by Terry PratchettInfinite Jest by David Foster WallaceHogfather by Terry Pratchett
46th out of 79 books — 54 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 10, 2015 Antonio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hay una maldición.
Ojalá vivas en tiempos interesantes.

La quinta es la vencida, hasta ahora esta es la historia más sólida que leo del mundodisco sin dejar de ser graciosa, teniendo como protagonista a Rincewind el mago más cobarde que ha existido y que no importa que tanto trate de huir de todas las situaciones que se le presentan, los dioses o el destino, al parecer, siempre lo eligen como candidato para salvar al mundo.

Los personajes del libro me encantaron especialmente la Horda de p
Aug 16, 2011 Zach rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
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
One of the worst curses you can fling at a Discworld character is “May you live in interesting times,” hence the title of the book.

But aside from it’s promising title, the 17th Discworld book was a bit of a letdown after the fitting soulful musings of Soul Music, but it almost made up for it in sheer volume of jokes and witticisms alone. I wanted to quote something practically every other page. The perfect Discworld book is funny, biting, and deep-hitting. This one was mostly just amusing, altho
David Sarkies
Aug 22, 2015 David Sarkies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love Pratchett (and those who don't)
Recommended to David by: Stewart Wymer
Shelves: comedy
Rincewind in China
22 August 2015

When my friend leant me this book he simply said 'Rincewind' at which I rolled my eyes. I must say that Rincewind is certainly not my favourite Discworld character, even though some of the books in which he has starred have been quite good. However I wasn't really expecting anything all that much to come from this book, even though it is one of the Discworld novels and I am slowly making my way through each of them (and it was also a bit of a time out from some o
Molly Westerman
Aug 07, 2013 Molly Westerman rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
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
Aug 23, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, fantasy, pratchett
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
Nov 08, 2012 Lorelei rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, humour
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.
While Death only has a very small bit in this book, I still loved this one. Fate playing games with the others at the beginning is a great bit and there is lots to love in Cohen the Barbarian.

I am saddened that after having finished this one, I only have fourteen Discworld books that I have not read now.

Four stars.
Aug 09, 2015 Tfitoby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantastical, funny
Essentially this is silly, racist and obvious, a typical Rincewind book really. But to counter that you have a lot of fun with Cohen the Barbarian and to counter that you have and old man in a wheelchair whose sole purpose for being in the novel is to shout "What?!" to everything. Because he's deaf you see. Yeah it's that kind of Discworld book.
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
Apr 11, 2014 Jessica rated it liked it
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.
Felipe Guerrero
Dec 01, 2015 Felipe Guerrero rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un libro genial, muy divertido y con algunas caras conocidas que, dicho sea de paso, ya extrañaba.

Lo que mas me a gustado de este libro a sido La Horda, esa pandilla de ancianos que vienen de tiempos mas brutales y que no saben como comportarse civilizadamente.

Si bien todo el libro es genial me han gustado mas las partes en que La Horda hace acto de presencia, se nota su nostalgia por tiempos mas simples, cada frase que pronuncian esta cargada de recuerdos de tiempos mas barbaros y mejores, y pa
Apr 12, 2016 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, humor, 2015-reads
Discworld’s Counterweight Continent is explored for the first time in the series as author Terry Pratchett sends the inept wizard Rincewind to the walled off landmass where he meets up with some old friends in a reunion of the series’ first two books.

The Discworld’s version of China & Japan is the Agatean Empire, a mysterious place which only the rest of the Discworld can speculate about, sends a message to Ankh-Morpork for the ‘Great Wizzard’. After several uses of magical quantum mechanics
Richard Kirby
Jan 26, 2014 Richard Kirby rated it it was amazing
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
Mary Catelli
Off to China the Counterweight Continent. It lies knotted in politics as the emperor dies without an heir, and from it, Ankh-Morpork gets a message demanding "The Great Wizzard." Once they find the hat, they deduce Rincewind is meant, transport him to the University, and coerce him into getting sent there.

Where he disrupts the testing of a "Barking Dog" -- cannon --- and finds that Cohen the Barbarian is there, with a few other elderly barbarian heroes to form the Silver Horde. Also there is a R
Jan 07, 2016 Roviragrao rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: relecturas
(Relectura Mundodisco #17)

Rincewind sigue en su camino del anti-héroe, es decir, huyendo de cualquier aventura posible. El contraste lo proporciona la Horda Plateada, grupo de ancianos bárbaros liderado por Cohen, que hace que todos los tiempos sean interesantes. Juntos se enfrentan al Imperio Ágata, que gobierna de una forma que hace añorar las cadenas.

Estamos ante una divertidísima novela sobre la civilización y la barbarie. La Horda Plateada acapara mucho protagonismo y es todo un acierto. Co
Rebecca Huston
Dec 04, 2012 Rebecca Huston rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, series, discworld
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:
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
Simcha Wood
Oct 01, 2014 Simcha Wood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Inter
Scott Holstad
Sep 16, 2014 Scott Holstad rated it it was amazing
I finished this Discworld novel so many weeks ago that I can't remember if I was going to give it four stars or five! I think five, so that's what I'll do. I also can't remember enough to give it a decent review, and for that, I truly apologize. I've read too many books in between.

This book is another in the Rincewind the Wizzard series, and it's really very good. In it, he's chosen to go to the Agatean Empire on the mysterious Counterweight Continent -- a place that appears to be like ancient
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
Apr 06, 2014 Doreen rated it liked it
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
Mar 16, 2012 Remo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, novela, 2006

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 e

Oct 08, 2013 Nathan rated it really liked it
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
Jun 15, 2014 Michele rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
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
Oct 10, 2015 Aaron rated it really liked it
I really like the Rincewind books. It has been a while since the last one, so this was very nice. Most of the book was good, and a few parts were great, so I give it 4 stars. Not the greatest ending, but a good set up.
Nov 14, 2009 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting Times is Terry Pratchett's take on China, which here he calls the Agatean Empire, with its capital at HungHung. At first I was taken aback because much of the action involved my least favorite Diskcworld characters, the undynamic Rincewind and Cohen the Barbarian. (I have always felt that Pratchett is more comfortable with the stews of Ankh-Morpork than in the outlying lands such as Klatch, Lancre, XXXX, Ephebe, and Howandaland.) But fortunately, the story picked up ... because Pratc ...more
Óli Sóleyjarson
Jun 20, 2015 Óli Sóleyjarson rated it it was amazing
Um Kína og Japan og byltingar og tölvur. Ein uppáhalds Rincewind bókin mín. Skemmtileg að mestu, smá predikandi. Aðallega fyndin.
Jun 13, 2015 paola rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although Rincewind isn't my favourite discworld storyline, this book was brilliant and hilarious.
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Interesting Times is one of my early favourites, from when I first got into the Discworld series – it was also the first time that I discovered Rincewind, the Disc’s most inept wizard. In this story, he’s on the counterweight continent, where revolution is afoot – during his travels, he’s joined by a whole host of cool characters, including the Luggage, Death and Cohen the Barbarian, who appears to be impossible to kill.

The title of the book comes from a curse which gets leveled at Rincewind – m
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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,
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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)

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