Unseen Academicals (Discworld, #37)
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Unseen Academicals (Discworld #37)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  23,070 ratings  ·  1,255 reviews
FOOTBALL HAS COME TO THE ANCIENT CITY OF ANKH-MORPORK

- not the old-fashioned, grubby pushing and shoving, but the new, fast football with pointy hats for goalposts and balls that go gloing. And now the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they're in the mood for trying everything else.

The Big Match draws in an urchin with a gift...more
Paperback, 540 pages
Published 2010 by Corgi (first published January 1st 2009)
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Dan Schwent
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...more
Kat
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...more
Patrick
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...more
Shovelmonkey1
Jul 07, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Elizabeth
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....more
Chris
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...more
colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±
3.5

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. H...more
Sam Quixote
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
Phil McCrum

Wotcher!

"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...more
Chris
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...more
Petr
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...more
Talulah Mankiller
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...more
Seth
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...more
Asya
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...more
Moira Russell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Velvetine
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,...more
Nathan
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...more
Harold Ogle
Jan 06, 2012 Harold Ogle rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Lightreads
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...more
Nicholas Karpuk
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...more
Bjorn
You know the sort of plot where there's something the narrator isn't telling us, because if he told us too soon there'd be no plot, but he can't actually come up with a very good reason not to tell us?

Unseen Academicals is fairly mediocre, as Discworld novels go. There's magic in it (though some of the best bits come after magic is literally removed from it), there are cameos by all your favourite characters (though they come across more as checking boxes), there are some very nice (but rather p...more
Knjigoholičarka
Volim fudbal. Štaviše, moglo bi se reći da mnogo volim fudbal, iako je u poslednje vreme evropska fudbalska scena počela da poprima karakteristike stočne pijace. Nevertheless, supkultura koju je fudbal kao sport iznedrio nastavlja da se razvija nekim svojim tokom, a old school sukobi navijača i rivaliteti među klubovima i dalje inspirišu što filmadžije što pisce širom sveta. Makar onog dela sveta koji iole gotivi ovaj sport.

Elem, Pračet nam u ovom romanu donosi gomilu već-viđenih stereotipnih st...more
Matti Karjalainen
Suhteeni Terry Pratchettiin alkoi joskus 1990-luvulla, kun silloinen työkaverini esitteli meidät toisillemme. Luultavasti kaikki käynnistyi Noitia maisemissa -romaanista, jonka jälkeen aloimme viettää enemmän aikaa yhdessä, ja viimein suhteesta tuli varsin intohimoinen. Luin luultavasti melkein kaikki käsiini saamat romaanit.

Jossakin vaiheessa rakkaussuhde kuitenkin viilentyi. Kirjailijan maneerit alkoivat ärsyttää (tiedättehän, ne pienet asiat) ja viimeistään opiskeluaikoina kasvoimme erillemme...more
Laura
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...more
Heidi
Tuttua, hyväntuulista Pratchettia. Tämä kirja on kirjoitettu sanelusta, sillä alzheimeria sairastavalla Terryllä ei kynä pysy enää kädessä entiseen tapaan (on se niin väärin..). Tällä kertaa Ankh Morpork saa tutustua jalkapallon ja muodin ihmemaailmoihin. Tavallisesta poiketen tässä kirjassa ei seikkaile yhtään pääpahista, jonka pahat aikeet pitäisi tehdä tyhjäksi. Vastoinkäymisiä tulee eteen kuitenkin ihan ilman arkkivihollistakin, kuten tässä tosielämässäkin, eli tarina ei jää vihulaista kaipa...more
Rob Kitchin
Though seemingly unrelated, two events have occurred in the city of Ankh-Morpork – an ancient football trophy is discovered in the Royal Art Museum and Mr Nutt who seemingly has no past, nor any memory of it, has started to work in the Unseen University as a candle dribbler. Both though are destined to come into each other’s orbit as football, modernism, class, racism and celebrity are parodied through the lens of Terry Pratchett’s satirical eye. Trying to summarise a Pratchett book is never eas...more
Rachel
Each Discworld novel targets some aspect of society for Pratchett's satire, and in this one, he's picked on sports (soccer, specifically). If you've never read a Discworld book before, this one is probably not the place to start. It's a standalone story, but some of the characters (Vetinari and Ridcully in particular), will seem more full if you've read others in the series first.

If you're a Discworld fan, as I am, you might be a little disappointed. The plot revolves primarily around a group of...more
John Kirk
When this book was first published, I decided to wait for the paperback, mainly because I have zero interest in football. The paperback came out ahead of schedule, presumably to tie in with the World Cup, so I bought it half-price at the supermarket.

Some people said that it's not really about football, which is true. Unfortunately, it's still not very good. There's a mishmash of different ideas, none of which are really developed properly. In some ways, this is the reverse of Lords and Ladies, b...more
Doris
Foot-the-ball is Ankh-Morpork's version of British football and American soccer. The game as played in Ankh-Morpork's streets is rough, with few rules but many followers. In Unseen Academicals, Archchancellor Ridcully and the Patrician Vetinari work together to bring the rough and tumble aspects of the game under control, while still allowing an outlet for the sports fanatics.

While ostensibly trying to organize the game, the Patrician is, of course, playing a deeper hand, working to bring an ob...more
Mike
Apr 11, 2010 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
A nice little bit of humorous fiction. Set in the Discworld's main city, but it is a fairly self-contained story. I've only read some of these books and the occasional predecessor event or reference that I did not read/get didn't bother too much. This tale has less overt humor of the Mark Brothers or 3 Stooges sort, but it does proffer the reader a few nicely incorporated jokes, jests, and barbs.

Underneath it all Brooks gives us a tale of mobs, pop culture, and sports. For Americans, the basketb...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
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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.”
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