Apr 24, 09
Read in April, 2009
Like all Terry Pratchett's other Diskworld books, Eric is a lampoon of the fantasy genre, full of parodies, ironic juxtapositions, puns, and good old fashioned jokes. Only this time Pratchett sets his sights at slightly more lofty literary targets, as Eric is largely a parody of Faust, Dante's The Inferno, and Homer's The Iliad. But don't worry, there's plenty of dumb fun, too.
The dumb fun in question starts when the perpetually ineffective wizard Rincewind is accidentally summoned from the netherworld by a 13-year old amateur demon summoner named Eric. Unconvinced that Rincewind is a victim of circumstance, Eric takes the wizard for a real demon and demands that he grant the three traditional wishes: to rule the world, to meet the most beautiful woman in history, and to live forever.
Rincewind balks at first, but is quickly surprised to learn that he DOES have the power to grant Eric's three wishes, albeit with unanticipated and rather ironic consequences. The source of Rincewind's new powers and the attention it generates from Hell's newly installed leader are unveiled through the book as Rincewind and Eric visit parodies of ancient Peru, the Trojan War, and Hell itself.
Not really sure what else to say about the book; it's classic Rincewind madcap, with the terrified wizard (or "WIZZARD" if the sequened letters on his hat are to be believed) going from one predicament to another and doing his best to keep alive and often being successful at it. It's not as tightly plotted as Guards! Guards!, but I've come to recognize the Rincewind books as largely just a chance for Pratchett to go nuts with his imagination and focus more on literary lampoons than social satire. Personally, I love it.
And as usual, it's full of great quotes:
"You always knew where you stood with Quiezovercoatl. It was generally with a lot of people on top of a great stepped pyramid with someone in an elegant feathered headdress chipping an exquisite obsidian knife for your very own personal use."
"The Tezuman Empire in the jungle valleys of central Klatch is known for it organic market gardens, its exquisite craftsmanship in obsidian, feathers and jade, and its mass human sacrifices in honor of Quezovorcoatl, the Feathered Boa, god of mass human sacrifices."
RINCEWIND: The Tezuman priests have a sophisticated calendar and an advanced horology
ERIC: Ah, good.
RINCEWIND (patiently): No, it means time measurement.
"These people were not only cheering, they were throwing flowers and hats. The hats were made of stone, but the thought was there."
"The consensus seemed to be that if really large numbers of men were sent to storm the mountain, then enough might survive the rocks to take the citadel. This is essentially the basis of all military thinking.
"Any wizard bright enough to survive for five minutes was also bright enough to realize that if there was any power in demonology, then it lay with the demons. Using it for your own purposes would be like trying to beat mice to death with a rattlesnake."
RINCEWIND: There's a door.
ERIC: Where does it go?
RINCEWIND: It stays where it is, I think.