Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Unseen Academicals (Discworld, #37)” as Want to Read:
Unseen Academicals (Discworld, #37)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Unseen Academicals

(Discworld #37)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  40,994 ratings  ·  1,804 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
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published 2009 by Doubleday
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  40,994 ratings  ·  1,804 reviews

Sort order
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it

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
Dan Schwent
Jun 29, 2009 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 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
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-shelf, fantasy
While this story was never exactly anywhere close to one of my favorites in the Discworld books, I'd be remiss in saying it isn't excellent.

I mean, it has everything. Star-crossed romance between orc and kitchen maid, underdog sports story, and a heartwarming tale of raising Ankh-Morpork out of the mud and into civilized behavior once and for all.

A game of Foot the Ball can make all of that happen.

Brilliant? Perhaps! It has all the elements that people love and this particular Audible productio
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, fantasy
The Wizards of unseen University must play a game of football (the round ball variety) to meet some historical statute required to keep them housed and fed to the standard they have come to expect. This requires taking the current form of the game played in the the streets by thugs and transforming it into a more civilized form watched in a stadium with rules and a referee. Although anything involving the wizards is likely to have it's own form of chaos.

Perhaps because I am not a big fan of foot
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Last year, I finally started reading the Discworld novels. Thus, I've read this out of order since it's actually #37. However, there having been the World Cup, this was too good an opportunity to miss.

For years, Ankh-Morpork had a game called Mudball. Originally called Foot-the-Ball and being more about technique, it has descended into a violent jumble thanks to the city's Hooligans. As fate (or Lord Vetinari) would have it, the son of a legendary Foot-the-Ball player has been incarcerated and t
Jun 26, 2010 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 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 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.
This book was semi-entertaining, but it definitely won’t be one of my favorites from Discworld. I also think I was a little misled by the Discworld chart I’ve been referencing. The chart lists this as part of the Rincewind series, but he hardly appears in the book at all and has very little to do with the story. He’s a fun character; I was looking forward to one last book about him.

Our main characters are four non-wizards who work on the staff at Unseen University. The other wizards who often fe
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
Oct 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: discworld, sf-f-h, 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
Talulah Mankiller
Apr 22, 2010 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
Sam Quixote
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 07, 2013 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
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
Phil McCrum
Feb 21, 2012 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
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 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
Jan 18, 2010 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
Mar 26, 2013 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 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
Aug 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
3.5 stars, but this time I rounded down, because it took me weeks to get through this.

Look, it's fun. Pratchett poking fun at sports (the chanting - HEH), while also highlighting some of the good things about it. Pratchett is always clever, and the character work is good. Nutt, Glenda and Trev are particularly fun, which is notable, because they're all new characters.

I particularly enjoyed Glenda's dynamic with Vetinari.

The wizards where their usual zany selves. Ponder is my favourite, but Ridic
Für mich leider einer der schwachen Pratchetts. Seine Geschichten sind ja selten linear geschrieben und normalerweise gefällt mir die etwas mäandernde Erzählweise mit vielen Nebensträngen, aber hier war es mir zu viel. Ich hatte den Eindruck, dass zu viele verschiedene Ideen zusammenkamen, die zwischendurch vergessen schienen, nur um dann plötzlich wieder aufzutauchen, weil man das ja irgendwann mal eingeführt hatte. Auch die Liebesgeschichten fand ich unbefriedigend bis schlecht ausgeführt, abe ...more
Jul 01, 2012 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
Jannah (Cloud Child)

It wasnt perfect but it was funny and Mr Nutt is the perfect downtrodden protagonist with hidden talents, to root for.
Football! Ankh-Morphorkh's long bloody tradition of the mass "the Shove" in the streets violently cheering on the local teams both using tactics that could possibly kill if not at least injure, to get the hard wooden "ball" into opposing goals, is about to come under a drastic change, due to a clause in the Unseen University.

The Unseen University is possibly one of the most
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a fan of Terry Pratchett (RIP). But this one was a bit less to my liking. Still funny, creative, enjoyable, but got bored by the long and slow lead-in, and by lots of football (soccer) details. I even checked Wiki info, and found that many jokes (names of teams, specific plays etc) are very specific references to the UK soccer world, which was pretty incomprehensible to me except very generally.
Note: the book cover seems to show a basketball, not a soccer ball, and hands reaching for it, wh
Елена Павлова
Редовно препрочитана и много любима, макар че е от книгите, в които някак си личи, че Пратчет... вече няма време.
Препълнена и прелива от вече не толкова смешни, но супер, невероятно важни елементи от неговите възгледи за света и мястото на различните в него.
Накратко - много яка книга и мегазабавна, но горчива като лекарство.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: Unseen Academicals 1 8 Jul 29, 2012 03:45PM  
  • Carpe Jugulum: The Play
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • The Wyrdest Link: A Terry Pratchett Discworld Quizbook
  • The Colour of Magic: Graphic Novel (Discworld, #1)
  • Knees Up Mother Earth (Brentford Trilogy)
  • Too Many Curses
  • In Your Dreams (J. W. Wells & Co., #2)
  • On the Planet of Zombie Vampires (Bill, the Galactic Hero, #5)
Born Terence David John Pratchett, 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, i

Other books in the series

Discworld (1 - 10 of 42 books)
  • The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind, #1)
  • The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind #2)
  • Equal Rites (Discworld, #3; Witches, #1)
  • Mort (Death, #1; Discworld, #4)
  • 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)
“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.” 141 likes
More quotes…