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Interesting Times

(Discworld #17)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  37,623 ratings  ·  899 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 November 1994)
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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  37,623 ratings  ·  899 reviews

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Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, humor, 2018-shelf
Interesting Times
When Cohen Established that Dynasty That Time
Rincewind Gets a New Suit.

I really enjoyed this Pratchett, being one of the few people who actually think that Rincewind is a likable anti-hero, or rather, a good runner. But sometimes even good runners get caught in the affairs of Wizzards and revolution. Okay, maybe it's Wizards and if I count him, it's only Wizzard, but you get the idea. :)

Welcome to China-ish, buddy! The Emperor would like to meet you. Or chop off your legs
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Bruce Lee, Yun Fat Chow, David Carradine and Michelle Yeoh sit in an Italian pizza place in Queens and discuss Terry Pratchett’s 17th Discworld novel Interesting Times.

Bruce Lee: Ok, first of all, David, why are you even here, you’re not Chinese.

Carradine: Come on, you all know why, I played Kwai Chang Caine on King Fu in the 70s, don’t act like you don’t …

Michelle: Anyhoo - Pratchett, pays homage to Asian culture through his counter continent Roman eclef, The Agatean Empire
Aug 06, 2011 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
Jul 25, 2015 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
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It all starts with the gods playing another game. Because Fate always wins - at least if the other players adhere to the rules. Which his new opponent doesn't. Resulting in a very interesting butterfly effect. ;)

In this 17th Discworld novel Rincewind is returned to Unseen University and makes a deal with Ridcully to go to Discworld's oldest Empire to help them with their current revolution in exchange for being allowed to come back for good and being called a wizzard wizard. Due to the fact that
Algernon (Darth Anyan)


"May you live in interesting times!" is a long established curse on the Counterweight Continent of the Discworld. The Agatean Empire is just heading this way as its aging, demented Emperor is about to die and five noble families who have fought one another for centuries: The Hongs, the Sungs, the Tangs, the McSweeneys ( very old established family) and the Fangs gather their armies around the capital city of HungHung in preparation of the war of succession. High above them in the clouds
The problem with Rincewind books is that I really like Rincewind, and Rincewind books tend to have more problematic elements than the other Discworld books, and also the most recycled. This is the worst culprit of Pratchett's rather casual racism (and also the overuse (see: any use at all) of rape jokes--what was with that?).

So I really struggled with whether to give this two or three stars. I felt if I gave it two stars, it would indicate that I didn't like this book at all. Which isn't true!
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 15, 2015 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
Apr 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, humor
Part of the Pratchett reread with the SpecFic Buddy Reads group in 2018.

Rincewind gets recruited by Mustrum Ridcully and the faculty of Unseen University to go to the Counterweight Continent and the country of the Agatean Empire, Discworld's version of China (with quite a few Japanese bits). The Agatean Empire is experiencing a period of unrest with the Emperor about to die and the county's warlords gathering to determine who the next Emperor will be. There is, of course, a Grand Vizier called
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Todo lo que vaya a decir a partir de ahora está influenciado por el hecho de que sigo leyendo la saga de los magos de MundoDisco sin que acabe de gustarme, simplemente por terminarla, para luego empezar otra a la espera de que quizás esta acabe siendo de mi agrado.
Reconozco la maestría del autor para la ironía, su imaginación desbordante y su capacidad de parodia, capaz de abarcar a toda una sociedad o la idea tan limitada que podamos tener de ella pero estas historias no pasan para mí de entret
May 16, 2011 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.
Mar 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: do-not-read

Okay. I'm going to have to say something controversial here. This book is downright horrible.

I realize that's practically blasphemy, since it was written by Terry Pratchett (whose work I generally love). I know that Pratchett was a satirist. I am aware that it was spoofing books like James Clavell's Asian Saga (Shogun, Noble House, King Rat, etc.), in which a white guy handles Asia better than the Asians and ends up in charge. I remember Clavell's books and t
Jan 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, humor, 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
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este libro me ha emocionado, destrozado y hecho reír a partes iguales.

Considero al señor Pratchett un maestro no sólo por su ingenioso sentido del humor y su amplia imaginación, sino por su capacidad de narrar historias que, además de sacarte varias carcajadas, te hacen reflexionar sobre la vida.

En esta novela del Mundodisco (la quinta de la Saga de los Magos o Saga Rincewind), nuestro querido Rincewind se ve envuelto en esta ocasión en una aventura desarrollada en el Imperio Ágata. Al parecer,
3.5 stars.

On the whole, the Rincewind books are probably my least favourite subset of the Discworld series (with the exception of The Lost Continent, obviously). And it's been years since I'd read this one. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that while Rincewind still annoys me as a character and there were some "uhhh, that's a tiny bit racist" moments in it because it's now 20-odd years old, on the whole this one was fairly enjoyable.

It features Rincewind going to the Counterweight Contine
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, humour
I hate writing this about a Terry Pratchett book but frankly this is really not one of his best. It almost became a "dnf" though the end was quite entertaining.

Having devoured the series from one it started and waited for each year's book I sort of drifted off probably a book or two before this one. Reading this suggests I was right! What is remarkable is just how good his writing became again later on. The Tiffany Aching books are among the best he wrote (IMHO). This one doesn't really bear com
Wiebke (1book1review)
This was such a great trip, hanging out with Rincewind and Twoflower again, seeing Cohen take over an empire and thinking about revolutions.
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting Times is from the Rincewind subseries of Discworld. It’s been quite a few books since I’ve seen Rincewind, so it was fun to see him again. He always makes me laugh.

If you’ve read the earlier books, you may remember that Rincewind once had some adventures with Twoflower, a visitor from the Counterweight continent. In this book Rincewind finds himself, quite against his will of course, dropping in on the Counterweight continent and getting caught up in a revolution.

It was a lot of fu
Molly Westerman
Jun 18, 2013 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
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
Sep 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humour, sf
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.
Veronika Sebechlebská
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, fantasy
Prečo existuje tak veľa kníh o Mrakoplašovi a tak málo o Barbarovi Cohanovi? Život nie je fér.
Oct 10, 2012 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
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, humor
Ojalá vivas en tiempos interesantes. Eso es algo que le ocurre continuamente a Rincewind, y no podría haber mayor amenaza que esa para alguien que lo único que quiere es estar en una isla desierta sin nadie que le moleste.
Pratchett hace en esta novela un ensayo sobre la civilización y la barbarie, sobre lo políticamente correcto y sobre el papel del héroe en la sociedad moderna.
Tal vez el envoltorio esté lleno de magos, baúles con patas y mundos a espaldas de tortugas, pero la esencia que cuent
Apr 04, 2014 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.
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.
Feb 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I don't think I'd read this one before but I loved it. Though it's hard not to love a story with Rincewind in it!
Alfred Haplo
Interesting Times is my best Rincewind book to-date *, which is bizarre to contemplate. In recalling my past impressions of Rincewind’s character, something struck me at once. I no longer feel irked but indifferent by DiscWorld’s resident irritant and craven wizard, now relegated to necessary evil status. His is a character so entrenched with fans that changing anything about his personality might result in revolt. Instead, his surroundings are changed around him, with best wishes to everyone el ...more
There's a sense here that Pratchett is struggling to fit Rincewind's default 'live to run another day' ethos into his more developed mode of story telling. It worked (for a given value of 'worked') for picaresque adventures like The Colour of Magic or the Light Fantastic, where the point was getting from one piss-take of fantasy cliches to another as quickly as possible. By this point though the Discworld books had become vehicles for Pratchett to explore moral or political questions from a cock ...more
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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)
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  • Pyramids (Discworld, #7)
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“Whatever happens, they say afterwards, it must have been fate. People are always a little confused about this, as they are in the case of miracles. When someone is saved from certain death by a strange concatenation of circumstances, they say that's a miracle. But of course if someone is killed by a freak chain of events -- the oil spilled just there, the safety fence broken just there -- that must also be a miracle. Just because it's not nice doesn't mean it's not miraculous.” 561 likes
“And therefore education at the University mostly worked by the age-old method of putting a lot of young people in the vicinity of a lot of books and hoping that something would pass from one to the other, while the actual young people put themselves in the vicinity of inns and taverns for exactly the same reason.” 39 likes
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