E.H.'s Reviews > Unseen Academicals

Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett
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's review
May 30, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, humour
Recommended to E.H. by: Sean

I've been a Pratchett fan for a long time. But in the time since I last read a Discworld novel, Terry was diagnosed with an early-onset Alzheimer's. That was a scant three years ago; he has written several novels since, one of which was Unseen Academicals, and no one is writing his eulogy yet (with the possible exception of those newspapers that write all famous peoples' eulogies ahead of time). That said, it was difficult to read this book without looking for slips - points one could look and say, "That's the disease doing something, he's not at the top of his game anymore."

It's worth noting I couldn't find any moments like that.

He's clearly running into some problems of having overpopulated Ankh-Morpork with interesting characters - in addition to the new characters who turn up in UA, we get some wizards (including, briefly, Rincewind), Vetinari, a cameo from Sam Vimes, William de Worde, and CMOT Dibbler. The technologies available to Discworld personae are also turning a corner - with the availability of the telegraph-like "clacks," the newspapers and cheap novels, and regulated postal service, this is a much more Victorian environment than it used to be. I don't know how I feel about that.

The last Discworld novel I read was Night Watch, which may have been the best of them...I might even call it the best novel Pratchett has written, though I know that will upset Good Omens fans. UA was good, with enough plot twists, amusing asides, gay wizard jokes, and reoccurring characters to keep anyone happy. It was a genuinely enjoyable read. It was also mostly about football, which was a much more "meh" subject for me personally than, say, the advent of the postal system or the printing press, both of which I found fascinating (that's Going Postal and The Truth, respectively.)

But he does still got it.

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