Friday, 27 April 2012

Terry Pratchett's Discworld 05- Sourcery

I seem to be in danger of turning this into a fantasy fiction blog, which is kind of odd because I don't even like fantasy that much.

Sourcery
Corgi
Terry Pratchett
1988

Other Terry Pratchett Reviews- The Colour of Magic - The Light Fantastic - Equal Rites - Mort - Sourcery - Wyrd Sisters - Pyramids - Guards! Guards! - Eric - Moving Pictures - Reaper Man - Witches Abroad - Small GodsLords and Ladies - Men At Arms - Soul Music - Interesting Times - Maskerade - Feet of Clay - Hogfather - Raising Steam - A Blink of the Screen - Sky1 Adaptations- Dodger - The Long Earth (w Stephen Baxter)

"I meant," said Iplsore bitterly, "what is there in this world that makes living worthwhile?" Death thought about it. "CATS," he said eventually, "CATS ARE NICE."

After the morbid brilliance and series high of Mort, Terry Pratchett's satirical fantasy Discworld series returned to its adventure-orientated routes with Sourcery, which also marked the first return of Rincewind since the opening Colour of Magic/Light Fantastic two-part story. On the Discworld, wizards are the patriarchs of magic, controlling its use through a careful hierarchy at the Unseen University, while aiming to master the art by studying book after book and memorizing complex magical spells. Wizards are typically born as the eighth son of an eighth son, but are forbidden to have any children themselves. Sourcery gives us the reason why, through the emergence of the character Coin, and eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son (or, as Pratchett puts it, 'a wizard squared').

Coin is a sourcerer, a kind of super-wizard who controls the flow and form of magic on a whim and who quickly takes control of the sycophantic wizard community of the city of Ankh-Morpork, declaring that wizards shall rule the whole Disc at the cost of a kind of magical nuclear war. It therefore becomes the task of Rincewind, the world's worst wizard, to stop the very best. Inadvertently gathering a troupe of strange associates, such as Conina the Barbarian (daughter of Cohen, wishes she was a hairdresser) and Nijel the Destroyer (trainee barbarian hero, has read half a book about it), Rincewind goes on another miniature tour of Discworld in his unwanted quest. If this plot sounds somewhat similar to CoM/LF, that's because it is.

Sourcery attempts to replicate the fun and action of the first two Discworld novels but the law of diminishing returns perhaps ensures that just isn't as interesting, as Pratchett's rehashing of his previous formula fails to capture the imagination as wildly as it did before. That's not to dismiss it completely, as  certain aspects of it are completely excellent, particularly the story of the young villain (or, as the plot leads, young victim) sorcerer Coin, and the wonderfully despicable and cowardly wizards who quickly fall under his reign. Rincewind's still as likable and cowardly as ever, of course, but his hangers on aren't particularly inspiring (and they fail to reappear in any future Discworld books) and much of their trekking about just seems like padding before the final confrontation. While I can't say I didn't enjoy this book, it is very derivative, certainly the least-interesting of all the Rincewind books because of its lack of individual characteristics.