May 1, 2023 4:14 PM - Subscribe

Rincewind returns from hell at the behest of a 13-year-old Demonologist looking to make a deal with a devil, and Rincewind will just have to do. Along the way to seeing about the young man's wishes, they'll visit the Discworld's versions of the Aztec Empire, the Trojan War, and Corporate Bureaucracy. (Discworld #9, Wizards #4.) By Terry Pratchett.

It's the Discworld Book Club, everybody! Recently we've been following the City Watch books (Previously: Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, The Fifth Elephant, Night Watch, Thud!, Snuff) as well as the Industrial Revolution books (Previously: The Truth, Monstrous Regiment, Going Postal, Making Money.) and are now picking up where the earlier incarnation of the Book Club left off in following the Rincewind/Wizards novels. For those who truly wish to go back to the beginning, there are a number of Discworld novels covered in Fanfare back in the day (The Color of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Equal Rites, Mort, Sourcery, Wyrd Sisters) and most recently we covered Pyramids, Moving Pictures, and Small Gods. The next book will be Interesting Times.


Let's catch up with Rincewind, shall we? Last we saw of him, he was banished to the Dungeon Dimensions by the events of Sourcery, but he's somehow still able to cause magical chaos on the Disc, wherever he may be, and is summoned by adolescent demonologist Eric, who binds Rincewind in the belief that the wizard is, in fact, a demon, demanding all the things a young lad could need: to rule the world, meet the most beautiful woman, and live forever. Just to be getting on, of course.

That first wish brings them to the Tezumen Empire, where folks are big on human sacrifices and are anxious to meet the Ruler of the World so as to give him what-for. The second wish brings them to the Tsortean Wars, where they discover that Eleanor of Tsort, whose face may one day have launched a thousand ships, hasn't spent the 20-year siege just pining away and maintaining her youthful beauty. The third wish brings them outside of time itself, where Eric learns just what "forever" really means in terms of being entertained. And then they get to stop by Hell.

And that's just the start! But also the end. Because this is a very short book, you see.
posted by Navelgazer (6 comments total)
I don't even know what to say about this one, except that it was certainly some whiplash going from Small Gods to this. So I'm trying to take this for what it is: a lark. Pratchett wanted to riff on Faust and play with a few ideas along the way, and that's what we've got here.

I know folks tend to not love the Rincewind books as much as, well, just about any other subseries in Discworld, and I'm hoping that I'll be pleasantly surprised by them, as they're the biggest blindspot I've got left here. This book doesn't inspire a ton of confidence in me, but I also doubt that anyone would put it up as a good-faith sample of anything either, so we'll have to see with Interesting Times, which I know is also divisive and potentially problematic as well... hrm...
posted by Navelgazer at 4:31 PM on May 1, 2023

When I read Eric it was a heavily illustrated splat book of Josh Kirby art, like The Last Hero.
posted by The otter lady at 4:55 PM on May 1, 2023 [2 favorites]

I listened to this on audio recently and it was a delightful quick listen. As a young woman reading it the first time, it felt juvenile, and now as the parent of who is on the final teenager of five kids, Eric is very very funny and the story is well, ice-cream on a hot summer day.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:17 PM on May 1, 2023 [1 favorite]

When I read Eric it was a heavily illustrated splat book of Josh Kirby art, like The Last Hero.

That was my understanding - it was an illustrated book and is a little slight for that, and these days is published as a novella.

I think this story solves some of the problems with Rincewind as a character - he starts off the story magically bound to an unreasonable child, so he therefore has a problem to solve that doesn't allow him to just run away from it, but Rincewind stories have a habit of being about Rincewind arriving at a place and things slowly start getting worse for him until he leaves.
posted by Merus at 7:41 PM on May 1, 2023 [1 favorite]

I know folks tend to not love the Rincewind books as much as
My introduction to Discworld was the 1995 point-and-click adventure game as a small child, so I had the opposite experience!
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 8:39 AM on May 2, 2023 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I always liked the Rincewind books. The universe just keeps kicking him and he keeps not putting up with it the only way he knows how - by trying to get the fuck out from wherever he's being kicked. That's the right kind of attitude some times, y'know? The universe keeps trying to make him have an adventure and he wants nothing to do with it.
posted by Kyol at 6:43 PM on May 2, 2023 [2 favorites]

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