Does Unseen Academicals get any better?

The fact is in the end it is a book about a sport. Sports were meant to be played, or if you must, watched. Not read about. I never liked the one Harry Potter that was all about the competition anyway. Reading about a competition in any way is boring.

And I am so not a sports fan. So everytime someone is doing something stupid in this book because of sports (which is often) I roll my eyes so far back in my head it hurts.

Plus the characters are not that interesting. I have some interest in Nutt, and Glenda, but Trev and Julia are just…stupid and empty. It feels like West Side Story, or something.

I’ve read about a hundred pages in. This is the point where I usually stop in a boring book. Should I continue? Is there more to it than just this stupid old game?

It’s not really a book about sport as much as what sport means to people. That said, it’s probably my least favourite of the recent Pratchett books.

Even the worst Pratchett book is worth slogging through, as I discovered re-reading Soul Music. While I found all the labored puns about Buddy Holly tough going, the rest sustained me. I’m currently reading Monstrous Regiment, and Unseen Academicals is sitting there, waiting. But I’ll read it.

Foot-the-ball is just the backdrop, it helps to know a bit about the culture of English football but you don’t have to be steeped in it. It’s a while since I read it but IIRC the some of the main themes are fashion/celebrity and the origin of the Orcs.

It has a few proper Pratchett bits, I liked the whistle that keeps posessing the ref’s. Also towards the end…

Trev gets out of the shadow of his father, replacing him as Ankh Morporks most famous foot-the-baller, “You know his dad was…”

No it doesn’t. And Snuff is even worse. Stop now and remember Pterry in a good light.

I liked Soul Music. And while Snuff was weak, the goblin predicament alone was worth reading for. (I just wish we had spent more time on it, and less, honestly, on Vimes.)

I think I won’t read anymore of this one, though. Thanks.

I loved Soul Music. Definitely in my Top 5 Disc books. But the last couple are bad. There is no getting around the fact.

Disagree. I thought I Shall Wear Midnight was very good, and Snuff was quite good although I had some criticisms. The discworld books have always been a bit hit and miss. I certainly wouldn’t write him off yet.

I thought Unseen Academicals had some good bits with the wizards and the Ankh-Morpork fashion industry. The whole football thing actually becomes less important as it goes on.

I’m still on the fence about Snuff, in the sense of knowing that it was bad, but not having decided how bad yet.

An old thread on where they all land, favorite-wise.

Chapter 2 of I Shall Wear Midnight - “Rough Music” - was the single best piece of writing he’s done in years.

My problem with Soul Music was the same one I had with Moving Pictures - in order to satirize something well, you have to love it. And I didn’t get the love for rock music or film from either.

UA is somewhat about sport, but also about mob mentality, and reverse snobbery. Nutt is an expert in game theory, and he applies it to sport.

It’s definitely not Pratchett’s best, but it’s still better than about 95% of the fantasy that’s out there.

I’m reluctant to buy and read any further Pratchett novels, though. I’m afraid that he’s trying to churn them out now, and relying on his name to sell them. I don’t think that this is good for his image.

He’s always been busy, we used to get two discworld books a year. What has changed? His last collaborations were Good Omens and the Science of Discworld books. I see no reason to pre-judge The Long Earth.

Ah, yes, the micromail. I loved Pepe. I also enjoyed learning more about so many older characters and when it was through short, background call outs. As in the day the Pastor Oats came to town, bringing Forgiveness.

ETA: you mean changed besides the Alzheimers and the public campaign for assisted dying?

Not his greatest, but I like all the parts with Dr. Hix. (“Skull ring, remember?”)

Not as good as Night Watch or even I Shall Wear Midnight, but much, much better than Making Money. He still has good stuff in him - I think the whole Tiffany Aching series was among the very best writing in his career, and Nation is certainly worth a read - but he’s always been capable of the occasional stinker (Pyramids and Eric come to mind).

The problem with Unseen Academicals (and Snuff, too) is that they are in part tales of a despised minority demonstrating dignity and courage, and in the end winning respect. And he’s told this tale already: golems in Feet of Clay, trolls and dwarfs in Men at Arms. It’s getting a bit…redundant.

It wasn’t his best but some great lines in there. I liked it.

Now Long Earth is not a prejudgement. I read it. Very meh and hopefully was little of Pratchett’s effort.

I thought there were two main problems with Snuff:
(1) He’s done the thing about minority groups. Many times. OK, it’s an important message etc but still, I felt: been there. done that.
(2) The “adventure” on the boat was too long and draggy, and a bit too swash-buckling (though without either buckles or swash) for my taste. If I wanted to read that, I’d re-read Flashman.

His output has always had some ups and downs. I thought Moving Pictures was very weak, for instance. And given his state of health, I’m not surprised if his current and future work doesn’t match the heights of his past work. Still, there’s enough enjoyable in each book that I’ll stick with him. I have all the Disk-world books in British edition hardcover.

This seems to be devolving into a general thread about Pterry’s recent works, which is fine by me.

True, but he’s always been an explicitly humanist author, and seen himself as an educator. He used to come to my school and give talks in the library in front of a handful of people, over twenty years ago now. He’s certainly repeating the theme, but I don’t think he’s ever created anything as pathetic and sad as the Goblin race. I don’t particularly like the direction he went with Vimes, but I can respect it. I can see how fatherhood and time could have produced a Sam more at peace with himself.

I’d say he’s come pretty close recentely with Nation and* I Shall Wear Midnight*. gaffa picked out the “Rough Music” chapter, how would you rate that? Snuff showed quite a change of style from earler books, but I’d be reluctant to directly ascribe that to his alzheimer’s. It was largely dictated rather than typed. I was struck by how well written a few passages were, but the prose has a more rambling feel to it. Editing down must be harder without a keyboard. I’ve seen him interviewed recentely, and he came across as very sharp. What remains of his brain appears to be in good working order. Alzheimer’s can impair brain function in very specific rather than general ways. For example, my Nan’s short-term memory is almost completely non-functional. She had an operation the other day, but five minutes after leaving the hospital she had no idea anything had happened. In other ways, she is little changed.

At some point, his condition will degenerate, and he’ll be completely unable to write. It could happen right now, or it could be a few years away. For his and everyone else’s sake, I hope it’s the latter.

I didn’t realise it was out yet. I’d be very interested to know how much of a collaboration it was.

Okay, but how do you feel about Willikins? He was one of my favorite minor characters, and the joke was that this perfectly-spoken, oh-so-posh butler was a former gangbanger and an accomplished gutter-fighter who wore a hat with sharpened pennies in the brim. The humor was the contrast between his Jeevesian manner and his Vimesian abilities.

Snuff throws that joke away, I think. Pterry turned him around, wrote him not as a posh butler who could stab a dwarf dark guard with an ice knife, but as a gangsta who knows words like “primagravida”. Not quite as funny, I thought.