Title: Interesting Times
Author: Terry Pratchett
Page Count/Review Word Count: 352
Interesting Times is one of my early favourites, from when I first got into the Discworld series – it was also the first time that I discovered Rincewind, the Disc’s most inept wizard. In this story, he’s on the counterweight continent, where revolution is afoot – during his travels, he’s joined by a whole host of cool characters, including the Luggage, Death and Cohen the Barbarian, who appears to be impossible to kill.
The title of the book comes from a curse which gets leveled at Rincewind – may you live in interesting times. In the counterweight continent, interesting things don’t happen – at least, not usually. It’s a very ordered, structured society, reminiscent of ancient China, and so when something interesting happens, it’s very much out of the ordinary.
The revolution in this book is caused, in part, by the controversial treatise, ‘What I did on My Holidays‘ [SIC]. The book was written by a resident of the Agatean Empire during his travels to Ankh-Morpork, the Disc’s most famous city and the home of much of Pratchett’s work. Of course, you can find anything in Ankh-Morpork, and the very idea of it doesn’t find much favour with the Agatean leader – in fact, the empire is surrounded by a great wall, which is designed to keep people in as opposed to keeping people out. The Agatean leadership is not a fan of independence and free will.
In some of Pratchett’s books, he’s trying to communicate an essential truth about society – here, though, he’s just after a bit of fun, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, whilst Rincewind isn’t necessarily my favourite character, I do think that he’s the most inherently funny one, and that character with this subject matter makes for a match made in heaven.
This might have been the first Discworld book that I read, I can’t remember – it was one of the first, though, and if you’re new or relatively new to the series then you can’t do much better than this.