The Color of Magic (Discworld Series #1)

( 207 )

Overview

Imagine, if you will . . .

a flat world sitting on the backs of four elephants who hurtle through space balanced on a giant turtle. In truth, the Discworld is not so different from our own. Yet, at the same time, very different . . . but not so much.

In this, the maiden voyage through Terry Pratchett's divinely and recognizably twisted alternate dimension, the well-meaning but remarkably inept wizard Rincewind encounters something hitherto ...

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The Color of Magic (Discworld Series #1)

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Overview

Imagine, if you will . . .

a flat world sitting on the backs of four elephants who hurtle through space balanced on a giant turtle. In truth, the Discworld is not so different from our own. Yet, at the same time, very different . . . but not so much.

In this, the maiden voyage through Terry Pratchett's divinely and recognizably twisted alternate dimension, the well-meaning but remarkably inept wizard Rincewind encounters something hitherto unknown in the Discworld: a tourist! Twoflower has arrived, Luggage by his side, to take in the sights and, unfortunately, has cast his lot with a most inappropriate tour guide—a decision that could result in Twoflower's becoming not only Discworld's first visitor from elsewhere . . . but quite possibly, portentously, its very last. And, of course, he's brought Luggage along, which has a mind of its own. And teeth.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
“Ingenious, brilliant, and hilarious.”
From the Publisher
"One of the best, and one of the funniest English authors alive:
-Independent
Washington Post
“Ingenious, brilliant, and hilarious.”
The Barnes & Noble Review
Thirty-six volumes strong, Terry Pratchett's bestselling Discworld novels of humorous fantasy have, like stealthy fire ants, migrated into every entertainment niche imaginable, from television to stage to radio to video games. Deploying lighthearted prose full of exotic visual bits -- the very setting of the book is a world carried through space atop a 10,000-mile-long turtle supporting four elephants and a platter-like inhabited zone. . . --Paul DiFilippo
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062225672
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/29/2013
  • Series: Discworld Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 87,034
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett's novels have sold more than eighty-five million (give or take a few million) copies worldwide. In January 2009, Queen Elizabeth II made Pratchett a knight in recognition of his "services to literature." Sir Terry lives in England with his wife.

Biography

Welcome to a magical world populated by the usual fantasy fare: elves and ogres, wizards and witches, dwarves and trolls. But wait—is that witch wielding a frying pan rather than a broomstick? Has that wizard just clumsily tumbled off the edge of the world? And what is with the dwarf they call Carrot, who just so happens to stand six-foot six-inches tall? Why, this is not the usual fantasy fare at all—this is Terry Pratchett's delightfully twisted Discworld!

Beloved British writer Pratchett first jump-started his career while working as a journalist for Bucks Free Press during the '60s. As luck would have it, one of his assignments was an interview with Peter Bander van Duren, a representative of a small press called Colin Smythe Limited. Pratchett took advantage of his meeting with Bander van Duren to pitch a weird story about a battle set in the pile of a frayed carpet. Bander van Duren bit, and in 1971 Pratchett's very first novel, The Carpet People, was published, setting the tone for a career characterized by wacky flights of fancy and sly humor.

Pratchett's take on fantasy fiction is quite unlike that of anyone else working in the genre. The kinds of sword-and-dragon tales popularized by fellow Brits like J.R.R. Tolkein and C. S. Lewis have traditionally been characterized by their extreme self-seriousness. However, Pratchett has retooled Middle Earth and Narnia with gleeful goofiness, using his Discworld as a means to poke fun at fantasy. As Pratchett explained to Locus Magazine, "Discworld started as an antidote to bad fantasy, because there was a big explosion of fantasy in the late '70s, an awful lot of it was highly derivative, and people weren't bringing new things to it."

In 1983, Pratchett unveiled Discworld with The Color of Magic. Since then, he has added installments to the absurdly hilarious saga at the average rate of one book per year. Influenced by moderately current affairs, he has often used the series to subtly satirize aspects of the real world; the results have inspired critics to rapturous praise. ("The most breathtaking display of comic invention since PG Wodehouse," raved The Times of London.) He occasionally ventures outside the series with standalone novels like the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, a sci fi adventure sequence for young readers, or Good Omens, his bestselling collaboration with graphic novelist Neil Gaiman.

Sadly, in 2008 fans received the devastating news that Pratchett had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. He has described his own reaction as "fairly philosophical" and says he plans to continue writing so long as he is able.

Good To Know

Pratchett's bestselling young adult novel Only You Can Save Mankind was adapted for the British stage as a critically acclaimed musical in 2004.

Discworld is not just the subject of a bestselling series of novels. It has also inspired a series of computer games in which players play the role of the hapless wizard Rincewind.

A few fun outtakes from our interview with Pratchett:

"I became a journalist at 17. A few hours later I saw my first dead body, which was somewhat…colourful. That's when I learned you can go on throwing up after you run out of things to throw up."

"The only superstition I have is that I must start a new book on the same day that I finish the last one, even if it's just a few notes in a file. I dread not having work in progress.

"I grow as many of our vegetables as I can, because my granddad was a professional gardener and it's in the blood. Grew really good chilies this year.

"I'm not really good at fun-to-know, human interest stuff. We're not ‘celebrities', whose life itself is a performance. Good or bad or ugly, we are our words. They're what people meet.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Terence David John Pratchett
    2. Hometown:
      Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 28, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
    1. Education:
      Four honorary degrees in literature from the universities of Portsmouth, Bristol, Bath and Warwick

Read an Excerpt

THE COLOR OF MAGIC

Fire roared through the bifurcated city of Ankh-Morpork. Where it licked the Wizards' Quarter it burned blue and green and was even laced with strange sparks of the eighth color, octarine; where its outriders found their way into the vats and oil stores all along Merchant Street it progressed in a series of blazing fountains and explosions; in the streets of the perfume blenders it burned with a sweetness; where it touched bundles of rare and dry herbs in the storerooms of the drugmasters it made men go mad and talk to God.

By now the whole of downtown Morpork was alight, and the richer and worthier citizens of Ankh on the far bank were bravely responding to the situation by feverishly demolishing the bridges. But already the ships in the Morpork docks-laden with grain, cotton and timber, and coated with tar-were blazing merrily and, their moorings burnt to ashes, were breasting the river Ankh on the ebb tide, igniting riverside palaces and bowers as they drifted like drowning fireflies toward the sea. In any case, sparks were riding the breeze and touching down far across the river in hidden gardens and remote rickyards.

The smoke from the merry burning rose miles high, in a wind-sculpted black column that could be seen across the whole of the Discworld.

It was certainly impressive from the cool, dark hilltop a few leagues away, where two figures were watching with considerable interest.

The taller of the pair was chewing on a chicken leg and Mugu

"Just go away, will you?" said the rider. "I just haven't got time for you, do you understand?"

He looked around and added: "That goes for your shadow-lovingfleabag partner, too, wherever he's hiding."

The Weasel stepped up to the horse and peered at the disheveled figure.

"Why, it's Rincewind the wizard, isn't it?" he said in tones of delight, meanwhile filing the wizard's description of him in his memory for leisurely vengeance. "I thought I recognized the voice."

Bravd spat and sheathed his sword. It was seldom worth tangling with wizards, they so rarely had any treasure worth speaking of.

"He talks pretty big for a gutter wizard," he muttered.

"You don't understand at all," said the wizard wearily. "I'm so scared of you my spine has turned to jelly, it's just that I'm suffering from an overdose of terror right now. I mean, when I've got over that then I'll have time to be decently frightened of you."

The Weasel pointed toward the burning city.

"You've been through that?" he asked.

The wizard rubbed a red-raw hand across his eyes. "I was there when it started. See him? Back there?" He pointed back down the road to where his traveling companion was leaning on a sword that was only marginally shorter than the average man. If it wasn't for the air of wary intelligence about him it might have been supposed that he was a barbarian from the Hubland wastes.

His partner was much shorter and wrapped from head to toe in a brown cloak. Later, when he has occasion to move, it will be seen that he moves lightly, catlike.

The two had barely exchanged a word in the last twenty minutes except for a short and inconclusive argument as to whether a particularly powerful explosion had been the oil bond store or the workshop of Kerible the Enchanter. Money hinged on the fact.

Now the big man finished gnawing at the bone and tossed it into the grass, smiling ruefully.

"There go all those little alleyways," he said. "I liked them."

"All the treasure houses," said the small man. He added thoughtfully, "Do gems bum? I wonder. 'Tis said they're kin to coal."

"All the gold, melting and running down the gutters," said the big one, ignoring him. "And all the wine, boiling in the barrels."

"There were rats," said his brown companion.

"Rats, I'll grant you."

"It was no place to be in high summer."

"That, too. One can't help feeling, though, a-well, a momentary-"

He trailed off, then brightened. "We owed old Fredor at the Crimson Leech eight silver pieces," he added. The little man nodded.

They were silent for a while as a whole new series of explosions carved a red line across a hitherto dark section of the greatest city in the world. Then the big man stirred.

"Weasel?"

"Yes?"

"I wonder who started it."

The small swordsman known as the Weasel said nothing. He was watching the road in the ruddy light. Few had come that way since the Deosil Gate had been one of the first to collapse in a shower of white-hot embers.

But two were coming up it now. The Weasel's eyes, always at their sharpest in gloom and half-light, made out the shapes of two mounted men and some sort of low beast behind them. Doubtless a rich merchant escaping with as much treasure as he could lay frantic hands on. The Weasel said as much to his companion, who sighed.

"The status of footpad ill suits us," said the barbarian, "but, as you say, times are hard and there are no soft beds tonight. "

He shifted his grip on his sword and, as the leading rider drew near, stepped out onto the road with a hand held up and his face set in a grin nicely calculated to reassure yet threaten.

"Your pardon, sit" he began.

The rider reined in his horse and drew back his hood. The big man looked into a face blotched with superficial burns and punctuated by tufts of singed beard. Even the eyebrows had gone.

"Bugger off," said the face. "You're Bravd the Hublander,* aren't you?"

Bravd became aware that he had fumbled the initiative.

"Just go away, will you?" said the rider. "I just haven't got time for you, do you understand?"

He looked around and added: "That goes for your shadow-loving fleabag partner, too, wherever he's hiding."

The Weasel stepped up to the horse and peered at the disheveled figure.

"Why, it's Rincewind the wizard, isn't it?" he said in tones of delight, meanwhile filing the wizard's description of him in his memory for leisurely vengeance. "I thought I recognized the voice."

Bravd spat and sheathed his sword. It was seldom worth tangling with wizards, they so rarely had any treasure worth speaking of.

"He talks pretty big for a gutter wizard," he muttered.

"You don't understand at all," said the wizard wearily. "I'm so scared of you my spine has turned to jelly, it's just that I'm suffering from an overdose of terror right now. I mean, when I've got over that then I'll have time to be decently frightened of you."

The Weasel pointed toward the burning city…

 

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 207 )
Rating Distribution

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(108)

4 Star

(58)

3 Star

(30)

2 Star

(5)

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(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 207 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Oh magic, how freakishly wonderful are thou...such possibilities!

    I've been collecting the Discworld books in no particular order for a few years now, mostly because my father always had an affinity for them and recommended them as hilarious and entertaining at the same time. Now that I finally got to read the first in the series I can see what the fuss is all about! There is plenty of humor, dry wit and magic, extremely complex scientific and fantastic themes and myriad of characters brighter than all the rainbows and flowers in the world combined. My head was spinning after few pages but somehow I couldn't stop reading; this incredible journey that Pratchett invites the reader on takes some time to get adjusted to, but once I let my mind go and read it slow, it all melted into a fantasy like no other. I can't really imagine kids reading it unless they are prodigies at understanding language because their little brains might pop from the amount of information given; I know mine was taken for a spin a few times! <BR/><BR/>So here we are, visiting a world that exists as a flat disc with water walling over the edges, carried by four giant elephants standing on an ancient turtle, covered in meteor holes and all sorts of space debris, swimming who knows where....In one of it's cities, Ankh-Morpork , a failed wizard by the name of Rincewind comes across Twoflower, a traveling little man with magical luggage, carved out of rare sapient pear tree that follows him everywhere on its tiny feet. Yes walking luggage, with teeth too, guarding his master and providing lots of entertainment through out the story. The two men are the only ones in the whole city who speak the same language and thus their zany adventures start. Hastily hired as a guide the magician, who sucks at magic but it awfully funny and likable, gets into all sorts of troubles with trolls, dragons, islands with lunatics chased by Death itself without trying to loose poor Twoflower who thinks the whole adventure as a great sight seeing trip, they escape all sorts of scenarios that take them form the murkiest depths of underwater caves into far away galaxies in deep space. <BR/><BR/>Seems like a lot and it is, but the novel takes all sorts of turns ad twists and one never knows what awaits our heroes on the next page. When Gods play magic dice and Fate and Death are in talks of getting them, our characters have a lot at stake and loosing such charming little fellows would certainly be horrible so the reader is constantly kept on a tight leash as the beauty of the story and its intricate pattern morphs into more fantastic scenarios. I can't even clearly say what this book is about other than being simply fantastic, albeit very complex. Folklore, mythology, fairy tales, comedy and drama, it's all here exquisitely woven for those who dare. <BR/><BR/>- Kasia S.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2011

    great book, but an error in the nook file

    The book is fantastic, but there is a 10-word omission on page 130 of the file that may lead to some confusion. So while I recommend the book, I don't recommend buying it until Barnes & Noble or the publisher fixes the error.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Intro to the Disc World Series

    The first book that I had ever read by Terry Pratchett was Hogfather and I now read it on Winter solstice every year. It was from that book that I wanted to read the first book of the Disc World series, which led me on the hunt for this book. I love the characters of Twoflower and his wizard guide, Rincewind. But it is the chest that steals the show so to speak. Although there are only a couple of the Disc World books that feature the adventures of Twoflower and Rincewind I loved every one and will miss the characters enough to want to re-read the books. With that said although there are several books in the series the books can be read in any order. I choose to read all of the books about Twoflower and Rincewind and then all of the books about Death and Susan. If you enjoy British humor and like to poke fun at reality then Terry Pratchett is the author for you and ¿The color of magic¿ is a good place to start.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    An extraordinary romp through a brilliant imagination

    A brilliant and humorous tale in a fantasy setting that goes beyond anything that any other author has yet produced. Terry Pratchett's insightful and intelligent humor will keep any mind entranced in this most obscure world. This is a great read and will not get much time on your shelf due to rereading or lending it to someone who has yet to experience this amazing author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2002

    The Lord of The Rings meets Douglas Adams...

    OK, so it's not quite as epic as The Lord of The Rings and the humour is not quite as spontaneous as Adams, but it's an excellent work. Readers are introduced to the Discworld and some of its landscape. This is definitely an entertaining book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2002

    Oh my.......

    The luggage is the best part of this book! I can't believe how he turned something so ordinary in to something so hilarious! Next time I buy luggage, I hope I can find a piece half as entertaining. I picked up this book thinking it was something easy to read, I am now officially addicted! I'm half way through the series now, and am looking forward to going back and reading them all again! These are a must read for anyone who believes there is a world out there parallel to us, it will make believers of non believers, it will turn non readers in to avid bookworms! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO not a waste of time!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2001

    Fantastic book

    I really enjoyed the Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett. It is a great introduction to the discworld series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2014

    Great introduction to disc world

    Read this series about 5 times and never get tired of it. If you enjoy funny and witty you will enjoy it too.

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  • Posted March 23, 2014

    I enjoyed this very much. A fast paced read for a Sunday afterno

    I enjoyed this very much. A fast paced read for a Sunday afternoon. Death had me rolling :p

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  • Posted March 14, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Read it!

    I really enjoyed this book. It was a pretty fast read that was full of witty snark and facepalm moments. If you've been thinking about starting this prolific series, I really recommend reading this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2013

    A great start

    A must read for any Discworld fan. I didn't start with this book in the series, but after making my way back around I wish I had found it sooner. Introducing several of the best Discworld characters, the origins' of many beloved stories start here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2013

    H

    H

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  • Posted November 1, 2013

    you can't go wrong with disc world

    the first in the long disc world series, need I say more?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013

    LOVE THE BOOK.. but I hate the cover art for the HarperCollins e

    LOVE THE BOOK.. but I hate the cover art for the HarperCollins edition of the ebook.  It doesn't fit with Pratchett's fantastic, outlandish style.  I bough the first three Discworld books before realizing there is another NookBook option with better Pratchett-esque cover art, so now I'm out the money I spent on the HarperCollins versions since B&amp;N won't refund NookBooks.  

    Yes, it's shallow to prefer the different style of artwork, but cover art is still important, and HarperCollins totally dropped the ball on this one. 

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2013

    Loved it!!!

    I've read a few discworld books and decided to start from the beginning. Terry Pratchett's novels are so entertaining. This book had me laughing out loud in many parts. Definitely a book I would, and do, recommend!

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  • Posted November 20, 2012

    BAD! BARNES & NOBLES - SHAME ON YOU!

    No sooner than I had a purchased this book for my Nook, then I received a phone call from the Risk Management that works for my Credit Union. I have read on blogs that B&N has been compromised as far as credit card numbers (and apparently, they are doing nothing about it.) I have cancelled my credit card (by the way, soneone prob at B&N ran up $900 in charges in 20 minutes). I hate to not buy Nook Books; they are so easy to read and I just love them. BUT NO MORE UNTIL B&N GETS ITS ACT TOGETHER AND GETS ITS FRAUD DEPT ON THE JOB AND STOPS THIS THIEVERY.

    Other than that, the Terry Pratchett book was great.

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2012

    Fun read

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2012

    Absurd Fantasy

    The Color of Magic is to Fantasy novels what The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is to Science Fiction. If you are too serious about either genre, you will not enjoy it. If, by chance, you enjoy the absurd, then this is the book for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2012

    Funny and exciting

    Also check out the art of disc world, there are really neat character pictures.

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  • Posted April 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Thrilling Magical Adventure

    Rincewind is in for the adventure of a lifetime after he makes the acquaintance of an odd, naive traveler from distant unknown lands.

    Rincewind is tasked with the duty of watching over and acting as guide to the tourist known as Twoflower, and the two of them are tossed from one dangerous situation into another, much to the delight of Twoflower.

    Rincewind slowly and unknowingly learns courage from his adventure seeking friend and all ends well.

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