Unseen Academicals (Discworld Series #37)

Unseen Academicals (Discworld Series #37)

4.3 168
by Terry Pratchett
     
 

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The wizards at Ankh-Morpork's Unseen University are renowned for many things—wisdom, magic, and their love of teatime—but athletics is most assuredly not on the list. So when Lord Vetinari, the city's benevolent tyrant, strongly suggests to Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully that the university revive an erstwhile tradition and once again put forth a

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Overview

The wizards at Ankh-Morpork's Unseen University are renowned for many things—wisdom, magic, and their love of teatime—but athletics is most assuredly not on the list. So when Lord Vetinari, the city's benevolent tyrant, strongly suggests to Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully that the university revive an erstwhile tradition and once again put forth a football team composed of faculty, students, and staff—or lose the funding that pays for their nine daily meals—the wizards of UU find themselves in a quandary. To begin with, they have to figure out what it is that makes this sport of foot-the-ball so popular with Ankh-Morporkians of all ages and social strata. Then they have to learn how to play it. Oh, and on top of that, they must win a football match without using magic.

And the thing about football—the most important thing about football— is that it is never just about football.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“In short, this is as busy and as daft as any other Discworld yarn, which means it is the quintessence of daft. Nobody writes fantasy funnier than Pratchett.”
The Guardian
“Thirty-seven books in and ... Discworld is still going strong...and doing so with undimmed, triumphant exuberance. ”
The Independent on Sunday
“It’s a triumphant effort”
Sir Terry Pratchett's 37th Discworld novel, the first since he made the announcement that there might not be too many more, contains plots, subplots, side plots, thwarted plots, romance, comedy, soccer, and more. Set in the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork, Unseen Academicals seizes all the things you thought you understood, shakes them vigorously, and invites you to watch with snow globe sensations. On the shortlist of the most invigorating authors on the planet.
Publishers Weekly
In the magical universe of Discworld, the dithering and very dotty wizards at Unseen University struggle to master the arcane rules of football as they enter a violent street sport competition. The challenges include getting the sedentary and distracted professors to play with some enthusiasm (and without magic), defending themselves against their opponents’ unsportsmanlike behavior, and naturally, to win. It’s not easy to track the multitude of characters, but Stephen Briggs gives each of them a distinctive voice. Briggs has been adapting Pratchett’s novels to the stage since 1991, and the recurring characters are his to command. His performance brings out the best of the satirical humor and Pratchett’s really good bad puns. Fans of Discworld will not be disappointed. A Harper hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 31). (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
Imagine Harry Potter rewritten by Monty Python: That's the mood of Pratchett's return to Discworld (Making Money, 2007, etc.). This account of Unseen University's entry into the world of soccer (or, as they occasionally call it, "foot-the-ball") pushes past the usual conventions of satire to offer equal parts absurdist philosophy and heartwarming romance. Here, all the professors are ponderous buffoons as well as wizards, though occasionally they indulge those they consider their inferiors with "the sarcasm of a born pedagogue." Those inferiors generally have a whole lot more common sense and occasionally more learned erudition, particularly in the case of our hero, Mr. Nutt. A lowly candle dipper who is also a goblin and may well be something else as well, the humble Nutt ultimately reveals more brain power than anyone else in the novel, along with a variety of other powers, even though his background makes this intellectual range and depth seem unlikely. When Unseen University decides to field a soccer team, Nutt emerges as the coach, the driving force and the potential star, using his "talent for pattern recognition in developing situations" to train a team of players who previously had no conception of teamwork. In the process, Nutt not only falls in love with a worthy cook no one else considers lovely, he also helps his mate win the heart of the cook's helper, who has somehow become the rage of the land as a fashion model. Pratchett has great sport with a university that employs a Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography and Chair of Indefinite Studies and spouts platitudes such as "if we can make a tradition out of not observing another tradition, that's doubly traditional." Ofcourse, that's not such a weird comment in a society whose adages include "the leopard may change its shorts" and "thirst springs eternal."A witty addition to the long-running fantasy series.
The Independenton Sunday
"It’s a triumphant effort"

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062335005
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/28/2014
Series:
Discworld Series, #37
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
528
Sales rank:
190,125
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Sir Terry Pratchett, OBE, was the author of more than 70 books, including the internationally bestselling Discworld series of novels. His books have been adapted for stage and screen, and he was the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal. In January 2009, Pratchett was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his services to literature. Sir Terry, who lived in England, died in March 2015 at the age of 66.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Date of Birth:
April 28, 1948
Place of Birth:
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
Education:
Four honorary degrees in literature from the universities of Portsmouth, Bristol, Bath and Warwick

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Unseen Academicals 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 166 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Ankh-Morpork's clever ruler Lord Ventinari informs Ankh-Morpork's Unseen University Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully he could lose a humongous grant if they fail to field a sports team playing football; some sort of hybrid of soccer and rugby. The wizard faculty and administration are in a frenzied state as none of the practitioners understand the rudiments of the game so they struggle to become adept rather quickly; depending ironically on the mundane support staff. As they put together a squad around a good kicker who apparently is not part of UU, but part of the streets of UU, Ventinari plans to take advantage of the competition to further his ambitions as sponsors expect much more than a front row seat. Part of his tasking of the wizards is to remove the violence out of the sport as the two best teams in the city, the Dimmers and the Dollies, break a lot of bones and not just on the playing field or limited to the players. The latest Discworld satire lampoons team sports, fans and academics as UU always put learning and eating way above athletics, but now must dropkick athletics way above learning; eating remains at the top thanks to the cook. Fans will enjoy this amusing look at football and universities with side mockings of racism, sexism and fanatics as learning gets benched for a Top Ten team of headbangers. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of prattcets best. The comlex charachters and intricate interweawing of plots are great. Arc words and overarching themes tie it all together and it is verry funny.
Daniel Golightly More than 1 year ago
The man is from another world it seems, and he continues to take us with him time and again, throught all of his challenges. Unseen Academicals is no different. This book is a gift of creatively brilliant fun for humanity.
NookWorm79 More than 1 year ago
I've read all of the books in the Discworld Series and this one did not disappoint with the laughing out loud, the amazing characters and the fantastic footnotes. Rest assured, you will never be disappointed when it comes to Terry Pratchett.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read all of Pratchett's Discworld series, and this one didn't disappoint. Pratchett's writing style and satirical take on almost every makes reading his series a very enjoyable experience. Pratchett's novels have always intrigued me by the way he takes very modern things, such as police forces, colleges, or even the post office, and inserts them into his Medieval Discworld in comical ways. This particular novel focuses on soccer, something I don't really care about all that much, but I still chose to read it due to the fact that the way Pratchett inserts modern things into his world can make everyone laugh. Even though Mr. Pratchett had started to develop Alzheimer's disease, he has lost none of that wit or style in his writing. His take on soccer in a Medieval time is quite humorous, and the way the characters deal with the changing times are very fun to read about. The way that the plot jumps around from time to time, focusing on Mr. Nutt at one point, then going to the Wizards, then to the Night Kitchen staff keeps the reader intrigued about what will happen next, while learning what another group of people will do. I've always loved the way that Pratchett takes fantasy creatures and includes them in different, and often humorous ways, like having a goblin, which most people would associate with stupid, ugly, smelly little creatures, and have him be extremely intelligent, more intelligent that a majority of the characters in the novel. Even the way he integrates certain aspects of sports into the novel is great, like having one of the ancient rules of soccer being to have water nymphs dressed in as little clothes in possible and dance on the sidelines. Basically, if you like to laugh, this is the book and series for you.
Grea More than 1 year ago
While this book explores places in the city, that fans of Disc are already familiar with, it goes much deeper into the every day lives of the more "common" folks, taking you to places that have previously just been skimmed over. Leaving you with a different memory feeling than other Disc novels. Looking forward to re-reading it in a couple of months, to get a second sight.
myrafox More than 1 year ago
I heard excerpts from the book this weekend at the North American Discworld Convention in Tempe. It was great - between the reading and the bit printed in the program book I know it is going to be a fun read. Terry Pratchett is a very charming and witty speaker and I hope to be able to attend another convention to see him again.
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