The Last Continent (Discworld Series #22)

The Last Continent (Discworld Series #22)

by Terry Pratchett

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062280190
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/29/2014
Series: Discworld Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 84,634
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Sir Terry Pratchett was the internationally bestselling author of more than thirty books, including his phenomenally successful Discworld series. His young adult novel, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal, and Where's My Cow?, his Discworld book for “readers of all ages,” was a New York Times bestseller. His novels have sold more than seventy five million (give or take a few million) copies worldwide. Named an Officer of the British Empire “for services to literature,” Pratchett lived in England. He died in 2015 at the age of sixty-six.

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

Read an Excerpt

Against the stars a turtle passes, carrying four elephants on its shell.

Both turtle and elephants are bigger than people might expect, but out between the stars the difference between huge and tiny is, comparatively speaking, very small.

But this turtle and these elephants are, by turtle and elephant standards, big.They carry the Discworld, with its vast lands, cloudscapes, and oceans.

People don't live on the Disc any more than, in less hand-crafted parts of the multiverse, they live on balls.Oh, planets may be the place where their body eats its tea, but they liveelsewhere, in worlds of their own which orbit very handily around the center of their heads.

When gods get together they tell the story of one particular planet whose inhabitants watched, with mild interest, huge continent-wrecking slabs of ice slap into another world which was in astronomical terms, right next door--and then did nothing about it because that sort of thing only happens in Outer Space.An intelligent species would at least have found someone to complain to. Anyway, no one seriously believes in that story, because a race quite that stupid would never even have discovered slood.*

People believe in all sorts of other things, though.For example, there are some people who have a legend that the whole universe is carried in a leather bag by an old man.

They're right, too.

Other people say: hold on, if he's carrying the entire universe in a sack, right, that means he's carrying himself and the sack inside the sack, because the universe contains everything.Including him.And the sack, of course.Which contains him and the sack already.As itwere.

To which the reply is: well?

All tribal myths are true, for a given value of "true."

It is a general test of the omnipotence of a god that they can see the fall of a tiny bird.But only one god makes notes, and a few adjustments, so that next time it can fall faster and further.

We may find out why.

We might find out why mankind is here, although that is more complicated and begs the question "Where else should we be?" It would be terrible to think that some impatient deity might part the clouds and say, "Damn, are you lot still here? I thought you discovered slood ten thousand years ago! I've got ten trillion tons of ice arriving on Monday!"

We may even find out why the duck-billed platypus.*

Snow, thick and wet, tumbled on to the lawns and roofs of Unseen University, the Discworld's premier college of magic.

It was sticky snow, which made the place look like some sort of expensive yet tasteless ornament, and it caked around the boots of McAbre, the Head Bledlow, as he trudged through the cold, wild night.

Two other bledlows stepped out of the lee of a buttress and fell in behind him on a solemn march towards the main gates.

It was an old custom, centuries old, and in the summer a few tourists would hang around to watch it, but the Ceremony of the Keys went on every night in every season.Mere ice, wind and snow had never stopped it.Bledlows in times gone past had clam-bered over tentacled monstrosities to do the Ceremony; they'd waded through floodwater, flailed with their bowler hats at errant pigeons, harpies and dragons, and ignored mere faculty members who'd thrown open their bedroom windows and screamed imprecations on the lines of "Stop that damn racket, will you? What's the point?" They'd never stopped, or even thought of stopping.You couldn't stop Tradition.You could only add to it.

The three men reached the shadows by the main gate, almost blotted out in the whirling snow.The bledlow on duty was waiting for them.

"Halt! Who Goes There?" he shouted.

McAbre saluted."The Archchancellor's Keys!"

"Pass, The Archchancellor's Keys!"

The Head Bledlow took a step forward, extended both arms in front of him with his palms bent back towards him, and patted his chest at the place where some bledlow long buried had once had two breast pockets.Pat, pat.Then he extended his arms by his sides and stiffly patted the sides of his jacket.Pat, pat.

"Damn! Could Have Sworn I Had Them A Moment Ago!" he bellowed, enunciating each word with a sort of bulldog carefulness.

The gatekeeper saluted.McAbre saluted.

"Have You Looked In All Your Pockets?"

McAbre saluted.The gatekeeper saluted.A small pyramid of snow was building up on his bowler hat.

"I Think I Must Have Left Them On The Dresser.It's Always The Same, Isn't It?"

"You Should Remember Where You Put Them Down!"

"Hang On, Perhaps They're In My Other Jacket!"

The young bledlow who was this week's Keeper of the Other Jacket stepped forward.Each man saluted the other two.The youngest cleared his throat and managed to say:

"No, I Looked In ... There This ... Morning!"

McAbre gave him a slight nod to acknowledge a difficult job done well, and patted his pockets again.

"Hold On, Stone The Crows, They Were In This Pocket After All! What A Muggins I Am!"

"Don't Worry, I Do The Same Myself!"

"Is My Face Red! Forget My Own Head Next!"

Somewhere in the darkness a window creaked up.

"Er, excuse me, gentlemen--"

"Here's The Keys, Then!" said McAbre, raising his voice.

"Much Obliged!"

"I wonder if you could--" the querulous voice went on, apologizing for even thinking of complaining.

"All Safe And Secure" shouted the gatekeeper, handing the keys back.

"--perhaps keep it down a little--"

"Gods Bless All Present!" screamed McAbre, veins standing out on his thick crimson neck.

"Careful Where You Put Them This Time.Ha! Ha! Ha!"

Ho! Ho! Ho!" yelled McAbre, beside himself with fury.He saluted stiffly, went About Turn with an unnecessarily large amount of foot stamping and the ancient exchange completed, marched back to the bledlows' lodge muttering under his breath.

The Last Continent. Copyright © by Terry Pratchett. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Last Continent (Discworld Series) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
Grea More than 1 year ago
Thought provokingly funny. Sneaky, funny, profound. Always good to re-read. It is amazing what you catch the next time around.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book, if a little stranger than most in the series. This electronic edition gets one star because YOU TOOK THE FOOTNOTES OUT OF A PRATCHETT BOOK, YOU CRETINS. It's a lucky thing I already had this as a paperback, so I'm not left wondering what "slood" is supposed to be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Footnotes are half the fun of Pratchett in his prime. Were are they?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pratchett does not disappoint. A book that explains a lot of things about sex, evolution and 'why a platypus'. Has several appearences by Death and a detailed explination as to why Rincewind is still alive.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was not my favorite Discworld book but it was very good. Terry has not lost his flare for comedy. This book follows The Faculty of Unseen University accross the Disc and accross time in an adventure that will make you laugh until you pass out.
polarbear123 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Still reading these books through in order and this is not one of the besst in my opinion. Lacking plot it doesn't really go anywhere and if you find the whole Australia/evolution thing not that funny early on it can be a struggle to get through this one. There are enough entertaining set pieces though to keep you going and one or two interesting philosophical thoughts. Glad I didn't choose this as the first one I read though. - Must have been going through a bit of a dry patch at the end of the 90s eh?
catherinestead on LibraryThing 24 days ago
When the wizards climb through a window into another dimension (the one where creation is happening) and accidentally close the window behind them, and Rincewind gets stranded in drought-stricken FourEcks, all sorts of chaos ensues. Not my favourite Discworld book (nowhere near the best, in my opinion, and doesn't say as much about society as some of the others) but nonetheless passably entertaining and readable.
Aldrea_Alien on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Rincewind and the wizards of Unseen University share this weird tale, one having to deal with a kangaroo that¿s sometimes not a kangaroo, the others a bug-obsessed god (blame him for cockroaches).While the Last Continent, known as XXXX, is a land that has never ever seen rain (or water-filled rivers for that matter), it is hard to push aside the similarities to Earth¿s own Down Under.Even so, I found the 50 or so pages just before the ending rather repetitive in its jokes and the interaction between the wizards was rather lacklustre.I still love the luggage though. Hard not to.
Maaike15274 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Not my favourite Discworld novel. There is huge part in the middle where you really do not know where the story is going. The wizards and the God of Evolution are wonderful.
love2laf on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Great satire riff on Australia, with lots of humour and silliness. I do want to try the pea soup with a meat pie floating in it, topped with tomato sauce, it sounds like the perfect 2 am drinking food!
RobertDay on LibraryThing 24 days ago
A rare 'thumbs-down' on this one. It is packed with Aussie jokes which seem to have been crowbarred into the Discworld just to maintain the theme. The secondary plot, with the wizards of the Unseen University marooned in the Discworld's distant past, is better but can't really compensate for what feels like a distinct lack of originality.
jnicholson on LibraryThing 24 days ago
We find out what happens to Rincewind when he is returned suddenly from the counterweight continent. Apparently, disaster follows him in the shape of the senior wizards of Unseen University. Some good laughs, but not as good as the novels published from 1991-7 in my opinion.
salimbol on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Another giggle-worthy instalment in the Discworld series, set on a continent resembling Australia, in which the jokes come thick and fast. Plenty of playful concepts (a Trickster kangaroo, a crocodile bartender, desert-travelling drag queens, sheep-shearing, and lots and LOTS of beer), cheekily inventive names (the cities of Buggerup and Didjabringthebeer spring to mind), and the wizards of the Unseen University bumbling around as only they can make this a solid, swift read. Not the best Pratchett I've ever read, but no worries - even a lesser Pratchett is still heaps of fun and packed with laugh-out-loud jokes (and New Zealanders always enjoy jokes about Australia, after all ;-).
isabelx on LibraryThing 24 days ago
'Well, she knew the risks when she got the job,' said the Dean.'What?' said the Senior Wrangler. 'Are you saying that before you apply for the job of housekeeper of a university you should seriously consider being eaten by sharks on the shores of some mysterious continent thousands of years before you are born?''She didn't ask many questions at the interview, I know that.'Another book featuring Rincewind and the senior faculty members of the Unseen University, and set in EcksEcksEcksEcks (the Disc World equivalent of Australia). Rincewind meets a Trickster kangaroo who sends him on a quest, invents brown sticky stuff to spread on bread while trying to make beer and vegetable soup, and finds that the useful Ecksian phrase "No Worries" will see him through in almost any circumstance. Meanwhile, the wizards find themselves trapped after climbing through a portal in a bathroom, meet a god with rather strange ideas about creation, and see a new side to the university's formidable housekeeper, Mrs Whitlow.As usual there were a lot of funny moments and silly puns, and I liked the paradox of the last continent to be created also being the most ancient, but the story was slow to get started and just didn't flow for me. Not one of my favourite Pratchetts.
Greatrakes on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Rincewind has arrived in the land down under, a place where time doesn't really play fair. The faculty of Unseen University need Rincewind back and set out to find him though the Egregious Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography, who turns out to be not at home, but he left his window open. Through the window the wizards find a desert island, and find themselves on the other side of the disc, and many years ago. We switch between Rincewind as he struggles through the Outback and the wizards, who find out more about evolution than they really want to, and learn to surf. Lots of great running gags, especially Aussie and Pom jokes, and plenty of gentle satire. I enjoyed this one, no worries.
kaylol on LibraryThing 28 days ago
A book with the archchancellor the dean Ponder Rincewind a woman and an island can't be anything but incredible.
5hrdrive on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Admittedly, I never get all of Pratchett's jokes and references, but I get most of them here somehow. The funniest Discworld novel I've read yet.
Moriquen on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Rincewind was never my favourite Discworld character, but this book has made him a lot more likeable in my eyes. I had fun reading another one of Pratchetts discworld novels. And I don't really know why, but after reading it I had this sudden urge to visit Australia! ;)
ironicqueery on LibraryThing 28 days ago
This is probably my least favorite book out of the Discworld series of books. It features the wizards, but character development is pretty lacking. The plot also seems pretty lacking, as it never feels like the story develops very much. The wizards explore the Discworld equivalent of Australia, and that is about it. There is another storyline regarding the creation of the world, but it is hard to follow and if anything, seems too preachy. So while the book is about average, when held to the standards of the Discworld series, it's well under par from what I expect from Terry Pratchett.
brakketh on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Loved Pratchett's take on Australian culture.
jayne_charles on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Pratchett addresses himself to the task of satirising everything Australian within the pages of a single book. Bonzer!
gercmbyrne on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Terry Pratchett is a god who walks among men. The entire Discworld series is a joy and only a strange mad creature cursed by gods and man would refuse to read and love these books!One of the best Rincewind novels...find our hero on the Continent of Four Eks and admire how he forages for sandwiches under rocks and scare the antives...while his faculty peers from UU wander through time and sapce..
Capfox on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I don't like the Rincewind books. Of the major characters in the series, he's the one that I like the least. He's really very one-note, and the hero that just runs and runs as a character really ran out of steam for me around the first Rincewind book I read.Still, the rest of the Faculty can be fun, and this one wasn't really all that different in that regard, although I think they've had better runs in other books. The main thread they're on is that they want to find Rincewind so they can heal the Librarian, who has a cold that causes him to turn into a wide variety of items. Not really epic, but the characters are still fairly cute.The plot, though... this one is a parody of Australia, and I haven't been there, and I don't really find the idea all that amusing. There were parts that were good, such as the jail sequence and the god of evolution sequence, but there weren't that many. Pratchett's style is on, but it's turned to not particularly amusing ends here; I didn't laugh once. It's in the top end of the Rincewind books, but that's because the competition is very weak. This one's really just for completists, to my mind.
Zmrzlina on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Oh gosh, this Discworld has lots of academia jokes, which I love."I shall endeavor to make study of any primitive grass-skirted peoples hereabouts," added the Dean, with a lawnmower look in his eyes.I've decided that Rincewind, the missing wizard, is another favorite character. He reminds me so much of Bill Bryson, author of In a Sunburned Country and many other wonderful books.Ponder Stibbons, another of my favorite Discworld characters because he is so logical and reasonable and reminds me of one of my favorite real life people, is trying to explain to other wizards why they can't willy-nilly mess with the past;"You might...tread on an ant now and it might entirely prevent someone from being born in the future!" "Really?" said Ridcully. "Yes, sir!" Ridcully brightened up. "That's not a bad wheeze. There's one or two people history could do without. Any idea how we can find the right ants?" "No, sir!" Ponder struggled to find a crack in his Archchancellor's brain into which he could insert the crowbar of understanding, and for a few vain seconds thought he'd found one."Because...the ant you step on might be your own, sir!" "You mean...I might tread on an ant and this'd affect history and I wouldn't be born?" "Yes! Yes!" That's it! That's right, sir!" "How?" Ridcully looked puzzled. "I'm not descended from ants."And the passage goes on to all sorts of tangents which so remind me of life in academia. And how much I miss it. I also found another euphemism for someone not quite with it;The bursar was, as he would probably be the first to admit, not the most mentally stable of people. He would probably be the first to admit that he was a tea-strainer.More quotes for my collection;Regarding a book from Ponder's childhood, one that is separated into three sections so you could make many, many creatures by changing the head, torso and leg pages. "The cover promised 'hours of fun' although, after the first three minutes you couldn't help wondering what kind of person could make that kind of fun last hours, and whether suffocating him as kindly as possible now would save the Serial Crimes Squad a lot of trouble in years to come. Ponder, however, had hours of fun."A footnote toward the end of the book about meat pie floaters, one of the "indigenous delights" on the Last Continent, goes on and on about how perfectly good food gets mangled by insistence on favoring food that is awful for unknown perverse reasons and Prachett notes "It's as if Machiavelli had written a cookery book." I love that analogy.The Last Continent ranks right up at the top of my favorite Discworld books, though it might be a bit too "inside" in parts so that someone who had limited knowledge of Australian culture would miss the joke. The kangaroo that appears out of nowhere confused the hell out of me and I still don't get its meaning. Could have done with a few less "no worries," too.
Hamburgerclan on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Bwah-hah-hah-hah-hah-hah! More Discworld silliness, this time with an Australian flavor. It's funny. Read it.--J.