The Light Fantastic (Discworld Series #2)

The Light Fantastic (Discworld Series #2)

by Terry Pratchett

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The side-splitting sequel to The Color of Magic, The Light Fantastic by New York Times bestselling author Sir Terry Pratchett takes readers on another offbeat journey with bumbling wizard Rincewind and hapless tourist Twoflower—both last seen falling off the edge of Discworld.

The fate of Pratchett’s alternative fantasy macrocosm are in the bumbling duo’s hands as it hurtles its way toward a foreboding red star, threatening the fate of the entire universe. 

Sharp, sardonic, and brilliantly funny, in this third installment in the bestselling Discworld series, Pratchett once again earns his master satirist reputation, with witty wordplay and irreverent storytelling that fans are sure to love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062225689
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/29/2013
Series: Discworld Series
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 37,314
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.80(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.


Salisbury, Wiltshire, England

Date of Birth:

April 28, 1948

Place of Birth:

Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England


Four honorary degrees in literature from the universities of Portsmouth, Bristol, Bath and Warwick

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The sun rose slowly, as if it wasn't sure it was worth all the effort.

Another Disc day dawned, but very gradually, and this is why.

When light encounters a strong magical field it loses all sense of urgency. It slows right down. And on the Discworld the magic was embarrassingly strong, which meant that the soft yellow light of dawn flowed over the sleeping landscape like the caress of a gentle lover or, as some would have it, like golden syrup. It paused to fill up valleys. It piled up against mountain ranges. When it reached Cori Celesti, the ten mile spire of gray stone and green ice that marked the hub of the Disc and was the home of its gods, it built up in heaps until it finally crashed in great lazy tsunami as silent as velvet, across the dark landscape beyond.

It was a sight to be seen on no other world.

Of course, no other world was carried through the starry infinity on the backs of four giant elephants, who were themselves perched on the shell of a giant turtle. His name-or Her name, according to another school of thought-was Great A'Tuin; he-or, as it might be, she-will not take a central role in what follows but it is vital to an understanding of the Disc that he-or she-is there, down below the mines and sea ooze and fake fossil bones put there by a Creator with nothing better to do than upset archaeologists and give them silly ideas.

Great A'Tuin the star turtle, shell frosted with frozen methane, pitted with meteor craters, and scoured with asteroidal dust. Great A'Tuin, with eyes like ancient seas and a brain the size of a continent through which thoughts moved like little glittering glaciers. GreatA'Tuim of the great slow sad flippers and star-polished carapace, laboring through the galactic night under the weight of the Disc. As large as worlds. As old as Time. As patient as a brick.

Actually, the philosophers have got it all wrong. Great A'Tuin is in fact having a great time.

Great A'Tuin is the only creature in the entire universe that knows exactly where it is going.

Of course, philosophers have debated for years about where Great A'Tuin might be going, and have often said how worried they are that they might never find out.

They're due to find out in about two months, And then they're really going to worry ...

Something else that has long worried the more imaginative philosophers on the Disc is the question of Great A'Tuin's sex, and quite a lot of time and trouble has been spent in trying to establish it once and for all.

In fact, as the great dark shape drifts past like an endless tortoiseshell hairbrush, the results of the latest effort are just coming into view.

Tumbling past, totally out of control, is the bronze shell of the Potent Voyager, a sort of neolithic spaceship built and pushed over the edge by the astronomerpriests of Krull, which is conveniently situated on the very rim of the world and proves, whatever people say, that there is such a thing as a free launch.

Inside the ship is Twoflower, the Disc's first tourist. He had recently spent some months exploring it and is now rapidly leaving it for reasons that are rather complicated but have to do with an attempt to escape from Krull.

This attempt has been one thousand percent successful.

But despite all the evidence that he may be the Disc's last tourist as well, he is enjoying the view.

Plunging along some two miles above him is Rincewind the wizard, in what on the Disc passes for a spacesuit. Picture it as a diving suit designed by men who have never seen the sea. Six months ago he was a perfectly ordinary failed wizard. Then he met Twoflower, was employed at an outrageous salary as his guide, and has spent most of the intervening time being shot at, terrorized, chased and hanging from high places with no hope of salvation or, as is now the case, dropping from high places.

He isn't looking at the view because his past life keeps flashing in front of his eyes and getting in the way. He is learning why it is that when you put on a spacesuit it is vitally important not to forget the helmet.

A lot more could be included now to explain why these two are dropping out of the world, and why Twoflower's Luggage, last seen desperately trying to follow him on hundreds of little legs, is no ordinary suitcase, but such questions take time and could be more trouble than they are worth. For example, it is said that someone at a party once asked the famous philosopher Ly Tin Weedle "Why are you here?" and the reply took three years.

What is far more important is an event happening way overhead, far above A'Tuin, the elephants and the rapidly expiring wizard. The very fabric of time and space is about to be put through the wringer.

The air was greasy with the distinctive feel of magic, and acrid with the smoke of candles made of a black wax whose precise origin a wise man wouldn't inquire about.

There was something very strange about this room deep in the cellars of Unseen University, the Disc's premier college of magic. For one thing it seemed to have too many dimensions, not exactly visible, just hovering out of eyeshot. The walls were covered with occult symbols, and most of the floor was taken up by the Eightfold Seal of Stasis, generally agreed in magical circles to have all the stopping power of a well-aimed halfbrick.

The only furnishing in the room was a lectern of dark wood, carved into the shape of a bird-well, to be frank, into the shape of a winged thing it is probably best not to examine too closely-and on the lectern, fastened to it by a heavy chain covered in padlocks, was a book.

A large, but not particularly impressive, book. Other books in the University's libraries had covers inlaid with rare jewels and fascinating wood, or bound with dragon skin. This one was just a rather tatty leather. It looked the sort of book described in library catalogues as "slightly foxed," although it would be more honest to admit that it looked as though it had been badgered, wolved and possibly beared as well.

Metal clasps held it shut. They weren't decorated, they were just very heavy-like the chain, which didn't so much attach the book to the lectern as tether it.

They looked like the work of someone who had a pretty definite aim in mind, and who had spent most of his life making training harness for elephants.

The air thickened and swirled. The pages of the book began to crinkle in a quite horrible, deliberate way, and...

Customer Reviews

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Light Fantastic (Discworld Series) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 136 reviews.
Ruriksson More than 1 year ago
The Light Fantastic is a bit of an odd man out in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series in that it's the only one that really should be read in order. Most of this fantastic series can be read as a stand alone, in whatever order one feels (odd in and of itself for such a large series). The light Fantastic is the followup to Pratchett's Discworld debut The Color of Magic, in which our erstwhile hero Rincewind continues his journey with the Discworlds first tourist, the indomitable Two Flower. It is every bit as offbeat, witty and strangely poignant as the first, and certainly a good start to one of the most interesting fantasy worlds ever created. Highly recommended.
Niveus More than 1 year ago
I love this book. Terry Pratchett is a never ending well of fanatsy and creativity.
Ravenwood0001 More than 1 year ago
This book continues on with Rincewind and Twoflower's journey, and you find out how much of a "Wizzard" Rincewind truly is. Rincewind continues on his desperate attempts to keep the idiot Twoflower from getting them all killed, and along the way they meet some new friends and even more enemies.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to anybody. The Luggage is probably the most creative thing Pratchett has ever menchened. ROCK ON DEATH!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have the same probems with this book as with the previous one. It did not have quite the fun value or the length of current installments. Plus editing had some major mistakes. And I really really disliked the Spells' reset button Intervention.
Eurekas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is the continuation of The Color of Magic. It introduces a few important characters, Cohen the Barbarian, Bethane, the would-be sacrifice, and Trymon, the nasty, power hungry wizard. Once again, Pratchett's use of metaphor and his deft and comical descriptions make this a very enjoyable read and an excellent conclusion to The Color of Magic.
JBD1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My second foray into the Discworld. I've been told that the first two books are sort of background for what's to come, so I'm going to stick with the series awhile longer. Amusing, certainly, but I wasn't particularly drawn in by this one.
ds_61_12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rincewind and Twoflower continue their travels, which they began in The Colour of Magic They travel with the barbarian hero Cohan. Traditionally they meet some interesting problems. Such as a big Red Star that's coming towards the Discworld and will, in all likelyhood, destroy it. Wizards that are trying to capture or kill Rincewind. Religious fanatics that try to kill Rincewind. Bandits that try to kill Rincewind, etc. etc.Great book. Funny as hell (which doesn't feature in this book, please look up Eric). The characters are very well cast for their roles and extremely likeable (are the superlatives starting to bore yet?). Anyway, read it, the books towards the end of the series are rumored to be even better. Hmmm, you don't have to read this one to read the others. On the other hand, half the fun is the anticipation.
mohi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The second novel in the Discworld series is more of a 'The Colour of Magic II' since it not only finishes what it started but is also similar in tone and style (and thus quite different than the rest of the series).
polarbear123 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. I found it confusing at first following all of the threads of the narrative. Perhaps I wasn't paying 100% attention while I was reading it but the further I read the more involved in the story I became. there are some nice its of humour and observational comedy in here too. A good continuation from the first book and I am looking forward to reading more - is that the end of Rincewind and Twoflower though? I hope not becasue I liked those two a lot...
fiverivers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this the second book of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, we continue with the adventures of Rincewind, Twoflowers and best of all, the Luggage. (I love the Luggage!) We meet with Cohen the Barbarian (love it!), trolls with diamond teeth, feisty maidens being sacrificed to prevent the red star from crashing into Discworld, and even at the end have an opportunity to share in Great A'Tuin's blessed event. Pratchett's wit, humour and intelligence are sharp and rapid. Reading this at bedtime proved problematic, in that in a somnolent state I'd completely miss the lampooning of some real world star, and have to go back and reread just so I wouldn't miss out on yet another delightful giggle. Honestly, I haven't laughed so much reading books in my lifetime. I'm hooked. Completely, hopelessly hooked on Pratchett's Discworld. Some of the best entertainment of the 20th and 21st centuries, and I daresay destined to become classics in generations to come.
RobertDay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first full-length Discworld novel, and one that establishes a lot of the key ongoing story points, especially with regard to the Unseen University and the Librarian. (Ook.) Look out for the first of many film references throughout the canon. Still laugh-out loud funny.
jnicholson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
We return to the Discworld in time to find Rincewind leaving it - and inexplicably returning. Possibly some of the events in "The Last Hero" go some way to an explanation in retrospect. The story is essentially Rincewind attempting to return to Ankh-Morpork in order to get rid of the spell that has been stuck in his head since his days as a student of wizardry - and incidentally, save the Discworld. This is rather an unmemorable tale.
reading_fox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Short and punny. This is some respects is the first full Discworld Novel. CoM contains four short stories, but here the action follows through continuously. The book opens with a horrendous duex et machina - Pratchett finished CoM with his heros falling off the Edge of the World. Suddenly he's faced with the prospect of having to write the sequel. Oh no, my heros! they're falling off the Edge of the World! Quick cast a spell to change the entire world so that they aren't. Its very very contrived. The rest of the book proceeds as normally as Pratchett book can. The Disk is heading towards annihilation in the light of giant Star. The main body of Wizards learnthat only Rincewind can help them whent he end times are near. They set out - independantly - to track him down. Rincewind meanwhile has found Twoflower again, and the famous (and now ancient) barbarian Cohen. But he's getting homesick for Ankh Morpock. A few of the more famous characters are properly introduced. Luggage is obviously the star. But I've only just realsied that this is the first mention of Swires the gnome - who later joins the Watch. The creation of the famous Librarian, is merely a passing mention here, adapted too within days by the senior wizzarding staff. There are lots of really dreadful puns inserted (often forcibly) all over the place. That is the main hightlight of this book really. the biting satire hasn't really kicked in yet, adn there's almost no social commentry either. Rincewind manages to be less annoying than usual. I smiles in a few places, but unless you think puns are really funny, Pratchett has written many far more humerous books.
isabelx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
'I mean - you know the Horse people's yurt, where we were last night?''Yesh.''Would you say it was a bit dark and greasy and smelt like a very ill horse?''Very accurate description, I'd shay.''He wouldn't agree. He'd say it was a magnificent barbarian tent, hung with the pelts of the great beasts hunted by the lean-eyed warriors from the edge of civilisation, and smelt of the rare and curious resins plundered from the caravans as they crossed the trackless - well, and so on. I mean it,' he added.'He'sh mad?''Sort of mad. But mad with lots of money.''Ah, then he can't be mad. I've been around; if a man hash lotsh of money he'sh just ecshentric.'"The Light Fantastic" continues the story of Rincewind the failed wizard, who is working as a tour guide for Twoflower (the Disc World's first tourist) and his magical Luggage, started in "The Colour of Magic". As Rincewind struggles to keep himself and Twoflower alive, and cope with the great spell that is hiding in his mind, the Great A'Tuin is carrying the Disc World directly towards an ominous-looking red star, and the people are beginning to panic.Not as good as later Disc World novels, but still very funny and worth reading.
Alan_Dawson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another 'fantastic' book by Terry. It was a shame i didn't read the book before the TV dramatisation of this book (along with the colour of magic). I thouroughly enjoyed it and couldn't put it down, sooooo many things were omitted from the tv staging.
ngeunit1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book continues off where The Color of Magic finishes off. The protagonist is still our friend Rincewind, the incompetent and cowardly wizard along with the rest of our party including Twoflower, "The world's first tourist," and The Luggage. The pace from the first book really continues here right from the start as Pratchett really hits a groove early on and keeps it going throughout the entire story. His excellent sense of humor and satirical wit really shine here as the book is really funny on many different levels. His ability to incorporate so many references to other fantasy and the real world so seamlessly is fantastic.While I guess it would be possible to read as a standalone book, reading The Color of Magic before The Light Fantastic would be recommended. This is one of the only true sequels in the Discworld series, and most of the novels can be picked up out of order. The Light Fantastic really builds up to a fun conclusion as we see the character of Rincewind develop a bit from his normal almost pathetic self. Overall, a great conclusion to the story of The Color of Magic and definitely recommended for those who enjoyed it.
theancientreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was one of those works that I found difficult to put down once I read the first couple pages. The Light Fantastic is the second offering in Pratchett¿s Disc World Series and if anything, it is even better than the first. I first read this one as a stand alone, before I read any of the other books in this series, and found it held up well. I would suggest the first book in the series be read first, but it is certainly not necessary.I am not going into the plot of this one at any depth as there are quite a number of very good reviews here that have done an outstand job of that already. Briefly though, this follows the adventures of a very inept wizard, Rincewind, the first evolved tourist on Disc World, Twoflower, and Luggage. Rincewind is a failed wizard, a coward and an actually rather likeable scoundrel. Twoflowers is the prototype tourist which can be found anywhere in our own world at any tourist destination and Luggage is Twoflower¿s, well¿luggage; a loyal trunk that follows its owner everywhere, through think an thin. This book is an account of their adventures while saving Disc World, a world held up by a giant turtle with giant elephants standing on her back, from complete destruction by crashing into a wondering star. The story line, as with all of Pratchett¿s work, is only the tip of the iceberg as far as reading pleasure goes. There were very few pages to this work that did not bring on a slight giggle, belly laugh or, at the very least, a smile. This author has humans pegged perfectly and through his humor, is able to make quite profound observations of the general overall human condition. The author has the ability to tell a rousing story while poking a bit of fun at just about everything. In this novel we meet Cohen the Barbarian, a wonderful take off on the original Conan, and a number of other very recognizable characters inhabiting our culture. I suppose the primary thrust of this work is to make light of the Conan type genre of literature, from The Hobbit to Conan to any number of other works of this order.Read these books closely. The word play is a major part of the enchantment of this author¿s work and can easily be missed if you go too fast. It, the word play, is an absolute delight! Wit and satire are this authors greatest strengths and when you mix those with his imagination and story telling abilities, you have a wonderful entertaining and educational read. I very much enjoyed Pratchett¿s humor, story telling ability and quirky outlook on life. I suppose these novels are not for everyone, but I certainly enjoyed this one. Like another reviewer here, Luggage was my favorite character, followed closely by Cohen. Don BlankenshipThe Ozarks
eddy79 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is more like it! A lot more satisfying read that the previous book, and a hell of a lot funnier too. Many people say that Rincewind isn't their favourite Discworld character, but I love him. I'm reminded of Indiana Jones - the adventurer who get away with things more by luck than judgement, makes for a very entertaining character.
KevlarRelic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Listened to this one on audiobook. Not really that big a fan of this book or the one that preceded it. It just gets really redundant. The chest is powerful and scares everyone, alrighty, got it, move on. The wizard is cowardly; why do you insist on describing this fact to me every time things get dangerous (which is often)? I guess it broke the "show don't tell" rule too often for my tastes. Almost turned me off Pratchett completely. Lucky for me that I had another of his later books on my ipod and decided to give him a second chance. Read Terry Pratchett's later Discworld books, but I suggest missing this one.
shavienda on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great continuation from the first book, and I'm still impressed at the writing style I mentioned in the first book that terry's form of writing reminded me not so much as writing, but as a delightful series of plays on phrases and paragraphs, that all just happened to fall in a certain order that makes sense.
rincewind1986 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
QAnother story starring Rincewind, twoflower and the homocidle Luggage and another story where pratchett does what he does best, make you laugh. Rincewind is one of my favourite pratchett characters alongside death and granny weatherwax and this story is rincewind, the cowardly hero, at his best.
391 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love The Light Fantastic. This is my second or third time reading it - the first time(s?) I read it were when I wasn't as familiar with the whole series. Now that I am, I'm starting to really like Rincewind. I think he's an awesome character, especially his relative pragmatism (and eventual - though reluctant - heroism) in the face of all the Discworld insanity. I wish I had read this directly after The Color of Magic, because I couldn't quite remember how they had ended up falling off the Rim, which is where the book starts, but I recalled enough of the details to be able to follow the book anyway.
PortiaLong on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Light fantasy fiction. Fast read. Not as amusing to me as some of the others.
kristenn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This one was definitely better than The Color of Magic. Still no laughing, but at least I smiled a few times. The humor wasn't trying as hard. Rincewind still has no charisma but there was a nice, well-developed supporting cast; fewer walking cliches. And there was a plot, sort of, more or less.