Terry Pratchett Reprise

Most sci-fi and fantasy authors publish their best books first, and then once they've made a name for themselves and gathered a crowd of readers who are fans of their characters and universe, they just keep writing stories in that setting, which usually are not as good as the first ones.

Terry Pratchett appears to be an exception here. The first book I picked up, Guards! Guards!, was significantly better than the second book I picked up, The Light Fantastic, which being only the second Discworld book was published much earlier. I expected it to be better, because the first couple of books an author manages are often his best, but it was very disappointing in that regard. When I wrote my previous assessment, I hadn't finished it, but its ending (the last third of the book or so) was terribly anticlimactic and, I thought, boring. I barely made myself finish it. This is in contrast to Guards! Guards!, which was a little hard to get into at first but then captured my attention better as it went.

Now I'm reading Mort, which was published later than TLF and shows every sign of being rather better. (I can't compare it to Guards! Guards! yet, maybe when I'm further into the book.)

Maybe it's Rincewind and Twoflower I don't like. They're not very interesting characters, and they're not really sympathetic characters (i.e., ones the reader can easily identify with) either. Actually, of all the characters in The Light Fantastic, Cohen and the university Chancellor (the one who got whacked by Twoflower's luggage) were the only major characters I thought were really well-written and interesting. Well, and maybe the Gnome, but that's really a minor character. (There were also cameo appearances, as it were, from a couple of other potentially interesting characters, e.g., Death's daughter, who as it happens seems likely to show up in the book I'm reading now. But these did not have a very large role in the book.)