Unseen Academicals

Thadlerian

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Just arrived. Anyone got it yet?

I've started reading Unseen Academicals, about 180 pages in, and so far it's very good. Looks to be the best since Night Watch. Very good characters (Glenda, Juliet, Nutt, Trev), some hilarious additions to the UU staff, and at the same time addressing the ethnic and sociopolitical issues of the modern Ankh-Morpork. A number of very serious issues are treated in this book. It looks like pure comedy on the cover, but is actually far from it. :D

I had seriously started doubting the skills of Pratchett lately, with books like Making Money and Nation, both of which for different reasons disappointed me.

But if Unseen Academicals continues the way it has started...
Well, you've got something to look forward to.
 

Rodders

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I haven't read or bought any Terry Pratchett for a long, long time, but i really like the look of this. I might pick it up on my next book haul.
 

Pyan

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Nine AM at the bookshop door, first day!

Enjoyed it immensely, and thoroughly recommend it.
 

rojse

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Unseen Academicals was a fun read, but not his best work. It seemed somewhat formulaic - Pratchett has written nearly all of the plot elements in previous Discworld stories.
 

Thadlerian

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Having read it all the way through, I can agree with that. The first two-thirds or so are very strong, but after that it's back to Making Money-standard. Not bad, but done before.
 

Thadlerian

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More than a month, and no more replies to this thread? Are no one else reading Terry Pratchett's latest book?
 

Culhwch

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Having read it all the way through, I can agree with that. The first two-thirds or so are very strong, but after that it's back to Making Money-standard. Not bad, but done before.

I finished this in the last couple of days and I have to agree that this one started strongly, but ended a little weak. The match just didn't really do justice to the build-up. Still an enjoyable read, and Terry Pratchett's weaker efforts are still usually better than a lot of his contemporaries best efforts...
 

The Judge

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I've got it as a Christmas present, so it's under embargo until then. I'll let you know my reaction by the end of the month. For myself, I enjoyed 'Making Money' so I shan't be complaining if it is at that standard.

J
 

Daisy-Boo

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I started reading it yesterday. It hasn't captured me yet but I'm sure that will change as I get further in.
 

Kalyissa

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I just finished reading it, parts of it made me laugh especially the conversation between Rincewind and Ridicully about Rincewinds mother. Good book glad to see that he has still got it. Hope to see some more good books from him come soon.
 

Steffi

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I had it for my birthday along with Under The Dome (Stephen King), had to read that first.
So I've just finished Unseen Alchemicals...hehe he still has it, especially under the circumstances. Hope he still has more in him.
 

The Judge

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Well, I finally got round to finishing it over the weekend - and since I picked it up with great delight on 27 December and I usually read a book in a day, that tells you a lot already.

Like Daisy-Boo, I found it didn't capture me at all at the beginning - I managed to get as far as about page 120 and just gave up. After a couple of abortive attempts to get back into it in January, I made myself go through to the end this month, but I was no more impressed.

I didn't find any of the new characters sympathetic, and the only one to my mind who was really psychologically convincing was Pepe. Pratchett has always been one for social commentary, but I can't remember him laying it on with such a trowel before** - I felt I was being repeatedly bludgeoned about Nutt, who never convinced me in the least.

** but I deliberately haven't read 'Nation'

Did anyone else feel the whole thing was a little rough around the edges - like it was a good draft that hadn't been polished, or not properly edited? I'm sure at one point Glenda comes out with 'egregious' - and since she was a stranger to 'fecundity' I can't believe that one would have tripped off her tongue. And the continual jumping from viewpoint to viewpoint within a scene I found disruptive.

Not one of his best, certainly.
 

Darksaber

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Ok is it worth getting, alot of people have said it is a turkey, others thats its one of the best..

is it worth spending 19 quid on?
 

The Judge

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I wouldn't say it was an out and out turkey - but certainly not of a standard of his others, to my mind.

As to whether it's worth getting, it depends how flush you're feeling. Mine was a present (but still didn't cost £19 - I'm pretty sure it was ony £13 or so), but if I'd had to pay for it myself -- and knowing then what I now know -- I'd probably not have bothered to buy it yet, waiting for the paperback instead. Why not get it from the library and see if it grabs you?
 

High Eight

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Ok is it worth getting, alot of people have said it is a turkey, others thats its one of the best..

is it worth spending 19 quid on?

I vote for one of the best. The first few pages don't quite 'gel', I suspect because PTerry had to dictate rather than use the keyboard himself but it soon settles down as he gets ussed to it. All the expected football jokes are there ('sick as a parrot', 'who ate all the pies?', the goddess Pedestriana who looks suspiciously like the Jules Rimet Trophy) plus all the usual social satire and redemption for fantasy literature's permanent villian.

IMO, those who find UA different or inferior are just looking for excuses to say 'I told you so' about PTerry's illness.
 

Daisy-Boo

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IMO, those who find UA different or inferior are just looking for excuses to say 'I told you so' about PTerry's illness.

I think that's an unfair statement.

I'm a rabid PTerry fan but there are some books he's written that I've found less than inspiring. I'm also not crazy about all his characters, e.g. I'm not fond of Rincewind. It is possible to be a writer's devoted fan and still not like some of his work.

I started UA and I think it has one of the weakest openings of all his books. You mention in your comment that he hits his stride further into the book and I sincerely hope I'll like this book once I get further into it. But if I don't, that won't make me any less of a TP fan.
 

The Judge

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I agree with Daisy-Boo. It's possible to like Pratchett's work without being fanatical about his abilities - and definitely some of his books are weaker than others, or at least some of his books appeal less than others (I'm one of those who wouldn't miss Mort or The Thief of Time, for instance - and if Rincewind was never seen again I would be delighted).

Pratchett's illness and the effect on his writing never occurred to me until I found myself picking up flaws in Unseen Academicals, as I'd assumed -- evidently wrongly -- this had been planned and at least part written before the dementia took hold. I think as well, High Eight, that what you are taking as good is what has put me off. Yes the expected jokes are there - and that's the problem for me. It's been written by rote, to a template. I'd expected something better.
 

High Eight

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High Eight, that what you are taking as good is what has put me off. Yes the expected jokes are there - and that's the problem for me. It's been written by rote, to a template. I'd expected something better.

I don't agree - 'Hitchiker's Guide' is written by rote. Xanth is written by rote (actually I think it's written by a poorly-programmed ZX81, but there you go:D).

Discworld always provides a surprise - even the stuff you expect is skewed slightly. (The great comb-overed eagle.....:)) And Nutt's story comes pretty much out of the blue, as does Pepe and Madame.

We'll just have to agree to disagree, I guess.
 

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