Mark Reads ‘The Last Continent’: Part 11

In the eleventh part of The Last Continent, water, drop-bears, and horses, oh my! Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

So let me start this off with a question: How do all of you Australian readers feel about this book? I figure this is a question I should ask at the end of the book, too, but it struck me as I read about Rincewind’s mishaps. Does this feel like an accurate satire of your country so far? Does it sound like someone who knows what they’re talking about has written this? I have no idea if Pratchett traveled there, but I imagine there have to be Discworld fans there. (I KNOW TWO OF THEM… except I’m pretty sure one of them doesn’t live there anymore. OKAY SO I KNOW ONE.) Regardless, there’s some of this I understand because I know that the Australian wilderness can be a harsh and unforgiving place. In terms of slang, I feel like I get what Pratchett is poking fun at, but at the same time, some of these jokes might have other meanings that I’m unfamiliar with.

In some sense, that does affect my experience reading this. As I said in the previous review, this book is unfolding in a manner I’m not used to for Discworld books. Part of that is because this feels a lot more like the early books, and part of it is because the recent batch of novels since Rincewind’s last one are so plot-heavy, so full of mystery. There’s the mystery of time-traveling wizards in this one, but it’s not as clandestine or hidden from me. I get how they ended up in the past, and Rincewind is the one destined to save them and Fourecks in the process.

The book is all about the journey at this point. We’re taken from one mishap to another, each one just as ridiculous as the last one. They’re riddled with references to different aspects of Australian culture, language, geography, and wildlife. That’s not a bad thing by any means! The reason I’m bringing it up isn’t to criticize the writing or to offer up what Pratchett should be doing. Instead, it just comes down to preference. I got so used to the story told in the last four books that this feels massively, massively different. AGAIN, NOT A BAD THING. I actually had a lot of fun reading this! Seriously, that scene with Snowy scaling the cliffs and canyons was incredible, and if anything, I appreciate how much more absurd this book feels. That’s the upside of stitching one weird scene to another; I’m never ready for what I’m going to read next. LIKE THE DROP-BEAR SEQUENCE. BLESS.

If there’s any criticism to be offered, it’s that this might be starting to feel a bit repetitive. Rincewind deals with the budgerigars; then he deals with the lack of water near one of the windmills; then, the wild horses. Meanwhile, Scrappy hangs off just out of sight of Rincewind, fixing events so that he can gently push the wizard where he wants him. (Which I assume is still Bugarup, though I don’t know why.) My hope is that this pattern of scenes will change once Rincewind gets to the city, and hopefully, I’ll have a better idea of what this novel is shaping up to be.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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