Mark Reads ‘The Last Continent’: Part 13

In the thirteenth part of The Last Continent, Ponder discovers his destiny; the wizards escape; Rincewind does a lot of gross things. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld

So. I’m now more than 60% of the way through The Last Continent, and I still don’t know what’s happening. That sounds like an exaggeration when I read it, and I want to be careful to make sure this doesn’t sound like I hate it. It’s a lot of fun to read out loud; the book is more like a collection of humorous vignettes than the rest of the Discworld books. At the same time, I feel impatient while reading The Last Continent. That’s a strange thing to admit because… well, it’s my fault I’m reading this in 20-page spurts, you know? I CAN’T BLAME ANYONE BUT MYSELF.

I worried that this might just be a Rincewind problem, but you know what? As much as I disliked Interesting Times, at least there WAS a gradually building plot within it. Here, the wizards are now barely away from Mono Island and, as I predicted, Pratchett found a way to get Ponder Stibbons back with the rest of the wizards, eliminating any real, lasting change for this character. (Again: for now. I will take this back if it’s leading to something else.) I feel like I’ve been stuck on this island or with Rincewind suffering in the desert for a long, long time, and there’s nothing in the text yet to give me a hint how this is all going to come together.

Usually, Pratchett drops hints along the way. He pushes his characters from one dramatic scene to another and demonstrates how they’d react to it. Here, though, I get the sense that both Rincewind and the wizards are moving from one joke to another, not one plot point to another. Granted, I have no interest in the wizards obsessing over Mrs. Whitlow. Unless it was from her perspective, I just wasn’t going to be entertained by that. I was amused by the gag where Rincewind made a sheep-stealer take off in terror while he was searching for water, but what does this all mean? Is this his means into Bugarup?

Probably. But I still have no clue what anyone is supposed to be doing. There’s a part of me that wonders if this is the whole parody element: what if Rincewind is forced on a quest without knowing his purpose until the very end? That’s amusing, I suppose, but as the reader, I’m getting frustrated that I still don’t know what Rincewind is supposed to do, why it’s truly important, and how the wizards end up imprinted through time. That’s a lot of information to keep from the reader for this long, you know?

I want to believe that this will all come together by the finale, and I also have to accept that the nature of Mark Reads means that sometimes, I will be reading books in a way that breaks them up oddly. Still, I will admit to appreciating that the God of Evolution’s most perfect creature is a cockroach. I should have seen that one coming.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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