Mark Reads ‘The Science of Discworld II’: Chapter 1

In the first chapter of The Science of Discworld II, Rincewind discovers his life is about to stop being dull. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld. 

I can definitely say this: I don’t know what I’m getting into. I don’t understand the point of the Shakespeare references in the epigraph, but I’m suspecting that the title—The Globe—must refer to both the globe in Rincewind’s office and the famed theater in London. Right? I’m trying? 

But this is par for the course: since no one can spoil me, that means I don’t know what the hell I’m getting, and this first chapter barely gives me anything to go on. Knowing that it’s one of the Science books isn’t helpful either because I can’t tell what the science is going to be about! Winter? Elves? One of the seven positions that Rincewind has? The most tree-like tree of all time? I am at the mercy of this book, so let’s start with the wizards, who are actually having fun in this first chapter. Later, we learn that’s sort of the point, which still feels so surprising to me. Have we ever seen the wizards just have fun in such a pure way? They’re basically playing a magical version of paintball. There was a very brief time in my life in high school when I got into paintballing. It ended up being too expensive of a hobby to maintain, but I got sucked in when a friend let me use their gun. 

I also imagine that the wizard version of this hurts a whole lot less.

This teamwork-building exercise, unsurprisingly, goes awry. Actually, that’s not quite right. It has been going awry because the wizards cannot fathom the idea of being on a team WITH OTHER WIZARDS: 

They’d start out as two teams, but as soon as there was any engagement they’d get all excited and twitchy and shoot other wizards indiscriminately. If you were a wizard then, deep down, you knew that every other wizard was your enemy. 

Seriously, this is such a huge contrast to the witches, and I can’t stop thinking about it because I just came off of a book full of them. Like, there’s certainly some friendly and passive-aggressive competitiveness to the witches, but there’s nothing like this. Still, a magic paintball free-for-all sounds like a lot of fun, but I don’t expect any of these wizards to “build a dynamic team ethos.” Nice try, Ridcully?

So, let’s discuss the Roundworld. I dug the fact that this book basically picked up in the wake of the last one, and the world that the wizards constructed before immediately plays into the story here. I don’t know what kind of magic got the wizards sent into Roundworld, and I was definitely not prepared for ELVES to return to a Discworld book. Pratchett’s elves are fucking terrifying, and now they’ve invaded the Roundworld. I couldn’t tell if Ridcully meant that the wizards were useless because… well, it’s these wizards. They usually are. But what if their magic doesn’t work in the Roundworld either? That would not make it good for the wizards, but hopefully, the Librarian has a theory that doesn’t involve Hex’s problem:

+++I cannot guarantee reacquiring more than one of every organ.+++

That’s… bad. Don’t do that, Hex. 

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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