Firstly let me apologize for what I must consider to be too long of a delay. I have not abandoned you. Of course I cannot feel too guilty as I have not promised to a deadline of any kind, quite on purpose I might add, nor have I much of an audience to apologize to. Well now that any pretense has been drowned out of the conversation let us move on to the topic that has been derailed, Discworld: The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett.
You would be hard-pressed to discover a novel that was any more different from our previous book: thick imaginative descriptions, witty and nuanced dialogue, and not much of a message to speak of. If one were to boil The Color of Magic down to one word it would have to be octarine, or perhaps more simply, imagination. Every corner of the world that Pratchett so delicately shows us is filled with such a creativity and strangeness that if someone were to read it and not experience the invocation of their inner child then they would most assuredly be lost.
I do not mention imagination lightly. Every page of every novel must contain a pinch of imagination, otherwise a writer could not arrive there at all, but here we have a world that is flat, proven to be in fact, and it is held up by not one, or two, but three elephants that of course all stand on the back of a giant cosmic turtle known as the Great A’tuin. One could have written a novel about this concept alone, but to have the gall, nay, the courage to thrust even more onto that cosmic plate, well, one would have to have a delightful insanity.
And a delightful insanity Pratchett has. We are greeted with failed wizards, and dragons that don’t exist, and trolls made of water, and spaceships, and DEATH, and gods, and luggage. I assure you the kitchen sink is in there too, and yet somehow it all fits into four vignettes with just two or three primary characters.
I do not mean to offer an overly extreme level of praise, nor do I mean to grovel. The novel is not designed for everybody. It is almost like a child’s tale racing from one fanciful extreme to another and never apologizing for doing so, but here it works. It’s relaxing to read, and it hasn’t aged one minute.
It is all imagination. You need imagination to keep writing. The sentences that have pride in them, the sentences that a writer really means, always have imagination at the heart of their construction. Even a simple description can take a reader to another world, if it has a little imagination. I could leave you with a hundred examples, but I will leave you instead with just my favorite, “Rincewind thought that a meeting with most of the Drum’s clientele would mean that Twoflower never went home again, unless he lived downriver and happened to float past.” Show your imagination to another person, and do so completely, and you will never be disappointed with the outcome.
As I have said previously, I had never read a novel in this series, and I regret that, but there is always time. I intend to keep reading the series, though I will not review them further. Next up, I think it’s time for a little Stephen King with Riding the Bullet. Happy reading!