Tag: Unseen University

Terry Pratchett – Unseen Academicals | Review

Title: Unseen Academicals

Author: Terry Pratchett

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 544

Rating: 8/10


Terry Pratchett - Unseen Academicals

Terry Pratchett – Unseen Academicals


This book is an interesting one, because it’s one of Pratchett’s later releases and probably the last ‘new’ Discworld book that I read before he died. Broadly speaking, it follows the story of what happens when the sport of football is introduced to Ankh-Morpork, with predictably hilarious results. I have 544 words to fill, and so I’m going to quote some of the blurb, because that can give you a better idea of what we’re dealing with here than I could, and I’m always afraid of spoilers: “Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork – not the old-fashioned grubby pushing and shoving, but the new, fast football with pointy hats for goalposts and balls that go gloing. And now the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match without using magic, so they’re going to try everything else.”

Along the way, we’ll be joined by Discworld characters old and new, and considering I only have a passing interest in football, I enjoyed it. One criticism, though, is that pretty much the entire novel was just the build-up towards the ‘Big Match‘, and as such, it seems like not much really happened across the course of the 544 pages. Nevertheless, it’s a pleasant enough read, and it never seems to drag, like some other books I could mention. But I won’t, because to mention them would be to complete the cliché.

So with that out of the way, let’s talk about the quality of Pratchett’s writing – certainly, other than the sometimes meandering style of the story line, I don’t think that his alzheimer’s was affecting him, unlike some of his readers. In fact, I always thought that he got better with age, although admittedly he did have a golden period in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as far as I’m concerned. To me, it’s kind of disrespectful to talk about the two of them in the same sentence, so let’s move along.


Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett


As far as my overall impressions went, I do think that this would rank in my top 50% of Discworld novels… if it was a list only of the novels set in Ankh Morpork. That said, it was still pretty good, and it’s up against some stiff competition. I might not recommend this as a starter book if you’re only just getting into the series, but it’s definitely one to continue with.

For me, though, there’s just such a wealth of Discworld books to read that I always find it difficult to recommend any one book above the others – after all, with an 8/10, this is still a fantastic read, it’s just that Pratchett can do even better. At over sixty books, I’ve read more books by Terry Pratchett than by any other author, and he’s usually up there when I’m asked to list my favourite writers – he certainly used to be my favourite living writer…

That’s pretty much it for the review – it’s one of those books where I think that most people who are likely to read it have probably already read it. I imagine that most sales came from the publicity around the initial release, and the rest will come from completionists.


Terry Pratchett on the difference between erotic and kinky...

Terry Pratchett on the difference between erotic and kinky…


Click here to buy Unseen Academicals.

Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen – The Science of Discworld | Review

Title: The Science of Discworld

Author: Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen

Type: Fiction/Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 368

Rating: 7/10


Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen - The Science of Discworld

Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen – The Science of Discworld


The Science of Discworld is an interesting one, because it mixes both fiction and non-fiction, in the form of a series of short stories by Terry Pratchett, as well as a series of essays by Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen which explain some of the scientifc principles and concepts which Pratchett adapted for his own nefarious purposes. Because of that, it never gets too heavy – just when you’re starting to tire of the scientific explanations, Ponder Stibbons and the wizards of the Unseen University reappear.

Really, this is probably the closest that Pratchett ever got to writing a Discworld novella, but only if you read all of his shorts back to back. In fact, you can read it any way you want to – personally, I just read it in a linear fashion, because the non-fiction and the fiction do compliment each other if you do that, but you could also read just the fiction, just the science, or read first one and then the other. That gives you, as the reader, a lot of choice!

It is an interesting enough read, but personally, I would have preferred to have had another Discworld book. Still, if you’re keen to work through Pratchett’s back catalogue, the Science of the Discworld books are well worth reading, and this is the obvious one to begin with. The fact that it was the first to be released means that it covers some of the earlier books in the series, which will appeal to serious aficionados, and it’s also interesting just to see how Pratchett adapted his style to fit the new format.

But overall, though, I’d only really recommend this if you’re a serious fan of the Discworld series, because it goes in a little deep and you might not want to know about it if you’re only a casual visitor to the Discworld. Personally, I enjoyed it a lot, which is why I read the rest of the science books – but then, I have already devoured all of the novels in Pratchett’s incredible series.


Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett


Click here to buy The Science of Discworld.