Wednesday, 2 July 2008
Dangerous amounts of raw enchantment...or not
As promised to you and to keep my husband from leaving me, I've now read Terry Pratchett's first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic. Hubby bought it for me to give me big belly laughs and remove shoulder tension. It certainly didn't add to my shoulder tension as it's a wild and silly romp through a universe that sits on top of four giant elephants on top of a giant turtle. It also, however, didn't give me big belly laughs, except for when I read Pratchett's hilarious re-imagining of what constitutes the Big Bang in the prologue.
I chuckled a number of times. I tittered once or twice. But The Colour of Magic just didn't blow the comic neurons in my mind. It may be that I'm just not as funny this week as I was, say, a month ago. It might be that, as hubby suggests, I haven't read enough silly fantasy novels to really get what Pratchett is making fun of. I appreciated Pratchett's send-up of tourists via the character of Twoflower, but I appreciated it with my mind and not with many big giggles. In any case, this one fell just a bit flat for me.
I think it just seemed too contrived or something. I like my contrived literature to display a little less contrivance and a little more sprezzatura (which can't really be displayed, of course). I felt like Pratchett was trying too hard to be funny; and literature, like people, makes me a little bit uncomfortable when it tries too hard.
That said, I'll probably give the next Discworld novel a try if I come across it. Even though The Colour of Magic wasn't good for big laughs, it was good for light summer reading, and oh baby is it ever summer in Toronto - it's the kind of summer I actually enjoy (i.e., not 42C). Yay!