'This isn't just football, it's Discworld football. Or, to borrow another phrase, it's about life, the Universe and everything' The Times
The Discworld is very much like our own - if our own were to consist of a flat planet balanced on the back of four elephants which stand on the back of a giant turtle, that is . . .
Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork. And now, the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they're in the mood for trying everything else.
This is not going to be a gentleman’s game.
The prospect of the Big Match draws in a street urchin with a wonderful talent for kicking a tin can, a maker of jolly good pies, a dim but beautiful young woman, who might just turn out to be the greatest fashion model there has ever been, and the mysterious Mr Nutt (and no one knows anything much about Mr Nutt, not even Mr Nutt) but there is something powerful, and dark, locked away inside him.
As the match approaches, secrets are forced into the light and four lives will be entangled and changed for ever. Here we go, here we go, here we go!
The Discworld novels can be read in any order but Unseen Academicals is the seventh book in the Wizards series.
Football, food, fashion and wizards collide in Pratchett's 37th Discworld novel (after 2007's Making Money), an affectionate satire on the foibles of sports and sports fans. The always out-of-touch wizards at Ankh-Morpork's Unseen University stand to lose a very big bequest unless they enter a team in a violent but popular street sport competition. As the wizards struggle to learn the game, aided by the university's hired help, Ankh-Morpork's ruler schemes to use the competition for his own purposes. Though the book suffers from a few awkward moments (Pratchett's attempts to discuss racism through the strained relationships of dwarves, humans and goblins fall particularly flat), the prose crackles with wit and charm, and the sendups of league football, academic posturing, Romeo and Juliet and cheesy sports dramas are razor sharp and hilarious but never cruel. At its heart, this is an intelligent, cheeky love letter to football, its fans and the unifying power of sports.
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The game according to Pratchett's Rules
Dear Sir Terry, thank you for the wonderful wealth of humour, delight and social observation you have given to this world. You are a living world treasure. I've just started this book and am already taken with it. I was incredibly touched by snuff, and am so glad to see goblins becoming a bigger part of the disc world landscape. Hope to see you in Australia again sometime.