Unseen Academicals, Terry Pratchett

     

Terry Pratchett's Discworld Novels:

Unseen
                        Academicals
Unseen Academicals,
Terry Pratchett

Unseen Academicals Book Review:

UK’s best-selling author Terry Pratchett’s latest novel Unseen Academicals (2009) is a parody on the cultural phenomenon of European football (soccer) and everything that surrounds it. As such, it may be better understood and enjoyed by Europeans than Americans; in particular since football hooliganism, a distinctly UK phenomenon, plays a central role in the story.

But really, Unseen Academicals is about so much more than football (soccer) and makes for fabulous entertainment for anybody, American or British. It is also a book about fashion super models (and their association with football super stars); pies of every conceivable variety (and their association with football fans); as well as goblins and orcs (association to football unknown).

In typically characteristic Pratchett-fashion, everything on the Discworld mirrors things in our own world with a slight and hilarious twist. For example, a tail-gate market on the Discworld becomes a cart-tail market. And instead of cheerleaders, there are naiads dancing on the sidelines.

The book has many heroes, in particular a goblin-turned-orc by the name of Mr. Nutt. Perhaps due to the fact that he’s one of only a handful of surviving orcs on the Discworld, two of the world’s most powerful leaders have taken him under their wings to help him save his dying race.

It should be mentioned that these two enlightened world leaders, Lady Margolotta and Lord Vetinari have previously done the same to help werewolves, rock trolls, golems, and vampires become accepted members of society. Margolotta herself being one of the latter, or so rumor has it.

In his process of accumulating ‘worth’ in human society, the orc Mr. Nutt gathers a huge following of staunchly devoted friends and admirers. His co-worker Trev Likely will go to any length to defend his orc friend, and an unlikely romance begins budding between Nutt and the head of the night kitchen at Unseen University, Miss Glenda Sugarbean, supreme creator of pies.

By impressing his superiors at Unseen University with his knowledge and knack for strategic thinking, Mr. Nutt eventually gets placed in charge of coaching the school’s new football team. And then one thing leads to another with a grande finale in the form of a soccer match the likes of which the Discworld has never seen.

Soccer fan or not, Unseen Academicals will give you many hours of joyous reading and barrels of laughter. The humor is universal, really.

     

 

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