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Unseen Academicals


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Football comes to the Discworld! And the thing about football - the important thing about football - is that it is not just about football.

About the Author

Terry Pratchett is the acclaimed creator of the Discworld series, started in 1983 with The Colour of Magic, and which has now reached 37 novels with Unseen Academicals. Worldwide sales of his books are 60 million, and they have been translated into 37 languages. Terry Pratchett was knighted for services to literature in 2009.


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. (Oct.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

The 37th novel (after Making Money) in Pratchett's wildly popular "Discworld" series is set in the bustling metropolis of Ankh-Morpork and boasts the return of the wizards of Unseen University. Lord Vetinari, Ankh-Morpork's patrician, is responsible, as usual, for setting into motion the novel's two main story lines: the assimilation of a member of an ancient, and heretofore shunned race, into the city, and the regulation of "foot-the-ball," a game that leaves the streets littered with bodies of players and spectators alike. Verdict While having more than its fair share of laugh-out-loud lines, this title is far from Pratchett's best. He fails to integrate his great wisdom and fondness for the human condition, and his humorous observations about its absurdity are left hanging. However, it is still a well-written crowd pleaser. For serious fans, but newcomers might prefer to start with one of the earlier titles.-Amy Watts, Univ. of Georgia Lib., Athens Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Behind the fantasy Terry Pratchett looks at very real contemporary issues and scores many goals. This isn't just football, it's Discworld football. Or, to borrow another phrase, it's about life, the Universe, and everything. * The Times *
Satirical, historical, fantastical and irresistible. * Daily Mail *
The subject matter is football, with a dash of Romeo and Juliet ...exactly what's needed to cheer us all up in the autumnal gloom. Terry has none of his ability to raise a laugh. * Daily Express *
The secret of Terry Pratchett's comic fantasy isn't so much the wackiness of the fantasy as the reliability of the comedy...with sales now topping 60m, Discworld is still going strong...with undimmed, triumphant exuberance. -- Harry Ritchie * Guardian *
This is the 37th in a body of work so vast that it has spawned its own concordance, yet the quality remains as high as ever and the laughs as plentiful...Like all the Discworld novels, Unseen Academicals rewards a second reading. As ever it is peppered with allusions, from Keats to the Lewinsky affair, but, like Wodehouse, Pratchett wears his learning lightly and the pleasure of rereading is in teasing them out. -- Peter Inham * The Telegraph *

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