Interesting Times go back to the original roots of Discworld novels to the time when the books were about satirizing fantasy, but this time it’s combined with the Orient and revolution instead of wizard and Octavo. The book is perhaps sillier in tone than those between it and Guards! Guards!, bringing back Rincewind who never seems to change. He continues being cowardice and self-serving without a clear aim in life except surviving (which is in a way jest of the character and us. When you strip all the nonsense we invent and think, it comes to staying alive another day and dignity only come after luxury and freedom to choose.) I think this stagnancy of Rincewind and the lighthearted silliness with beautiful Amazonian warrioresses who want to copulate with our Wizzzard doesn’t cut it the second time around.
Interesting Times wasn’t the book I remembered. The setting, Agatean Empire, is insensitive, and while I don’t think it’s written out of spite or racist intentions, the parallel to China grow old soon, making some scenes with Rincewind difficult to read. I was more at home with the Silver Horde and Cohen’s existential crises of growing old and dying, but this barbaric revelation felt disjointed against this silly martial arts revolution setting (taking a crack at politics and following the ruler and his strict rules despite how silly they might be?), and I wasn’t sure what I was reading.
I’m not sure what to say? The first time around, I loved the book. The action. The slimy backboneless Rincewind who mocks all our noble values about life. The Silver Horde and the contradiction with barbarism and growing old. The Agatean Empire which felt so familiar, yet, caricatured and simplification of why some customs have come to be. But now, I’m not sure. I know fate plays a game with us and we can try to do the best we can from the cards that are dealt us, to some it might be running, to some, it’s grabbing the bull by its horns, and to some, it’s trusting their fate to a good book, who’s to say what is the right or the wrong way. Interesting Times is fun if you don’t think too much about it and if you read it the first time around. At least, that was the case with me.
I leave you with these words:
“There is a curse.
May you live in interesting times.”
I get what you mean, but I still think that Interesting Times is a great book! Your criticism, in my opinion, applies more to Thud and the clear parallel between dwarfs and a certain religion that many people believe to be problematic, especially in its mor fundamentalist state…
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I agree that the Interesting Times is a great book, but my critique comes from reading Discworld novels in a row, and you start to see what books are stronger and what are weaker and in what aspect (in my opinion. Taste is subjective.) All of Pratchett’s books are amazing, and I like the variety of themes. Like now I’m reading Maskerade, and I love it. I can’t help but wonder how Pratchett has gotten Agnes/Perdita’s inner-life so right. I have to be honest, my memory of Thud is a bit fuzzy. It has been a long time since I read it, but I think you are right about what you wrote. I still have fifteen books before I get there. Let’s see what I think then.
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I understand your point of view and I get what you meant. I will be curious to read your thoughts about Thud, although it won’t be too soon, I guess! Enjoy your reads! I’m now about to start Wintersmith!