At this point, reviewing a Discworld novel, assuming you are a fan, is rather like reviewing a bowl of delicious ice cream, again assuming you are a fan. Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett is more of the same: smart, funny, entertaining, and satirical. Pratchett loves bending words and playing with context. Ice cream is wonderful on a warm, sunny day.
This time, Pratchett has focused on the idea of soccer/football, and what sports mean to society. The other area, which Pratchett explores, is inclusion and what it means to be different. Often, Pratchett writes about what it means to be an outsider, and the unfairness of society. By creating such extreme situations, he can point out the fissures in our own society.
Unseen Academicals revolves around an Orc, one of the last of his kind, who doesn’t know he’s an Orc and has been raised to be useful, worthy, and to seek knowledge. All that is known is that Orc’s are warlike and used to tear people apart. Is it fair to base a stereotype on assumptions? Are there people we marginalize because of their culture? These are questions Pratchett takes up, and his views are delivered through the characters of Ankh-Morpork. If you like ice cream, you’ll enjoy this novel, though I suggest it be consumed with sprinkles and chocolate syrup.
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>The Shrovetide Football match, contested by teams of thousands based on either side of a brook in Ashbourne, England, has been an annual event for centuries.Link to NY Times Article.