And Then I Read: ERIC by Terry Pratchett

This entry in the long-running Discworld series by Pratchett is a farcical parody of the Faust story with a young demonologist, Eric Thursley, trying to summon a demon from Hell to grant his wishes. He ends up instead with Rincewind, an ineffective wizard, protagonist of several previous Pratchett books, who had been stuck in Hell in an early story. Rincewind tries to explain to Eric that he can’t grant the impetuous boy wishes by simply snapping his fingers, but when he does that, they both realize that somehow he can. Eric’s wishes take them to an Aztec-like empire where Eric is made the ruler…briefly, a besieged city similar to Troy, where Eric is able to meet the most beautiful woman in the world, but is soon caught up in the fighting, and to Hell itself, where Eric and Rincewind manage to barely outwit the current management. Rincewind’s protector and companion, the magical and indestructible Luggage, struggles to keep up with his master, and ends up saving the day when he does.

Rincewind is my least favorite of the Pratchett protagonists I’ve encountered so far, I find his cowardice and bungling tiresome, but he does pretty well in this book, and I enjoyed reading it. The comedy is broad and pervasive, but pretty entertaining. Recommended.

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