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The 17'th book in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, and another in the Rincewind sub-series.

Main/Reoccurring Characters:

Rincewind: The world's most incompetent wizard, however, the greatest 'wizzard' in existance, and therefore, he is the one sent to the Counterweight Continent when the request is sent for the great 'wizzard'.

Cohen the Barbarian: The now geriatric hero of old legend, Cohen and his Horde of barbarians (all over 70)have a plan to steal something involving the Forbidden City of Hunghung. They bump into Rincewind, and he is somewhat swept along with them.

Twoflower: Rincewind's companion from the first books is now back in his home continent, and apparently, he's been publishing his adventures...

The Luggage: Of course, the Luggage follows Rincewind wherever he goes. However, there are lots of OTHER luggages in the counterweight continent, so he doesn’t have quite the advantage of surprise. However, in his time away, he's picked up a nice sadistic streak.

Lord Hong: The warlord who is most likely to succeed the Emperor when he dies, mostly because the other four warlords distrust him slightly less than the others. Mainly because he wants them to think that way.

The Red Army: A pitiful group of peasants who, after millennia of being polite are now trying such political slogans as "Gently Push Over The Forces Of Repression!"

Published by HarperTorch
Copyright 1994, Terry and Lyn Pratchett
ISBN: 0-06-105690-1

Of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, "Interesting Times" was the one I read last, and perhaps my least favorite.

The Discworld, which begin in 1983 as a satire of sword and sorcery tropes, had become, by 1994, a broad satire on everything. Interesting Times was the 17th book of the series, and where Pratchett chose to write about the fantasy counterparts of China and Japan.

I don't know if it is because by the time I read Interesting Times, Pratchett's particular brand of comedy was falling short, or whether it was just an uninspired book for him, but I found the book's comedy somewhat flat. One of the major factors behind this could be that in "Interesting Times", Pratchett has to satirize another culture. While it is generally considered acceptable to mock your own culture (and Ankh-Morpork is supposed to be, in broad strokes, medieval to early modern London), mocking another culture can seem to be racist or mean-spirited. But beyond the possible undercurrents of the satire, I just didn't find it very funny. Most of the humor comes from popular stereotypes of the Chinese as slavishly obedient and selfishly pushy (that such stereotypes are mutually contradictory is a more rich topic of satire than the stereotypes themselves), and there really isn't any new or sharp take on these topics. In other words, the topical humor of "Interesting Times" is reheated stereotypes that are both offensive and not very funny.

Aside from the topical humor, the plot is a typical fast moving, intertwined Pratchett plot, and the book does move forward the entire arc of the Discworld books. Even if it is one of the poorest of the Discworld books, it is still a good and entertaining book to read.

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