Daily Archives: January 8, 2010

Terry Pratchett – Unseen Academicals and Alzheimers

Terry Pratchett is the creator of a series of books which originally followed the mis-adventures of the scrawny wizard, Rincewind, Bach. Magic, Unseen University (failed), and a cast of memorable characters including, several witches, trolls, dwarves, werewolves and vampires, and, The Librarian, a wizard who had been turned into an orang-utan and discovered that his new shape was brilliant for storing books and has fought to stay that way ever since. 

Terry in the 1990's

His latest novel, Unseen Academicals follows the adventures of several, new, likeable, and ‘interesting’ characters, as they help introduce the game of football to the city of Ankh Morpork.  Terry’s gift is bringing history to life in a fantasy setting, while educating you and making you laugh as well.  Brilliant!  As he did with the novels on the post office, and the mint, we learn that soccer was a much more brutal game than first thought, and that ‘something had to be done’ to bring it under control. 

Using four characters who are society misfits, and a couple of high society misfits to give them a prod every now and then, the story unfolds to the inevitable, and slightly different happy conclusion.  But the underlying story is that of the Crab Bucket Theory. 

Crabs don’t escape from traps (read that as poverty and hard work for our characters), and that a lone crab in a bucket will often escape if there is no lid to prevent it.  When there are two or more crabs in the bucket, they usually fight each other and if one crab does manage to climb to the rim of the bucket, then it is generally always grabbed from behind by another crab who either wishes to avoid having to do any hard work, or wants to pound the escapee for being such a clever dick.  Instead of helping each other to rise above their situation, they end up squabbling which condemns all of them to a life in the bucket.  A short and brutal life.    

Unseen Academicals tells the story of how our hero/s escape from their crab bucket, and as always, with any of TP’s books, it is a well written page turner by a master story teller. 

Terry Pratchett, 2009, age 61

A story teller who has Alzheimers disease.   

A story teller who has admitted on numerous occasions that he would happily ‘Eat a dead moles’ arse’ if he thought it would cure him of this terrible condition. 
I hope they come up with something a little easier on the palette.  For all our sakes. 


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