Thursday, October 1, 2009

Unseen Academicals-Terry Pratchett

Unseen Academicals
Terry Pratchett
Harper, Oct 6 2009, $25.99
ISBN: 9780061161704

Ankh-Morpork’s clever ruler Lord Ventinari informs Ankh-Morpork’s Unseen University Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully he could lose a humongous grant if they fail to field a sports team playing football; some sort of hybrid of soccer and rugby. The wizard faculty and administration are in a frenzied state as none of the practitioners understand the rudiments of the game so they struggle to become adept rather quickly; depending ironically on the mundane support staff.

As they put together a squad around a good kicker who apparently is not part of UU, but part of the streets of UU, Ventinari plans to take advantage of the competition to further his ambitions as sponsors expect much more than a front row seat. Part of his tasking of the wizards is to remove the violence out of the sport as the two best teams in the city, the Dimmers and the Dollies, break a lot of bones and not just on the playing field or limited to the players.

The latest Discworld satire lampoons team sports, fans and academics as UU always put learning and eating way above athletics, but now must dropkick athletics way above learning; eating remains at the top thanks to the cook. Fans will enjoy this amusing look at football and universities with side mockings of racism, sexism and fanatics as learning gets benched for a Top Ten team of headbangers.

Harriet Klausner

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