Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett
Man, did this one come up at a perfect time. Seeing as how the premise is entirely about the wizards of Unseen University forming a football team, just in time for football season. It was amazing in that it perfectly captured what I missed about the series and what I continue to miss.
For example, Rincewind is in this novel. And yet, it’s a reduced Rincewind. And even more reduced The Luggage (how I forgot about that glorious chest of legs, oh!). Instead we get more jokes about Ponder Stibbons and Ridcully and Hex. It’s like the reunion episodes of SNL, where these young upstarts are placed among the pantheon of legends. I couldn’t name you a new cast member. But I’ll fondly remember Murray and Murphy and Radner and Belushi. It’s got that sort of feel where it’s kind of paying homage to the old while trying to sell me on the new.
It’s a fun story, with the usual parallel threads coalescing. We’ve got a mysteriously odd erudite creature working in the university. We’ve got a love story, triple crossed, with fashion and fame and reputation gentle cobbled in. Everything does come a-crashin’ down by the end and blends together, but it’s still a fun story that owes much to its predecessors.
Again, my stack of Discworld is winnowing, and so this is more like saying goodbye to years worth of friends. If this is the last we see of the wizards, it’s a fine send-off.