The Light Fantastic

Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett

Books: The Colour of Magic | The Light Fantastic | Equal Rites | Mort | Sourcery | Wyrd Sisters | Pyramids | Guards! Guards! | Faust Eric | Moving Pictures | Reaper Man | Witches Abroad | Main

The Light Fantastic is a 1986 comic fantasy novel by Terry Pratchett, the second of the Discworld series.

QuotesEdit

 
A Thaum is the basic unit of magical strength. It has been universally established as the amount of magic needed to create one small white pigeon or three normal-sized billiard balls.
 
 
I can't be talking to a tree. If I was talking to a tree I'd be mad, and I'm not mad, so trees can't talk.
  • A Thaum is the basic unit of magical strength. It has been universally established as the amount of magic needed to create one small white pigeon or three normal-sized billiard balls.
    • Pratchett here draws upon the Greek thauma or "marvel" in creating the name of this basic unit.
  • The sun rose slowly, as if it wasn't sure it was worth all the effort.
  • The disc, being flat, has no real horizon. Any adventurous sailor who got funny ideas from staring at eggs and oranges for too long and set out for the antipodes soon learned that the reason why distant ships sometimes looked as though they were disappearing over the edge of the world was that they were disappearing over the edge of the world.
  • "I suppose you wouldn't happen to know the way out of the forest, possibly, by any chance?"
"No. I don't get about much," said the tree.
"Fairly boring life, I imagine," said Rincewind.
"I wouldn't know. I've never been anything else," said the tree.
Rincewind looked at it closely. It seemed pretty much like every other tree he'd seen.
"Are you magical?" he said.
"No one's ever said," said the tree, "I suppose so."
Rincewind thought: I can't be talking to a tree. If I was talking to a tree I'd be mad, and I'm not mad, so trees can't talk.
"Goodbye," he said firmly.
"Hey, don't go," the tree began, and then realized the hopelessness of it all. It watched him stagger off through the bushes, and settled down to feeling the sun on its leaves, the slurp and gurgle of the water in its roots, and the very ebb and flow of its sap in response to the natural tug of the sun and moon. Boring, it thought. What a strange thing to say. Trees can be bored, of course, beetles do it all the time, but I don't think that was what he was trying to mean. And: can you actually be anything else?
  • This seems to have produced a paraphrase of these statements which has been widely quoted on the internet as a direct quote from this book (including here, for some years): "Of course I'm sane, when trees start talking to me, I don't talk back." Conceivably this might be a paraphrase made by Pratchett himself, elsewhere, but any alternate sourcing for this variant apparently derived from this passage is welcome, but it seems to have arisen some time after 2000.
  • There had been an unseen observer of all this. It was of course entirely against the rules, but Trymon knew all about rules and had always considered they were for making, not obeying.
  • He wanted to say all this, and couldn't. For a man with an itch to see the whole of infinity, Twoflower never actually moved outside his own head. Telling him the truth would be like kicking a spaniel.
  • Weems might have had a room-temperature IQ, but he knew idiocy when he saw it.
  • Early to rise, early to bed, makes a man healthy, wealthy and dead.
  • 'Dead?' said Rincewind, In the debating chamber of his mind a dozen emotions got to their feet and started shouting. Relief was in full spate when Shock cut in on a point of order and then Bewilderment, Terror and Loss started a fight which was ended only when Shame slunk in from next door to see what all the row was about.
  • Darkness isn't the opposite of light, it is simply its absence.
  • Ankh-Morpork!
Pearl of cities!
This is not a completely accurate description, of course—it was not round and shiny—but even its worst enemies would agree that if you had to liken Ankh-Morpork to anything, then it might as well be a piece of rubbish covered with the diseased secretions of a dying mollusc.
  • The voice didn't believe in gods, which in Rincewind's book was fair enough, but it didn't believe in people either.
  • The death of the warrior or the old man or the little child, this I understand, and I take away the pain and end the suffering. I do not understand this death-of-the-mind.
  • "Madmen," he said. "They say I should do no work because the star comes. I tell them stars have never hurt me, I wish I could say the same about people."
  • Here is the blackness of space, the myriad stars gleaming like diamond dust or, as some people would say, like great balls of exploding hydrogen a very long way off. But then, some people would say anything.
  • "If you're going to suggest I try dropping twenty feet down a pitch dark tower in the hope of hitting a couple of greasy little steps which might not even still be there, you can forget it," said Rincewind sharply.
"There is an alternative, then."
"Out with it, man."
"You could drop five hundred feet down a pitch black tower and hit stones which certainly are there," said Twoflower.
  • Radiating from the book was the light that lies on the far side of darkness, the light fantastic.
It was a rather disappointing purple colour.

External linksEdit

 
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