My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Terry Pratchett’s Idea of Hell is Scarier Than Yours
Faust Eric takes place in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, which is a flat, fantastical world that rests on the back of four elephants, who in turn ride on the shell of a giant cosmic turtle named the Great A’Tuin.
Rincewind, the bumbling protagonist from The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, and Sourcery, has been trapped in between dimensions, and is summoned by Eric Thursley, a pock-marked thirteen-year-old who thinks that Rincewind is the demon that he hoped to summon. Eric wants to make a Faustian deal with Rincewind: He wants to be granted eternal life, rule over the world, and the most beautiful woman in the history of the world. As Rincewind doesn’t know any proper magic, nor is he a demon, he doesn’t believe this is possible. But at the snap of Rincewind’s fingers they are inexplicably warped to the Discworld’s Aztec society, its version of the Trojan War, and to Hell, as all the fulfillments of Eric’s desires skew wildly from his intentions.
The book is downright hilarious. Terry Pratchett’s ability to turn phrases, and create sarcastic and genuinely funny circumstances through which his characters must travel is his strongsuit as a writer. Hell, in Eric, has been taken over by a demon named Astfgl (don’t worry, no one knows how to pronounce it correctly), who has turned it into a bureaucracy. Even Sisyphus, who has long since gotten used to his punishment of rolling a boulder up a hill only to watch it roll back down at the end of the day, has been forced to endure a worse fate: He must now listen to the Unhealthy and Unsafety Regulations Governing the Lifting and Moving of Large Objects, Part I of which comprises some 1,440 volumes of legalese gibberish.
At less than 200 pages, Eric zips right along. As with most of Pratchett’s other Discworld books, there are no chapters, just line breaks, and it’s very easy to read 40 or even 50 pages in the book without noticing you’ve gone that far.
None of the Discworld stories lean that much on the others, and though this book is the fourth story starring Rincewind, there’s no need to read them in any particular order. Very little is spoiled by doing so.
So anyone looking for a humorous fantasy book with a trip to the Aztec jungles, Ancient Troy, or Hell, this one is for you. It genuinely made me laugh out loud a number of times.