by Terry Pratchett
It was midnight in Ankh-Morpork’s Royal Art Museum.
The wizards at Ankh-Morpork's Unseen University are renowned for many things: wisdom, magic, and their love of teatime but athletics is most assuredly not on the list. And so when Lord Ventinari, the city's benevolent tyrant, strongly suggests to Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully that the university revive an erstwhile tradition and once again put forth a football team composed of faculty, students, and staff, the wizards of UU find themselves in a quandary. To begin with, they have to figure out just what it is that makes this sport – soccer with a bit of rugby thrown in – so popular with Ankh-Morporkians of all ages and social strata. Then they have to learn how to play it. Oh, and on top of that, they must win a football match without using magic.
Meanwhile, Trev (a handsome street urchin and a right good kicker) falls hard for kitchen maid Juliet (beautiful, dim, and perhaps the greatest fashion model there ever was), and Juliet's best pal, UU night cook Glenda (homely, sensible, and a baker of jolly good pies) befriends the mysterious Mr. Nutt (about whom no one knows very much, including Mr. Nutt, which is worrisome . . .). As the big match approaches, these four lives are entangled and changed forever. Because the thing about football – the most important thing about football – is that it is never just about football.
The wizards of Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork are forced by their patrician Lord Ventinari to for a team to compete in a game of football – a sport for poor people. Will the wizards find time in their busy days – eating many meals a day and taking naps takes a lot of time – to form a team, train and win a game?
Unseen Academicals is another masterpiece in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series and starring in it are the wizards and the staff of UU in Ankh-Morpork. Since the town is inhabited by all kinds of “people” the diversity of characters is amazing. We come across wizards, trolls, dwarfs (rather stylish one, I have to say) and Mr. Nutt. Mr. Nutt is new at Unseen University and it is not sure what he is and why he’s in the city. The only known fact is that he works hard as a candle dribbler at UU and that he tries really to please people to gain worth.
Once again Terry Pratchett wrote a fabulous novel set in a magical and fantastical world and I cannot recommend his Discworld series enough. You don’t have to start from Book One (The Color of Magic). Just start with the one that appeals to you most. The variety of characters and their own little (or huge) quirks makes each book a perfect introduction into the Discworld and if you like reading fantasy novels and haven’t read one of these – go get one!
Unseen Academicals is the 37th Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett (for a full list of title click here).