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The Unseen Academicals Hardcover – Oct 13 2009

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Hardcover, Oct 13 2009
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday UK (Oct. 13 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385609345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385609340
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.7 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 699 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #262,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"This is the 37th in a body of work so vast that it has spawned its own concordance, yet the quality remains as high as ever and the laughs as plentiful...Like all the Discworld novels, Unseen Academicals rewards a second reading. As ever it is peppered with allusions, from Keats to the Lewinsky affair, but, like Wodehouse, Pratchett wears his learning lightly and the pleasure of rereading is in teasing them out." -- Peter Inham Telegraph "Mention comic fantasy and Terry Pratchett is the first name that comes to mind...behind the fantasy Terry Pratchett looks at very real contemporary issues and scores many goals. This isn't just football, it's Discworld football. Or, to borrow another phrase, it's about life, the Universe, and everything." The Times "The subject matter is football, with a dash of Romeo and Juliet thown in...exactly what's needed to cheer us all up in the autumnal gloom. Terry has lost none of his ability to raise a laugh...I'll wager there are a few more books in him yet." Daily Express "We doubt whether Pratchett gives a fig about 22 men kicking a bag of wind,but he's ever fascinated by people,our vagaries, our vanities and our triumphs. And, when all's said and done, football is all about us, wherever we sit in society. In case you hadn't already guessed, the man of the match award goes, not for the first time, to Sir Terry Pratchett." SFX "Satirical, historical, fantastical and irresistible." Daily Mail

From the Back Cover

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.

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
A new Terry Pratchett Discworld title is always a nice treat. Especially now that the author is battling with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, his legions of fans are aware that there might not be that many more installments to come.

With Pratchett's tackling his country's passionate love affair with football (or soccer, if like me you live on the other side of the Atlantic), I believed that Unseen Academicals had the potential of being another terrific addition to the Discworld sequence. With his trademark witty humor and intelligent narrative, I felt that this would be another winner. And yet, sadly, Unseen Academical was, for me at least, one massive failure to launch.

Here's the blurb:

Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork - not the old fashioned, grubby pushing and shoving, but the new, fast football with pointy hats for goalposts and balls that go going when you drop them. And now, the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they're in the mood for trying everything else. The prospect of the Big Match draws in a street urchin with a wonderful talent for kicking a tin can, a maker of jolly good pies, a dim but beautiful young woman, who might just turn out to be the greatest fashion model there has ever been, and the mysterious Mr Nutt (and no one knows anything much about Mr Nutt, not even Mr Nutt, which worries him, too). As the match approaches, four lives are entangled and changed for ever. Because the thing about football - the important thing about football - is that it is not just about football. Here we go! Here we go! Here we go!

The main problem was that Pratchett is all over the place with this one. And as a result, the novel fails to form a cohesive whole.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alison S. Coad TOP 50 REVIEWER on June 15 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've been reading Terry Pratchett's Discworld series in a sort of lackadaisical way, dipping a toe in here and there as I run across the books. Most recently, I picked up Unseen Academicals, from 2009, and managed to hold on to it until the opening of the World Cup, fitting because this is a story about soccer. Sort of. Well, soccer Discworld-style. You see, the Unseen University (whose faculty consists of magicians, natch) has long enjoyed the income from a bequest by a wealthy patron, but they discover that if they do not field a team in a soccer tournament for a period of 20 years, they will lose that money - and the 20 years are almost up! Fortunately, they can draw upon the wisdom of a strange being called Nutt, who appears quite meek yet seems to know everything when called upon, and they will try to recruit University staff member Trev Likely, son of the infamous Dave Likely, who was a star football player and died on the pitch. But Trev is besotten by Juliet, who seems to glimmer wherever she goes; and Juliet's best friend Glenda, the head cook of the Night Kitchen, sees that more is going on than meets the eye, and what's going on definitely needs her managing touch....As always, Discworld humour is very British, and may not be to everyone's taste, but I quite enjoyed reading this, particularly between bouts of watching world-class football! I have a post-retirement goal of reading all of Pratchett's Discworld novels, in order, but it never hurts to get an early start on such an ambitious project!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Walsh on Aug. 9 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Unseen Academicals is certainly entertaining but its a little drawn out. Not /as/ clever as the standard set for Mr. Pratchett.
It does introduce some new and likable characters who give the feeling that a new generation is afoot in Ankh-Morpork, and bring back some older characters like Rincewind, ridicully and the Librarian but you probably won't feel inclined to read it over and over like Pratchett novels before.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read Unseen Academicals a few times. In print and digitally. And I've loved discovering and rediscovering the fine nuances and references so distinctive of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books.

The characters are all well defined and their actions make complete sense in the context of the world they're in. And if you've had the pleasure of meeting them before In other Discworld books, you'd 'get' them even more.

I would recommend this to any lover of fantasy books.
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