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  • Eric
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon December 31, 2002
When last we left the inept wizard Rincewind (way back in Sourcery, the fifth Discworld novel) he was trapped in the Dungeon Dimensions. He returns quite unexpectedly to the real world at the behest of the unique planet's only demon hacker Eric, who also happens to be a twelve-year-old kid. Having conjured a demon to grant him whatever he desired, Eric is rather disappointed to find that the "demon" Rincewind cannot really do anything at all except give lessons in how to run away from danger. All Eric wants is to rule the world, meet the most beautiful woman to have ever lived, and to live forever. Rincewind insists that he can't just snap his fingers and grant wishes, but said finger snapping miraculously takes him, Eric, and (always lagging behind) the Luggage to the land of the Tezumens where Eric is hailed as a god (pity the Tezumens hate their god so much). Later they wind up in ancient Tsort during the climax of the great war with the Ephebians; here Eric meets the world's most beautiful woman and is not impressed, while Rincewind finds an ancient ancestor pursuing the art of war without having to fight or creating a fuss. Next stop is the very creation of the Discworld itself, complete with creator-if you want to live forever, after all, you have to start at the beginning. The journey is far from complete, though, until Rincewind and Eric make their way to Hades, a land suffering (or not suffering, to be precise) under the micro-management of the new King Astfgl. Finally, we find out what has really been going on all along, and Rincewind and Eric try to find a way to get back home.
Eric is a play on the Faust concept; you can tell because the word Faust is crossed out and replaced with Eric right there on the cover of the book. Conjure a demon, demand your heart's desire, that sort of thing. It is really an unusual Discworld novel. It is short for one thing, less than half the length of most in the series, the kid Eric is about the only child one ever finds anywhere in the Discworld and is annoying enough for all the ones we don't see, and, despite his constant troubles, we really don't see very much of Rincewind's back gradually fading away from us as he runs from danger. The book isn't that bad, really-the story is pretty good once you grasp all of it, there's an entertainingly irritable parrot that makes up for his small vocabulary by referring to things as wossname all the time, and we get a very revealing look at the Discworld's realm of eternal punishment. Still, Eric is just not fulfilling and never strikes a strong chord with the reader. I view it as quite the Discworld anomaly. Just because it isn't as good as Pratchett's other novels does not mean it is not funny, witty, and enjoyable, though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2002
First things first: "Eric" is the shortest Discworld novel to date. Even printed in a larger type face, it's slim on the bookshelf placed next to the rest of the series.
What that means is that Pratchett didn't provide this novel with multiple interwoven plots, there isn't the female friend/companion who turns into a love interest (a staple of his novels) and all of the action is very narrowly focused on failed wizard Rincewind's escape from the Dungeon Dimensions, where he was trapped at the end of "Sourcery."
He gets out when Eric, Discworld's would-be Doctor Faustus, a spoiled brat turned amateur demonologist, summons a demon from Hell and gets ... well, him. Somehow, Rincewind has been gifted with the power to grant Eric's rather venal wishes. These take the duo (trailed by Rincewind's sentient and extremely dangerous Luggage) through time and space. Along the way, we get parodies of Aztec religion and Ponce de Leon, a particularly well-done riff on the Trojan War (superior in every way to the quicker one in "Pyramids"), visit the beginning and end of the universe and see what Hell is really like.
Without the need to slow down for a B-story, Pratchett moves through the story at a rapid clip, making this one of the best Rincewind tales to date, as well as tying up a loose end. (Pratchett has a bad habit of doing that with Rincewind; the first Discworld novel ended with him falling off the edge of the planet.)
Know that you're getting what amounts to a novella in a novel's packaging, but otherwise, "Eric" lives up to the high standards Pratchett has set with his previous works.
Recommended to fans of Discworld and Pratchett's collaboration with Neil Gaiman, "Good Omens."
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on May 1, 2001
I don't think "Faust" (or, rather, "Eric") deserves the scorn it has received. It is only a lesser Discworld novel because it is so short. Call it a novella, get over your preconceptions, and dive in for the fun.
The chief element of fun here is the welcome return of the (ineffectual) wizard Rincewind. He is my favourite Disc-denizen. When last we left him in "Sourcery", he was in a curious predicament, trapped in a dimension he couldn't run away from. Summoned to our world by a 13-year old demonologist (the title character), Rincewind must figure out how to grant wishes. This is all a very curious set up, kind of flimsy and flaky. Fortunately, Pratchett uses it as a diving board into a grand pool of hilarious satire.
Pratchett touches on some large issues in this slender volume. We get a sarcastic retelling of the Trojan War, and then a dip into the Odyssey. There's a section that concurrently examines both the beginning *and* the end of the universe (this is Douglas Adams territory Pratchett is treading in, and he more than holds his own). And we get a neat trip to Hell, that satirizes both eternal damnation and corporate culture (not a groundbreaking comparison, I know, but still a funny bit in Terry's hands). Eric (the character) is nothing more than Twoflower-lite. But that's okay, because the relationship between Twoflower and Rincewind in the first two Discworld books ("The Colour of Magic" and "The Light Fantastic") was golden. Eric continues in this tradition, his youthful ignorance and passion meshing perfectly with Rincewind's cynicism and cowardice.
My one complaint is that I wanted to spend more time in each location with these characters, and for the life of me I can't figure out why Pratchett didn't stretch this book out to usual length. I guess he wanted to leave us wanting more. I did.
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on February 15, 2003
The trouble with the novel Eric, is that it was originally printed as a graphic novel, with paragraphs accompanied with large illustrations by Josh Kirby, and as such made much more sense (and had a much lighter tone than a normal Discworld book did). Unfortunately, that edition isn't printed, and so quite a few people seem to be disapointed by the lightweightness of Eric. Bear in mind that it isn't as it was intended, and that it's a light tale (about Rincewind...always less than serious) and it should prove quite enjoyable
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