The Last Continent

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Mind you that is probably not surprising considering that when we are surrounded by our culture and our people we tend not to see what others consider to be somewhat strange. Sure, I understand that people wonder about this strange substance called vegemite and why it is that Australians not only eat it but actually like it but then again there are a lot of things about other countries that make me scratch my head — such as octopus tentacles in Hong Kong.

Anyway, Pratchett, in this one book, seems to cover almost everything about Australia, and there are some things that he knew about that really surprised me. Of course we have good old vegemite: but he also makes a number of mentions of the Pie Floater, which is a pie, covered in sauce, floating in pea soup, which you only really find in Adelaide though the famous Pie Cart that used to sit outside the railway station has long since gone due to the tram tracks being laid down : However, the one thing that really surprised me was when Rincewind was picked up by a dwarf named Mad and next thing we know we are suddenly caught up on one of those awesome Mad Max car chases: Honestly, when I first picked up this book I never expected Rincewind to get caught up in a Mad Max car or should I say cart chase.

In fact in one section Rincewind discovers that he is standing on a float in the middle of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi-gras. The reason that I gave this book such a high rating was the very clever, and really amusing, way he painted a picture of Australian culture, however the problem that I had with the book was that there really didn't seem to be a plot. Okay, there was a plot, but it seemed to be some loose thread that tied Rincewind's antics together which involved him stumbling from one piece of Australiana to another, which included meeting Crocobile Dongo — aka Crocodile Dundee — drinking copious amounts of really good beer, and being mistaken for Waltzing Matilda — the guy in that song that gets busted stealing a sheep and instead of going to gaol throws himself into a billabong and drowns.

He does have a side plot, namely that the Librarian catches a cold, however it is a magical cold which causes him to shapeshift whenever he sneezes. To cure him of the cold the wizards need to find his true name, but he has removed all record of it, so they decide to go and find Rincewind, which results in them landing up on a deserted island ten thousand years in the past.

Here they meet the god of evolution that doesn't actually believe in himself and proceed teach him a much better way of causing change in nature than simply creating things from scratch namely sex. Pratchett, as can be expected, very cleverly ties these two threads together, however I'll let you read the book to find out how he does it. I'll finish off with a little anecdote that just goes to show how much I don't actually pick up being an Australian though I have began to notice some aspects of this when I travel overseas, particularly when I first arrived at Heathrow Airport to discover everybody speaking with an English accent, which I just have to say was really weird.

Anyway, I just shrugged and continued about my day until, as I was about to walk into the office, the door suddenly flew open and almost hit me in the face. Coming out from behind the door was one of my mates, who proceeded to look and me and say 'no worries. All I can say is that having now read this book I simply cannot look at those two words the same again. View all 4 comments. This installment in the Discworld series focuses on Rincewind and the senior faculty of Unseen University.

As is known by now, I'm not the biggest Rincewind fan and I was very happy to see that he wasn't center stage here - not alone at least. After his last adventure, Rincewind is in a very dry and hot place, stumbling from waterhole to waterhole. A long distance away, at Unseen Universi This installment in the Discworld series focuses on Rincewind and the senior faculty of Unseen University.

That is to say he's got a cold. The problem is that almost every time he sneezes, he changes shape. Moreover, due to his illness, he can't do his job and the magical books in the library grow restless. So Arch-chancellor Ridcully and his quirky bunch need to come up with a solution. They remember that, at one point, Rincewind had been the librarian at the start of the series for a short amount of time so they start looking for him, which gets them and Mrs Whitlow stranded somewhere and somewhen else. Australian slang, unique and rather deadly fauna and flora, entirely helpful fauna and flora in the same place only a few thousand years earlier, seven dwarves wizards and one lady, some sexual innuendos the harmless, almost pitiful variety as well as one hell of a dry continent with quite unique animals.

The level of quality of these books is undeniable. Moreover, it was fitting to read this book this month since we are following evolution and I was reading a lot of science books Darwin's work amongst others as well. However, sadly, as much as I chuckled a few times here and always relish the feeling of being back it's like putting on your favourite pullover , it wasn't nearly as funny as some previous romps and also not as deep.

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It was simply a nice little quest with some crocodiles, sheep-shearing, kangaroos, lots of references to Australian movies and a few side-stabs at us silly humans in general. Good but not Pratchett's best. Still, I like the diversity within the series and that Sir Terry changed the scenery regularly throughout and it was a nice "alternate" look at evolution when compared to all the science books I've read this month. View all 6 comments. Then he reached his hand around behind his back, and it came back holding something.

No worries. This ," he said, "is what I call a crossbow. Normally their haughty behavior which reminds me SO MUCH of my mother-in-law's most annoying trait , makes my skin sizzle, but in this go-round, they are marooned on a tropical isle. Being tossed out of their natural habitat - The Unseen University - they are suddenly vulnerable and insecure. One of them even has even become blushingly smitten by a cleaning lady.

I liked the wizards! Here is an excellent adventure in a land of kangaroos, boomerangs, odd brown food paste, and the occasional platypus. They'll hang you for stealing a sheep, but turn you into a folk hero if you manage to escape. They'll even give you a head start From the Librarian's mysterious shape-shifting malady, to more inflammable cows, to the wizard's interesting attempts to build a boat without a how-to manual!

View 2 comments. Mar 26, Bradley rated it really liked it Shelves: humor , shelf , fantasy. Despite the author's protestations that this isn't Australia in a thin disguise, I am back to confirm that this Last Continent is, indeed, Australia. Even the God of Evolution basically came right out and said it. On a side note, the head staff of Unseen University seems to have misplaced themselves. I can't quite tell whether I enjoyed Rincewind's ongoing adventures Despite the author's protestations that this isn't Australia in a thin disguise, I am back to confirm that this Last Continent is, indeed, Australia.

I can't quite tell whether I enjoyed Rincewind's ongoing adventures more than Ridcully's crew. Both were fun. But let's face it, this book is nothing but a bunch of Australian cliche jokes. Good enough for now and amusing for a moment, but I can't put this book on any "best of" Pratchett lists. I'd call this a placeholder Pratchett. Very good in general but nothing superior. View all 9 comments. I enjoyed this book. Am I coming up the raw prawn? Nah, mate. I enjoyed it. Grab your woolly jumpers and a bowl of pie in pea soup and enjoy it.

Last Continent is a fun, Australian-reference fueled Pratchett classic. Recommended for all fans of Rincewind. Dec 25, YouKneeK rated it liked it Shelves: completed-series , fantasy. The Last Continent is the sixth book in the Rincewind subseries of Discworld. For me, this was one of the more average Discworld books. While Rincewind is innocently going about his business of trying not to die of starvation or get poisoned by giant spiders, a talking kangaroo tries to The Last Continent is the sixth book in the Rincewind subseries of Discworld.

While Rincewind is innocently going about his business of trying not to die of starvation or get poisoned by giant spiders, a talking kangaroo tries to enlist his help to fix a problem. You see, something has happened to stop the rain and apparently Rincewind is the only one who can set things right. There was plenty of humor as usual, but not as much that really made me laugh out loud.

Rincewind is always a fun character though, so it was nice to see him again. Some of the humor went over my head because there were clearly Australian cultural references that were unfamiliar to me. I hear it quite a bit here in the U. I had thought maybe it was a UK thing. So at least I learned something new! In which Rincewind gets sent to my adopted country and encounters every pop culture reference you could think of. Is this how Egyptians react when they read about Djellibeybi in Pyramids?

I remember when I first moved here, middle of Summer, endless days of 40c heat, not even remotely a hint of potential rainfall and then one morning it just hammered down with rain for a few minutes and the roads turned to rivers and everybody seemed to panic a bit. Pratchett nailed it. The absurdly misplaced affe In which Rincewind gets sent to my adopted country and encounters every pop culture reference you could think of. The absurdly misplaced affection for the larrikin at best and the hardened criminal at worst is also put under the spotlight that is the Discworld funhouse mirror thanks to Rinco's penchant for ending up in the worst situation possible at any given time.

Muddled around a bit with a storyline that turns Ponder Stibbons in to Darwin. It's a lot of fun, nowhere near as offensive as it might have been considering it is a Rincewind book about a different culture, and happily now out of the way so I don't have to dread reading about Rincewind in Australia any longer. Jan 30, Chris rated it liked it Shelves: humor , pratchett , fantasy. Quick - what do you know about Australia? I reckon if you live in Australia, you probably know quite a lot.

If you've known someone from Australia or perhaps have visited there, you might know a few things. If your experience is limited to a few "Crocodile Dundee" movies and the Crocodile Hunter, then you could probably stand to know a little more. No matter what your level of Australiana is, though, you probably know at least enough to get a lot of enjoyment out of this book, Terry Pratchett's h Quick - what do you know about Australia? No matter what your level of Australiana is, though, you probably know at least enough to get a lot of enjoyment out of this book, Terry Pratchett's homage to the strangest continent on Earth.

Now keep in mind, Pratchett does state quite clearly that this is not a book about Australia. Really, this is Pratchett's homage to Australia, a country that he clearly likes a lot. In reality, Australia is a pretty strange place. It's a giant island, most of which is barren desert. It's been disconnected from the other continents for so long that evolution has given us species unlike any others on Earth.

Pretty much anything that you come across, from the lowliest spider to the cutest jellyfish to the weirdest platypus, is deadly. The country is a tribute to Nature, both in its beauty and its danger, and really deserves more attention than it gets. A slight exaggeration? He then asks for a complete list of species that are not deadly, and gets a small leaflet on which is written, "Some of the sheep. This is about the worst wizard on the Disc. The classic inadvertent hero, who had seen so much of the world but only as a blur while he ran from danger.

The hero who truly just wants to be left alone, perhaps with a potato - Rincewind. What you most need to know about Rincewind is that he absolutely does not want to be a hero. He craves a boring life, one in which the most he has to worry about is whether to have his potatoes baked, mashed, or deep fried. He does not want to be chased by mad highwaymen, put in prison for sheep theft, or required to completely change the climate of an entire continent.

He doesn't want to time travel, be guided by strange, otherworldly kangaroos or fall in with a troupe of suspiciously masculine female performers. He just wants peace and quiet. The universe, of course, has other ideas. And so it is up to Rincewind to once again save the day. The continent of Fourecks has never seen rain - in fact, they think the very idea of water that falls from the sky is ludicrous.

But there are legends of what they call The Wet - the day when water will be found on the surface of the ground, rather than hundreds of feet below it. And while they don't know how it will happen exactly, they do know it will happen. Lucky for Rincewind, the universe has chosen him to make sure that it does. I really can't list all of the Australia references because there are just too many. This book is, like so many other Discworld, books, a lot of fun to read. One of the more interesting sections in the book is one that's not strictly necessary.

Exploring a strange window in the University which, for some reason, leads to a beach, the Wizards of the Unseen University find themselves marooned thousands of miles away and thousands of years back in time. On this weird little island, they meet one of the most unusual gods on the Disc - the god of evolution. This god isn't interested in the normal godly things - lolling about and being worshiped, occasionally smiting a few followers here and there. As Pratchett puts it, "It is a general test of the omnipotence of a god that they can see the fall of a tiny bird.

But only one god makes notes, and a few adjustments, so that next time it can fall further and faster. With him, the wizards are able to explore evolution and natural selection and figure out why sex is just so darn useful. I say that this section isn't strictly necessary because it just isn't. It's certainly interesting , and I suppose the god's island is a nice echo of the real Australia, where evolution has had a long time to tinker and come up with some really weird stuff, but in terms of the story, it's not all that important a plot point.

In fact, the wizards in general don't contribute much to the story other than to make it longer and funnier. Their exploration of evolution and Rincewind's unwilling quest to bring rain to the barren land of Fourecks are almost wholly unrelated to each other, up until the very end.

This isn't to say that they're unwelcome - I love watching the wizards explore the world. The combination of personalities whenever all the wizards get together is one that offers endless hours of reading fun, and I think that without them, the book would have been less enjoyable. They're just not essential to the plot, is all, and if that kind of thing is important to you, then you might not enjoy this book so much. Me, I love science and I love Discworld. While the actual Science of Discworld series was kind of dry and boring in the end, I love it when Pratchett explores real-world science through the eyes of his Discworld characters.

By looking at science from another perspective, he is able to make it perhaps a little more understandable to people who otherwise might write science off as "too hard. It's a long, strange trip, to be sure, but an entertaining one. View 1 comment. Ya, it is me, Nathan.

You know, the guy doing the full reread of your Discworld series? Not even… Really? Wow, really thought some of those would have made it your way. But hey I got a few questions for you. Yes, I figured out that it was set in the Discworld version of Australia. Hell my three year old could have figured that out. Oh come on, you know the ones. Not ringing a bell? Because honestly they either stole half their jokes from you or vice versa, there were a lot of easy jokes in this book. Honestly did you just get bored? Usually your stuff is more clever than this; you of all people know that just making a reference to Pricilla Queen of the Desert does not automatically make it a joke.

No need to be defensive sir, I know there are tons of people who loved this book. No doubt they have watched Crocodile Dundee six times this week. Oh ya, the evolution jokes were better. I loved the god of evolution. I loved the love or beetles. Instant adaption is great. And to be fair everything to do with the university wizards is comedy gold, you have the interplay between them down to an art. Ok, yes I will stop bring it up and move on. I am sorry.

My favorite part? Oh the scene where everyone takes over and tries to draw a duck. Pure gold. Plus, I have to say, it was this book that first taught me what a drop bear was when I read it years ago. You have to go soon? Oh, the real reason I was calling? Could you answer a plot point question for me? Then I will let you go. Oh thank you. Let me see, how should I actually phrase this. I mentioned I loved the wizards and found them hilarious as ever.

I saw a lot of your genius hidden in some of the jokes, subtle nods to evolutionary theory and perspective in art. But… ahh, this is hard. How do I ask this? Ok, I got it. Was there any kind of coherent plot I was supposed to following in this jumble, confused mess of a book? This was the first Terry Pratchett book I ever read. Formerly, as I have described in my review of Good Omens , I believed that Gaiman was the funny one and all of the good bits in Good Omens came from him.

What the hell, I figured. I picked it up, expecting to confirm my belief that all of the good bits in Good Omens came from Gaiman. And how wrong I was! I read this the nex This was the first Terry Pratchett book I ever read. I read this the next day, on my flight home. I spent the whole flight squirming in my seat, stuffing my hands practically into my mouth in order to stem the uncontrollable laughter.

The Last Continent - Collector's Library Edition

A few times I actually had to close the book and take deep breaths before diving back in. It's hilarious. And this isn't even Pratchett's best. I'm giving The Last Continent an "Amazing" because I owe my love of Pratchett to it, but there are others I'd recommend before this one. Don't get me wrong, there is lots to love here. I was a little lost at times because I had no background on any of the characters, so it's probably not the best choice for a first Pratchett. Still, it worked for me, right? I don't have the book in front of me, so I can't quote, but the scene in which Rincewind makes beer soup is hands-down my favorite.

I like the Wizards books, I do. The scenes involving them are always a good time in making fun of bureaucracy and tradition and old white men. They are also usually very silly. But I have yet to love one of the Wizard books. It's just so hard for them to have an emotional through line like so many of Pratchett's other books do. Like, this book wasn't really about anything. Sure, on the surface it's the Wizards flouncing off accidentally to Not Australia aka XXXX aka the titular last continent in search of Rincewind, the terminally inept but strangely effective wizard, who is the only one who might know the Librarian's name, and thus be able to help cure him.

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  • The Librarian is sick and things are chaos at Unseen University without him, and he keeps sneezing and turning in to things like deck chairs and fuzzy books, and all the books are going into a magical frenzy without him to tame them. And while Rincewind is off having a miserable time on EcksEcksEcksEcks, the other Wizards bumble 30, years into the past and mess everything up, as usual.

    This book contains examples of:

    There's also a running gag with the Wizards being gross to a lady that I did not appreciate by treating her more like a precious thing than a person, which is admittedly better than other options. I realize this is done on purpose for satirical purposes, but I still didn't like it, and normally Pratchett has awesome lady characters to make up for his idiot men characters but here it's just the Wizards and Rincewind and a magical kangaroo, and Mrs.

    Whatsherface is just there. See, I can't even remember her name! Ponder Stibbons is always a good time, though. I very much appreciate how sensible that character is in the face of all the other wizards, most of whom don't even have proper names, instead going by their titles the Bursar, the Chair of Indefinite Studies, the Senior Wrangler, etc. I also liked how into the idea of evolution he was here, and that he got to meet the god of evolution was a real kick. This is just a fantastic series, and even entries that are on the lower end in quality are still very good.

    And one more thing. But after just having read Jingo with the clan of The Watch, this one paled in comparison. Apr 01, Martin rated it it was amazing Shelves: science-fiction , recently-reviewed , humour , travel. Discworld is a world and a mirror of worlds. This is not a book about Australia. Still…no worries, right? Keeping the boss away from your work Ponder knew he should never have let Ridcully look at the invisible writings. But no matter what precautions you took, sooner or later the boss was bound to come Discworld is a world and a mirror of worlds.

    The clever traveler researches his destination before arriving Death picked up a book at random and read the cover. His gaze moved down the spine. Don't panic The wizards were civilized men of considerable education and culture. When faced with being inadvertently marooned on a desert island they understood immediately that the first thing to do was place the blame.

    Spoofs, Tropes, parodies. Although this story is not about Australia, that is the Australia in our world, it does describe all things Australian that we see in the popular media such as the Sydney Opera House, Mad Max, the man from Snowy River and more. Have fun spotting them all. The winner gets a chocolate fish. Currently re-reading this with my son who is here on a visit from London, England. It is just as much fun the second time around :.

    LC Discworld constellations changed frequently as the world moved through the void, which meant that astrology was cutting edge research rather than, as elsewhere, a clever way of avoiding a proper job. It was amazing how human traits and affairs could so reliably and continuously be guided by a succession of big balls of plasma billions of miles away, most of whom have never even heard of humanity. LC And he was pretty sure that there was no way you could get a cross between a human and a sheep. If there was, people would definitely have found out by now, especially in the more isolated rural districts.

    They never added up. Dead is only for once, but running away is for ever.

    LC 'I think that before we made humanity, we broke the mould. Usually they defined 'listening' as a period in which you worked out what you were going to say next. It was disconcerting. Many religions extol the virtues of the meek, but Rincewind had never trusted them. The meek could turn very nasty at times. LC It was an amazing phrase.

    It was practically magical all by itself. It just No worries. No worries! They are implying the kind of behaviour more generally associated, oddly enough, with people wearing a full suit of clothes, often with the same insignia.

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    LC When he was a boy, Ponder Stibbons had imagined that wizards would be powerful democrats-gods able to change the whole world at the flick of a finger, and then he'd grown up and found that they were tiresome old men who worries about the state of their feet and, in harm's way, would even bicker about the origin of the phrase 'in harm's way'. It had never struck him that evolution works in all kinds of ways.

    There were still quite deep scars in old buildings that showed what happened when you had the other kind of wizard. LC The worst thing about losing your temper with Mustrum Ridcully was that he never noticed when you did. LC Wizards, when faced with danger, would immediately stop and argue amongst themselves about exactly what kind of danger it was. By the time everyone in the party understood, either it had become the sort of danger where your options are so very, very clear that you instantly take of them or die, or it had got bored and gone away.

    The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett

    Even danger has its pride. LC Ponder had been that kind of child. Ponder had been the kind of boy who carefully reads the label on every Hogswatch present before opening it, and notes down in a small book who it is from, and has all the thank-you letters written by teatime. His parents had been impressed even then, realizing they had given birth to a child who would achieve great things or, perhaps, be hunted down by a righteous citizenry by the time he was ten. LC 'Intelligence is like legs - too many and you trip yourself up.

    The thing about late-night cookery was that it made sense at the time. It always has some logic behind it. LC They went on looking. He cracked. Practically anyone will crack before a sheep cracks. Suppose I am just about to die and this is my whole life passing in front of my eyes? LC There were times that called for mindless, terror-filled panic, and times that called for measured, considered, thoughtful panic.

    LC …the great, open ingenious purpose of UU was to be the weight on the arm of magic, causing it to swing with grave majesty like a pendulum rather than spin with deadly purpose like a morningstar. Instead of hurling fireballs at one another from fortified towers the wizards learned to snipe at their colleagues over the interpretation of Faculty Council minutes, and long ago were amazed to find that they got just as much vicious fun out of it.

    They consumed big dinners, and after a really good meal and a fine cigar even the most rabid Dark Lord is inclined to put his feet up and feel amicable towards the world, especially if it offered him another brandy. LC Once upon a time the plural of 'wizard' was 'war'. There are platonic burgers made of beef instead of cow lips and hooves.

    Even so, there is no excuse for putting pineapple on pizza.