Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

Originally posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 - listened to this in audio format in early 2021


Less of a fully fledged review, more of a musing on the latest Discworld Novel from Terry Pratchett UNSEEN ACADEMICALS.

The quote on the back sort of says it all "The thing about football - the IMPORTANT thing about football - is that it is not just about football".  Now I will admit I'm not a football (in any incarnation) fan.  Can't stand the hype.  Can't stand the carry-on.  Can't stand the games themselves.  So I was a little intrigued by this book - how would a Terry Pratchett treatment of the dreaded awfulness work?  I was certainly intrigued enough to put aside my up until now tendency to purchase immediately and horde for the future any Discworld novels (what can I say - I'm a bit weird - I'm doing it with a few of my all time favourite authors).  

Needless to say, football does get a lot of the Pratchett / Discworld treatment and there are some wonderful digs, jabs and observations about football, football fans and the way that this sort of game is regarded.  There are some great characterisations, and some cameo performances by many of the Wizards of the Unseen University and thankfully some fantastic politics in their ranks.

Perhaps there is a little less focus, sharpness, snappiness in the story telling.  Maybe this is because of the known health problems of Mr Pratchett, maybe it's just that every now and then a book gets a little more reflective, a little less paced and fast and furious.  Who knows, and frankly, who cares.  UNSEEN ACADEMICALS is another entrant in the Discworld series, and even if it's not the best ever book in a series of best ever books - it's a Discworld novel. 

Did it make me laugh enough to wake up the long suffering husband (who keeps saying that a Discworld book on the nightstand should immediately instigate a move to the spare bed)?  It did indeed.  Did it make me care about football?  Miracles don't happen in these parts.  But I do think the next time somebody asks me who I barrack for, I'll be nominating the Unseen University.


Follow up / 2021:

Still loved this one, still made me care about football of all things! Of course, it didn't hurt that unlikely romances littered the story as well, and the best character overall is Glenda, she of the Unseen University night kitchen, maker of jolly good pies, keeper safe of the dim but lovely Juliet, friend to all those that need a helping hand.

The action in this one is pretty full on, and the mad football matches made even funnier by the participation of a vaguely confused and terribly motivated team of Wizards made for some laugh out loud moments. Along the way there's fashion, friendship, candles, pies, and plenty of tin can kicking.


Year of Publication
Book Number (in series)

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 gloing 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.

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