Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett. Performed by Stephen Briggs. I view Terry Pratchett as a fantasy savings account. Not as in money, but as in “If I am ever in the bind for some light but good fantasy entertainment, there will always be a Terry Pratchett I haven’t yet read.” The books are enough part of the world to feel familiar, but free-standing enough that I don’t feel out of the loop for going years between Discworld visits. I had one of these moments recently, and was so happy to find an audio copy of this recent effort. In this book, the wizards of Unseen University discover to their horror that they will lose a good bit of funding if they don’t start playing the game of Foot the Ball. This is a raucous street game, with very loose rules and intensely loyal local teams throughout Ankh-Morphokh. Below stairs, we meet another cast of characters who get caught up in the ensuing madness: Nutt, a very well-educated goblin who is inexplicably working as a candle dribbler; Trev, the head candle dribbler, previously specializing in nothing much but being able to kick a tin can around wherever he goes; Glenda, the large and capable head of the night kitchen; and Juliet, her assistant, whose fairly empty but beautiful head attracts notice from every male who sees her. There’s some romance, a bit of dwarf fashion, a little reflection on racism, and a whole lot of silly fun, admirably read by the capable Briggs.
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