Eric

Eric is Terry Pratchett’s ninth and shortest novel, making it seem like a reasonable entry point into his famous novels. Hopefully it isn’t one of his best works as there were multiple issues I had with it.

Parodising the German legend Faust, Terry Pratchett’s Eric follows Rincewind as he gets mistaken as a demon and has to grant the wishes of thirteen year old Eric. The wishes are what you generally expect of a thirteen year old: to rule the kingdoms of the world, to meet the most beautiful girl in the world, and live forever. Unfortunately, the two also have to deal with Astfgl, the King of Demons.

Most novels are loosely based on history or classic novels, but there is such thing as too many allusions and parodies. Even though he does something slightly different, such as with the Trojan Horse allusion, they made the story feel less original than it should have been. Maybe if the book was longer and there was less time between references, it wouldn’t feel as forced.
I know enough about the Discworld to know that all the stories are connected and the Unknown University and Death are used a lot. However, they didn’t contribute anything to the story apart from discovering Rincewind was around. It just felt like they were there because they had to be there. They were very amusing, but that didn’t make them any less unnecessary.

The characters are pretty awesome and so is the writing. I have to give Pratchett points for that. I loved the way Rincewind was confused quite a few times and how he was able to think of a way to get out. Eric was annoying, but he was a standard thirteen year old. The strangers we met were all different and interesting in their own way. Honestly, Astfgl was the best for me. His view on tradition and the way he changed Hell was fantastic. Even the way the other demons revolted was hilarious.

However, I did have one issue with the characters. They were mainly men, and the only two women were plain mothers. Eric’s mother wasn’t even shown. Elenor, the parody of Helen of Troy, lost her beauty when she had children. This would have been interesting if Pratchett developed her a little bit more, but she’s only in one scene. Most stories are like this, but it really annoyed me for some reason. However, Pratchett has better representation in other books.

His writing, which I suppose is constant throughout his books, is amusing. It’s at a decent space and he makes quirky comments. Even though I haven’t read the other stories, I get a basic understanding of what was going on. His use of footnotes was strange in one or two occasions, but it was fine other than that.

My score for Eric is 6.5/10. It was just a parody of legends, and I expected a little more. The writing was decent and so were the characters, but it felt more like a section of a book than a book itself. I will check out the others so I can see what happened to Eric and Rincewind, but there’s no rush.

Discussion Point: Which famous fantasy world was your favourite while growing up?

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5 thoughts on “Eric

  1. Out of interest, did you read the illustrated version or just the text? I read the latter and largely agree with your post – it’s a bit of fluff compared to the intelligent glory of some of the books he is on the verge of having released at this point in his career.

    It’s rather dark as well – there’s quite a cynical streak through it about the dodgier aspects of humanity.

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  2. I just read the text. Most people that talk about Terry Pratchett say that about him, so I suppose I’ll check his other books out. Which one do you think is the best one for me to read next?

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  3. Oh lordy! Where to begin???

    You mentioned the poor use of women in this novel, which is valid criticism. The Witches series, starting with Wyrd Sisters is fantastic. It covers Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade and Carpe Jugulum. The middle two are among my favourite Pratchett novels.

    His Watch novels are fantastic as well. It kicks off with Guards! Guards! and gets excellent from Men at Arms onwards.

    Let me know how you get on!

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    1. Thanks. I am a sucker for books with great female leads. I knew he was decent because I remember Death’s granddaughter (?) from a Hogsfather adaptation. It was just that Eric wasn’t a perfect example of that. I’ll just add those to my reading list. It might take a while before I get to it though. My reading list is at about 100 and something.

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