This is my second foray into Discworld, and where the first novel I read felt big in scope and purpose, this one feel decidedly small. For one, this novel is about half the length of the first in the series The Color of Magic, and for a second one, this one feels very much like we spend the whole of the novel in same room. It’s not quite true, but it’s something.
Throughout the book, from the epigraph from Faust to the literally crossed word Faust (and replaced with Eric) on every single page, we are meant to understand that this novel is a retelling of Faust with the infamous alchemist replaced with a bumbling 14 year old wizard. He’s lucky that he’s so inept because the consequence of his meddling with the world of demons is not to summon a powerful being well outmatched, but to accidentally summon Rincewind, the even more bumbling wizard from The Color of Magic.
The title of the novel leads to further questions about this series. Who is writing these books? Is the world cohabiting the cosmic realm with Earth? We can ask these questions in part because of Twoflower the tourist from the first novel, his luggage, and now a direct in-text reference to Faust in this text. I think what comes to bear mostly is that there are “rules” and then there are no rules for the world of Discworld. It’s a lot like the Simpsons’ house. If I need it, we got it.