Number of pages: 281
Discworld is a world and a mirror of worlds.
This is not a book about Australia. No, it's about somewhere entirely different which just happens to be, here and there, a bit ... Australian.
Still ... no worries, right?
The first page of this book sends up its tone quite neatly, and sets out the fact that it unashamedly parodies everything Australian, largely through cultural stereotypes and pop-culture references.
The next part of the review contains spoilers for both this book and the previous book in which Rincewind the Wizard appeared.
[Spoiler (click to open)]
The last time Rincewind appeared was in Interesting Times, which ended with him stranded in an unfamiliar place that sounded suspiciously like Australia. Picking up where that left off, this book sees him trekking across the "Last Continent", the place in the Discworld that was created last, on a quest that involves sorting out some issue with the space-time continuum that he has apparently caused, assisted along the way by various characters involving a talking kangaroo.
Meanwhile, at Unseen University, the librarian (who is also an orang utan) has contracted some mysterious disease that causes him to morph into random objects. The wizards start suggesting that they should find Rincewind, who is the only person apparently who was present when the librarian got changed into an orang-utan (in The Light Fantastic), and therefore will know the one thing that has eluded everyone ... the librarian's name; this seems to be all in an effort to make him human again, although previous books have established that the librarian does not want to be changed back.
This leads to the discovery of a window that is some sort of magical portal connecting Unseen University to a beach, which forms a part of the Last Continent. The wizards initially go onto the beach to see if some fresh air will cure the librarian; however, they end up stranded after someone carelessly shuts the window.
The wizards' attempts to get back involve them meeting an "evolution god", and a lot of the plotline involves the theory of creation and evolution, and it eventually transpires that they are also several thousand years in the past. The story largely involves rock paintings that come alive, culminating in a large drawing Rincewind does that somehow brings the other wizards back into the present.
While some parts of the book were a bit too bizarre to fully understand, this makes for an enjoyable story, which largely involves Rincewind getting into various scrapes and running away, so not surprisingly I found this to be very enjoyable and also hilarious.
Overall, I would say that this is one of the best books in the Discworld series and would definitely recommend it to others.
Next book: Setting Hearts on Fire (John Chapman)