Raising Steam - OUT NOW!

The Last Continent

Formats: Hardback. eBook. Audio. Paperback.

Anything you do in the past changes the future.The tiniest little actions have huge consequences.You might tread on an ant now and it might entirely prevent someone from being born in the future.'

There's nothing like the issue of evolution to get under the skin of academics.Especially when those same academics are by chance or bad judgement deposited at a critical evolutionary turning point when one wrong move could have catastrophic results for the future. Unfortunately in the hands of such an inept and cussed group of individuals, the sensitive issue of causality is sadly only likely to receive the same scant respect that they show to one another...

Against the stars a turtle passes, carrying four elephants on its shell.

Both turtle and elephants are bigger than people might expect, but out between the stars the difference between huge and tiny is, comparatively speaking, very small.

But this turtle and these elephants are, by turtle and elephant standards, big. They carry the Discworld, with its vast lands, cloudscapes, and oceans.

People don’t live on the Disc any more than, in less hand-crafted parts of the multiverse, they live on balls. Oh, planets may be the place where their body eats its tea, but they live elsewhere, in worlds of their own which orbit very handily around the centre of their heads.

When gods get together they tell the story of one particular planet whose inhabitants watched, with mild interest, huge continent-wrecking slabs of ice slap into another world which was, in astronomical terms, right next door – and then did nothing about it because that sort of thing only happens in Outer Space. An intelligent species would at least have found someone to complain to. Anyway, no one seriously believes in that story, because a race quite that stupid Would never even have discovered slood.[1]

People believe in all sorts of other things, though. For example, there are some people Who have a legend that the Whole universe is carried in a leather bag by an old man.

They’re right, too.

Other people say: hold on, if he’s carrying the entire universe in a sack, right, that means he’s carrying himself and the sack inside the sack, because the universe contains everything. Including him. And the sack, of course. Which contains him and the sack already. As it Were.

To Which the reply is: Well?

All tribal myths are true, for a given value of ’true'.

It is a general test of the omnipotence of a god that they can see the fall of a tiny bird. But only one god makes notes, and a few adjustments, so that next time it can fall faster and further.

We may find out Why.

We might find out why mankind is here, although that is more complicated and begs the question ‘Where else should We be?’ It Would be terrible to think that some impatient deity might part the clouds and say, ’Damn, are you lot still here? I thought you discovered slood ten thousand years ago! I’ve got ten trillion tons of ice arriving on Monday'

We may even find out why the duck-billed platypus.[2]

Snow, thick and wet, tumbled on to the lawns and roofs of Unseen University, the Discworld’s premier college of magic.

It was sticky snow, which made the place look like some sort of expensive yet tasteless ornament, and it caked around the boots of McAbre, the Head Bledlow, as he trudged through the cold, wild night.

Two other bledlows[3]– stepped out of the lee of a buttress and fell in behind him on a solemn march towards the main gates.

It was an old custom, centuries old, and in the summer a few tourists would hang around to watch it, but the Ceremony of the Keys went on every night in every season. Mere ice, wind and snow had never stopped it. Bledlows in times gone past had clambered over tentacled monstrosities to do the Ceremony; they’d waded through floodwater, flailed with their bowler hats at errant pigeons, harpies and dragons, and ignored mere faculty members who’d thrown open their bedroom windows and screamed imprecations on the lines of ‘Stop that damn racket, will you? What’s the point?’ They’d never stopped, or even thought of stopping. You couldn’t stop Tradition. You could only add to it.

  • [1] Much easier to discover than fire, and on1y slightly harder to discover than Water.
  • [2] Not why is it anything. Just why it is.

  • [3] A cross between a porter and a proctor. A bledlow is not chosen for his imagination, because he usually doesn’t have any.

The humour sparkles as brightly as ever

The Times

A minor masterpiece. I laughed so much I fell from my armchair

Time Out

Delightful...gleeful and downright mischievous. The pleasures on the page are so quirkily seductive. Puts one in mind of one of the greatest comic writers of them all PG Wodehouse

Sunday Telegraph

Click, tap or wave a pointy hat here to add a review of your own

Name of reviewer
Enter your short review

Crivens! It appears the audio excerpt from the book that we had to go here has been borrowed by a wee free man.

You may also like: