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Unseen Academicals

Written by: Terry Pratchett
Narrated by: Stephen Briggs
Series: Discworld: Rincewind, Book 8, Discworld, Book 37
Length: 12 hrs and 16 mins
5 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork - not the old fashioned, grubby pushing and shoving, but the new, fast football with pointy hats for goalposts and balls that go gloing when you drop them. And now, the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they're in the mood for trying everything else.

The prospect of the Big Match draws in a street urchin with a wonderful talent for kicking a tin can, a maker of jolly good pies, a dim but beautiful young woman, who might just turn out to be the greatest fashion model there has ever been, and the mysterious Mr Nutt (and no one knows anything much about Mr Nutt, not even Mr Nutt, which worries him, too. As the match approaches, four lives are entangled and changed for ever.

Because the thing about football - the important thing about football - is that it is not just about football.

©2009 Terry and Lyn Pratechett (P)2009 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"At its heart, this is an intelligent, cheeky love letter to football, its fans and the unifying power of sports." ( Publishers Weekly)
"In short, this is as busy and as daft as any other Discworld yarn, which means it is the quintessence of daft. Nobody writes fantasy funnier than Pratchett." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kent
  • 2010-09-30

Not Pratchetts best but still enjoyable

Pratchetts latest book fails to the reach truly dizzying heights he has been capable of.
As it stands it has to settle for merely being very good. Stephen Briggs is as brilliant as
always and certainly does his bit to ensure that the audio version compares well - or
perhaps even surpasses - the written work.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jacobus
  • 2013-04-07

Mediocre Discworld

Have you read "Asterix and the Falling Sky"? Uderzo's drawings of Asterix and his friends are some of the best, but the story reaches a new low point. I am not sure if this is really the case with "Unseen Academicals" but it is really not one of Pratchett's best. There are individual episodes of brilliance in the book. You are also left with the feeling that this is supposed to be (partly al least) THE parody on the Harry Potter-series. Yet, it felt if the storyline lacked some of the Pratchett brilliance I have come to know and love.

Stephen Briggs, almost like always, does a superb job in the reading of the book. I think he brings the game of foot-the-ball sufficiently to life. If I have to choose between reading the book or listening to his interpretation, I would prefer his interpretative reading by far.

Like "Asterix and the Falling Sky" this book is definitely a must for Discworld die-hard fans. You are also guaranteed a chuckle or two, if you are not so familiar with the Discworld, but I have read and listened to better from Prachett's pen. Maybe, the Unseen University and its staff have become a just too familiar place and set of characters in the Discworld.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lindy
  • 2019-05-06

Just excellent!

Couldn't put it away. Admittedly, I am a huge fan of the discworld novels and this is one of them that has many things and foot the ball.

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  • Siri
  • 2013-01-26

I am terribly sorry, but not his best work.

I love nearly every book Terry Pratchett have written, but I believe that part of the reasen that I don't like it as much as the others is that it is abut fotbal, ore soccer as americans calles it.
Nott is a goblin, a rather big goblin, how likes fotbal. He is from a smal place in Ubervald, and Margalotha have taken him in as here word. Vetenari have goten him a job in the university.

The story is stil full of wonders, I still love the smaler details, and Normal life and the wonders of magic.

Stephen Brigg is a good reader and he is one of the tow people I like reading Discworld stories for me.

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  • Gavin
  • 2013-01-14

Love it

Would you listen to Unseen Academicals again? Why?

I don't typically re-read books, and I have never re-listened to an audiobook. That said it was very much an entertaining listen.

What did you like best about this story?

Just the way that Terry bends normal life into Ankmorpork life with a twist to make it larger and more important than it appears in our world, but no less important actually.

Have you listened to any of Stephen Briggs’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes and he does a great job. Could maybe do a bit more with the character's voice, but it does not detract from the entertainment content in my opinion.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There are always a few laugh out loud moments with Terry Pratchett, and this was no exception.

Any additional comments?

Keep up the great work. Audiobooks are a great way you get more out of a long and not always interesting drive.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Robyn
  • 2011-11-10

Unseen Academicals

Unseen Acedemicals had me laughing and sometimes on edge in true Terry Pratchett form. The story sucked me in straight away and there was nothing I could do about it. Terry Pratchett is one of my favourite authors and all of his books have the same structure (but it works really well!), funny, tense, fantastical and dangerous. Some of the characters were just so well thought out. Mr. Nutt is amazing and had me wondering about his past and his future...

Overall this book gets a 5 star rating from me.

Read well.

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  • Judy
  • 2011-11-02

Pratchett is up to his usual standard

This is Pratchett up to his usual standard - imaginative, funny, cynical and really enjoyable. Tony Robinson reads Pratchett really well (although I think I slightly prefer Nigel Planer, who read some of the earlier audiobooks). I listen to my audio books whilst pedalling an exercise bike and using a rowing machine and Unseen Academicals makes a boring-but-good-for-you activity fun. :-) The wizards are learning to play football under the gudiance of one of the university's candle dribblers and we get an insight into the workings of the university's kitchens. Lord Vetinari also features. Unfortunately, no witches, but you can't have everything. Well worth the money.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • C. S.
  • 2009-12-30

solid work but not a revelation

Story: The last Disc World Novel builds mainly on known characters introducing an Orc (Mr. Nutt), Mr Sugarbean, Jewels and Trevor Likely. The story is mainly about the mystery of football and its fans intermingled with the subject of fashion hype, the innovation "micro mail", and rivalry between UU and the Dean's new university.
Reading: continued in the tradition of Stephen Briggs reading with enthusiasm and voices that we came to love and recognise. I personally like Nigel Planer better for his splendid intonation of Death but SB is a genius for dialects
Over all: the novel ranges between the early ones and high lights like the reaper man and offers the known and praised wit of TP together with a fairly arresting story.
I had fun listening and can recommend it to the fullest - already waiting for the next disc world novel.
PS: What wasn't necessary was the introduction of the god of football in the end - I see no need for that. Apart from that: a peace to cherish for all fans and a good follow up for all readers

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-07-02

Excellent humor

A typical Rincewind story about everyone's favourite game! Well narrated (i.e. excellent quality). A true joy to listen to :-)

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Adrian
  • 2010-08-14

love Pratchett but cant bear Briggs

I am unable to listen to more than 10 minutes of Unseen academicals due to the fact that to my ears it sounds like Stephen Briggs is just reading a list. This is my first and possibly last venture into audiobooks as I've been so disappointed by this experience, I've nothing personal against the man, and maybe I just have a very different rhythm of speech in my head than is read out loud, or maybe audiobooks are just not for me?

1 person found this helpful