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Encyclopedia > The Last Continent
Terry Pratchett
The Discworld series

22nd novel – 6th Rincewind story
Outline
Characters: Rincewind
Unseen University Staff
Locations: FourEcks
Unseen University
Motifs: Australia, Evolution
Publication details
Year of release: 1998
Original publisher: Doubleday, London
Hardback ISBN: ISBN 0-385-40989-3
Paperback ISBN: ISBN 0-06-105907-2
Other details
Awards:
Notes:

The Last Continent is the twenty-second Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, first published in 1998, that parodies Australian people and culture, as well as the famous Crocodile Dundee and Mad Max movies and the popular Australian song Waltzing Matilda. Terence David John Pratchett OBE (born April 28, 1948, in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England[1]) is an English fantasy author, best known for his Discworld series. ... // This article is about the novels. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (546x800, 302 KB) Summary Cover of The Last Continent Author: Josh Kirby Source: http://www. ... Rincewind the Wizzard is a fictional character appearing in the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett, several of which feature him as the central character. ... Unseen University (UU) is a school of wizardry in the fictional Discworld city of Ankh-Morpork, staffed by a faculty composed of mostly indolent and inept old wizards. ... XXXX or FourEcks (previously known as Terror Incognita) is the name of the Australia-like continent seen in the Discworld novel The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett. ... Unseen University (UU) is a school of wizardry in the fictional Discworld city of Ankh-Morpork, staffed by a faculty composed of mostly indolent and inept old wizards. ... This article is about evolution in biology. ... Doubleday is one of the largest book publishing companies in the world. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... // This article is about the novels. ... Terence David John Pratchett OBE (born April 28, 1948, in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England[1]) is an English fantasy author, best known for his Discworld series. ... Crocodile Dundee is a 1986 Australian comedy film set in the Australian Outback in the area around Walkabout Creek and in New York City. ... Mad Max is an Australian apocalyptic science fiction action film from 1979 directed by George Miller and written by Miller and Byron Kennedy. ... Waltzing Matilda is usually sung in informal settings, but it was played with a 90 piece orchestra and the 100 voice Melbourne Chorale at the 2005 Classical Spectacular Waltzing Matilda is Australias most widely known folk song, and one that has been popularly suggested as a potential national anthem. ...

Contents

Plot summary

The story opens years after the events of Interesting Times, in which Rincewind was magically transported to the forsaken continent of XXXX due to a miscalculation made by the Unseen University wizards. Rincewind has been surviving by falling in water holes, looking for grubs under rocks, and befriending indigenous peoples (up to a point, since Rincewind would invariably talk about the weather after he got the hang of the language, a subject about which the native tribes were apparently sensitive, subsequently driving him out). Rincewind soon meets the magical kangaroo Scrappy, being sent by the creator of FourEcks. Scrappy explains to Rincewind that he is fated to bring back "The Wet," meaning the rain, citing that he is the reason for the eons-long drought. Scrappy says that the continent is unfinished, and time and space will be an eternal anomaly there until it is finished, i.e. the rain is brought back, and shows Rincewind cave paintings of Wizards. Interesting Times is a novel in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. ... Rincewind the Wizzard is a fictional character appearing in the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett, several of which feature him as the central character. ... XXXX or FourEcks (previously known as Terror Incognita) is the name of the Australia-like continent seen in the Discworld novel The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett. ...


Meanwhile, the senior wizards (made up of Archancellor Mustrum Ridcully, the Dean, the Bursar, The Chair of Indefinite Studies, the Lecturer in Recent Runes and the Senior Wrangler) and Ponder Stibbons in Ankh Morpork's Unseen University are trying to find a cure for the Librarian's magical malady (which causes him to transform into a native object, such as a book when near a library, whenever he sneezes) contracted from his work in the UU's magical library. The wizards soon find out that the books in the Library become hostile and attack (being magical books in a magical library, this is in fact a threat) when not in the librarian's care. The wizards cannot however cure the Librarian without knowing his name. The Librarian, being also the archivist, destroyed any evidence of his true name since he believed the wizards would attempt to turn him human again, as he rather enjoyed his orangutan body (brought on by a magical accident years before). The Lecturer in Recent Runes suggest they interrogate Rincewind, as he once worked closely with the Librarian and seemed to know more about him than anyone else. The wizards then decide to find the continent of XXXX (so named because no one has any clue about what its real name is) where they had previous sent Rincewind by accident. The wizards find the Egregious Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography's study, but no sign of the professor himself. They then find a magical shift in space leading from the professor's bathroom to a tropical island thousands of years in the past.


Thousands of years later, Rincewind attempts to run away from his destiny, but in fact runs towards it. With the assistance of Scrappy (although Rincewind doesn't know it), Rincewind eventually ends up wrongfully arrested for sheep theft and taken to Bugarup, where he was hoping to find a ship to escape on. A gigantic circular storm surrounding FourEcks prevents any ships from leaving, however. The people of Bugarup are enthusiastic for Rincewind, since they regard sheep thieves as folk heroes and encourage him to escape, while not actually allowing him to. Rincewind looks up at the ceiling of his holding cell and finds a message there telling him to check the hinges on the door. Rincewind does so and finds that he is able to lift the door off its hinges and escape.


The wizards on the tropical island become trapped when Mrs. Whitlow, the head maid, brings them their early breakfast and inadvertently closes the window that leads back into the Professor's study. The wizards soon encounter plants that rapidly evolve to suit their needs but do not question the turn of events (apart from Ponder) until a large dinosaur evolves into a chicken in front of their eyes. After finding a plant-based boat, the wizards start to question their surroundings even more and the god of Evolution, who has been causing the events, then turns up and helps explain things a bit. He created the plant so that the wizards would leave him in peace, as the plants are going haywire attempting to evolve to suit the wizards' every needs. Ponder stays to help the god while the wizards load up on provisions and leave. Ponder soon catches up with them, as he discovered that the God was fixated with beetles and built the cockroach as his primary project and not humans, as Ponder believed. The wizards then reach FourEcks and soon meet the Creator of FourEcks (not of the Disc) in the process of creating it by way of impressionistic cave paintings. The wizards bicker over the Creator's technique and inadvertently create the duck-billed platypus. The librarian meanwhile steals the Creator's bullroarer and spins it, causing the drought Rincewind is in the process of stopping. The wizards are then frozen in time for thousands of years by the stray magic left around from creating the continent.


Rincewind having escaped from gaol, invents the Peach Nellie, and then meets up with a group of female impersonators, Darleen and Letitia, and a female, Neilette. Rincewind then meets up with his magical trunk, the infamous Luggage, who rescues him from the Watch. Escaping from the Watch, Rincewind and Neilette break into the old brewery (which was never used because all the beer kept going flat). An earthquake (induced by the voice of the creator) causes the brewery to collapse, trapping them inside the Luggage. When they emerge, Rincewind can see the ethereal outlines of some wizards (who were trapped, frozen in time, for thirty thousand years in the brewery). Eventually he arrives at the University of FourEcks (which is made out of corrugated iron nailed onto a wooden frame, and has a tower that is taller on the inside than it is on the outside). He takes the Fourecksian Wizards to the brewery and figures out how to free the wizards (by drawing a picture of them, like the Creator does to create animals and plants in the past). However, it becomes apparent that no-one knows how to make it rain. In despair, they give up. As they are sitting around, Rincewind idly twirls the Bullroarer (which had remained in the Librarian's possession), and realises that it is the key to making it rain. He swings it around his head, and it soon begins to fly faster and farther than it should with the force with which it is being swung. Rincewind lets go and the bullroarer flies off; immediately, it begins to rain. The Luggage is a fictional object that appears in some of the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. ...


Having saved FourEcks, the Wizards return to Ankh-Morpork by ship, and the story ends with the old man with the sack (the Creator of the last continent) catching the bullroarer in front of a young boy.


Trivia

  • During the course of the book, Rincewind inadvertently invents or causes the creation of several things that are synonymous with Australia (the Real-World counterpart of the continent in the book). These include: Vegemite, Flip-Flops, cork hats, the Peach Nellie, and the 'Swagman' from the song Waltzing Matilda.

Vegemite on toast. ... Various kinds of flip-flops, from cheap foam/plastic to leather In footwear and fashion, flip-flops are a kind of flat, backless sandal that consist of a flat sole held on the foot by a u-shaped strap that passes between the first (big) and second toes and around... The Peach Melba is a classic French dessert, invented in London to honour an Australian. ... Waltzing Matilda is usually sung in informal settings, but it was played with a 90 piece orchestra and the 100 voice Melbourne Chorale at the 2005 Classical Spectacular Waltzing Matilda is Australias most widely known folk song, and one that has been popularly suggested as a potential national anthem. ...

Translations

  • Последният континент (Bulgarian)
  • Poslední kontinent (Czech)
  • Het jongste werelddeel (Dutch)
  • Viimane manner (Estonian)
  • Le Dernier Continent (French)
  • Heiße Hüpfer (German)
  • Ostatni kontynent (Polish)
  • Последний континент (Russian)
  • El País del Fin del Mundo (Spanish)

External links

  • Annotations for The Last Continent
  • Quotes from The Last Continent
  • Synopsis for The Last Continent
Reading Order Guide
Preceded by
Jingo
22nd Discword Novel Succeeded by
Carpe Jugulum
Preceded by
Interesting Times
6th Rincewind Story
Published in 1998
Succeeded by
The Last Hero

  Results from FactBites:
 
The SF Site Featured Review: The Last Continent (763 words)
Just because the continent of EcksEcksEcksEcks is this lost continent where it never rains, settled by a bunch of criminals, whose current inhabitants go around ending sentences with "no worries" doesn't mean...
The Librarian is in a bit of a spot in The Last Continent.
In an attempt to retrieve Rincewind from the Counterweight Continent, the UU wizards accidentally flung him across Discworld to a tiny, unnamed continent.
Continent - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1243 words)
Continents are sometimes subdivided into subcontinents that are delineated by geological features: the prototype of this is the Indian subcontinent.
The idea of the Five Continents is still strong in Europe and Asia, and is represented by the five rings on the Olympic flag.
Antarctica was sighted in 1820, for the sixth and last continent to be given a separate name, though a great "antarctic" (antipodean) landmass had been anticipated for millennia.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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