It’s an illustrated Discworld crossover special as Georgina Chadderton rejoins Liz and Ben to talk gods, dragons and outer space in the twenty-seventh Discworld novel, 2001’s The Last Hero, illustrated by Paul Kidby.
Genghiz Cohen, Emperor of the Agatean Empire, has deserted his throne, and along with his horde is heading for the mountain at the hub of the world. He is planning to pay a little visit on the gods, and “return what the first hero stole” – with explosive interest. According to the wizards, this will destroy the source of the Disc’s magic and thus end all life on (and under) it. A rag-tag team of misfits is quickly assembled – a dangerously genius inventor, a stout and honest officer of the Watch, and a reluctant “wizzard” – to take a risky flight looping around the Disc, and intercept Cohen before its too late…
The second large-format illustrated Discworld novel, The Last Hero – subtitled “A Discworld Fable” – is a relatively short story, but crosses the streams of the various sub-series more than any other book, providing Paul Kidby with the chance to showcase a whole host of characters and places – including the Disc as seen from above and below! It both feels like a throwback to some of the earlier books – the whole world at stake, Rincewind and Cohen on wild Disc-crossing adventures, the gods playing games with mortals – and a fitting last hurrah (more or less) for two of Pratchett’s most beloved characters.
Is this a fitting send-off for Cohen? What’s happening in the Agatean Empire now its Emperor is gone? How many hours have you spent poring over the illustrations finding references, in-jokes and Easter eggs? And what do you imagine the minstrel’s saga sounds like? Join the conversation using the hashtag #Pratchat55 on social media.
Guest Georgina Chadderton (aka George Rex) is a comic book creator and illustrator based in Adelaide. She was last our guest way back in #Pratchat7 in 2018 to talk about the first illustrated Discworld novel, Eric. Since then she’s continued to make delightful autobiographical comic (including her upcoming book), run comic-making workshops, organise the Papercuts Comics Festival, and even found the time to create the cover art for Pratchat! You can find her online at georgerexcomics.com, where you can find out about Georgina’s upcoming events and also buy all manner of cool comics, postcards and stickers. You can also follow her on Instagram at @georgerexcomics.
As usual, you can find notes and errata for this episode on our website.
Over the next two months we’re returning to Pratchett’s sci-fi work. In June, we’re discussing his 1990 short story “ifdefDEBUG + ‘world/enough’ + ‘time’” with science fiction author Sean Williams. That’ll leave us (and you) a bit of extra reading time before July for the third Long Earth novel, The Long Mars, which we’ll be discussing with our old friend Joel Martin! But in the meantime, you can send us your questions for the short story using the hashtag #Pratchat56, or via email to email@example.com.