The Discworld Series – Terry Pratchett (Part 1)

The Discworld has been a constant companion throughout the last 18 years of my life, I started the series when it was already twenty-five books old and like with any long series I quickly became complacent, expecting a book to come out every year or so.  Since Pratchett was sadly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I have come to regret my past ways of buying four or five books at a time and rushing through them like a hungry man at a buffet.

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Having just finished the fortieth novel in the series Raising Steam, I have come to re-appreciate and savour my time on that world, all the more as the number of new stories that I will get to experience for the first time will now be a lot fewer.  It is the way with a large continuation of books though, especially when one arrives when a body of work is already established, I think a good resolution for this year will be to savour each book as if it is the last an author will write irrespective of their back catalogues.

He could swagger while asleep. Greebo could, in fact, commit sexual harassment simply by sitting very quietly in the next room.

Anyway what is the Discworld?  It is a place of satire and parody, situated as this flat world (ringed with by The Circumfence to prevent things falling off) is, atop four elephants that stand on the back of a giant turtle that wanders through the universe.  It is populated by a diverse range of characters including, an ape librarian, inept wizards, barbarian pensioners, Gods, a talking dog, Death and a camel who happens to be the best mathematician the world has ever seen, although nobody knows it.

The series was started in 1983 and as well as the forty novels there are also various offshoots: maps, The Science of the Discworld, guides to various places thereon and most intriguingly of all, books of books that were mentioned in various Discworld books…if that makes sense.  Through all of this, the author has changed his mindset with age and evolved his original conception, whilst so have I with regards to age as well as my reading choices. Now looking back, I can see several distinct incarnations of the same world.

And, while it was regarded as pretty good evidence of criminality to be living in a slum, for some reason owning a whole street of them merely got you invited to the very best social occasions

The early books were a carefree madcap ride through inventiveness, although the first few had footnotes commenting directly on things in our world which did tend to pull me out of the story somewhat, but that is a minor point.  It was exhilarating to be exploring a new world, as the author was learning about its rules as well, the first ten books alone has parodies of Faust, various Shakespeare plays, ancient Egypt, Hollywood, Anne McCaffey’s Pern series and also attempts to give the character of Death a more…human side, so to speak.  These books set a strong foundation for the series to grow and become the colossus that it is today.

I’ll put up part two in a couple of days for those of you interested in the rest of the series or at least the amusing quotes that I have expertly copy and pasted..

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48 Replies to “The Discworld Series – Terry Pratchett (Part 1)”

  1. You always astound me by being a person of such manifold enthusiasms and knowledges. I’ve never heard of this series before. Did the author manage to wrap up the whole thing before he had to stop writing due to his illness? I hope that you enjoy your readings and re-readings of his work, and that you are rewarded for being so loyal a fan.

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    1. He is still writing, he has some help with people reading his work and I believe he uses a speech recording device as well. It would be quie a feat to wrap up a series such as this as each story is an individual one but if he did I would hope it would be a crazy wrapping up just to hark back to the origins of the series, writers that take over never retain the same magic for me. Rereadings will be even better now as I have learned so much since my formative years and probably missed lots of references to obscure and not so obscure things that will delight me all over again.

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  2. I like the idea of reading each book as if it were the author’s last. We do take that for granted at times, especially with a series, as you point out. What a lovely thought to know that this author has been a part of your life for so long.

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    1. It is always a sad thing to come to the end of an authors work, I know there are so many great works out there that I needn’t ever worry about having great things to read but some styles and voices are just so…outstanding that is leaves a gap when there are no more new words to be discovered. I think I may need to reappraise all the long time authors I have had throughout the years.

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      1. I know what you mean, it’s not that there aren’t other great works out there, but as a reader you develop an intimate rapport with an author sometimes. When there are no longer any new books, all we can do is reread them to relive those moments. Like looking at old photographs of cherished times almost.

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        1. I have avoided rereading any book so far except for a few Children’s books that I brought at the start of my reading odyssey to get me back into reading. It brings an intriguing thought up about re-reviews as well, perhaps this time I won’t find some of my former favourites quite as brilliant now I am more well read and possibly more considered in my thoughts. Re-reviews would certainly save the pennies as well and I’d never run out of ideas for posts.

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  3. Ah, your post reminds me of that wonderful moment when you find an author you live reading for more than one book, when you can’t get enough of that writer and it’s a ‘hunger’ you have to read everything they’ve written.

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    1. I end up buying everything and I do start to read voraciously then panic and eke out the remaining books over years, it is always nice to know that you have a proper treat of a book coming along in the pile though.

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  4. Soul music! That’s the one I read and enjoyed. I tried starting at the beginning after this, but couldn’t quite follow the story. Perhaps I should just pick a random one based on the cover and start there.
    Alzheimer’s, hey? What a devastating blow.

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    1. The first story is a bit madcap, almost filmic in the way it jumps scenes and has so much going on for the characters. I gave up on my first reading years ago but went back to it a few years later and I went straight through it. Some books are odd like that.

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  5. I see Terry Pratchett’s name and covers pretty much anytime I enter or walk around my B&N. I’ve never read his work and I have to say—forty novels in a series is pretty amazing!

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    1. They are all separate stories except for the first two books which are a good two part opener, pick up a couple and read the blurb, I think you will be curious enough to pick up a couple.

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  6. I’ve heard of this series, and even seen the books at bookstores, but I chose Charlie Bones series, XD In HS, I read Tom Clancy and Robery Ludlum, and in college, patricia corwell and John Grisham, james patterson… all thrillers. Not to mention harry Potter and Eragon.

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    1. Apart from Grisham and the HP series, I haven’t tackled any of the other authors, I’ll pick up a Clancy if you pick up a Pratchett, deal?

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      1. Okay… :/ Maybe you can start with Hunt for Red October…. and this other book ( can’t recall at the moment, but it’s eeriely similar to 9/11, and Clancy wrote it years before ). Don’t read Clancy’s latest books ( with a co-author ). He deteriorated , and his plotline had become somewhat computer generated, ha ha ha.

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        1. Authors who write lots do tend to get less innovative after a lot of books, so I will hang around his early stuff. Clive Cussler does a lot of that co-authoring these days as well, I tend to avoid books with two authors on principal.

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  7. I have read a couple of the Discworld books, and I was looking forward to watching the TV series of The Colour of Magic, but when they used David Jason as Rincewind, I thought they had gone for someone too old. I always saw him as younger.

    “It’f a crafy wifard and fome fort of clerk”

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    1. Rincewind is a strange one, he is always running away from things so must be fit and so logically younger, then again wizards are always seen as old, it is an interesting balance…I haven’t seen The Colour of Magic but I am going to give The Hogfather a blast within the next month or two, which David Jason is also in coincidently.

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  8. I only started reading Pratchett two years ago (I knew who he was and what he wrote, of course), eager to find what his Death is like. I’ve read three or four books, not sure, and Mort is a favorite one.. for now!
    I bought Good Omens couple of weeks ago. Haven’t read it yet; just had a peak – the first two sentences are brilliant 😀

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    1. I do love sneaking a peek at a book as well, it is the equivalent of a movie trailer. I did enjoy Mort, it was a nice change from Rincewind who was in the other four of the first five books, all that running around made me tired.

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    1. It is a shame and a really sad thing for anybody to have, it has gotten Alzheimer’s more awareness and that can only be a good thing.

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  9. I adore Pratchett. I haven’t read the whole series, and I’m not reading them in any order, but I always enjoy picking them up.

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    1. As a completest I always worry that I may miss out on a particularly funny running joke so I come to a complete halt with a series if the next book isn’t immediately available. Perhaps my new years resolution should be to lighten up a bit.

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    1. A series that I have not availed myself of, or indeed was aware of but shall check it out. Discworld books are especially great after reading something especially heavy.

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  10. Ste dixit ¨Anyway what is the Discworld? It is a place of satire and parody, situated as this flat world… is, atop four elephants that stand on the back of a giant turtle that wanders through the universe¨
    Oh dear I am still trying to figure ot how that would be … My imagination lacks of the expected proportions when something as much unexpected comes across me, i´d say…
    Anyhow i hope you enjoy the voracious reading of this prolific author…
    Some people may say that a prolific author is probably a puppet of the editorial indie… i´ll have to agree to disagree as almost all Nobel prizes have been best seller… Also Haruki Murakami and Paul Auster two of my favorite writers publish probably a book a year!…
    Excellent post… You left me thinking as per usual.
    Happy New Year Ste ⭐ Aquileana 😀

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    1. As I am such an accommodating blog host, I have put a picture up of the Discworld in part two of the review. It is nice to read something a little light, I do love reading the Nobel prize authors as well, they just move and astound me with their words and how they place them. I never got into Murakami myself, I think I must have been unfortunate in my choices. I am always happy to have got you thinking, if I can keep doing that for the rest of the year, then I really will be happy.

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      1. Murakami is a must read… Well, at least, I like his books a lot… And as to your last statement, okay then… Sign me up!.
        All the best to you, Ste, Aquileana 😀

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          1. You know what If I were you I’d start with “Kafka on the Shore” or “Norwegian Wood” as “1Q84” is a huge (long) and pretty weird book!~ Just a suggestion… I think KOTS is available online (free)!.
            Cheers, Ste!. Aquileana 😀

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              1. I will pass you a link from my blog on “Kafka on the shore”… That way at least you’ll have an avant premier.. Hang on, please!… Aquileana 😛

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  11. Sounds like an entertaining series. I’m going to have to pick up the first book. It won’t be the first time that I’m late to the party. I’m sure it won’t be the last either….

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  12. You never cease to amaze me with your broad knowledge of literature Ste J. I have never heard of this series and am looking forward to part 2 to learn more. I am guilty of rushing through a series when I am engrossed in the story and then left wanting when I have completed it. Like so many things in life, it is best to slow down and savor the experience.

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    1. It’s so easy to blast through a series but the closer you get to catching up the more regret sets in, we are a strange breed first needing to see how it turns out then slowing down not wanting it to end. I am looking forward to reading more this year in all aspects just to keep your to read list varied.

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  13. Just the thought of starting with book one & there are already so many out there to catch up on stresses me out. Then again – sounds like something that would keep anyone busy for quite some time. And – no need for waiting for the next because there are plenty waiting to be read. Oh – if I only had the time…

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    1. Stresses you out lol. It is nice to not only see them all on the shelf, or shelves as it now is but also to see so much fun piling up for me to enjoy. I will send you some time over my friend, we have loads of it over here.

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  14. I’ve heard the name Pratchett but never linked it to such a vast array of books. I wonder how the author kept going on this same series till the fortieth! That’s a feat, and for you to have rushed through some and still savour some shows your dedication to the world of literature. I salute you my friend, I wish you work in a publishing company!

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