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Series recommendation: Discworld by Terry Pratchett

Ban Curadh de na Capall OrĂ¡iste
Marrra
Ban Curadh de na Capall OrĂ¡iste
Posted On: 10/04/2013 at 11:14 PM
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As discussed in FFXIV today, I heartily recommend the Discworld series of books by Terry Pratchett. They are humourous, satirical parody set in a universe where the world is flat and rides through space on the back of four elephants, which in turn ride on the back of the world turtle. Yes, it's high fantasy, with comedy and insight into humanity. Terry Pratchett is about to release his 40th Discworld novel, plus there are a whole host of spin-offs, extras, non-Discworld books and more. The Pratchett collective is ENORMOUS.

So where do you start? 

Within the Discworld series there are a few mini storylines that you can read if you don't feel like reading the whole 40 books, for example. These have similar plot elements, story arcs, characters and such. I'll give them a brief outline below, with loose comparisons so you have an idea of where you might like to start yourself. Please forgive me if it's rambling, I'm trying to do all this from memory.

 

Young Adult: The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents, { The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full Of Sky, Wintersmith, I Shall Wear Midnight }- bracketed books also classed as Witches books

The Witches: Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade, Carpe Jugulum

The Wizards: The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Sourcery, Eric, Interesting Times, The Last Continent, The Last Hero, Unseen Academicals

The Watch: Guards! Guards!, Men At Arms, Feet Of Clay, Jingo, The Fifth Elephant, Night Watch, Thud!, Snuff

Death (the anthropomorphic personification): Mort, Reaper Man, Soul Music, Hogfather, Thief Of Time

Industrial Revolution: Moving Pictures, The Truth, Monstrous Regiment, Going Postal, Making Money, Raising Steam (out Nov)

Stand Alone: Pyramids, Small Gods 

 

Ok, so the Young Adult book Amazing Maurice is at its roots a Pied Piper tale with a twist, but it's written with depth, challenges gender roles, makes you think, has morals and all that other stuff that makes fairy tales really interesting like gruesome bites. The bracketed books are classed as Tiffany Aching books as she is the main character. She is a young witch. Witchcraft on the Disc isn't all romantic, it's realistic and so it's very interesting. The Tiffany books are an awesome read. They're also classed under The Witches title because most of the same characters will show up, and a lot of the same subjects. 

The Witches delve into the stereotypes of what people know about witchcraft. You know, the Maiden, the Mother and the ... other one. Three witches in a coven and all that. But it's examined in practicality, detail, how things would really work in a world where magic holds everything together and witches are found in every village. Equal Rites deals with challenging gender roles, Wyrd Sisters is basically MacBeth put through the wringer, Witches Abroad is peoples lives being made into fairy tales whether they want them to or not, Lords and Ladies has tones of Midsummer Night's Dream, Maskerade is what happens when people who have never known theater experience the opera and murder, and then there's vampires trying to take over in Carpe Jugulum. 

The series all started off with The Wizards. Well, one Wizzard in particular - Rincewind, the singularly inept. The slapstick humour, parody, referencing and puns are at an all time high with the first couple of books, Colour of Magic and Light Fantastic - which are more of a two-part book than two books, really. Pratchett's writing was funny back then, that's for sure, but while it has kept the humour it has grown up over the years, matured into less groan-worthy yet grin-inducing laughs. While the first books dealt with the consequences of developing tourism and the problems with living on a sentient world, Sourcery illustrates the problems with having a little too much magic in the world when the most powerful mage in the world is 10 years old. Eric takes us through history (or how history remembers it) and teaches us to be careful what you wish for, while Interesting Times introduces us to the Aurient (because gold is so common there ... get it? Gold is so ... nevermind). The Last Continent is very Australian (and I love it so much), The Last Hero focuses on Cohen the Barbarian (who is soooo old), and Unseen Academicals has Wizards playing football. No, really. 

 

(I need to take a break, I'll edit this in a while to finish it)

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