Terry Pratchett’s Discworld

What’s the Discworld? It’s a disc-shaped world that travels on the backs of four elephants standing on a giant turtle (Great A’Tuin) who travels through space, of course. And it’s also a fantasy (for lack of a better word) saga composed of 41 books written by the legendary Terry Pratchett, an English author who died prematurely in 2015.

It can be labelled fantasy because the protagonists of the stories are wizards, witches, dwarves, trolls, golems, vampires, werewolves, pixies… but, in the best tradition of the genre (and of all speculative fiction), these amazing books allow Pratchett to talk about a thousand aspects of our world such as sexism, racism, war, economics, education and prejudices. Never heavy or moralizing, Pratchett communicates everything with extreme irony, sometimes a very cynical one, while narrating funny adventures with which it’s easy to get attached to their recurring (and non-recurring) characters. If you haven’t yet understood it: when you read these books it’s hard not to laugh out loud sometimes!

Typically, the many entries of the saga are grouped into mini-sagas depending on the protagonists. We can identify the story arcs of the wizards, of the witches, of the City Watch, as well as those of single protagonists such as Tiffany Aching, Moist von Lipwig, and Death. Some books escape this categorisation, and sometimes characters of a series appear in different ones (Death in particular has cameos a bit everywhere, for example).

One of the greatest features of the Discworld is that each book can be read independently of all the others. In fact, reading them in chronological order is not necessary at all! Obviously, if you do so you can appreciate more details, certain characters, and the world building in general… But an undeniable advantage of the saga is that you can start from any point and follow any reading path.

Do you want to read all the witches’ books? Be my guest. Maybe you prefer the Watch? Read them all! Is random ordering your thing? Fine with me! Personally, after reading two or three random books, I decided to read them all in strict chronological order to enjoy fully the saga as it was created by its author, but everyone is free to follow their own strategy.

It goes without saying that Pratchett is one of my favorite authors, and he’s certainly the one I have read the most books by. I love how he plays with fantasy clichés by completely overturning them, with evil elves and with witches who consider it silly to dance naked in the forest in the moonlight. Throughout the saga, there are numerous references to other more or less known fantasy works, but also to books of other genres, films and even the news. And sometimes it’s not trivial to understand if the intent is to pay homage or to make fun of the works mentioned by Pratchett!

I’ve read the whole saga myself (in fact, I haven’t read the last three books yet, even though I’ve bought them already), I love the author’s writing style, his humor and his way of telling stories. For example, here’s a great quote from Small Gods: “Time is like a drug. Too much of it kills you.

Sir Terry unfortunately was given too little time, and I cried when he left this world arm in arm with Death due to a rare form of Alzheimer’s (and let me recommend you the short book Shaking Hands With Death, about his experience with that horrible disease – there’s also a wonderful reading of it on Youtube).

To pay homage to him (as if he needed it), I decided to write this little introduction to the wonderful world he created, followed by specific reviews of the books of the saga that you see below in chronological order of publication. Slowly, as soon as I find the time to write them, I will add links to the reviews to the titles in the list below (some are in Italian – please use Google Translate on the right). Meanwhile, with the hope of having intrigued you in case you don’t know the Discworld, I salute you, ciao!

  1. The Colour of Magic
  2. The Light Fantastic
  3. Equal Rites
  4. Mort
  5. Sourcery
  6. Wyrd Sisters
  7. Pyramids
  8. Guards! Guards!
  9. Faust Eric
  10. Moving Pictures
  11. Reaper Man
  12. Witches Abroad
  13. Small Gods
  14. Lords and Ladies
  15. Men at Arms
  16. Soul Music
  17. Interesting times
  18. Maskerade
  19. Feet of Clay
  20. Hogfather
  21. Jingo
  22. The Last Continent
  23. Carpe Jugulum
  24. The Fifth Elephant
  25. The Truth
  26. Thief of Time
  27. The Last Hero
  28. The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
  29. Night Watch
  30. The Wee Free Men
  31. Monstrous Regiment
  32. A Hat Full of Sky
  33. Going Postal
  34. Thud!
  35. Wintersmith
  36. Making Money
  37. Unseen Academicals
  38. I Shall Wear Midnight
  39. Snuff
  40. Raising Steam
  41. The Shepherd’s Crown

21 risposte a "Terry Pratchett’s Discworld"

  1. Ho scoperto che oggi è uscita una serie chiamata “The Watch”, proprio basata sui libri di Mondo Disco, ma su Wikipedia ho letto cose orribili, tipo che anche Neil Gaiman lo ha stroncata. Pensi di vederla? Per abitudine io cerco sempre di leggere prima il libro, per cui mi sa che aspetterò un po’!

    Piace a 1 persona

    1. La eviterò come la peste, la figlia di Terry ha spiegato come non abbia niente a che fare col materiale da cui teoricamente prende spunto… Poi se lo dice pure Gaiman, altra figura per me mitologica, ho una ragione in più per non guardarla! :–)

      Piace a 1 persona

        1. Grande!!! Fai benissimo, quello di Pratchett è un mondo che vale la pena visitare! :–)

          Concordo sulle occasioni sprecate, ma oggi purtroppo è raro che venga fatto un prodotto rispettando i materiali originali (un altro esempio facile facile è il film de La torre nera, per esempio)… :–/

          "Mi piace"

  2. I have read several of the Discworld novels, though nowhere close to forty-one (is there an unpublished #42 out there? The Douglas Adams connection would be hilarious). I particularly loved the way Pratchett used humor to actually teach me something. A brilliant writer. I’m just lucky he was so prolific, because now I have a lot of his novels left to read.

    Piace a 1 persona

    1. It would be amazing, but I don’t think there’s book number 42 lying somewhere…

      You’re right in saying that even though Death took him too early, at least he wrote a lot of books! However, in a while I will have to start reading the non-Discworld ones… By the way, I fully agree with you, he was brilliant! One of the best, of you ask me. :–)

      Piace a 1 persona

  3. Ha! I’m changing up my Discworld reading this year. I’ve read the first 12 in order but want to read them grouped by series now I think that will make it a lot more fun but either way great books so far. I hope to see more people blogging about them.

    Piace a 1 persona

    1. The great thing about the saga is that you pick the order you prefer and still enjoy the whole thing! I actually decided to write about Discworld because there’s little out there with respect to what Pratchett would deserve… :–)

      "Mi piace"

  4. Pingback: Mort: Book Review


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