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Terry Pratchett - where to start? 🧙‍♂️

(9 Posts)
FannyCornforth Fri 06-Jan-23 14:02:47

Hello smile
After watching The Amazing Maurice, and a lifetime of thinking that Sir Terry wasn’t my cup of tea, I’ve changed my mind.

As he is so prodigious, I’m wondering which book should I start with?

I’m sure that there are loads of Pratchett fans here, I look forward to reading your thoughts on this and his work in general
Thank you!

LadyHonoriaDedlock Fri 06-Jan-23 14:56:51

Based on my own experience and tastes (which are quirky at best), I'd give the first two – The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic – a miss unless you are really into the kind of epic fantasy literature they are parodying. The third one, Equal Rites, I thought was very good. It's supposed to be an introduction to the Witches series but it isn't really, it's best regarded as a one off but it does introduce some of the ideas that are developed later – Witches, the Unseen University and Wizards. The fourth, Mort, is also good and begins the development of DEATH as a character.

Presumably you're aware that the Discworld books fall into different strands: the Witches, the City Watch, Rincewind, and so on, I really don't care for Rincewind but I and many others of my mindset really enjoy the City Watch series which often works with more serious themes and has better-developed characters.

The one that really got me heavily into Pratchett as more than just a funny writer of fantasy was The Truth, which is the start of a period where he starts some serious world-building where developments are no longer short-lived aberrations in the world of magic (like Making Movies and Soul Music) but serious attempts to construct a coherent developing world with newspapers, telegraph ("the clacks"), mail, banking and so on.

It's not always essential to read in order, although the City Watch series does evolve through successive books. Some others of the books that I have found particularly enjoyable are

Small Gods (1992)
Feet of Clay (1996)
Monstrous Regiment (2003) — but note that some (mainly male) members of the fandom disliked it so much they don't count it as canon)
Going Postal (2004)

LadyHonoriaDedlock Fri 06-Jan-23 15:02:18

And my absolute favourite Pratchett quote is from Mustrum Ridcully, Archchancellor of the Unseen University (and a Wizard of course) in Going Postal:

"Oh please sue the University! We've got a pond full of people who tried to sue the University."

FannyCornforth Fri 06-Jan-23 15:15:01

Oh thank you, LadyH, this is great.
No, I know nothing about Pratchett other than the very barest bones of what Discworld is - I didn’t know of the strands.
I’m not a fan of fantasy either - I’ve never read Tolkien.
That’s what put me off, but I’m beginning to see that there is far more to his work than that.
I’m generally quite eclectic in my tastes, but there is a gaping hole ad regards a few genres.
Thank you again

AreWeThereYet Fri 06-Jan-23 17:00:30

My favourite out of all of them are the first Discworld books - the Colour of Money and the Light Fantastic. The first time I read them I somehow missed the humour and just read them as fantasy, which I dislike. Mr A convinced me to reread them a few years later and found them hilarious. A very clever man, Mr Pratchett. Have to say though I didn't read the latest five or six.

boheminan Fri 06-Jan-23 17:10:12

The witches series is brilliantly funny, I cry with laughter reading them (a good tonic). 'Wyrd Sisters' is my all time cheer-me-up favourite book

Tizliz Fri 06-Jan-23 17:13:13

Start at the beginning and just go with the flow

JackyB Fri 06-Jan-23 17:47:48

The first books (Colour of Magic) which concentrate on Rincewind and the Wizards are OK for a way in, but you don't miss much if you leave them out. Only later does he start developing the interesting topics and introduces great characters. It does help to read them in order, even if they are from different strands as LadyH so aptly calls them. I read them as they came out, so had to wait a year for the next instalment. You are lucky - you will be able to binge read them, as they are very. Impelling.

Each book satirises a theme. The best one for that is probably universally agreed to be "Truth" because it is about journalism, a field which Pratchett knew well.

Soul Music is about the music industry, Small Gods is about religion. Etc.. You will get to know the characters - my favourite is Captain Carrot. Sam Vines is fleshed out particularly well. The witches are quite brilliant, Granny Weatherwax being the embodiment of an experienced woman who just knows stuff - often there is no witchcraft involved when it comes down to it, just Holmesian deduction, instinct, common sense and feminine intuition.

Some characters are the centre of their story, only never to appear again, except perhaps on the periphery of another story, six books later. Rincewind, for example, is rarely seen again until something happens at the university.

I read them all ages ago, as I say, just when they came out. But they have remained in my memory. The books were my DS1's. I may well download them on to my Kindle and read them all again having been reminded of them here.

If you don't like fantasy, you may not enjoy them, but most of them are such ingenious satires it would be a shame to dismiss them simply because they are set in another universe.

Otherwise, LadyH has said it all really.

Wheniwasyourage Fri 06-Jan-23 18:27:14

The one I came to first was "Equal Rites" when it was read on Woman's Hour. It is, as LadyHonoriaDedlock says, a bit of a one-off, but the other witches ones are also good. I also like "Pyramids". It's worth trying a few of them, as they are not all the same, and some may appeal to you more than others. Enjoy them, however you do it!