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Old 01-12-2017, 12:35 PM
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Discworld Latecomers Ongoing Discussion (open spoilers)


I'm probably not the only one to be a latecomer to Discworld. I tried about 3 times to get into Discworld and had very little success until I tried again this summer. I kind of want a place to discuss the books that I've read and maybe even get advice for which books to read next.

I have other books to read, so I'll be taking breaks from Discworld often. However, it's nice to have a place to come back to and discuss.

Anyone is welcome and Discworld isn't, at least to me, very spoiler sensitive, so we can leave it open spoilers.

OK, so what book are you reading now? Thoughts? Favorite parts?

I've read the following in the series:

Colour of Magic - My first attempt to read Discworld. Cute, but not a great entry point or a great book. It was OK. 5/10

Mort - I felt the final 20% or so was a miss. I loved the opening 80%, though. I just felt the ending was disappointing compared to the rest. Loved Death, though. I will read a Death novel sometime soon. 7/10

Small Gods - In my top 5 novels of all time. I think it is a masterpiece from beginning to end. Easily the best Discworld book from me so far. 10/10

Guards! Guards! - Really funny. Carrot cracks me up and if you can admire a fictional character, I admire Carrot. Really fun book. I laughed a lot at the dragon summoning parts in the opening as well. I also think this book nails the ending, unlike some other Discworld books. 8/10

Men At Arms - The second guards book. Again, I really enjoyed this one. The Clown Guild was a very funny idea. I loved that the clowns are a depressing group. I mean, it's true that clowns are not funny and never were. I also think Carrot shines in this book. I was surprised how little Vimes figured into the story. Carrot is clearly the best person I've read about in Discworld. I think Pratchett does a great job describing how poeple view Carrot as well. They are mystified at how he...is proud of his work, cares about the city he lives in, and how he lives his life. He's a leader and a very well described and developed character. 8 or 9/10

I have yet to pick my next book. It will either be:

- Tiffany Aching - Wee Free Men
- Feet of Clay
- Reaper Man

Any recommendations?
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Old 01-12-2017, 01:00 PM
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I know a lot of people don't agree with me on this, but I always say read them all, and in order of publication.
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Old 01-12-2017, 01:41 PM
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I had a nice long summation but my computer ate it. In short:

Don't read Wee Free Men until you have read a couple of the Witch books. The other two you are considering you have the necessary background to.
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Old 01-12-2017, 02:06 PM
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Feet of Clay is one of my very favorites of all the Discworld books. I'd be careful, though, of reading too many Watch books in a row. Don't get me wrong; the Watch books are actually the best that Discworld has to offer. However, if you read the best first, you might not be interested in the rest, and you'll miss out on some good stuff.

For that reason alone, I say give Reaper Man a read first.
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Old 01-12-2017, 02:07 PM
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However, if you read the best first, you might not be interested in the rest, and you'll miss out on some good stuff.
Not a problem. Night Watch isn't on his list.
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Old 01-12-2017, 02:14 PM
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Yeah, the Tiffany Aching books are best read after you've read a couple of the Witches' books. Reaper Man's a good Death book, as well as a good Wizards' book to boot. That'd be my suggestion (but then, it's in my own top 5, so )
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Old 01-12-2017, 02:19 PM
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I know he said "open spoilers", but we really shouldn't discuss the spoilers in Shepard's Crown.

(I know how that feels--for some reason the epub of that wasn't readable on my ebook reader. No automatic conversions in Calibre worked, so I had to export it to RTF and reformat the whole damn thing into a new epub--and in the process, accidentally read the big-ass spoiler.)
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Old 01-12-2017, 02:25 PM
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Agreed. That one is...difficult.
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Old 01-12-2017, 03:25 PM
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I don't really agree that reading the Tiffany Aching books should be preceeded by Witch books. You can if you want, but I don't really think it's a great benefit. Also, the Witch Books are kinda all over the place, especially if you count Equal Rites, so if you want to make that recommendation, I'd get more specific.

I DO agree that you might not want to binge-read Watch books, because then you'll run out. Feet of Clay is FANTASTIC, so it might be worth diversifying a bit. All that said, I think the Ankh Morpork books are worth reading in order. Because while they don't require anything from the previous books, they do often build upon them.

So yeah, go read The Wee Free Men (Note: While you should absolutely read it first, it is in no way the best Tiffany book) or Reaper Man, or Monstrous Regiment (Which I liked, I dunno why there's so much complaint about it) or uh... I dunno, Lords and Ladies or Hogfather or something (I am firmly of the belief that the best Discworld books are in The Middle).
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Old 01-12-2017, 03:52 PM
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Small Gods - In my top 5 novels of all time. I think it is a masterpiece from beginning to end. Easily the best Discworld book from me so far. 10/10
Ditto, ditto, a thousand times ditto.

And I also add The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, which is touted as a young adult book, but in my mind, it's beautiful and heart breaking.
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Old 01-12-2017, 04:24 PM
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I dunno, Lords and Ladies or Hogfather or something.
No and no. Lords and Ladies makes absolutely zero sense out of context. If you don't know the coven, the whole impact of the book is lost. So Witches Abroad needs to be read first. Same same for Hogfather. If you don't know DEATH, the book loses most of its charm. It really needs Soul Music as a lead in.

Publication order really is the best bet here.

Last edited by silenus; 01-12-2017 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 01-12-2017, 06:32 PM
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Personally, I always read any series in publication order. But I will say that I think that Hogfather was the best DEATH book.

Reaper Man is significantly better than Mort (with Soul Music somewhere in between), but all three of them suffer a bit from covering territory that's too similar. And Soul Music also suffers from its similarity to Moving Pictures.
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Old 01-12-2017, 06:37 PM
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No and no. Lords and Ladies makes absolutely zero sense out of context. If you don't know the coven, the whole impact of the book is lost. So Witches Abroad needs to be read first.
Witches Abroad is actually the second book about the Lancre coven of witches, and the plot doesn't have much to do with that of Lords and Ladies. I'd say it's far more important to have read Wyrd Sisters first, which is the first coven book and also sets up some story elements that are important in Lords and Ladies.

The Granny Weatherwax character (but not the other witches) first appears before Wyrd Sisters in Equal Rites. It may be better to read that one before the other witch books if only so the reader isn't thinking "Hey, where's Nanny Ogg?" the whole time, but in terms of plot it has minimal impact on the later books...until the final Discworld book, The Shepherd's Crown. Equal Rites should definitely be read before that, or you'll be very confused.

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Same same for Hogfather. If you don't know DEATH, the book loses most of its charm. It really needs Soul Music as a lead in.
The OP is already familiar with Death from Mort, but I think Hogfather is probably less effective if you're not familiar with Susan. So I agree that Soul Music (in which Susan is introduced) should precede Hogfather, although I do think Hogfather is the better book.
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Old 01-12-2017, 06:55 PM
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My recommendation is read Small Gods. If you like it, start from the beginning with the understanding that it gets better fast.
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Old 01-12-2017, 07:21 PM
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My recommendation is read Small Gods. If you like it, start from the beginning with the understanding that it gets better fast.
I have read it. It was on my list.
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Old 01-12-2017, 07:34 PM
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Hopefully you will get to Night Watch soon, which is definitely in my top three Discworld books. I started with that one (by accident rather than design,) and it really strongly hooked me. It's got a lot to speak to in the frustrations and responses to frustration found in modern life.
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:44 PM
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The OP is already familiar with Death from Mort, but I think Hogfather is probably less effective if you're not familiar with Susan. So I agree that Soul Music (in which Susan is introduced) should precede Hogfather, although I do think Hogfather is the better book.
Not me. I think Hogfather is second-rate, only redeemed by the Susan plot, while Soul Music is a classic.

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Old 01-12-2017, 09:12 PM
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I was also late to Mr. Pratchett. Books about a Disc World? With magic and elves and shit? NO thank you.

Seriously, thank you SDMB for the threads. I picked up Lords and Ladies at the library (wasn't going to spend my money on this silly stuff).

And I was hooked.

Terry Pratchett become one of my very, very beloved authors. I doled out the books slowly; I didn't want to rush through and have nothing left. When I found out about The Diagnosis, I slowed even more. I am still, now, in the situation of having books left to read. And one day, there will be no more Terry Pratchett that I haven't read. Another sad day.

But oh, the re-reading...
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Old 01-12-2017, 09:14 PM
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No and no. Lords and Ladies makes absolutely zero sense out of context. If you don't know the coven, the whole impact of the book is lost.
I kind of disagree. It was the first Pratchett I read, and it hooked me. A re-read (oh, how they stand up to a re-read!) might be a different experience, but for just diving in, Lords and Ladies worked for me.
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Quoth Lamia:

The Granny Weatherwax character (but not the other witches) first appears before Wyrd Sisters in Equal Rites. It may be better to read that one before the other witch books if only so the reader isn't thinking "Hey, where's Nanny Ogg?" the whole time, but in terms of plot it has minimal impact on the later books...until the final Discworld book, The Shepherd's Crown. Equal Rites should definitely be read before that, or you'll be very confused.
Nitpick: It's actually in I Shall Wear Midnight that it becomes relevant. But yeah, before that, it sort of feels like it's in a completely different continuity from the others.
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Old 01-12-2017, 11:18 PM
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I did it all wrong. Never heard of Pratchett before I picked up Thief of Time at a yard sale in my early thirties. My book collections prior to that were Christie, PD James, Dick Francis, Robert Spencer, etc., nothing...otherworldly. So, ToT. I was hooked forever and at the same time, missed most of the references in it, and spent the next few years answering the question, "what the hell did I just read?"

I binge-read during the winter. Some winters later there's a collection of Pratchett on my Kindle that looks like I might have read some in order (but I doubt it) or could give you an idea of what happens in what book. Nope. It's been long enough now that I barely remember Reaper Man - time to read it again.
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Old 01-13-2017, 08:46 AM
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Sounds like waiting for Tiffany Aching is wise, so I will. I will probably either read Reaper Man or go read the first book involving the Witches.

I have read only one Rincewind book, so I wouldn't mind reading another with him as well, especially since the Light Fantastic continues from the first one.
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Old 01-13-2017, 09:12 AM
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My favorite Rincewind book is The Last Continent. Interesting Times is good, too (and reintroduces Twoflowers and Cohen the Barbarian.) And keep in mind that The Last Hero comes in two versions, one illustrated.

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Old 01-13-2017, 09:19 AM
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For the Witches, I'd recommend starting with Wyrd Sisters, then moving on to Witches Abroad and Lords & Ladies. Rincewind is a bit more problematic. Light Fantastic would be a good continuation. Sourcery comes next in the sequence, followed by FaustEric. Neither of those is all that good, IMO. You could skip to Interesting Times quite easily and not be missing much, and it is a much better book.
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Old 01-13-2017, 11:41 AM
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No and no. Lords and Ladies makes absolutely zero sense out of context. If you don't know the coven, the whole impact of the book is lost. So Witches Abroad needs to be read first. Same same for Hogfather. If you don't know DEATH, the book loses most of its charm. It really needs Soul Music as a lead in.

Publication order really is the best bet here.
Considering that I liked both of them just fine, and I have yet to read Soul Music at all, I don't think this is really true. And Witches Abroad added nothing to my experience of Lord of Ladies, honestly.

Pratchett does a pretty good job of making his books self contained.
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Old 01-13-2017, 11:59 AM
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Carpe Jugulum is one of my faves, for both how it reveals just what Granny Weatherwax is made of, and its evolution of a priest.

But I can find something to enjoy in all of PTerry's books.

“Granny was an old-fashioned witch. She didn’t do good for people, she did right by them.”

“Mistress Weatherwax, you are a natural disputant.” “No I ain’t!”
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Old 01-15-2017, 08:40 PM
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Reaper Man is my choice for the next one. After that, I'll likely jump over to the first Witch novel, or perhaps read the Light Fantastic.

I think my strategy, if there can be one, is to read a bit from each series, kind of jumping around. That kind of keeps me in publication order, but only in the sense that I am reading the earlier ones first.

Or I'll just read whatever next one in whatever series I want.
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Old 01-16-2017, 12:03 AM
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I started with Going Postal, but on the recommendations of Dopers I went back and started at the beginning. And ...

Small Gods is my all-time favorite. I say that as a Christian, knowing that Sir Terry, an atheist, was addressing the Church. It is a novel I would recommend to my pastor. It was a story that spelled out how a Christian should be.

I love the Night Watch books, having been raised by a cop dad. I would recommend all of them to my dad, who was a cop for 36 years.

And having lived in a men's homeless shelter for 8 years, I have an appreciation for Foul Ol' Ron.

Buggrit!
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:52 AM
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I know he said "open spoilers", but we really shouldn't discuss the spoilers in Shepard's Crown.

(I know how that feels--for some reason the epub of that wasn't readable on my ebook reader. No automatic conversions in Calibre worked, so I had to export it to RTF and reformat the whole damn thing into a new epub--and in the process, accidentally read the big-ass spoiler.)
FUCK. I didn't realise he managed to get another book out after the last Lipwig book. Even in that book, I thought he was declining somewhat (I recall it was finished by his daughter?) but if it's the last chance for some new Terry...
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Old 01-16-2017, 04:46 PM
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FUCK. I didn't realise he managed to get another book out after the last Lipwig book. Even in that book, I thought he was declining somewhat (I recall it was finished by his daughter?) but if it's the last chance for some new Terry...
#41 is The Shepherd's Crown (the final Discworld book and the 5th Tiffany book)
Rhianna did not write or finish any books in the Discworld series. Sir Terry didn't finish editing Shepherd's Crown but everything in it he wrote himself.

Be sure to check out:

A Blink of the Screen--A collection of shorter fiction from Terry Pratchett, spanning the whole of his writing career from schooldays to Discworld and the present day.

A Slip of the Keyboard--A collection of essays and other non fiction by the creator of Discworld, with a foreword by Neil Gaiman.
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Old 01-16-2017, 04:54 PM
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Also, not Discworld and it is undetermined how much TP actually put into it, but if you want everything with Terry Pratchett's name attached to it, you should be aware of the Long Earth series, which recently finished up.
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Old 01-16-2017, 05:11 PM
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Reaper Man was the one that sealed my love for Discworld. And the Tiffany books, they're more than just a little girl gets into aventures, they're about responsibility and doing what's needed even if it isn't what is wanted.

I went back and reread them in publication order, which worked well for me. I seem to like less popular ones, like Snuff, so you might not want to take my advise.

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Old 01-16-2017, 05:20 PM
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I seem to like less popular ones, like Snuff, so you might not want to take my advise.
I like Snuff. I've read it (I think) 3 times.
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Old 01-16-2017, 05:24 PM
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I'm in the middle of Snuff, actually, and conscious that it's my third to last helping... but enjoying it quite a bit, certainly!
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Old 01-17-2017, 12:01 PM
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I didn't DISLIKE Snuff. But I felt like Mr. Pratchett was getting a bit heavy handed from Night Watch on. (I didn't DISLIKE Night Watch either, but it's not one of my favorites like it seems to be for so many others.)
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Old 01-17-2017, 07:26 PM
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Alright back. I... was ok with Shephard's crown. It didn't resonate as deeply as his other books to me, but oh well. It felt like a coming of age story that didn't quite get there and got interrupted by a Harry Potter style battle at the end.

Guess that's it then. At least he's written more than Iain Banks...
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Old 01-17-2017, 09:44 PM
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Alright back. I... was ok with Shephard's crown. It didn't resonate as deeply as his other books to me, but oh well. It felt like a coming of age story that didn't quite get there and got interrupted by a Harry Potter style battle at the end.

Guess that's it then. At least he's written more than Iain Banks...
Most of that is because Pratchett died while working on it. I think had he lived long enough to polish the story, it would have been much better.
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Old 01-18-2017, 11:32 PM
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Just want to note that the Science of the Discworld books often get ignored in reading lists but they are, AFAICT, actually in continuity as far as the UU staff go. And they're not the first Discworld book to drag real-Earth into things.

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Old 01-19-2017, 01:06 PM
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Just want to note that the Science of the Discworld books often get ignored in reading lists but they are, AFAICT, actually in continuity as far as the UU staff go. And they're not the first Discworld book to drag real-Earth into things.
Are they spoilery? I am only 5-6 books into the world and would not want to be spoiled.
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Old 01-19-2017, 01:12 PM
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Are they spoilery? I am only 5-6 books into the world and would not want to be spoiled.
Not especially, they are pretty much self-contained. I really enjoyed them.
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Old 01-19-2017, 11:17 PM
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Only spoilery in a "Rincewind must survive this book since he's in others" sense, but you should get that from just the existence of Last Continent, Last Hero and Unseen Academicals anyway.
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Old 01-20-2017, 09:59 AM
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I haven't read them, but I would imagine that the Science books would deal a lot with Hex. So you might want to read the book(s) where Hex is introduced, first.

It'd probably also help to know the UU faculty, at least superficially. In what book is Ponder Stibbons introduced?
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Old 01-20-2017, 10:28 AM
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I haven't read them, but I would imagine that the Science books would deal a lot with Hex. So you might want to read the book(s) where Hex is introduced, first.

It'd probably also help to know the UU faculty, at least superficially. In what book is Ponder Stibbons introduced?
Hex & Stibbons are introduced in Soul Music but get fleshed out in Interesting Times. Ponder Stibbons himself actually appeared as early as Moving Pictures, but he hadn't much Ponder Stibbonseness then IIRC.

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Old 01-20-2017, 11:32 AM
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Well, I'll be starting Reaper Man this weekend. I alternate between Discworld and Brandon Sanderson, who is my favorite author.
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Old 01-20-2017, 02:09 PM
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[/I]Ponder Stibbons himself actually appeared as early as Moving Pictures, but he hadn't much Ponder Stibbonseness then IIRC.
He gets a bit more screentime in Lords & Ladies.
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Old 01-21-2017, 04:00 AM
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I haven't read them, but I would imagine that the Science books would deal a lot with Hex. So you might want to read the book(s) where Hex is introduced, first.
They do deal with Hex a bit, but it's explained at the start. I suppose it could spoil earlier books about what Hex becomes capable of, but it's fairly clear from Hex's introduction which way it's going.

I didn't find the storylines in the Science books to be all that compelling, but I really enjoyed the popsci interjections. A number of them may well be out of date now, though, as some of them deal with the nature of the universe, and our understanding of such has changed a bit since they were published (the first Science of Discworld book is now 18 years old).

EDIT: Looking up the publication date, I note that there's a fourth Science book I didn't know about!

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Old 01-24-2017, 07:42 PM
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Reaper Man is....interesting. A bit meandering. I'm about 1/4 - 1/3 through it.

I thought Death would be more front and center. Instead, it's actually been about Wendall Poons and his undead life struggles. And the Unseen University dealing with his non-death. Oh, Death has appeared for sure, but a lot less than I expected.

It's cool. I like the opening ~10% more than the last ~10%, but I figure it will all come together.
  #48  
Old 01-25-2017, 10:37 AM
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Reaper Man is....interesting. A bit meandering. I'm about 1/4 - 1/3 through it.
There's two story threads. My edition has them in two different typefaces, even.
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Old 01-25-2017, 11:00 AM
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Reaper Man is....interesting. A bit meandering. I'm about 1/4 - 1/3 through it.
DEATH is one of my favorite characters in the series. To have a book so significantly involving him and yet be so bland is a major disappointment.
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Old 01-25-2017, 11:19 AM
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DEATH is one of my favorite characters in the series. To have a book so significantly involving him and yet be so bland is a major disappointment.
I don't know. He's pretty interesting when he's in it. I just thought he'd be in it more. I know, he wasn't in Mort that much, but I thought this book would be more heavily about him.

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There's two story threads. My edition has them in two different typefaces, even.
Yes, I understand. I am finding the book pretty good, but not as good as a couple others I've read.
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