I just read my first Disc World book and enjoyed it. I want to go back and read the series from the beginning. Which books came first?
Let’s see . . .
It was Colour of Magic, then Light Fantastic, then Equal Rites, then . . . uh . . .
Ah, much better!
I must advise - His first few books are not a patch on the others! Other Discworld fans here will vouch for this.
Personally I have been working my way backwards. This has worked out very well for me.
There’s a good reading order diagram here.
It lists ‘The Truth’ as a Watch book. That book is one of only two that I have had difficulty ‘getting in’ to (the other is Wee Free Men, which I am not sure is Discworld, some say is some isn’t) so far in TT I have not seen any Watch people. Do they turn up late? is Vimes in it much? Is Vimes always in ‘Watch’ books?
The Truth is most definitely a Discworld book – it introduces a new cast of characters, but their paths do intersect with Lord Vetinari, the City Watch, Gaspode and the beggars, etc.
The Amazing Maurice and Wee Free Men (haven’t read yet, myself) are also Discworld books, but set far enough “apart” from the usual Discworld denizens that they can stand on their own. At least, I know Maurice is, and by all accounts WFM is set up the same way.
That’s a bizarre little order. (For some reason the Death books and Small Gods are in the “Witches Book” category. Why? I don’t know. I don’t see it at all. The same with Pyramids in the Watch group?)
The Truth isn’t a watch book. It takes place in the city. The watch appears…but it’s tangential.
Yes, WFM is set up such that it can stand on its own. Granny Weatherwax plays a part, but apart from that it stands alone.
Its essentially a retelling of “Lords and Ladies” for a slightly younger audience.
Now to see if I can’t get my copy back from Lu-Tze…
Oh, and “The Truth” is not a Watch book, well, actually, the Watch do appear in it, but not as main plot devices.
His first few books can be frustrating and boring sometimes, as ** Lobsang** said. I consider his middle period to be the best. His latest books tend towards complication, and more elaborate plot schemes. This is my view, at least.
So, what order ? Hmmm… if you’re hooked into Pratchett, read them in the order they got published. If not, buy some of his middle period, then you’re hooked, and you can start from the beginning.
Pterry said that part of his reason for writing The Truth, was to tell a tale about A-M which is not from the POV of the Watch. In many ways it’s a story about the watch, as told by an (innocent?) bystander. The Truth could easily have been made into a proper Watch story, but Pterry has said that his biggest problem is that DW is getting too crowded.
Avtually, if you read ‘The colour of Magic’ and enjoy it, keep reading them in order, as they get better and better for each book.
The L-Space web has got a lot of good resources and a few suggestions for reading order.
I’ll second this order. Which one have you read already? I’d suggest the Guards! Guards! line is the easiest to get into, then go on down the page.
I agree with jtull. The Discworld series gets better toward the middle and the end. My feeling has always been that in the first few books, Pratchett was still trying to write traditional fantasy, albeit with a comic perspective. Only toward the middle - beginning with, say, Guards, Guards! - did he find his voice. I’ve never really thought of him as a fantasy writer. A satirist and cultural critic who uses fantasy, yes. But he seems to me to have more in common with Carl Hiaasen or Christoper Moore than J.R.R. Tolkien or Terry Brooks. Remember that he began his writing career as a journalist.
I don’t think his later books are more complicated or unwieldy - Carpe Juglum may be my favorite, followed closely by Night Watch - but it is true that he doesn’t hit a homer every time he steps up to the plate. And frankly, the Ye Olde Archaic Spellinge and the footnotes are a bit irritatingly precious. So if you’re new to the Discworld, I’d say start with Witches Abroad or Men at Arms, and then range up and down as your fancy takes you. But be warned - The Sourceror and Pyramids just plain suck.
I have to defend Pyramids here. I liked it quite a lot.
The bit towards the end–with all the mummies coming out of their tombs–is hilarious, and I like the Assassin’s Guild. I also liked how his dad hung about after death, and I liked the villain. I liked it all, really.
Personally, I think Eric is his weakest work.
My favorites are mostly those I read first, actually. Feet of Clay, Jingo and The Lost Continent.
Actually, Pyramids is one of my favorites. But we’ll never reach agreement on the relative merits of the various books.
Terry Pratchett on a bad day still whomps the stuffing out of 98% of the rest of the Dewey Decimal System, IMO.
Yeah, I wasn’t too keen on Eric either. Theif of Time is absolutely great, and I thought Soul Music was a good one as well. Heck, who am I kidding, I like almost all of them!
Exactly my feeling too! The Colour Of Magic and The Light Fantastic were intended to be pure fantasy, with just the right comic touch to be a little different. They are very descriptive (Tolkien-style), include many strange characters, many different species, magic, in short all the things that can classify it as a traditional fantasy story (you didn’t really know where the hero will end up next, and this reminds me of that UFO scene in “The Life of Brian” by MP).
Later on Pratchett turned to a satirist and cultural critic who uses fantasy (courtesy of slowmovingvehicle), and turned out be a most brilliant transformation.
His middle period books are funny, fast-paced, full of human insight, but also light and hooking. His late period seems to me as a more thoughtful period, were his characters are developed, and he struggles to fit want he wants to say into this developed world. The Truth and Night Watch have storylines that are more dark and serious, these are storylines that have something to say, while when he was younger the storylines themselves did not try to make a statement (although a lot of the characters or situations did).
Wee Free Men though was a blow for me. I read about a month ago. In the beginning, it looked very simple. I kept waiting to see where it gets serious. Nowhere! It looks like a book written for kids (not to say that I didn’t like it). Of course this only my opinion.
I have to comment on ** Eric **, since people mentioned it. I like this book, but I have too say that it doesn’t look like Pratchett. Nevertheless, it’s a nice adaptation of Faust’s story.
Personally, I have no favorites. I always have a Pratchett book by the bed, and usually I start them from the beginning, and follow the publishing line (while sticking to the same cast, of course). I must have read his books about… hmm… 30-40 times each ?
What I’m hoping for is a new “Wizards of UU” book, because I really enjoy Ridcully, his faculty and their ability to never understand anything that’s not food.
It is written for kids…
It is? Didn’t know that. Well, that explains it. But doesn’t Pratchett have a different “production line” for childrens’ books?
According to Amazon it is . He’s written a couple of Discworld novels for kids - Wee Free Men, and The Amazing Maurice and His Flying Rodents. He does also have other “lines” of children’s books.
Personally, I think its great, as I can introduce my 9 year old cousin, who’s an avid reader, to PTerry a whole 5 or so years earlier.