Discworld. You guys win. Now, what order would you recommend?

I had read a book or two by Pratchett in the past and thought he was just ok. Because of that experience I never bothered to even try the Discworld books figuring Pratchett was just not for me. But, the way so many of you praise the series, you wore me down. I bought The Color of Magic. I am just about done and I am loving it. I cannot say enough good things. It’s cute and clever and a fun read (and I understand that it only gets better from here).

I know this question has been asked before, but I think it’s been a while, so I am asking again :p. In your opinion, what is the best order to read them? Should I go in publishing order, read them by series, or just read whatever seems to tickle my fancy at the time I am in the bookstore?

I also bought Going Postal at the same time I bought The Color of Magic just because I liked the premise. Can I read that next or would that be too confusing because it’s so far down the line and I would have missed too much?

I will be at the bookstore sometime this weekend and I am going to pick up The Light Fantastic, because that’s next in both publishing order and in the Rincewind series so I figure I can’t go wrong there. But what should come after that?

Matter of taste. The first three Discworld novels – The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, and Equal Rites – are set in a sort of Hyborian Age sword-and-sorcery melieu. In (most of) the later ones, the level of civilization and technology appears to be more like 18th-Century Europe, though some of the earlier characters remain.

The later ones are arguably funnier, but that’s to be expected as an artist learns his craft with practice.

All novels listed here by date of publication.

Discworld the L-Space way.

I would read them all in the order they were published, with the caveat that everything before Wyrd Sisters is “beta version” Discworld: you need to read them to understand the main characters’ backstories, but be advised that the tone of the series changed a lot afterwards.

I would be afraid to read them in published order, for fear of being put-off the entire series.

I risk saying that I was lucky in that I started out of order, and with one of the good ones (which the majority are) - I took my doper name from it.

If you love The Color of Magic I hardly know what to suggest. I’d say, read them in order, but if one isn’t appealing to you, feel free to put it down and go on to the next!

Or just read Guards! Guards! and go from there.

I’m happy I read Reaper Man first. It gave me a very good perspective when reading the rest of the series.

If it’s Rincewind you like, try The Light Fantastic, Sourcery, [del]Faust[/del] Eric, Interesting Times, The Last Continent, and The Last Hero. (Preferably in order, but no worries.)

If you like the squabbling wizards, try Sourcery, Moving Pictures, Reaper Man, Lords and Ladies, Soul Music, Interesting Times, Hogfather, or The Last Continent. (Again, preferably in order.)

If you like the character of Death, he’s everywhere. But you’ll find him specially in Mort, Reaper Man, Soul Music, Hogfather, and Thief of Time. (In order, preferably.)

If you like the pointed parodies that Pratchett is so good at, try Hogfather, Soul Music, Carpe Jugulum, Maskerade, The Last Continent, or Small Gods. (In no order.)

You haven’t really got to the Witches or to the City Watch bits yet, so I won’t recommend those for now. :slight_smile:

Doesn’t matter.

Nope. Doesn’t matter.

Pratchett provides enough exposition in each book that you’d never be totally lost, as long as you can roll with the few things that are just assumed to be. There are very few direct sequels in the collection (Making Money is the sequel to Going Postal, for instance), and each story is self-contained as well as being a piece of the larger arc. I would read whichever individual back-cover plot summary strikes your fancy, and branch out as you get to know the setting and characters.

That said, my personal recommendation is to start roughly in the middle of the L-space continuum that silenus linked to; Thief of Time, Feet of Clay, Interesting Times, and The Truth are all good novels that don’t rely too heavily on past books. They’re also roughly where Pratchett really gets good and the stories aren’t nearly as shallow or awkward as the earlier ones.

Obviously, this really only works if you’re comfortable with knowing how some events turn out before you read about them; I read Discworld novels for the journey, not the result, so knowing how, say, Soul Music finished isn’t nearly as interesting as the rest of the book.

I know, I know - I’m totally weird. From reading older threads I get the idea I may be the only one on the planet that really likes it. It’s good to be different :slight_smile:

I picked up The Light Fantastic this afternoon. I hope to start it tomorrow.

Thanks, everyone, for the advice.

Again, be aware that the first two books are very much Pratchett 1.0. IMO, he really doesn’t hit his stride until Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, and the City Watch sequence. After those, he starts commiting the odd act of Literature.

Thanks, Bosstone. That’s good to know. I’m not the least bit spoiler phobic so it’s good to know that if I get the urge to break out and pick a book at random I won’t be totally lost.

Fish laid out a couple of good looking routes to take. I think I may stick with Rincewind for the time being, although I am a sucker for a good parody… But in the interest of being nosy, if you had to choose one which would it be?

Personal favorites of mine are the City Watch sequence. **Guards! Guards!, ** then Men At Arms, Feet of Clay, and the rest. Night Watch is the best book Terry has ever written, followed quite closely by Small Gods and Soul Music. Small Gods can be read anytime, as it is pretty much outside the timelime, but you have to read Mort before Soul Music. And Hogfather has to be read after. Otherwise you lose a lot of the effect.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reading them in order, especially if you have found to like Colour of Magic. I had to, having been a fan since 1987. There is a certain amount of continuity that ought to be followed chronologically, so I recommended it.

Concur. Absolutely fantastic book, and it marks a turning point in the series, when Pratchett stops relying so heavily on direct real-world analogs and puns and really starts making the plot the centerpiece. I would only recommend that at least some of the previous Watch books be read so you come into Night Watch knowing them already. It makes it that much more powerful.

Am I alone in thinking that Pyramids is the most-expendable of the reading list? Not that it wasn’t a perfectly fine read, but it seems like the most “dead-end” of the Discworld stories.

Small Gods was the first I read, and was the source of my addiction. I’ll agree with the above comment about Pyramids - save it for last.

But honestly, Thud!, and Making Money didn’t do a lot for me. His Alzheimer’s may have seriously kicked in.

Arguably, The Color of Magic is one of the weakest books in the series, but since you enjoyed it, I wouldn’t be concerned with putting you off the series with the earlier stuff. I would suggest reading them in publication order for two reasons: 1. his stuff gets better as time goes on, so you’ll appreciate the earlier stuff more without having to compare it to what comes later. 2. Although the stories can all be enjoyed independently, many of the main characters go through a lot of development as time goes (particularly Sam Vimes. Though I agree that Night Watch is Pratchett’s finest work, I really think it should not be read until one has read the preceding Guards books) on and you may miss out some of that if you read them haphazardly.

That being said, don’t worry about it too much. If any of the series don’t appeal to you that much, feel free to skip those books.

I may be the only person in the world who doesn’t like Night Watch.