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The Terry Pratchett Thread
Danster posted a topic in Arts & LiteratureWelcome to the Mended Drum! Ooops, please mind that arm down there, not sure who that belongs to! have you met our new doorman... where's he gone...? JUST HERE Ah, yes there you are, of course. And would you like a drink? A Scumble perhaps? Woooah, no don't pat the dog... she uh wouldn't like that. And that's Corporal Carrot, well known round these parts him. Those chaps? They're wizards, that's the Bursar.... yes he does usually float around on the ceiling this time of night. No, no it's not a monkey.... ah... bye then, we usually use the doors to leave, but the window is fine too. Another peanut Librarian? Ook! Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) deserves his own thread really. I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I'd hazard a guess that practically everyone on this forum has at least glanced at a Discworld novel. I'd also wager that most of us have read more than one of his books and that quite a few have read the lot. Just recently I listened to Guard! Guards! the radio play, then I signed up to audible and listened to Men at Arms... then Feet of Clay and then went back to The Colour of Magic and started the whole Discworld series from the start. I am currently on Soul Music (and am mixing up reading and listening which works wonderfully BTW). Anyway, first up, the books: Discworld: 01 The Colour of Magic (Colin Smythe, 1983) 02 The Light Fantastic (Colin Smythe, 1986) 03 Equal Rites (Gollancz, Colin Smythe, 1987) 04 Mort (Gollancz, Colin Smythe, 1987) 05 Sourcery (Gollancz, Colin Smythe, 1989) 06 Wyrd Sisters (Gollancz, 1989) 07 Pyramids (Gollancz, 1989) 08 Guards! Guards! (Gollancz, 1989) 09 Eric (Gollancz, 1990) 10 Moving Pictures (Gollancz, 1990) 11 Reaper Man (Gollancz, 1991) 12 Witches Abroad (Gollancz, 1991) 13 Small Gods (Gollancz, 1992) 14 Lords and Ladies (Gollancz, 1992) 15 Men at Arms (Gollancz, 1993) 16 Soul Music (Gollancz, 1994) 17 Interesting Times (Gollancz, 1994) 18 Maskerade (Gollancz, 1994) 19 Feet of Clay (Gollancz, 1996) 20 Hogfather (Gollancz, 1996) 21 Jingo (Gollancz, 1997) 22 The Last Continent (Doubleday, 1998) 23 Carpe Jugulum (Doubleday, 1998) 24 The Fifth Elephant (Doubleday, 1999) 25 The Truth (Doubleday, 2000) 26 Thief of Time (Doubleday, 2001) 27 The Last Hero (Gollancz, 2001) 28 The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents (Doubleday, 2001) 29 Night Watch (Doubleday, 2002) 30 The Wee Free Men (Doubleday, 2003) 31 Monstrous Regiment (Doubleday, 2003) 32 A Hat Full of Sky (Doubleday, 2004) 33 Going Postal (Doubleday, 2004) 34 Thud! (Doubleday, 2005) 35 Wintersmith (Doubleday, 2006) 36 Making Money (Doubleday, 2007) 37 Unseen Academicals (Doubleday, 2009) 38 I Shall Wear Midnight (Doubleday, 2010) 39 Snuff (Doubleday, 2011) 40 Raising Steam (Doubleday, 2013) 41 The Shepherd's Crown (Doubleday, 2015) Other: Science of Discworld The Science of Discworld (with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen) (Ebury Press, 1999) The Science of Discworld II: the Globe (with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen) (Ebury Press 2002) The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch (with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen) (Ebury Press, 2005) The Science of Discworld IV: Judgment Day (with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen) (Ebury Press, 2013) Novels The Carpet People (Colin Smythe, 1971) The Dark Side of the Sun (Colin Smythe, 1976) Strata (Colin Smythe, 1981) Truckers (Doubleday, 1989) The Unadulterated Cat (with Gray Jolliffe) (Gollancz, 1989) Good Omens (with Neil Gaiman) (Gollancz, 1990) Diggers (Doubleday, 1990) Wings (Doubleday, 1990) Only You Can Save Mankind (Doubleday, 1992) Johnny and the Dead (Doubleday, 1993) Johnny and the Bomb (Doubleday, 1996) Nation (Doubleday, 2008) Dodger (Doubleday, 2012) The Long Earth series Co-written with Stephen Baxter The Long Earth (Doubleday, 2012) The Long War (Doubleday, 2013) The Long Mars (Doubleday, April 2014) The Long Utopia (Doubleday and Random House, June 2015) Anthologies A Blink of the Screen (2012) Dragons At Crumbling Castle (Doubleday, 11 September 2014) A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Non-fiction Writings (Doubleday, 25 Sep 2014) Thanks to lspace for the list. There are also a plethora of other things, plays, graphic novels, maps, TV programmes and cartoons, as well as the two games (which I have never played! Despite owning both). The audio books are very good, the abridged versions read by Tony Robinson are great, but if you're anything like me then abridged just doesn't cut it. The unabridged versions weigh in at around the 9-10 hours mark. They are read by Nigel Planer, Celia Imrie and Stephen Briggs; all three of whom are very good once you get used to their style. I think listenning to books is wonderful, and so many of Terry's jokes were punnes and playful use of words that really works well read aloud. I've found jokes I never knew existed from listening to them. The usual question that gets asked when discussing Discworld is, where do I start? Well, at the beginning of course! Oh, okay, you tried reading The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic and they didn't really cut it and you didn't really get into it. Fine, that's because (IMO) they are two of the worst books he wrote. If you gave up at the end of The Light Fantastic then you have missed out on the majority of the novels that made Pratchett the success he was. You can skip to Mort (or Equal Rites - although this is similar to the first two). You can even skip to Wyrd Sisters, Pyramids or (a perennial favourite starting point) Guards! Guards! If you do want to read all the Discworld though, start at the beginning and just read the first few like a bit of introductory filler, by an author who had no idea at the time that he'd end up writing 41 books based in the world he was just beginning to realise. You do HAVE to read them though, because otherwise you won't know who Rincewind or Twoflower is, why Rincewind is so bad at magic and you won't understand The Luggage The books are then basically broken down into four categories: The Wizards (and Rincewind), the Witches, The Guards and all the rest. The Wizards don't settle down into decent characters until after Sourcery, when Ridcully is made Archchancellor. And while Granny Weatherwax is in Equal Rites, she doesn't become the witch we all know and love properly until Wyrd Sisters and Witches Abroad. Rincewind though, is one of the best and most enduring characters. He is in the first two books, Sourcery, Eric and numerous others. His piece de resistance (and one of TP's finest books) is Interesting Times where Rincewind goes to the... well I wouldn't want to spoil it for you. just suffice it for me to say,it's a very good novel. The Guards deserve a thread of their own, it's no surprise that Pratchett wanted to write detective stories when he was younger, the Guards and Vetinari and the whole city of Ankh-Morpork (and later the Disc) is brought to life through one iron willed, non-nonsense character; you've got to love Vimes. What are the best ones? Oh, they are all so good... but the ones that really stick out in my mind are Small Gods, Men at Arms, Night Watch, Intersting Times, Lords and ladies, The Truth, Mort, Reaper Man, Moving Pictures... I could just keep listing them! There are so many good ones, but that's not to say there aren't a few duds. Like I said the first two (maybe three) aren't great (they are still good), then he doesn't miss a beat until,maybe, Maskerade (which if you are into the Theatre you'd probably love anyway). Then Monstrous Regiment ain't brilliant and some people dislike the later series with Moist Von Lupwig - I don't, I think they are great too. What about the ones for children? Yes, yes, starting with The Amazing Maurice and continuing with Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, I Shall Wear Midnight and the Shepherd's Crown (being released post-humorously...) these are more young adult than children's books. And to be honest just as well written and just as fun as any of the "adult" novels. The main difference being that he writes in chapters and cuts out some of the convoluted backstory that often accompanies the full-fat books. In my opinion they are well worth a read. Discworld. Did you have to be there? No, no I don't think so anyway. Admittedly I was there for well over half of them. I started reading them when I was about sixteen and from Men at Arms onward I have them all in HB First Editions. So I grew up with the man, and read and re-read his novels so much I can't help but think that he helped shape my mind. I think they are pretty much timeless, removed as they are from this world, although a distorted mirror image of it. What about his other books? Well, the Truckers, Diggers and whatnot are pretty good. Fun, good to read to the kids. Nation and Dodger are more adult and are excellent standalone fiction. The Long Earth series is quite different. Be warned though, not a lot happens. It is very much Sci-Fi of the exploratory kind. Where a universe previously unknown to humans opens up and then they explore it. It's a fascinating world (and one I think Pratchett had thought about all his life, drawing on the parallel universes of the Discworld) and all very quantum His short stories and non-fiction are very good and well worth a read if you are inclined to. And that's about it. If you don't want to read anymore of me going on (cos I'm about to get weepy) then I suggest you stop reading here. Enjoy his books, it is what he would have wanted. We all know how Terry Pratchett died, and what a tragedy it was. Dementia is fucking awful believe me, I know. My mum was diagnosed with dementia a year after Terry Pratchett and the doctors told her (and she relayed to me) that it was the same strain that Terry Pratchett had. My mum seemed to think this might make it easier on me, to know that the awful realisation that Pratchett's mind would no longer be with us was coupled with the fact that my mum would be heading the same way. To be honest, it was no surprise, living further away from the rest of the family, my wife and I both had noticed her deterioration much sooner than my dad did. But it was still a kick in the teeth nonetheless. It's a shit, shit disease, I hate it, loathe it with a passion. Watching my mum go from being an intelligent, witty woman, who ran the household (so much so that my dad has had to learn how to cook and clean aged sixty-two! He just never did it) and was always there with an ear to listen to problems or worries. My dad's logic balanced out by my mum's empathy. To... someone who can't remember who I am, thinks she is twelve years old, wants to be taken home when she is already there, calls my dad "that man", can't dress herself, can't go to the toilet by herself. It's so sad. And so two of the people who transposed their values into me, gave me smiles and love, a functioning brain and a love of reading have been cruelly pulled away from me. Not suddenly, like death, but gradually like the real them had the hangman's noose around their neck and they've been gradually dragged to the foggy gallows over the last five years; leaving behind just a shade. My mum isn't dead yet, we've got no clue as to how long she'll live for; she might outlive my dad, or she may end suddenly when her brain "forgets" how to manage her organs, or digest food, or use its immune system or a variety of other ways that she could go. But the family have already faced this, she's just not there anymore; when she goes it will be a relief. Sorry for the ramble and slight ot nature of this part, it's just personally I feel so close to the man even though I never met him and feel like I can understand what he and his family would have been going through the last couple of years. RIP