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19. Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" books? (In what order should I read...)




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This article is from the rec.arts.sf.written FAQ, by Evelyn C. Leeper evelynleeper@geocities.com with numerous contributions by others.

19. Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" books? (In what order should I read...)

From Kate Nepveu (knepveu@steelypips.org):

The Discworld novels consist of four sub-series and several
stand-alone books. The sub-series feature the same character(s);
while it is enjoyable to read these in order and see the characters
evolve, it's not strictly necessary. (The lone exception to this
rule is THE LIGHT FANTASTIC, which is a "traditional" sequel.)
They are listed in order below, with the distinguishing
character(s) of their sub-series noted.

(U.K.) publication order and chronological order are effectively
the same for the sub-series; history on the Discworld is a funny
thing--see THIEF OF TIME for more information--so no representations
about order across books is offered. At any rate, you won't
encounter spoilers if you read the books in this order.

1. THE COLOUR OF MAGIC [Rincewind]
2. THE LIGHT FANTASTIC [Rincewind]
3. EQUAL RITES [Lancre Witches]
4. MORT [Death]
5. SOURCERY [Rincewind]
6. WYRD SISTERS [Lancre Witches]
7. PYRAMIDS [stand-alone]
8. GUARDS! GUARDS! [City Watch]
9. ERIC [Rincewind]
10. MOVING PICTURES [stand-alone]
11. REAPER MAN [Death]
12. WITCHES ABROAD [Lancre Witches]
13. SMALL GODS [stand-alone]
14. LORDS AND LADIES [Lancre Witches]
15. MEN AT ARMS [City Watch]
16. SOUL MUSIC [Death/Susan]
17. INTERESTING TIMES [Rincewind]
18. MASKERADE [Lancre Witches]
19. FEET OF CLAY [City Watch]
20. HOGFATHER [Death/Susan]
21. JINGO [City Watch]
22. THE LAST CONTINENT [Rincewind]
23. CARPE JUGULUM [Lancre Witches]
24. THE FIFTH ELEPHANT [City Watch]
25. THE TRUTH [stand-alone *]
26. THIEF OF TIME [Death/Susan]

* THE TRUTH is set in Ankh-Morpork, which is the City of the City
Watch, so readers will encounter familiar characters, but the focus
is on a new character.

Mileage varies on where to start reading for two reasons. First, the
Discworld novels evolve and improve over time, and there can be
disagreement over when the books become "good enough" to recommend to
a first-time reader. Second, people may have strong opinions
regarding a particular sub-series (the Rincewind books are perhaps
the most frequent point of disagreement, as they are notably lighter
than the others). Thus, the best all-purpose guideline is probably
to just pick one from around the middle of this list and try it.
(For whatever it's worth, I have had very good luck with recommending
SMALL GODS to start.)

Laurabelle Melton (lbmelton@mtholyoke.edu) demurs:

Actually, this isn't strictly true; there have been great arguments on
alt.books.pratchett and alt.fan.pratchett about the chronological order
of the books (especially SMALL GODS). Unfortunately the Unreal
Discworld Timeline is not on the Web.

There's a suggested Discworld reading order at
http://www.netcomuk.co.uk/~gidnsuzi/readord.html; I think that URL
would make a useful addition to the FAQ.

[Note that Pratchett has also written some non-Discworld novels, which
frequently are packaged looking like Discworld novels--Kirby covers,
etc.). STRATA is somewhat proto-Discworld; THE DARK SIDE OF THE SUN is
completely separate.]

 

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