I wrote in a previous post about how my mildly OCD brain insists that I read all of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books in chronological order by date of publication. Pratchett fans tell me that I am DOING IT WRONG but what they don’t understand is that I am physically incapable of doing it any other way, so just deal already, alright? Alright.
Below (again) is the table listing all of the discworld books that I found on the source of all things good and irrefutably true, wikipedia. Moderate tangent… wikipedia taught me today that another word for a division symbol (you know, this guy ÷) is obelus. See. Source of all knowledge in the universe.
So, back to the truly mind blowing Discworld. The arguments for why I should NOT read these books in chronological order seem to center around two general opinions.
- Opinion 1: The first books are not as good as the subsequent books and if I start with the early works, I may not be motivated to continue reading and will thereby miss the good stuff.
- Opinion 2: I should read the secondary story lines of specific characters together and in order. Like, I should read all of the Granny whatserface books or all of The Witches books first, because these characters are better and more interesting than the other characters.
Well, I can’t really speak to opinion 2 yet, because both of the books I have read so far have been about the buddy comedy adventures of Rincewind the arrested development wizard and his dopey tourist companion. Maybe there are better and more deserving characters than them. I don’t know. But, I can speak to number 1 and I am unconvinced by that line of reasoning. These first two books were hilarious. I mean, knee slapping, gut grabbing, laugh out loud and try not to pee yourself funny. Really, really funny. I am sure Pratchett gets better. Generally speaking, people who do a lot of something get better and better at it. So, odds are that he gets to be an even better writer, but he was already pretty good in the early 80’s. And if this is the not so good stuff, then I am happy to be on this journey that will eventually lead me to some really entertaining reads.
The Light Fantastic picks up right where The Colour of Magic Ends. Literally, at that exact moment. So, it was easy to get back into the story line. And it features the same main characters while adding some great new ones like Cohen the Barbarian. Cohen is an octagenarian (which is to say, waaaaay over the hill) hero who’s still got it and can still get the girls. He saves Rincewind and Twoflower from Death and Trolls and the wretched masses despite needing a bone soothing linament and a good pair of false teeth. He is a trip.
In the end they save the discworld and solve the mystery of the magical shops that always disappear right after selling you a chest made of sapient pearwood or some other magical doodad.
The first book gave glimpses into the mythology of the discworld and I loved that peek into the belief system of this unbelievable world. This book mostly ignores the gods and goddesses to focus instead on the magicians, who are kind of scholars slash politicians and who are every bit as interesting as, if slightly less powerful than, the gods. I had so much fun reading this book. It is every bit as silly and fun as the cover art would have you believe. And I look forward to number 3 (in which I will meet new characters and may see some sense in other people’s orderings but will still be compelled to follow through with my plan).
|1||The Colour of Magic||1983||Rincewind||93rd in the Big Read.|
|2||The Light Fantastic||1986||Rincewind||Continues from The Colour of Magic|
|3||Equal Rites||1987||The Witches, The Wizards|
|4||Mort||1987||Death||65th in the Big Read|
|5||Sourcery||1988||Rincewind, The Wizards|
|6||Wyrd Sisters||1988||The Witches||135th in the Big Read|
|7||Pyramids||1989||Discworld Cultures (Djelibeybi)||British Science Fiction Award winner, 1989|
|8||Guards! Guards!||1989||The City Watch||69th in the Big Read|
|9||Eric||1990||Rincewind||Published in a larger format and fully illustrated by Josh Kirby|
|10||Moving Pictures||1990||Miscellaneous (Holy Wood), The Wizards|
|11||Reaper Man||1991||Death, The Wizards||126th in the Big Read|
|12||Witches Abroad||1991||The Witches||197th in the Big Read|
|13||Small Gods||1992||Discworld Cultures (Omnia), The History Monks||102nd in the Big Read|
|14||Lords and Ladies||1992||The Witches, The Wizards|
|15||Men at Arms||1993||The City Watch||148th in the Big Read|
|16||Soul Music||1994||Death, Susan Sto Helit, The Wizards||151st in the Big Read|
|17||Interesting Times||1994||Rincewind, The Wizards|
|19||Feet of Clay||1996||The City Watch|
|20||Hogfather||1996||Death, Susan Sto Helit, The Wizards||137th in the Big Read; British Fantasy Award nominee, 1997|
|21||Jingo||1997||The City Watch|
|22||The Last Continent||1998||Rincewind, The Wizards|
|23||Carpe Jugulum||1998||The Witches|
|24||The Fifth Elephant||1999||The City Watch||153rd in the Big Read; Locus Fantasy Award nominee, 2000|
|25||The Truth||2000||Ankh-Morpork, The City Watch, The Ankh-Morpork Times||193rd in the Big Read|
|26||Thief of Time||2001||Death, Susan Sto Helit, The History Monks||152nd in the Big Read; Locus Award nominee, 2002|
|27||The Last Hero||2001||Rincewind, The Wizards, The City Watch||Published in a larger format and fully illustrated by Paul Kidby|
|28||The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents||2001||Miscellaneous (Überwald)||A YA (young adult or children’s) Discworld book; winner of the 2001 Carnegie Medal|
|29||Night Watch||2002||The City Watch, The History Monks||Received the Prometheus Award in 2003; came 73rd in the Big Read; Locus Award nominee, 2003|
|30||The Wee Free Men||2003||Tiffany Aching||The second YA Discworld book; also published in larger format and fully illustrated by Stephen Player|
|31||Monstrous Regiment||2003||Discworld Cultures (Borogravia),The City Watch, The Ankh-Morpork Times||The title is a reference to The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women; 2004 nominee for Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel.|
|32||A Hat Full of Sky||2004||Tiffany Aching, The Witches||The third YA Discworld book|
|33||Going Postal||2004||Moist von Lipwig, Ankh-Morpork||Locus and Nebula Awards nominee, 2005|
|34||Thud!||2005||The City Watch||Locus Award nominee, 2006|
|35||Wintersmith||2006||Tiffany Aching, The Witches||The fourth YA book.|
|36||Making Money||2007||Moist von Lipwig, Ankh-Morpork||Locus Award winner, Nebula nominee, 2008|
|37||Unseen Academicals||2009||The Wizards, Rincewind, Miscellaneous (Nutt)||Locus Award Nominee, 2010|
|38||I Shall Wear Midnight||2010||Tiffany Aching, The Witches||Fifth YA book, Andre Norton winner, 2010|
|39||Snuff||2011||The City Watch (Sam Vimes)||Third fastest selling book in first week of publication|
|40||Raising Steam||2013||Moist von Lipwig, Ankh-Morpork,The City Watch|
|41||The Shepherd’s Crown||2015||Tiffany Aching||Completed mid-2014, due to be published posthumously in 2015|