JS-Kit/Echo comments for article at http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2010/08/ok-now-i-get-terry-pratchett.html (21 comments)

  Tentative mapping of comments to original article, corrections solicited.

jsid-1282406466-913  GrumpyOldFart at Sat, 21 Aug 2010 16:01:08 +0000

Now I understand. His first two (possibly first four or five) books in the Discworld series, he was still finding his feet to some extent.

How do they rise up...

jsid-1282408022-910  Drang at Sat, 21 Aug 2010 16:27:03 +0000

Night Watch and Guards! Guards! are what got me hooked. 

jsid-1282408065-155  Unix-Jedi at Sat, 21 Aug 2010 16:27:45 +0000

The Vimes books are my favorites, too, but the Death series has some real gems, too.

Those early ones had a lot of insider-jokes and the like..  Try "Guards, Guards!" as the start of the really insightful ones, IMO.

 And wait til you get to "Making Money"

jsid-1282412678-371  Joe Huffman at Sat, 21 Aug 2010 17:44:38 +0000

I read The Colour of Magic without being impressed and gave up. Perhaps I should continue...

jsid-1282416182-969  Roberta X at Sat, 21 Aug 2010 18:43:03 +0000

I would recommend trying one of the later books, Joe -- I think it was Going Postal that really got me hooked.  Almost an Eric Frank Russel vibe in places.

jsid-1282421133-188  Guest (anonymous) at Sat, 21 Aug 2010 20:05:33 +0000

The advice I always give, pretty much in this order as the easiest way to explore the Discworld:

[Vimes & Carrot]
Guards! Guards!
Men at Arms
Feet of Clay
The Nightwatch

[The best standalones:]
Lords and Ladies [possibly my favorite of them all.]
Small Gods


[Best single Discworld book for non-fans.]
Going Postal

There are several stories that feature Death (to say nothing of The Death of Rats), but although Death himself is simply one of the finest supporting characters ever created, for some reason the stories that focus on him aren't Pratchett's strongest -- and perhaps that's as it should be. Death is best on the edges, in the shadows. Put him in the spotlight, center stage, and he...fades.

By that point, you'll know the Discworld well enough to find your own way.

Pratchett's also done some fine young adult novels set on the Discworld, although they perhaps lack his pyrotechnic word play. My favorite is The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, which is not to be missed.

Oh, and don't neglect Good Omens, his collaboration with Neil Gaimond, and set more or less on good old Earth in good old England, although of course Death is here as well. It is the perfect answer to The Omen, and others of that ilk.

jsid-1282428314-54  Mark Horning at Sat, 21 Aug 2010 22:05:14 +0000

Bah, Pratchet thinks he is funny, and he likes puns.  I hate puns, and generally don't like books that are suppsoed to be funny.

jsid-1282447249-426  Ed "What the" Heckman at Sun, 22 Aug 2010 03:20:49 +0000 in reply to jsid-1282428314-54

Then I take it you despise Piers Anthony's Xanth series?

jsid-1282430828-474  Joe at Sat, 21 Aug 2010 22:47:08 +0000

I'll have to try his books again. I ran into the same thing that you did. I started from the first book and just couldn't get into it.

jsid-1282432706-967  Ken at Sat, 21 Aug 2010 23:18:27 +0000

I haven't read Night Watch or Going Postal yet, but I heartily second the recommendation of Guards! Guards! Additionally, Monstrous Regiment starts strong, but sort of loses its way and its steam.

jsid-1282441746-166  Firehand at Sun, 22 Aug 2010 01:49:11 +0000

I just recently finished 'The Truth'; very good roundabout on the subject of the press.
"Is he writing down what I'm saying?"
"He is."
"He can't do that.  Can he?"
"Why not, sir?"
"Stop writing!  Wait- are you writing down EVERYTHING I'm saying?"

Pretty good book.

jsid-1282449910-454  Jon at Sun, 22 Aug 2010 04:05:10 +0000

Eh - Pratchett has never really done anything for me. They're mildly funny but that's aboutit.

jsid-1282450754-590  Unix-Jedi at Sun, 22 Aug 2010 04:19:14 +0000 in reply to jsid-1282449910-454

What's the latest you've read?

Night Watch was one of the best pieces of literature I've ever read.  Making Money was excellent. The Truth isn't as good, but only in relation.

Thud! and the 5th Element were superb, without even a lot of humor.

jsid-1282450774-303  Unix-Jedi at Sun, 22 Aug 2010 04:19:34 +0000 in reply to jsid-1282450754-590

5th Elephant.

Sorry, Muscle memory.

jsid-1282492898-799  GrumpyOldFart at Sun, 22 Aug 2010 16:01:39 +0000

In a lot of ways Pratchett lets the characters define the story, so in a lot of ways it's easiest understanding Discworld in terms of story arcs:

Vimes/Carrot/The Watch:
Guards! Guards!
Men At Arms
Feet Of Clay
The Fifth Elephant
Night Watch

Esme Weatherwax/Gytha Ogg/The Witches:
Equal Rites
Wyrd Sisters
Witches Abroad
Lords And Ladies
Carpe Jugulum

Death/Miss Susan:
Reaper Man
Soul Music
Thief Of Time

The Color Of Magic
The Light Fantastic
Interesting Times
The Last Continent

Of course this ignores some of his prize characters (like Lord Vetinari or Lu Tze the Sweeper), but they generally aren't the ones to "carry the story", either. It also ignores some of his work

Moving Pictures
The Truth
The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents

which are largely 'standalone', the primary characters tend not to be the plot carriers in other books. And there are also story arcs whose characters are comparatively recent developments:

Moist von Lipwig:
Going Postal
Making Money

Tiffany Aching:
Wee Free Men
A Hat Full Of Sky

The bottom line is that in any of the above lists, the ones at the bottom tend to be better work than the ones above them. And in his older characters, the first in the series may be no better than middlin'.

jsid-1282517432-304  GrumpyOldFart at Sun, 22 Aug 2010 22:50:32 +0000

Oops, I forgot 'Monstrous Regiment'. Tack that onto the bottom of the 'standalone' list.

jsid-1282532973-456  rws at Mon, 23 Aug 2010 03:09:33 +0000

I read all of Discworld, and then I was sad, because there was no more...

jsid-1282617095-957  Toastrider at Tue, 24 Aug 2010 02:31:36 +0000

And sadly, with Pratchett under treatment for early onset Alzheimer's (and when I meet God, He and I are gonna have words about that), I doubt there'll be many more Discworld novels. Maybe there's a Brit author out there who appreciates Terry enough to follow in his footsteps, but... not holding my breath.

jsid-1283441980-686  Ken at Thu, 02 Sep 2010 15:39:40 +0000 in reply to jsid-1282617095-957

There's appreciating, and there's doing justice. The only one comes to mind is Douglas Adams, who is probably saving Sir Terry a seat at the bar.

jsid-1282706779-363  Jeff Dege at Wed, 25 Aug 2010 03:26:25 +0000

Me, I've always liked Granny Weatherwax:

"...And that's what your holy men discuss, is it?" [asked Granny Weatherwax.]
"Not usually. There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment on the nature of sin. for example."
"And what do they think? Against it, are they?"
"It's not as simple as that. It's not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of gray."
"There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people like things. Including yourself. That's what sin is."
"It's a lot more complicated than that--"
"No. It ain't. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they're getting worried that they won't like the truth. People as things, that's where it starts."
"Oh, I'm sure there are worse crimes--"
"But they starts with thinking about people as things..."
--from Carpe Jugulum, by Terry Pratchett.

jsid-1283288560-841  Jeroen Wenting at Tue, 31 Aug 2010 21:02:41 +0000

Small Gods is brilliant.
Pyramids too, especially if you know something about ancient Egypt.

IMO Lords and Ladies is probably the least of them all (and yes, I have them all, over half of them in first edition hardcovers).

Sadly PTerry is suffering from debilitating Altzheimer and probably doesn't have long to live.

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