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  1. #1
    The Lightbringer Howard Moon's Avatar
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    [Books] Terry Pratchett's Discworld - Where to start?

    Hello MMO-Champions!

    I have been curious about the Discworld series for a long time, but I've always been a little intimidated by the amount of books available. Essentially, I don't know where to start.

    I would like you to recommend me one book which:
    1) Is a good starting point for someone who has never read Terry Pratchett. Should introduce his common themes and concepts.
    2) Is representative of the series. If I like this one, I will probably like the rest. If I don't like this one, chances are the Discworld series is not for me.
    3) Gets me hooked on Discworld and makes me want to read more.

    I've read that while The Color of Magic might be the logical choice, it is slow to start and is more fun for people who already love The series. So maybe not the best first choice for someone who has never read one of his books.

    Thanks!

    ====

    Resources:

    - Here is the illustrated "Discworld Reading Order Guide".
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  2. #2
    I am Murloc! Firebert's Avatar
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    Instead of his Discworld, it might be an idea to read one of his non-Discworld books first.

    You won't understand the injokes if you do not start with the Colour of Magic.
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  3. #3
    The Lightbringer Howard Moon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebert View Post
    Instead of his Discworld, it might be an idea to read one of his non-Discworld books first.
    Hmm didn't even think of this. Got any recommendations? I'd rather go straight for the Discworld series though, since it's the one I've always heard so much about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Firebert View Post
    You won't understand the injokes if you do not start with the Colour of Magic.
    Ok so you are saying The Color of Magic is pretty much the mandatory starting point?
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  4. #4
    I am Murloc! Firebert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xebu View Post
    Hmm didn't even think of this. Got any recommendations? I'd rather go straight for the Discworld series though, since it's the one I've always heard so much about.
    I don't know any of his non-Discworld stuff. I think he won the Booker Prize for non-Discworld novel though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xebu View Post
    Ok so you are saying The Color of Magic is pretty much the mandatory starting point?
    More or less. If you don't fancy the read, watch the TV movie that was called either The Colour of Magic or The Light Fantastic (I can't remember which). Then jump straight into the third book, reading back into the first two books if you feel the need to.

    My advice, is to take the plunge. You can't expect every book to start with the equivalent of a fifteen-minute action scene. You've gotta have some character and scene buildup, and with the Discworld being huge it's like reading The Hobbit before you get to the big three Tolkien books. It's incredibly rewarding. Just need to put in a little effort setting up the stage.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Xebu View Post
    Hmm didn't even think of this. Got any recommendations? I'd rather go straight for the Discworld series though, since it's the one I've always heard so much about.



    Ok so you are saying The Color of Magic is pretty much the mandatory starting point?
    i have a list of his books on the first page of each book, and it is pretty much in the order you should read it

  6. #6
    Read them in order.

    Alternatively, Guards Guards! is a good first book, first in the city watch trilogy and he'd had a few under his belt by then. It could probably give you an idea of if you like the discworld series better than TCOM would, but I'd advise going back and reading them in order after that. The Discworld series can't really be read out of order, it has it's own internal chronology that would be disrupted too much by reading it out of order.

    Edit: I see people recommending the films, I'd steer clear of them. Anything that casts Del boy as Rincewind loses all merit as far as I'm concerned. Hogfather perhaps, but the others I can't stomach their existence.
    Last edited by Nagassh; 2012-05-13 at 09:53 AM.

  7. #7
    Mechagnome
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    I followed the "Reading Order Guide" and it made sense.

    So far I've read, in this order:
    1. Color of Magic 2. The Light Fantastic 3. Sorcery 4. Eric (These four were in one book)
    5. Mort
    6. Guards! Guards! (still on it)

    It's a good order, you won't have any problems with understanding, and afterwards you already know quite a bit about the Discworld.

  8. #8
    The Lightbringer Howard Moon's Avatar
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    Thanks all for your replies so far. Since most recommend starting with The Color of Magic, I think I will do that.
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  9. #9
    The Patient Kaino's Avatar
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    Yeah probably start off with The Colour of Magic and Light Fantastic for a bit of a background on discworld and then since my favourite ones are the watch series starting with Guards! Guards!, go there next.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Nagassh View Post
    Read them in order.

    Alternatively, Guards Guards! is a good first book, first in the city watch trilogy and he'd had a few under his belt by then. It could probably give you an idea of if you like the discworld series better than TCOM would, but I'd advise going back and reading them in order after that. The Discworld series can't really be read out of order, it has it's own internal chronology that would be disrupted too much by reading it out of order.

    Edit: I see people recommending the films, I'd steer clear of them. Anything that casts Del boy as Rincewind loses all merit as far as I'm concerned. Hogfather perhaps, but the others I can't stomach their existence.
    I'd agree with this. There is a definite chronology, and while the style changes pretty dramatically from the first couple of books, much of it is important groundwork for later books (obviously the Rincewind books especially). Your other alternatives are perhaps the Witches series (starting with Equal Rites and Wyrd Sisters) or the Watch series (starting with Guards! Guards!). The Witches series is my favourite, and slightly more stand-alone than the Watch, but I would still recommend starting at the beginning. They aren't long books so its not the biggest time commitment.

  11. #11
    who ever wrote that color of magic is slow is wrong it opens up and tells you everything you need as a novice disc worlder i started reading these wheni was like 13 im 30 now i stopped reading around carp jugulum cos basically my fave stories were the guard watch and rincewind ones then death based ones. the witches books can be a slow.
    Sorry if im confusing you all these stories are set on the disc and most have a recuring theme or some of the same characters in but each book is based around 1 or more main characters untill a certain point where pratchett added new people in, went off them then but thats just me

  12. #12
    Speaking as a long time reader of Sir Pratchett's Discworld, I have to say I DON'T think it's worth starting with The Colour of Magic.

    Although there is some overlap between the books, with a couple of exceptions you don't need to have read the previous books to understand them. All the exposition that you need is self contained, further knowledge would help but a bit, but not that much.

  13. #13
    The Lightbringer Howard Moon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aesahaettr View Post
    Speaking as a long time reader of Sir Pratchett's Discworld, I have to say I DON'T think it's worth starting with The Colour of Magic
    Which one would you recommend then? Right now, from the comments so far, I am between The Color of Magic and Guards! Guards!.

    Which one will tell me "you liked this? then the series is for you"?
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  14. #14
    The Color of Magic is the start of the series. It sets the series up, so to speak. Followed by A Light Fantastic.
    Other then that there ain't much of an order on them. You can ready any of them whenever. Though some will benefit a bit if you've read others before them.

    One of the most representative books of the series, for me, is Reaper Man (about Death, the character), Interesting Times (about Cohen the Barbarian and his friends), Guards! Guards! (about the Ank-Morpohrk city watch with Commander Vimes) and The Last Continent(about the wizards from Unseen University, and Rincewind).

    Personaly I like the books involving Death the most, because he's such an interesting character. Easily relatable too, for me anyway, as he tries to understand mortals and the things they do. With a lot of wisdom and depth.

    The Wee Free Men is a lighter story, but brighter and more comical. I love the McFeagles!

  15. #15
    Warchief StarbuyPWNDyou's Avatar
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    Yeah, Colour of Magic is pretty much the mandatory starting point. After that, I'd reccomend The Light Fantastic (at least, I think that's it's name) and then you can pretty much go wherever you like.
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  16. #16
    I'd also suggest a chronological order - at least until you've read the first part of each storyline. Then it's possible to follow your favorite character set i guess - but there will be references and jokes missed.

  17. #17
    Which one will tell me "you liked this? then the series is for you"?
    This is in fact why I don't think it's worth starting with The Colour of Magic. The first two books I find quite different in tone, I've known people who have read the latter books go back and found the early novels hard to get into. Likewise, some fans of the early novels find the latter stuff not exactly to their tastes.

    Characters change quite a lot over the series, and not just due to plot-related development, how Pratchett wrote them changes. Death, for example, is a lot harsher in the early novels. Vetinari is also quite unrecognisable.

    Guards! Guards! is a much better starting point. Again though, I simply disagree that it's essential to read the books in order. I started reading Pratchett in the early 90's, and it wasn't until Feet of Clay that I started to read them in order (after Feet of Clay I've got the 1st edition of every novel since )

  18. #18
    I wouldn't recommend a chronological starting order. The first books are in a different style, and a little weaker than the rest. If you start with Color of Magic, you may be turned off the series. Better to come back to it once you already appreciate Discworld.

    I would recommend following the reading order guide when it comes to individual story lines, though. There is some overlap between them, but there is huge overlap within a set of books focusing on specific characters. If you jump in the middle of the Watch Novels for example, things may be very confusing.

    The watch novels are my personal favourite, so I'd recommend starting with Guards Guards, though Mort is also a very good starting point. Once you've read a few books in those story lines, go back to something like Mort or Equal Rites if you're looking for something different.

    My personal favourites among the books as sets of novels would be something like:

    1. Watch novels
    1.5 Industrial revolution (It's very closely linked with the watch novels)
    2. Death novels
    3. Witches novels
    4. Young Adult novels
    5. Wizards novels (Rincewind)

    If you've read Guards Guards, Mort and Small Gods and didn't like any of the three, then the series is not for you.
    Last edited by paraalso; 2012-05-13 at 05:38 PM.

  19. #19
    Had a friend ask me this same question a few months ago. I would say read Guards!Guards!, on one level you can get involved in the mystery/thriller aspect that the watch stories carry and still get some exposure to the disc. From there you will naturally want to know more about the world and then Color will be more digestible. Things on the disc tend to be satirical and in some cases existential so be ready to think when you read. When I have asked people they either love the series or tell me to fuck off and stop asking questions in church.*

    *Also always read the footnotes as they pop up. Often the greatest humor in the book is found here. Coincidentally the guy who told me to fuck off did tell me after we left the church that he loved the series. Weddings are always the best time to ask about literature preferences.
    Last edited by LastLaugh; 2012-05-13 at 05:40 PM.
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  20. #20
    Moderator Isrozzis's Avatar
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    The color of magic. Since it introduces the whole world.

    And then read the night watch ones. I don't remember exactly which book they start on, but commander vimes is a total badass. Oh, and thief of time can be read without any real prior knowledge since it doesn't continue an arc from any of the other books. It's one of my favorites too.

    ---------- Post added 2012-05-13 at 12:40 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by LastLaugh View Post
    Had a friend ask me this same question a few months ago. I would say read Guards!Guards!, on one level you can get involved in the mystery/thriller aspect that the watch stories carry and still get some exposure to the disc. From there you will naturally want to know more about the world and then Color will be more digestible. Things on the disc tend to be satirical and in some cases existential so be ready to think when you read. When I have asked people say they love the series or tell me to fuck off and stop asking questions in church.*

    *Also always read the footnotes as they pop up. Often the greatest humor in the book is found here. Coincidentally the guy who told me to fuck off did tell me after we left the church that he loved the series. Weddings are always the best time to ask about literature preferences.
    what you did there, I see it.

    But yah, read the footnotes. They contain the most hilarious moments of the books usually.

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