The Great Discworld Thread

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
True that reading them back to back will alter your perceptions. From that perspective, a potential re-read of Maskerade will be interesting, as that seemed to hit you when you had real Discworld fatigue. Guessing that's a fair bit down the line though :) I hope you do revisit this thread when you re-read though!

I think Pratchett junior is right to say that the end is the end, at least at this juncture. Part of me hopes she revisits the decision in 10-15 years. I think it would be cool if she were not to revisit Sir Pterry's stuff, but create a new generation of Discworld. But... also maybe a bad idea.

I think I'm going to have to become a professor of fantasy literature simply to get access to the last drafts though!
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
I just finished the Science of Discworld: book 1. I really liked this book. The book alternates between chapters that focus on the Discworld and chapters that focus on Roundworld (our world). The wizards of Unseen University have accidentally created Roundworld in one of their experiments. The wizards decide to study their fledgling universe. What unfolds is a scientific dissertation, written in a funny and understandable way, on physics, chemistry, cosmology and many other scientific disciplines. Roundworld (earth) which is governed by the rules of physics is compared with the Discworld (which is ruled by the rules of narativium).

Above all it is a book about the creation and the history of earth through the aeons. It deals with asteroid and meteor impacts, the origin of life, evolution, extinctions, plate-tectonics, weather, climate, etc.

It's a fun read, whether or not you know anything about Discworld or have read any books in the main series. I think the enjoyment will be higher if you did though (there are some recurring themes). I rate this book 9.0/10 (*****5 GoodReads Stars).
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
I just wrapped up The Science of Discworld: book 2 by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen. The book basically picks up where the first book left. There is a new story involving elves that skip from Discworld to Roundworld to mess with human development. The wizards follow to try and stop the elves from doing mischief. Interspersed are again chapters on science that range from psychology, physics, evolution, religion and art. This time it mainly revolves around human development. The heaviest theme, once again, is that of the 'Story'. The authors argue that rather than Homo Sapiens our species should be more appropriately named Homo Narrans or Pan Narrans (the story-telling man or story-telling ape). The authors state an interesting (and I think correct) case that the thing that separates us from animals is stories. These were instrumental in our evolution as a species. And the interplay between intelligence and extelligence (culture) has boosted us to where we are now. At the end of the book Richard Dawkins and his theory on memes and memeplexes as ways of transmitting ideas and stories was discussed quite extensively, which was nice.

The Terry Pratchett chapters (the one with the actual story about the fight between the wizards and the elves) were fun. The science chapters were partly interesting, but also partly a snooze-fest. And the authors keep on repeating themselves. Halfway through the book I really really understood the point about how important stories are in human personal and cultural development. I don't have to have the same concept explained to me 20 times before I get it.

Also, the book could have done with more actual examples of the concepts explained, rather than a description of the concepts. You know, it would have been cool if a Science of Discworld book had more actual... science.

This book is by no means bad, and it is fun if you are scientifically inclined, but it didn't blow me away, I rate it with 6.8/10 (***3 GoodReads Stars).
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
THREADOMANCY

ok lets get this restarted because apparently I'm marathoning terry Pratchett.

I'll follow this up with what I've done.
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
Color of magic
It's rough, or at least it is when compared with the later books, which were much more refined cleaned up or evolved. That's not to say it's bad, it's just bumpy. There's a lot of bad cut scenes and awkward segways. But I still loved it.

I think it could be said that people could jump in and like this book without reading a single fantasy novel beforehand, much like one could love Blazing Saddles without watching the westerns it mocks. ("Badges we don't need no stinking badges" comes from Treasure in the Sierra Madre, but we don't need to know that too laugh) but as someone who has read all these fantasy book Pratchett parodies, I think brings more to the content and let's me laugh harder (when the black runed multidimensional sword crosses from a Michael moorcock parody, to eight different medieval legends at once ( most notably the Excalibur reference) I laugh audibly)

I liked it , but the movie better. Most of what needed to be cut from the film, was. Some of what was cut couldn't have been done properly without ruining the tempo of the movie (the dnd parody scenes)

6/10
The Light Fantastic
. I am so glad he dropped the first Conan parody (hrun) for this second (cohen) it's sooo much better.

In general I'd say this is a far superior book than the first. The plot is better, the jokes are better the characters are better. My favorite parts are all dealing with the higher up wizards. The part I hated most was the druid rock computer. I already know he gets better than this, so I can't wait.

7/10
Mort

Chronologically best so far. Whereas the first two read like a parody travelogue, stopping at various locations to parody a different fantasy series, this one has more focus. It parodies three series throughout and it sprinkles others in. The bulk of the plot is parodying "great expectations" ("boy", "it's mort") prachett spend a great deal of time bringing his jokes from the other books and restructuring them (how many times can you parody your own joke on how slow the dawn is?) There is also a significant Robert E Howard influence on the counties Sto Lat, Sto Heilet and(cough) Krull.

The original content of this book seems to be stolen borrowed and reused throughout modern cinema (Crow, dead like me, Pushing daisies, et cetera) which hails to the genius of the book, and influence it holds (unless im mistaken) i particularly liked
the constant plot twists near the end, you go in thinking the ending will be one way as soon as the conflict appears, but the closer to the end the more frequent the plot twists until you are forced to put up your hands and say "I give up, I'll just wait until you tell me what the ending is. The ending was predictable though,the writer I think put all those twists to try and pull you off the scent, excellent descion.
8./10
Sourcery


starts off good, maybe a 6 or 7. then something weird happens... I became extremely acutely aware at how cliché it is a joke to describe one sense by using descriptions of a different sense... like tasting colors, or seeing sounds, et cetera. I am so aware that I know it was already a cliché when this book came out, so its not even innovative.

often it seems that Pratchett is clever with his use of these, combining puns like "the luggage felt wooden" but with this book, they are just added ad nauseum here and there to describe everything related to magic, which starts of quite common, and continues to increase in frequency.

THEN you get to the part of the book where its a solid 100 pages of alternating from one of three jokes to another, repeatedly, without stop, with barely time to catch your breath when jumping from one joke to another of the exact same (or that of the joke on the previous page)....AAHHHGGG

4/10 (dislike dislike dislike)
Wyrd Sisters


Great Book, best yet, book two witches, book 6 Discworld.

So it starts off a strong Parody of Macbeth (my favorite Shakespeare....) and takes great liberties with make the Witches the Protagonists sidelining the Macbethlike characters. The parody then morphs into a parody of half of all fairy tales involving princes and princesses (especially Sleeping Beauty and Snow White) its decidedly good and skimps not on the gratuitous plot points. making sure that every cliché is not only present, but called out showcased and has a spotlight shone on it. the characters themselves will even point out how ridiculous these clichés are, for great comedic effect.


8.5/10
last years reads
 
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Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
PyraMids

This is a first time read, mostly because I seem to remember lots of negative reviews. but I loved it, it's the best discworld book I've read (during this marathon)
we get a rather in depth but quick insight into the assassin's guild (our first look really, unless it was in guards) we get a massive pile on the nature of religion, gods, and a whole new kingdom not explored before

This parodies a great many things, but not as wholly as before, these are more brief jokes like a Aladdin reference for 40 pages STOP. or a whole bit on Oedipus STOP. let's briefly and quickly pull from Homer, then use Homer much later to extensively mock the entirety of his work.

I kind of wish not to see these characters but maybe as brief cameos later. they are great as they are, but not every character needs to reoccur as protagonists.

9/10

eric

Better than expected, but not quite as good as it should be.

a big parody on the AMAZING Faust story. but each part deals with a different individual parody, like part two being a clear Illiad parody.

I like it better than I should.

7/10

Reaper Man

This was a bit of a disappointment. the main story is most death takes a holiday (again, sigh) of a sorts, and Death is rather boring the whole way through. he keeps saying things as if there is a forced stoicism inherent in his new persona, but it comes off as dull and lackwit. he does, and the story does, get a lot better when we approach the climax.

there are some new and interesting characters met, that will reappear in later books, from the B story. but mostly the B story was even worse. there is the whole zombie bit ( not a SPOILER since it appears in first chapter) but mostly you are watching the wizards "yoyoing " about chasing ideas that, despite being ridiculous, have nothing to do with the story. Add in the awful 100 year old cliche jokes on shopping carts (or trolleys, Buggys , poke wagons, grocery carts carriages, trundlers, coohundlers. whatever your dialectal region calls them) Spoiler: awfulness, but spoiler
rounded off in the whole B story being a big alien invasion by . sigh. shopping malls.

there was a running gag from the movie Chinatown

the star character, " the death of rats" despite having a very small role his presence was enough to add an entire star to my review rating.

5/10

Soul Music

here's the good old stuff (to paraphrase Death)

Death is missing... yet again, again . but this time he is acting like he's supposed to. I love the Klachian bits particularly. even the wizard bits were better than they have been.

but death of rats and Susan both stole the show.

the main bulk of this book is all music puns, endlessly coming up with hilarious versions of real world bands, concepts, phrases, songs etc. like "the whom" or "anarchy in ankh morprok"

8/10
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
Awesome to read your reviews beer! Some are similar to how I felt about the books, but the more interesting ones are the ones on which our opinions differ.
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
Awesome to read your reviews beer! Some are similar to how I felt about the books, but the more interesting ones are the ones on which our opinions differ.
I am making very carefully sure, I do not read your , or any other, reviews on the books until after I have wrote mine. so I have not read your eric, nor soul music. I have a feeling that these might be where we differ most.

but I am a sucker for the pythonesque humor riddled through eric (and the beginning of Guards, but not so much the others of the first 9). And I understand Monty python to be often disfavored even amongst brits.
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
Guards Guards !!!!!

*snicker*

This one starts off like a Monty Python sketch. Quite literally very pythonesque, more so than any other book (so far) then it steps right into a Hard Boiled former alcoholic Gumshoe detective novel. ( I have feeling @Darth Tater might count this one as one of his favorite Pratchett novels.

The Mystery novel is an entire genre based on a formulaic plots. hundreds of thousands of novels exactly the same. (overstatement I know) so the idea of clichés for this genre, is not to avoid them, but that you HAVE TO INCLUDE THEM. this works in favor of Pratchett as he marches each cliché through the pages in a perfect assemblage of satire and parody. He even includes the "WOAH the thing we are (running from, afraid of, hiding from, looking for, etc.) is right below us, WE ARE ON TOP OF IT." which was a cliché before Scooby doo got ahold of it 50 years ago and repeated it ad nauseum.

just because the whole book is just formulaic doesn't mean it can't reveal amazing things and surprise you. I mean...
of course the first king in centuries for Ankh Morpork just happened to be a dragon. OF COURSE the citizenry just excepted it immediately and started cheering like the coming of a victorious savior

hmmm

9/10
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
Moving Pictures

much like soul music the laughs are centered on the specific modern cultural industry. the references won't stop, and we don't want them too.

jaws, jazz singer, king Kong, son of the sheik, theif of baghdad, sunrise, gone with the wind, bugs bunny, tom and Jerry, lassie, sunset boulevard, works of buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and DW Griffith. so many more it's far more than worth mentioning.

some mere puns, some paraphrased quotes and a few very worked out plot devices.

there are a lot of behind the scenes scenes that are ripped inexplicably from the pages of history and it's backstage accounts of films (like the repeating camel bit, which is also a movie reference to a different movie)

the plot is based on various cliches that are so redone, a tv show almost HAS to include an episode with it. the main plot (your inhabited by the spirits of your ancestors who were involved centuries ago.) is so cliche Hanna Barbara did it a dozen times. it actually predates film too. so does the whole fiction comes to life and climbs out of screen, (or book) bit.

that's the point though.

pratchett works the discworld as a parody of repeating themes, classics, and cliches. most of this book is exactly that in the way so over the top none of his other books come close.

I definitely was overcome with ecstasy over the lovecraftian bits, including quotes.

side note I think the running gags involving camels are my favorite part of the discworld.

so far, the best yet.
9/10
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
Men at Arms / Feet of Clay

I read them back to back, then waited to long to write this.

even better than Guards. This one is written more like Buddy Cop parody (moving up from the classic noir of 40s-60s to a 70s and 80s) we deal a lot with the whole concept of minority cops in film, so far as in the middle of a race war riot they recruit a few from both sides who instantly start scoffing and treating their own worse than anyone ever had before. but when we get to feet of clay we start turning into more of a cop drama tv show, with grander concepts.

so we have dwarves, trolls, zombie, an orangutan, gargoyles, a werewolf, and a gnome.

Men at Arms has a lot to do with a grand cross guild conflict that no one wants the cops involved (or in the patricians mouth only, but secretly is manipulating the watch.
Feet is a big The Golem parody, but with assassination conspiracy and the like.


One thing I noticed is each book is written into a different sub genre, and so consecutively changes the personalities to fit the new approaches to the way the noir is presented. example: Commander Vimes is a drunk gumshoe as incompetent as his underlings inspired by good nature of his new recruit. but by Men at arms starts he is suddenly a hardened veteran of an immense tactical knowledge and a fantastic intuition always knowing exactly how to deal with a situation and outsmarting assassins. He couldn't do the things he does in this, and won't fit the new Noir idiom in his old persona which was perfect for the first book.

they morph again to fit Feet of clay.

Men at arms 9.5/10
Feet of clay 8.5/10
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
Awesome to read your reviews beer! Some are similar to how I felt about the books, but the more interesting ones are the ones on which our opinions differ.
I never would have thought our reaper man reviews would be so opposite from eachother.
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
Jingo

Great Idea, take a bunch a characters we know and love in the standard role as Mystery/Noir/Detective/Copdrama parodies, and throw all of that out. I will admit that taking such a sharp 90 degree turn in this novel is IMPERATIVE for the charaters to be as awesome as they will be in the next one.

This one seems to be the weak link in what is turning out to be the best sequence (so far as ive read) in the discworld. that's not to say it was bad, just rather, dull and ridicules.

ohh theres great jokes, and great plot points, but mostly it was just, boring. relatively that is. Obviously I did enjoy it, just not up to the standards of 'City Watch'

7/10

The Fifth Elephant

THIS on the otherhand, is only the second discworld book I have given a 10/10 to. (I think ive read about 20 now)

It was wonderful, you had this huge tangled mess of mystery , and small segments of the normal world going bad, which the dichotomy of is practically a golden standard in TV its so cliché. The whole thing was so tangled that everytime you thought " HERES the climax, its all over now" you pull on another string to read through another climax. One plotline even kept coming back in intervals constantly pretending to be its final climax.

The Dwarves (which lets face it was facepalm ridicules in the early books) have been treated with a great backstory of lore and tradition. Werewolves have been given their own personal culture which is brilliant, and creative. The idea of Igor was also a good one, them being a metaphor for the overarching plot theme based on the Greek philosophy of Plutarch's Ship of Thesus (although in this it seems to focus on the modern rewrite of "grandfathers Axe") was a bit of genus. I mean Pratchett incorporated the thought experiment into nearly everything in this book, but the Igor's really drove the theme home.

Captain Carrot is... not even close to the same character he was, sure you can base some of it on character growth, but just like vimes somewhere he was given a very large amount of IQ points. but I like the was he is and I particularly like the relationship he has growing with the werewolf.

I see there is a reoccurring joke Involving Gaspode
where he doesn't die....but only after he dies.


10/10
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
I think a lot of Pratchett characters become sharper throughout the series because that's what he needs them to be; they start as being the butt of the joke and move on to being our vehicles to see the joke.

In the case of both Vimes and Carrot, it works well for me though. Vimes was always that guy, just his alcoholism and self-despising hid it. Released from that and given purpose, he's a much different fellow. Carrot was a kid by dwarf standards and saw the world by kid standards; then he grew up.
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
Lords and Ladies

There is nothing wrong with the Witches series, but they always seem to parody literature (and other media) that im distinctly not interested in. so I am giving all the Witches sequences an extra star to counteract my bias.

Okay so in this one we are Parodying Midsummer nights dream, as well as several dozen romantic comedies and theatre in genreal..The whole book is mostly a wedding. the planning. And of course the interruption by the conflict.

The conflict of course is an invasion from the Feylands.
OMG I loved that elves ARE REAL ELVES. none of this noble stoicism and nature reverrence via a Tolkien ripoff, but real honest to god Elves the way they were meant to be, full seelie and unseelie. not evil but we'd call it that because we don't quite understand. tricksers and bloodletters. dangerous liars with no moral codes. and a curious nature about our insides. creatures of the shadows.


7/10

Maskerade

This go around we are Parodying the Phantom of the Opera, (of course fairy tales as all Witches books are) and Opera itself. although familiar with most references, never been a fan.

Add to that, the Parody of Phantom of the Opera has been done to death. It was done to death before TV even.

what can I say about this that hasn't been said before in any number of tv show reviews on THEIR phantom of the opera parody. I can say I haven't seen the Marriage of Figaro or Ring of the Nibelung refernces.


5/10

Carpe Jugulum

Best Witches Book.

There is a heavy parody for Dracula in here, but it kind of fades nicely into a backdrop of generic vampire jokes so im not quite sure it was intentionally Dracula, since it skips over the most obvious plot points and subjects for parody. The vampires are a combination of cliche movie euro trash and immovable bottom lip speaking WASPS from New england


of course they broad sense of vampire lore is dealt with including for plot movement the whole invitation into your house thing. since the king invitged them, they had the run on the country itself.

So one thing I have always liked (more and more as time goes on, and done very well in fifth Elephant) is the Dwarves. For some strange reason everyone seems to make all dwarves Scottish. this is wrong. Dwarven myths come from Germanic regions, most notably Norseland. Modern dwarves come from Tolkien of course who gave them all nordic names like Oin, and Gloin (both pronounced with only one syllable like Oink) and sing songy two syllable names like Thorin, Bompur, Bofur. etc. Tolkien also pulls heavily from Nordic culture to build his dwarf culture, he even steals the Nordic runes to form his dwarf language. ... tangent.... anyway, Pratchett fortunately is pulls on this, he makes all his dwarves very nordic. he gives them a singsongy syllabic names and nordic culture (a hacking like germanic type language though)

I mention this so I can gush on Pratchetts gnomes. much like the nordic dwarves and the gaelic Fey elves, gnomes also pull more from mythos rather than modern fantasy rewrites. They speak a very gaelic sounding language, they zip and creep in a very trickster gaelic gnome way (they can be friends if you leave them gifts, or enemies if you offend them). they even wear blue warpaint and maintain a queen like a celtic fertility goddess idol. (so fat its spherical kind of thing)

last witches book is also the best... fitting.

9/10
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
I don't think I saw reviews from you of Equal Rites and Witches Abroad - did you skip those two?
kind of.

so I am only reading what I own, trying to get my bookcases down to two, without double stacking and filling sideways cracks.

I did read equal rites but didn't remember enough for a review.

I sort of read witches abroad. again not enough to review properly.
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
kind of.

so I am only reading what I own, trying to get my bookcases down to two, without double stacking and filling sideways cracks.

I did read equal rites but didn't remember enough for a review.

I sort of read witches abroad. again not enough to review properly.
Got it. Only two bookcases huh? That's rough.

I was curious to see what you thought of Weatherwax's character growth. I think she's got one of the most dramatic changes from beginning to end.
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
down from five I'm at closer to three now.


also I was really enjoying Magrat better
I re-read Lords and Ladies recently and was struck by just how much I enjoyed watching Magrat's transformation. Prior to that point, I always found her character just a little good at being that wearingly optimistic person.