Sunday, July 15, 2007

And the Narnia Fans Think They Have It Rough

From L-space.org, a pictorial guide to the proper reading order of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, listing novels, graphic novels, short stories, children's books, and science books.

Or you could just do what I did, starting in the middle and picking books up whenever I found them in bookstores.

(Link via.)

8 comments:

Fred said...

That's probably the most sensible approach. The problem with being a completist about it and reading the books in order is that you may have to struggle through some of the not-quite-as-good earlier efforts to get to the good stuff.

Or not. I've actually only read The Colour of Magic (and liked it well enough), so I can't really comment with any authority.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

The Color of Magic, and in fact the first three Discworld novels, are indeed pretty dire. If memory serves, I started with Witches Abroad, then moved forwards and backwards through the series as the spirit took me. It seems to have worked out well.

I tend to recommend Wyrd Sisters, Mort, or Small Gods as good places to start in Discworld. By that point, Pratchett has gotten most of the serious kinks out of his system, and the imaginary world is starting to settle into a recognizable form, as opposed to the scattershot approach to fantastic invention that characterized the early novels.

Mike Taylor said...

The first THREE discworld novels? Really? I can't argue about the first two, but I'd put Equal Rites up there with the very best of the others.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

It's been a while since I read Equal Rites, so I can't give you a list of my reasons for rating it near the bottom of the Discworld pile, but my vague recollection is that the world still doesn't feel full-formed in that book. There's still a sense that Pratchett is first parodying others and building his own world second. Plus, too much focus on the wizards - by far the Discworld's least interesting sub-group - and, although they are not unamusing, Esk and Simon suck up air-time that should properly belong to Granny Weatherwax.

But then, every Discworld fan has their own personal configuration of favorite and least-favorite books. Most fans will place the first two books at the bottom of the pile and Small Gods at the top, but there's nothing resembling a consensus about the middle.

Nekura Neko said...

After "Colour of Magic," I made the dire blunder of trying to pick up "Carpe Jugulum" -- and that just didn't work. But now I might know why! (Comparatively, my 2-year-old niece has jumped straight to the end of the series with "Where's My Cow?" and hasn't noticed anything amiss -- though she might just be a better reader than I am.)

Stephen said...

Based on an earlier version of the reading order guide (1.0), I first read all of the Watch books, starting with the first (Guards! Guards!) -- which was just about perfect, I think. I certainly would recommend that as a starting place.

Myth said...

I have not read a book of his yet that I did not enjoy and laugh out loud on more than one occasion. I certainly have no read them in any order, just randomly picked one up and was hooked. Althouh I definately enjoyed Small Gods and Pyramids.

Anonymous said...

Well, I started with Colour of Magic, around a year after it came out, and have continued through the series in order. I loved the early books at the time, but then I was 13, and starved for more Hitchhikers' Guide and Cerebus the Aardvark, and it fit the bill (even without Elrod).

Rereading them recently, I understand why people dislike the first two books. In fact, if I started with them today, I think I would have stopped...

In fact, I was having a hard time figuring out how to get other people into the books--you can't jump right in to Carpe Jugulum or Night Watch without the right background, but starting people with CoM tended to turn a lot of them off. Thanks to your blog, I now know what to try.

I do want to disagree with you on the recent books, however. Wee Free Men, Night Watch, and Going Postal are among my favorites, and I'm eagerly waiting for my copy of Making Money. OK, Thud! wasn't his best book ever, but even in the "good old days" (which seems to mean "when I started reading" to everyone except old fogies like me who started at the beginning) they weren't all Small Gods.

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