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Starting to read Terry Pratchett

FubearFubear Registered User regular
edited February 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Is he a really really good author?

I've only read Good Omens, which I really liked.

What books would you recommend starting out with?

Fubear on

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    GuySmileyGuySmiley Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Start with Guards! Guards!. It's the start of the "City Watch" series - I've hooked a lot of friends on Pratchett with that book.

    Enjoy!

    GuySmiley on
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    Angel177Angel177 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Um..all of them...but the city watch, witches and death trilogys are all good starting points, everyone has their favorite charaters and settings,Try as many as you can.

    oh and read the Tiffinay aching trilogy as well!

    and hurry terry only has a few good years before his mind is wiped:(:cry:

    Angel177 on
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    Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Most people are mentioning Terry Pratchett's main body of work, which is the Discworld series, but he also has written some smaller works which are equally funny, like the Wee Free Men and Johnny and the Bomb series. The mindwipe bit refers to the fact that he has Alzheimer's (and he's starting to feel the symptoms), so he may not be writing for much longer. He is known for silly footnotes, clever wordplay, and dispensing with plot (and the resulting holes) in favor of humor, which is a good thing, since he's pretty damn funny. He doesn't get too deep (only mild satire here, if that), and if you liked Good Omens, you'll probably like the rest of his work. Neil Gaiman certainly does, and Neil Gaiman is a classy gent.

    I honestly get people hooked on the series through the big graphic coffee table book "The Last Hero", which is basically an illustrated Discworld novel. But I would suggest starting with Discworld. My first Discworld book was Small Gods and that hooked me onto Feet of Clay (which led me to "Guards! Guards!" and so on and so forth).

    EDIT: Previous thread on this subject here:
    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?t=84268

    Hahnsoo1 on
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited February 2010
    Wee Free Men actually ARE Discworld novels. They use the same universe, they're just aimed at a younger audience, and are certainly equally as good.

    One of my favorites of his was Small Gods, a standalone from the Discworld series. It's good because it's good, but also because you don't need to read a single other book from the series to get it.

    ceres on
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    skettiosskettios Enchanted ForestRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    It got linked at some point in the Discworld thread but thought I'd just post it here for the OP's convenience

    Reading guide
    the-discworld-reading-order-guide-1-5.jpg

    I highly recommend the watch novels :)

    skettios on
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    RaneadosRaneados police apologist you shouldn't have been there, obviouslyRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Most people like the Witches and The Watch arcs the best

    here's a reading order diagram

    edit: aw beat

    Raneados on
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    DeliciousTacosDeliciousTacos Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Read anything that was released in the time after and including Pyramids

    DeliciousTacos on
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    The_Glad_HatterThe_Glad_Hatter One Sly Fox Underneath a Groovy HatRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    another vote for guards!guards!
    still is one of my favourites.

    The_Glad_Hatter on
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    baudattitudebaudattitude Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I've been a Pratchett fan for ages, and I've embarked on a crusade to hook many others.

    I usually do start with the Night Watch books, which have been frequently recommended already, but I would recommend comitting to read at least the first two books before you make up your mind. The first book is essential to knowing the characters, but the second is the one that really hooks people.

    I have a very odd relationship with Small Gods: every second time I read it, I love it and think it's among his best. Every other time, I can't get into it and it's a chore to read through. Obviously there's something odd with my copy.

    baudattitude on
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    corcorigancorcorigan Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I prefer the newer stuff. It probably needs a bit of background to get into though.

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    DeadfallDeadfall I don't think you realize just how rich he is. In fact, I should put on a monocle.Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I know it's generally considered a weaker novel, but I got hooked with the beginning: The Color of Magic and the Light Fantastic. Been reading them ever since.

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    jeddy leejeddy lee Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I immensely enjoy Pratchett, and I've just hopped right in when reading his stuff. In order of me reading them:

    1) Witches Abroad
    2) The Truth
    3) Small Gods
    4) Night Watch
    5) The Fifth Elephant
    6) Guards! Guards!
    7) Thud

    And that's it so far. Great stuff. I like reading it in this unintended order because it's like you are peeking into a world you have no concept of, and you can only relate it to other peeks in, and when you stumble across origins/references, you have this little fit of glee.

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    QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    i read them in chronological order and though the first few are a slog, i am glad i did

    Quoth on
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    DiscoZombieDiscoZombie Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Fubear wrote: »
    Is he a really really good author?

    I've only read Good Omens, which I really liked.

    What books would you recommend starting out with?

    I'm going to go against the grain here - have you read Neil Gaiman? I read Good Omens, which I thought was awesome, and then I branched out into Gaiman, who I thought was even awesomer solo. American Gods and Anansi Boys rocked my world.

    After I was done reading most of Gaiman's stuff, I decided to try Pratchett, and I was not wowed by Guards! Guards!. It was funny and cheeky but just not as "filling". The characters are amusing, but they're all caricatures, which is OK, but it feels like reading a saturday morning cartoon with some raunchy bits. Yes, some of the jokes and his writing style can be darn funny, and there is some good satire on people, government, etc. so I'm not saying it's *dumb* either, but I never felt like the story was going anywhere. I never felt invested in what was going on.

    This is just one guy's review/suggestion though, obviously. Just sayin', Neil Gaiman became like my favorite author after reading Good Omens, and Pratchett, not so much.

    DiscoZombie on
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    QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    they were initially meant to be caricatures because he was writing parody

    that did not remain the case in later books

    edit: i say this to inform and not to argue, by the way, your opinions are your own and that is totally fine and i am not trying to change them

    Quoth on
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    DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Short answer
    Yes.

    Long answer
    Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees.

    It has been mentioned already but basically you can't go wrong with anything that is written/co-written by him.

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    DiscoZombieDiscoZombie Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Quoth wrote: »
    they were initially meant to be caricatures because he was writing parody

    that did not remain the case in later books

    edit: i say this to inform and not to argue, by the way, your opinions are your own and that is totally fine and i am not trying to change them
    That's cool, I've been meaning to get the next book in the Watch series so I could give it another chance since I know how beloved Pratchett is, but it's hard to get up the motivation when you weren't crazy about the first one you read :)

    DiscoZombie on
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    QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Quoth wrote: »
    they were initially meant to be caricatures because he was writing parody

    that did not remain the case in later books

    edit: i say this to inform and not to argue, by the way, your opinions are your own and that is totally fine and i am not trying to change them
    That's cool, I've been meaning to get the next book in the Watch series so I could give it another chance since I know how beloved Pratchett is, but it's hard to get up the motivation when you weren't crazy about the first one you read :)

    that's why so many people advise against starting at the beginning, really

    i don't think he ever intended it to become the mammoth series it is today

    eventually he steered away from parody and into social satire, or melded the two, and the books became much richer for it

    Quoth on
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    NeoTomaNeoToma Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Quoth wrote: »
    they were initially meant to be caricatures because he was writing parody

    that did not remain the case in later books

    edit: i say this to inform and not to argue, by the way, your opinions are your own and that is totally fine and i am not trying to change them
    That's cool, I've been meaning to get the next book in the Watch series so I could give it another chance since I know how beloved Pratchett is, but it's hard to get up the motivation when you weren't crazy about the first one you read :)

    I'd say just jump to Small Gods actually. It's a stand alone, and the subject and tone is alot closer to Good Omens. After you've tried that if you're not wowed then maybe Discworld probably just isn't for you. :/

    I say this as a Gaiman fan.

    NeoToma on
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    TheOtherHorsemanTheOtherHorseman Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Small Gods was my entry into the Discworld universe, and I feel I am the richer for it. Since it is stand-alone, it is a great way to familiarize yourself with how the man writes without binding yourself up in continuity, and since I think it is one of his best books, that's also a bonus.

    TheOtherHorseman on
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    rizriz Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I will say this, if you pick up one Pratchett book and aren't completely amazed, try a different one, with a different focus, and you'll probably thank yourself for it later.

    I personally am not big on the Watch, but I love the Witches to a painful degree, and Rincewind, and I'm pretty fond of the Death stuff too. And there are books in between. That being said the first Pratchett book I read was Maskerade and I was sort of bored and annoyed with it. Something made me pick up Small Gods anyway, though, and it's a damn good thing I did. I imagine I would even like Maskerade more if I read it again now... some of his books are just more accessible to new readers than others, while some are more packed with references and inside jokes, that may or may not work.

    Either way, yes, he's amazing and I will be very sad the day I run out of his books to read.

    I also say this as a Gaimain fan before I ever got around to Pratchett. They're two very different novelists. Good Omens is the best things about both of them, really.

    riz on
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    EuphoriacEuphoriac Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    My first Pratchett book was Interesting Times, which wasn't the best place to start from. I still loved it though. Following that up with...Jingo I think, wasn't the best idea either but ehhh it was still brilliant enough to pull me in.

    The Unseen University faculty gets my favourite vote every time. Poor Bursar!

    Euphoriac on
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    QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    i think the key is to either start with a standalone or start at the beginning of a cycle

    you really lose a lot if you start randomly somewhere, because although the books are not sequels to each other, there is a definite chronology

    Quoth on
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    MahnmutMahnmut Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Most people who like Good Omens seem to like Discworld. I would characterize Good Omens as having a Gaiman-ish setting and premise and Pratchett-ish writing, though naturally it's not so black and white.
    Deadfall wrote: »
    I know it's generally considered a weaker novel, but I got hooked with the beginning: The Color of Magic and the Light Fantastic. Been reading them ever since.

    The only trouble with those is that they're fairly narrow D&D/fantasy-genre parodies, whereas the rest of the series ends up being more general humanist satire/social commentary. Also, the wizards are my least favorite set of characters, but that's just me.

    I think Guards, Guards! is the best place to start.

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    SlicerSlicer Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Quoth wrote: »
    i think the key is to either start with a standalone or start at the beginning of a cycle

    you really lose a lot if you start randomly somewhere, because although the books are not sequels to each other, there is a definite chronology

    Indeed. Reading something like Night Watch without knowing beforehand who Vimes is would be pretty terrible.


    Also, seconding Guards, Guards! as a good place to start, as that's where I began as well.

    Slicer on
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    RaneadosRaneados police apologist you shouldn't have been there, obviouslyRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    wellll

    night watch really isn't a bad place to start either

    i mean you don't lose anything super important i don't think

    plus you can assume a lot of stuff

    Raneados on
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    Bendery It Like BeckhamBendery It Like Beckham Hopeless Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I recently bought 3 Pratchett books, Small Gods, Good Omens, and Reaper Man. According to the chart I need to go back to the book store :|

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    RaneadosRaneados police apologist you shouldn't have been there, obviouslyRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    that chart's just a reading order

    Small gods can easily be read by itself, in the discworld timeline I believe it predates every other book by about a thousand years

    feel free to read any of them in whatever order you so wish, they don't suddenly become unreadable just because you pick them up in the middle of an arc

    Raneados on
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    BeastehBeasteh THAT WOULD NOT KILL DRACULARegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    his latest stuff (particularly Unseen Academicals) is a lot different than his previously high fantasy, awesome nonsense which was my favourite: see, Rincewind and the Witches.

    he seems to be injecting the real world into Discworld, and I can't say that I enjoy it.

    If I could suggest one book to start someone off on Pratchett, I would suggest Interesting Times, mainly because it is (in my opinion) his funniest and most accessible work, urinating dog urinating dog.
    how do you think the series will end? Will Rincewind/Granny/Vimes die, will Death hang up his scythe, will the Discworld become Earth?

    Beasteh on
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    FunkyWaltDoggFunkyWaltDogg Columbia, SCRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Thanks to this thread I decided to read Guards, Guards! again. I knew it was great but I had forgotten just how great.

    FunkyWaltDogg on
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