Best and Worst Discworld

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby McFisticuffs » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:18 pm UTC

I actually just started reading Colour of Magic a while ago, and I'm feeling really mixed. On the one hand, yes, he has very fresh, sharp ideas. On the other hand... I can't stand his writing style. I feel like he's taking great ideas and running them through the generic mediocre fantasy novel writing machine. Overusing -ly words every other sentence, the huge exposition dumps, the awkward pace... I want to enjoy it, I really do, but trying to read it feels more like work than enjoyment, which is a shame, because as I said, he's endlessly clever.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Kewangji » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:59 pm UTC

McFisticuffs wrote:I actually just started reading Colour of Magic a while ago, and I'm feeling really mixed. On the one hand, yes, he has very fresh, sharp ideas. On the other hand... I can't stand his writing style. I feel like he's taking great ideas and running them through the generic mediocre fantasy novel writing machine. Overusing -ly words every other sentence, the huge exposition dumps, the awkward pace... I want to enjoy it, I really do, but trying to read it feels more like work than enjoyment, which is a shame, because as I said, he's endlessly clever.

Try reading later books, they're almost guaranteed to be better.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby GraphiteGirl » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:48 am UTC

In fact, feel free to just skip ahead; it's not the kind of series where you necessarily need to have read in order, and Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic are probably the least remarkable in the series. Maybe skip to Wyrd Sisters, or Guards! Guards!
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Czhorat » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:32 pm UTC

I liked all of them, and would agree with those who found Small Gods to be one of the best, both for its sharp (although obvious) critique of organized religion and for having an original cast of characters.

I think his writing has been steadilly improving, but one flaw that's been creeping into the series as of late is that of some major characters becoming archetypes and, at least to me, less believable. Vimes is the cranky but honrable and good policeman. Havelock Vetinari and Esmerelda Weatherwax are both obnoxious, controlling, but just and so hyper-competent at anything they do that any plot points revolving around them have become boring and obvious; we KNOW that they'll find some solution that will be obvious to them, blindside everyone else, and work out perfectly as they intended. For me, this started to be a real problem with Weatherwax in Masquerade, although there were hints of it earlier. I like the Moist von Lipsig books because he doesn't seem, as of yet, to be infected with total perfection.

I know that the hyper-competent hero is a trope Pratchett has been playing with since introducing Cohen the Barbarian in the first or second book, but when the heroes hang around and more of the plot hinges around them it gets a little bit old.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Game_boy » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:10 pm UTC

McFisticuffs wrote:I actually just started reading Colour of Magic a while ago, and I'm feeling really mixed. On the one hand, yes, he has very fresh, sharp ideas. On the other hand... I can't stand his writing style. I feel like he's taking great ideas and running them through the generic mediocre fantasy novel writing machine. Overusing -ly words every other sentence, the huge exposition dumps, the awkward pace... I want to enjoy it, I really do, but trying to read it feels more like work than enjoyment, which is a shame, because as I said, he's endlessly clever.


Don't start with Colour of Magic. Start with Mort, or Witches Abroad. I got that same feeling with the first two books, less so in the third and not at all afterward. Choose a book where you get the references (pop music -> Soul Music, Australia -> Last Continent, Shakespeare -> Wyrd Sisters).

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Czhorat » Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:27 pm UTC

I disagree on Thud, I found it to be in some ways one of Pratchett's strongest. I especially liked the way he handled the conflict between Sergeant Detritus and Vimes regarding the latter's perceived lack of respect for Trollish culture. Monstrous Regiment was one that fell a bit flat for me, especially because
Spoiler:
the fact that ALL of the soldiers were women in drag became obvious too early, and became too repetive and juvenile to be funny anymore.


I also liked A Hatful of Sky, partly because of what I saw as his smooth handling of the "passing of the torch" from the older generations of witches to the new one, and
Spoiler:
his restraint in not having any of the witches make a big showy splash at the gathering.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby MotorToad » Sat Aug 29, 2009 2:35 pm UTC

Personal favorites would be Small Gods and Night Watch, but I can't really say any of them have been horrid. I'm just starting The Fifth Elephant with high expectations.

A recommendation: I found Strata in a used book store several years ago and loved it. It's not really a Discworld book, but you can see that the universe kind of sprouts from the ideas he had for that book. Reading it after having read several of the newer books felt like reading a "making of Discworld" behind the scenes documentary.



McEdit: The worst about Discworld is that it's not a misnamed trilogy. With 32 (I think?) books there are too many for me to keep track of which ones I've read. Especially given that my library is of the transitive borrowed and/or used style. I've already read The Fifth Elephant. :( Screw it, I'm reading it again, though.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby jwlynas » Sat Sep 05, 2009 4:51 pm UTC

For me, Soul Music is one of the strongest novels. Death is supporting cast, where he thrives, the whole book works wondrously whether or not you've read any pratchett before and the sheer number of references to music in general and Blues Brothers in specific just make for great reading (A fantastic drinking game if you like to mix vodka with parody is to have a shot every time you recognise a name or reference, though it also becomes quite crippling near the end of the book)

As to the worst... Colour of Magic and Light Fantastic. Lacks the charm of the later books.

I have to disagree with most people here though, for me the series has only improved as it goes on. Moist Von Lipwig is a wonder after the rather unintelligent heroes we've had since the start (Rincewind, Vimes, Brutha, Ptolmec, Weatherwax, all have their moments of genius but in general are just a bit slow on the uptake. its good that Pratchett has branched out a bit, and its great that Vetinari has someone almost worthy of his intellect)

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby GraphiteGirl » Sat Sep 05, 2009 5:00 pm UTC

jwlynas wrote:I have to disagree with most people here though, for me the series has only improved as it goes on. Moist Von Lipwig is a wonder after the rather unintelligent heroes we've had since the start (Rincewind, Vimes, Brutha, Ptolmec, Weatherwax, all have their moments of genius but in general are just a bit slow on the uptake. its good that Pratchett has branched out a bit, and its great that Vetinari has someone almost worthy of his intellect)

Really? You see Granny Weatherwax as being slow on the uptake?
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Moo » Sun Sep 06, 2009 7:59 pm UTC

GraphiteGirl wrote:Really? You see Granny Weatherwax as being slow on the uptake?
Indeed, there's no-one I'd be more surprised to find on your list than her, except perhaps Vetinari.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Brother Maynard » Thu Sep 10, 2009 4:11 pm UTC

Less than a month till Unseen Academicals arrives...

And with a Jasper Fforde book due in December, I'll have a good Christmas.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby shainer » Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:46 am UTC

Worst: maybe Moving Pictures. It was funny but a bit predictable!

Best: Difficult to choose just one, because I've read about 25 Discworld books now.
But if I come to pick one, Feet of Clay.

Also Thief of Time, because the morning after I finished it, I was in school. The teacher was talking about Dante and the Divine Comedy (Note: I'm in Italy, we study it once per week for three years), the Heaven part. All that talks about circles, divine perfection, light, harmony, everything planned to the smallest detail to satisfy God's perfection, made me think about the Auditors and their "obsession for perfection", and the chaos of the human existence.

Ok, I stop with the philosophy...xD
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby foresthouse » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:38 am UTC

Night Watch remains a favorite, and Wintersmith is definitely up there, but I pretty much love all of them. The Vimes and Granny books have a lot of those, "Ooh, zing!" logic moments I enjoy, not to mention I love the characters.

I can't really choose a "worst" book...

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Lycur » Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:19 am UTC

Moo wrote:
GraphiteGirl wrote:Really? You see Granny Weatherwax as being slow on the uptake?
Indeed, there's no-one I'd be more surprised to find on your list than her, except perhaps Vetinari.


Her character was quite different in Equal Rites than it was in the later novels, perhaps he's just thinking of that?

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby StrangeTom » Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:36 pm UTC

Has anyone read Unseen Academicals yet, and would care to comment?

I feel that the Discworld series has slowly become more similar to real life, particularly from The Truth onwards. Its not necessarily a bad thing, but I do miss some of the more outrageous found in the earlier books.

My favourites are most certainly Jingo and NIght Watch, my least being Eric (so difficult to read somehow).

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Amarantha » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:34 am UTC

Ya, I think the tone is getting more serious over time. There are still some very DW-esque absurdities, but there's a definite lean towards commentary on the human condition.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Chuff » Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:55 am UTC

I wanted to pick it up the other day but the bookstore was out. They were out of American on Purpose as well! Urgh!
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Thadlerian » Sun Nov 15, 2009 1:03 pm UTC

StrangeTom wrote:Has anyone read Unseen Academicals yet, and would care to comment?

Aye. Starts out good. Moves on to become really excellent through the first two-thirds. Then it drops to below Making Money-level. And then you get a happy ending. A HAPPY ending. Think the riding-into-sunset ending of Blade Runner multiplied with the Harry Potter epilogue to the power of 10.

First you feel a little unwell. Then you get really sad, because you suddenly understand that this is Terry Pratchett knowing he won't be writing a lot more books, and thus saying goodbye to Discworld, wishing to be as nice to his characters as possible before sending them off.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Chuff » Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:44 am UTC

Unseen Academicals was still really good for the most part, although the big twist was pretty obvious.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby aleflamedyud » Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:41 pm UTC

Chuff wrote:Unseen Academicals was still really good for the most part, although the big twist was pretty obvious.

How was it obvious he's an orc?
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby GraphiteGirl » Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:43 am UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:
Chuff wrote:Unseen Academicals was still really good for the most part, although the big twist was pretty obvious.

How was it obvious he's an orc?

If that was in fact a spoiler I will be SO PISSED at you.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby aleflamedyud » Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:20 am UTC

GraphiteGirl wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:
Chuff wrote:Unseen Academicals was still really good for the most part, although the big twist was pretty obvious.

How was it obvious he's an orc?

If that was in fact a spoiler I will be SO PISSED at you.

What? When someone mugs you by raving and trying to claw your intestines out, it generally means orc, even in Ankh-Morpork.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby GraphiteGirl » Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:27 am UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:
GraphiteGirl wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:
Chuff wrote:Unseen Academicals was still really good for the most part, although the big twist was pretty obvious.
How was it obvious he's an orc?
If that was in fact a spoiler I will be SO PISSED at you.
What? When someone mugs you by raving and trying to claw your intestines out, it generally means orc, even in Ankh-Morpork.

(It may clari8fy things if I say I haven't started Unseen Academicals yet.)
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby nouna » Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:04 pm UTC

Best and worst Discworld? Almost impossible... I'll go for The Truth as the best. I just love the way it's written. Incredibly readable. Worst is harder... I don't really have a least favourite! If I had to pick, I'd go for Monstrous Regiment. Though this is almost exclusively because
Spoiler:
it absolutely broke my heart when I reaslied Maledict was actually Maledicta! Am I alone here??

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby MotorToad » Sat Dec 19, 2009 2:35 am UTC

nouna wrote:Best and worst Discworld? Almost impossible... I'll go for The Truth as the best.

Sweet. I have The Truth sitting here in my dirty hands waiting for me to finish another book.

(Of course, someone earlier said Faust Eric was the worst book and I loved that one. I guess I won't find a bad one. :) BTW, is there a joke about "Faust" that I'm not getting?
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby JayDee » Sat Dec 19, 2009 5:00 am UTC

Faust is a classic German legend about a guy who makes a deal with the devil for knowledge. Eric was a Discworld take on the idea, with added wizzard and a box with lots of feet.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby MotorToad » Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:31 pm UTC

Ah, thanks, that makes perfect sense. "I stole this story from xxxx and I'm not ashamed to admit it!" And I really like the luggage.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Kangaroo » Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:36 pm UTC

The best Discworld I've read to this day is Mort, and I actually enjoyed The Colour of Magic and Light Fantastic. The worst were Sourcery and Equal Rites.

For anyone interested BBC is running a dramatisation of Wyrd Sisters at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007jl80 right now.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby cypherspace » Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:17 pm UTC

I'm torn between several books really. Night Watch is a superb piece of writing, but it's much more dramatic and sentimental than most Discworld books, and similarly less satirical. There's no parodies of modern-day events really. So I'd say Thud!, perhaps The Truth, Small Gods or Men At Arms. Worst? The first.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby the_bandersnatch » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:05 am UTC

cypherspace wrote: ...There's no parodies of modern-day events really. So I'd say Thud!, perhaps The Truth, Small Gods or Men At Arms.


Thud! excepted, I didn't realise the development of the printing press, the inquisition, or the invention of the gun were modern-day events.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Chrisism » Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:15 pm UTC

Have to say I enjoyed The Thief of Time the most so far, got to love the yeti's :)

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Decker » Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:14 pm UTC

Going Postal is still my all time favorite, though Making Money is a close second.

Spoiler:
Angua playing with the chew toy was hilarious.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby sleepygamer » Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:56 pm UTC

Decker wrote:Going Postal is still my all time favorite, though Making Money is a close second.
Spoiler:
Angua playing with the chew toy was hilarious.
Spoiler:
She seemed so reluctant to let it go. One wonders if she was going through PLT...
*Ahem*

Anyway, I think my all time favourite will be Night Watch, purely because it balanced the darker themes with less out-and-out comedy than most, so the jokes were more subtle and suited the theme really well. Gotta be my favourite, with Thief Of Time running a close second, and Thud! just after that. I like the History Monks and the Watch the most.

Oddly enough, in my head I picture Sam Vimes as a slightly older version of my dad. Iunno why.

Edit: Interesting Times and The Last Continent are some old favourites too. I should make a full list.

List (1 being the best):

1. Night Watch
2. Thief of Time
3. Thud!
4. Interesting Times
5. The Last Continent
6. Reaper Man
7. Soul Music
8. Carpe Jugulum
9. Mort
10. Wyrd Sisters
11. Feet of Clay
12. Hogfather
13. Making Money
14. The Fifth Elephant
15. The Colour of Magic / The Light Fantastic

I'll stop there.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby markfiend » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:59 pm UTC

sleepygamer wrote:Oddly enough, in my head I picture Sam Vimes as a slightly older version of my dad. Iunno why.

Sam Vimes in my head is Harry Callahan -- quite eerie given today's comic.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby the_bandersnatch » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:35 pm UTC

That's probably because Pratchett has made Vimes a parody of Dirty Harry in a lot of ways, especially in the earlier Watch books, but it still pops up. I mean, Dirty Harry's words have even come out of Vimes' mouth on occasion, though tailored to the Discworld, of course. Even if you didn't directly make the connection when you read it there's still bits going into your brain to help form the mental picture you have of Vimes. Oh, and of course Paul Kidby draws Vimes to look like Clint Eastwood too :D

A streak of green fire blasted out of the back of the shed, passed a foot over the heads of the mob, and burned a charred rosette in the woodwork over the door. Then came a voice that was a honeyed purr of sheer deadly menace.
"This is Lord Mountjoy Quickfang Winterforth IV, the hottest dragon in the city. It could burn your head clean off. " Captain Vimes limped forward from the shadows.

A small and extremely frightened golden dragon was clamped firmly under one arm. His other hand held it by the tail. The rioters watched it, hypnotised.
"Now I know what you're thinking," Vimes went on, softly. "You're wondering, after all this excitement, has it got enough flame left? And, y'know, I ain't so sure myself ..."
He leaned forward, sighting between the dragon's ears, and his voice buzzed like a knife blade: "What you've got to ask yourself is: Am I feeling lucky?" They swayed backwards as he advanced.
"Well?" he said. "Are you feeling lucky?" For a few moments the only sound was Lord Mount-joy Quickfang Winterforth IV's stomach rumbling ominously as fuel sloshed into his flame chambers.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Joeldi » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:36 am UTC

Just finished Interesting Times and it was okay but kinda got lost towards the end. I was really excited by the prospect of Perfect Lord Hong vs. Brilliant Veternari mentioned at the start that never had any chance of happening.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Jorpho » Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:56 pm UTC

Just finished reading The Last Continent. Lordy, what a tiresome novel! It would be enough to turn me off Discworld permanently were it not for the fact that I've still got a good stack of them that I've yet to go through. Were it not for the Annotated Pratchett File it would not have made any sense at all, and even as it is it still seems rambling, incoherent, and much too long. Bleah.

I can only imagine the hilarity quotient is upped considerably for those who have grown up immersed in Australian culture and are intimately familiar with the subject matter.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby sleepygamer » Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:24 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Just finished reading The Last Continent. Lordy, what a tiresome novel! It would be enough to turn me off Discworld permanently were it not for the fact that I've still got a good stack of them that I've yet to go through. Were it not for the Annotated Pratchett File it would not have made any sense at all, and even as it is it still seems rambling, incoherent, and much too long. Bleah.

I can only imagine the hilarity quotient is upped considerably for those who have grown up immersed in Australian culture and are intimately familiar with the subject matter.
Huh, I had very little trouble with it, and it was one of the earlier ones I read when I was about 15 ish. From Britland too.

Hm. It deals with lots of time warping and so on, but I am used to following time crossing stories.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Brother Maynard » Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:42 pm UTC

Unseen Academicals: Now on my worst list by default since it's the first Pratchett novel I just couldn't be arsed to finish.

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sleepygamer
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby sleepygamer » Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:06 pm UTC

I didn't enjoy it as much as most of his stuff. It was a little confused. I thought that the plot was a bit all over the place, and that it smacked a little bit of too many ideas in one story.

In my mind, the atmosphere was a little too over the top. It made me think that it was a caricature of itself, in a way. Since I mentally visualise as I read, I noticed that everything seemed a lot more big. >.> I know that sounds odd, but that's how I saw it.

For example, Night Watch was a lot darker than most. And eternally at night, even during sections that were in daytime.

Night Watch remains possibly my favourite novel ever.
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