1498: "Terry Pratchett"

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1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby lorb » Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:35 am UTC

Terry Pratchett

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Title: “Thank you for teaching us how big our world is by sharing so many of your own.”

"AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER."
Last edited by lorb on Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:39 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby Kanonfutter » Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:36 am UTC

He had a good one, and will be remembered.

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Mar 13, 2015 8:02 am UTC

Beautiful tribute. What bravery and what marvel to behold the flower of the world.

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby midgetcastle » Fri Mar 13, 2015 8:05 am UTC

Thank you, Randall. Thank you.

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby Andries » Fri Mar 13, 2015 8:51 am UTC

“What can the harvest hope for, if not for the care of the Reaper Man?”
― Terry Pratchett

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby mccdyl001 » Fri Mar 13, 2015 8:54 am UTC

The twitter sign off moved me to tears.

If anyone hasn't seen it, shortly after he passed on, Sir Pterry's official account posted the following tweets:

Spoiler:
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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby nightbird » Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:19 am UTC

That was beautiful. Rest in peace, Mr Pratchett.
“Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom.”

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby Invisiblemoose » Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:36 am UTC

Did Randall forget how to draw?

RIP Terry Pratchett, loved his books.

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby Angua » Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:42 am UTC

I was so excited when I found out that I'll actually get to see one of the bromeliads at the end of the month and the frogs inside it.

Terry Pratchett has finally left our flower.
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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby orthogon » Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:01 pm UTC

I read Mort soon after it was first published, and enjoyed it immensely; I think I might have read a couple of other Discworld books afterwards, but only one or two. By the time I thought of reading another (I did virtually no reading during my university years), there were so many that I was reluctant: could he possibly have kept up the quality and originality, or was he being pushed by his publisher to milk a cash cow? I was concerned that, if this were the case, reading later books would spoil it for me. My impression from the devoted following that Pratchett continued to attract is that I needn't have worried, but now I probably need a couple of recommendations since I'm not realistically going to read them all.

That aside, Terry Pratchett's approach to his Alzheimer's was remarkable: brave, touching and funny in equal measure, and his documentary on Assisted Suicide, Choosing to Die, was one of the most astounding pieces of television I have ever seen.
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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby mikrit » Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:44 pm UTC

orthogon wrote: but now I probably need a couple of recommendations since I'm not realistically going to read them all.

Bah! If Terry could write them all, the least you can do is to read them all.

Seriously, though, I have read nearly all, and enjoyed many of them immensely, but some I didn't like much. So here are my favorites (not a shortlist, but shorter than the whole list):

The Colour of Magic, 1983.
The Light Fantastic, 1986.
Mort, 1987.
Wyrd Sisters, 1988.
Guards! Guards!, 1989.
Good Omens (with Neil Gaiman), 1990.
Reaper Man, 1991.
Lords and Ladies, 1992.
Only You Can Save Mankind, 1992.
Small Gods, 1992.
Johnny and the Bomb, 1996.
Night Watch, 2002.
The Wee Free Men, 2003.
Nation, 2008.

When you have read those, you can ask me to select among the remaining ones!

And, Sir Pterry, I hope that you will cross the dark desert safely and see what comes next.
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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby orthogon » Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:47 pm UTC

Thanks mikrit!
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby mccdyl001 » Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:50 pm UTC

I probably need a couple of recommendations since I'm not realistically going to read them all.


There are several guides around if you'd like to drop into just a part of the Discworld series and don't want to read them all in published order. One example can be found here http://www.lspace.org/books/reading-order-guides/, but if you do a bit of googling there are plenty of resources like that floating around.

The books are all incredibly re-readable, so if its been a while since you read one don't be afraid to pick it up again. My bookshelf at home has 36 of the novels off that poster and I can honestly say I don't think there's a single dud in the entire lot.

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby Wellingtons » Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:53 pm UTC

I'd add Monstrous Regiment (2003) and The Truth (2000) to the list, along with Night Watch, my top 3 Diskworld books. Night Watch is a little better if you've read the other Guard's books (Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms, Feet of Clay (my wife's favorite), Jingo, and Fifth Elephant) but still a great work on its own merit

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby DanD » Fri Mar 13, 2015 1:22 pm UTC

The problem with asking for recommendations is that I doubt you'll get the same list from any two different readers.

For instance the only two of the above that I agree with are "Guards, Guards" and "Good Omens". Not that any of the others even resemble bad, they're just not the best. But Terry's "not the best" is still better than most books out there. I'd list Nightwatch, Carpe Jugulum, and Going Postal as my top three out of disc world.

Take the time to read them all, in order. Yes, there's a lot, but they're relatively fast reads, and well worth the effort.

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Fri Mar 13, 2015 1:34 pm UTC

I agree with the the reading guide posted by mccdyl001. Read one of the starters, for example "Moving Pictures" and if you like the characters read the next one in that series, and so on. If you don't like the characters you read another starter novel. The books in each thread connect quite strongly and that way you can read them as one big story.

I'd advise Moving Pictures because that thread hooks into the modern world strongly and it makes fun of it in a non-insulting way.
Main character wise I find the Rincewind thread more appealing, starting with "The colour of Magic". However, at hart I find all the Discworld books are awesome. They all have their reasons why they are awesome.
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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby Xenomortis » Fri Mar 13, 2015 1:47 pm UTC

I always liked Truckers - I found it one of his best non-Discworld books.
Diggers wasn't as memorable for me, perhaps because the "Bromeliad" idea isn't as well explored; but Wings was nice.

The order you read the Discworld books doesn't matter too much, I think Night Watch was the first "Watch" book I read, but it didn't ruin the previous books for me.
Although reading some of the early books can be a bit jarring if you're used to the newer ones. Things are more settled post-Sorcery I think.

It's sad to think that Pratchett will no longer be contributing to the world, but he has given us much.
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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby warspite » Fri Mar 13, 2015 1:50 pm UTC

About two years ago I moved away from Cambridge, MA to go to graduate school. (Try not to think too hard about that. Just run with it.)

This is a nice town. Lovely people, view of the sea.

But sometimes I miss Cambridge. Like when I'm sitting in a coffee shop, and I realize my cheeks are wet, and when someone asks me what's wrong, they don't understand when I say "XKCD"

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby Keyman » Fri Mar 13, 2015 1:57 pm UTC

He wrote so you can read it easily and without effort. But I'm sure it wasn't "easily and without effort" for him, because that's the hardest writing there is. He didn't show off with style and form and format.

He invited you into his world, and said, "I think you'll like this story".
And you do.
Then he says "here's another one."

And pretty soon, you're looking around for the turtle.
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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby Chicagojon » Fri Mar 13, 2015 2:19 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:I read Mort soon after it was first published, and enjoyed it immensely; I think I might have read a couple of other Discworld books afterwards, but only one or two. By the time I thought of reading another (I did virtually no reading during my university years), there were so many that I was reluctant: could he possibly have kept up the quality and originality, or was he being pushed by his publisher to milk a cash cow? I was concerned that, if this were the case, reading later books would spoil it for me. My impression from the devoted following that Pratchett continued to attract is that I needn't have worried, but now I probably need a couple of recommendations since I'm not realistically going to read them all.

That aside, Terry Pratchett's approach to his Alzheimer's was remarkable: brave, touching and funny in equal measure, and his documentary on Assisted Suicide, Choosing to Die, was one of the most astounding pieces of television I have ever seen.


Your results may vary, but after discovering him through small gods (still a huge favorite) and good omens (essential) I looked up the list of books in order, printed it out, & started at the Colour of Magic. Time can fly by in Discworld and it didn't take long at all to 'catch up'. Before death comes for me I'm sure I'll reread wee free men more than others and am partial to the witches and guards books, but the wizards are great and if pressed I would put going postal very near the top of a favorites list.

I will say that reading chronologically can add quite a bit in backstory, the evolution of the world, and getting to know and love the author.

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby keithl » Fri Mar 13, 2015 2:28 pm UTC

My "problem" with Terry's fiction is that it is too detail-laden and thought-provoking for light reading. If you give the books your full attention, and dive below the surface into the deep thoughts that inform them, you won't have much brain bandwidth remaining for other tasks, like your own writing.

I've met Terry personally a few times - the first was at Penguicon north of Detroit in May 2003, where a dozen of us went to a shooting gallery for "Geeks with Guns" and he learned to fire a pistol. In August 2003, the two of us had lunch at Torcon 3 (world science fiction convention in Toronto), in the small "underground" restaurant across the street from the convention center. I was aware of but had not read any discworld novels yet. So we talked about writing, and his beautiful little patch of forest land that he looked out over as he wrote. Other times since.

Terry was known and respected in the SF/Fantasy community, but still in transition to Big Name Author. The "embuggerance" was probably having its effects even in 2003, which is why he let a person he barely knew guide him across Toronto's Front Street to a restaurant that was difficult to see.

I shed some tears, but they were tears for all of us, especially those of us who die while hurrying to complete their gifts to others. Terry didn't get it all on paper, though memory of works remaining to be written probably drifted away near the end. So, he's left us, but perhaps (in some version of the multiverse that may be ours) he has gone where those unwritten books went, and can complete them now. I hope DEATH has a typewriter ready, and that the CAPSLOCK key isn't stuck on it.

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby keithl » Fri Mar 13, 2015 3:04 pm UTC

Concerning Alzheimer's Disease - I've read hundreds of medical journal articles about this "disease", which is defined as "dementia followed by amyloid plaques in the autopsied brain". The scare quotes around "disease" means the boundaries of the definition change as old theories are found wanting and new theories become fashionable.

My readings suggest the currently fashionable theories and potential preventatives will be found wanting soon. Monoclonal antibodies against beta amyloid have failed clinical trials - subjects died of non-bacterial encephalitis. This, and the principal determinant gene (APOE4), and the evolution of that gene, should be Big Fat Clues.

Not mainstream yet, but AD may be caused by Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 (HSV2) invading brain cells through LDL cholesterol receptors. The "cure" could be 500mg of Valacyclovir twice per day starting at age 30, a healthy diet (AKA no crap food), and disciplined sleep habits. Valacyclovir is off patent, though requires a prescription, obstensibly for suppression of genital herpes (the brain is the primary sex organ, right?). The second is "off TV"; they don't advertise steamed fresh vegetables, just crap made from subsidized corn, hypnosis channeled straight to your subconscious. The third is because deep sleep is when your brain does its chemical housekeeping.

Most early onset Alzheimer's is genetic. If anyone here knows Terry's daughter Rhianna, she should look into this. If any of Terry's research money remains, some should go to researcher Michael Wozniak at the University of Manchester. His colleague Ruth Itzhaki has left active research to care for her husband, though she should be consulted.

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Mar 13, 2015 3:27 pm UTC

The Colour of Magic isn't his best work - the parody is a bit heavy-handed, and the world lacks the depth it builds up over the series. That's not to say it's a bad book, but a number of the ideas in it are quickly abandoned or extensively revised when they return - for example, there are dragons in CoM and again in Guards Guards, but the latter are very different from the former.

It's more of a preliminary sketch for Discworld.

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby Xenomortis » Fri Mar 13, 2015 3:42 pm UTC

CoM and LF are probably my least favourite. They lack the depth of the later books, trying to quickly describe the Disc as the two main characters traverse random places.

Small Gods and Night Watch are probably my favourites.
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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby addams » Fri Mar 13, 2015 4:23 pm UTC

oh, That reminds me.
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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby CelticNot » Fri Mar 13, 2015 5:17 pm UTC

I've only ever read three of Pratchett's works. Unfortunately, the first book I read was Sourcery, which was probably the worst place I could've started. It was the only Discworld book my school library had, though. I was horribly lost, I loathed the characters - especially Rincewind, but Death's appearance at the end gave me some small amusement - and ended up skimming just to see how it ended. The whole experience turned me off of his writing for over a decade.

Then, during a heat wave while staying at my mother-in-law's house, I had finished reading all the Star Trek novellas I cared to from her collection, so I picked up a Discworld book at random and decided to give the series another chance. I'm very glad I did. My second choice was Maskerade, and I adored the witches and Greebo. I moved on then to Reaper Man, and was rewarded with the return of the only character I hadn't loathed from my first experience with the series. It's easily my favourite Discworld book thus far.

I've always meant to go back and read more, but as a few others have said, the scope of the series is daunting - especially when you don't know which books have characters you actually like! That said, that Discworld Reading Order Guide someone linked above will prove very useful to me, thank you. I now know which books to avoid, and which ones to focus on. I'll probably start with the Watch and Death cycles, and move on to the Witches later.

Wherever you are now, Mister Pratchett - thank you.
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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Fri Mar 13, 2015 5:20 pm UTC

Death has quite a few books.
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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby haker85 » Fri Mar 13, 2015 5:36 pm UTC

Did this remind anyone else of the Jetson's?

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Mar 13, 2015 5:49 pm UTC

Neil_Boekend wrote:Death has quite a few books.

Death appears in every single Discworld book but Wee Free Men and Snuff. There's also a Death in Good Omens, who might not be the same one.

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby DanD » Fri Mar 13, 2015 6:09 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote: Death appears in every single Discworld book but Wee Free Men and Snuff. There's also a Death in Good Omens, who might not be the same one.


But he is the lead or a main character in only a few of them. Mort, Reaper Man, Hogfather. Depending on your definition, Soul Music, and Thief of Time. Although those are somewhat more Susan than Death.

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby Coyoty » Fri Mar 13, 2015 6:42 pm UTC

I think the first Pratchett book I read was Strata, one of his few pure science fiction books, although it messed with Genesis.

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby neremanth » Fri Mar 13, 2015 6:48 pm UTC

Equal Rites was the very first Terry Pratchett book I read, and when I finished it I desperately wanted more. I went on to read the rest of the Discworld books in order (catching up with publication between Hogfather and Jingo), and loved them too, but somehow in a different way to Equal Rites. There's really a lot of variety in the series, not just in terms of which characters and locations the books feature but also in tone. Equal Rites is a bit of an outlier among the earlier books, I think, feeling more serious than the others which are all fairly similar. There are other more serious-seeming books later; indeed most of the last third of the series are quite serious, I'd say, particularly in comparison to the earlier books.

The other main changes as the series goes on are that the magical aspects of the fantasy world are less to the fore (magic remains possible throughout, but characters tend to use it more in the earlier books), and that somewhere in the middle changes in technology and society are allowed to persist. In the earlier books, some technological or cultural phenomenon that mirrors something in our world will come to Discworld, but it will end up causing problems, often involving the Things from the Dungeon Dimensions breaking through, and once these have been dealt with everyone realises that the phenomenon is dangerous and it disappears from the world again, possibly with the aid of heavy regulations. I think Guards! Guards! is the first book where an innovation (the beginning of transforming the Watch into a proper police force) actually persists, but it's not till somewhere round The Last Continent that lasting change is the default. We then get to see the cumulative effect on society of each change that gets introduced, with the last third (or so) of the series introducing a semaphore system that's the Discworld parallel of the internet/phones, newspapers (printed with moving type), stamps, banknotes, football, and a railway system. Alongside all that are societal changes in acceptance of various non-human species, in dwarfish culture and intergroup relations, and in relations between dwarfs and trolls. So the world by the end of the series looks quite different to the world in The Colour of Magic. I wonder if Terry Pratchett had any idea when he first imagined the Discworld just how much change he would narrate it through?

Anyway, the main point I wanted to make (which I lost the thread of rather there) is that in such a diverse series, different people like different things. (And some people like all of it, but different books in different ways.) So I agree it probably doesn't make sense to ask for recommendations as to which are the better ones in the series. Trying out the different story arcs as others have suggested is a good idea, but there is diversity even within story arcs too. For example, I can easily imagine someone enjoying Guards! Guards! but not Night Watch or vice versa (both these being in the arc of books about Vimes and the Watch). I think maybe the only thing to do is try a few, and if you don't like all of those then ask for recommendations of others that are similar to the ones you did like.

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby Showsni » Fri Mar 13, 2015 8:19 pm UTC

Sad to hear of his death. Mort is probably my favourite Discworld book, though I always like Rincewind too. Only You Can Save Mankind is probably my second favourite book of his. I do like CoM and LF, despite their differences from the rest of the series.

At least I have a good few of his books left to track down and read...

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby FireandAir » Fri Mar 13, 2015 9:19 pm UTC

Not overwhelmingly familiar with him, but am familiar enough through his various short articles and essays to feel that the world is a poorer place without him, although it is also a far, far richer place for his having been here in the first place, so it more than balances out in the end.

As touching as this sweet tribute was, I'm afraid that my own favorite TP quote (from the one of his books that I did read and barely remember but for this quote) is the following:

"The man who put the torch to Agnes Nutter was a Witchfinder Major. They found his hat in a tree two miles away."

I still find that, and the whole scenario surrounding it, to be the funniest g/d thing I've ever read in my life. That is the single most explosive belly-laugh I've ever had while reading a book, and it caused my friend Catherine to shoot off the back of the sofa as if she were launched. I still can't say it out loud without breaking up.

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby JTL » Mon Mar 16, 2015 5:00 pm UTC


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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby freezeblade » Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:36 pm UTC

FireandAir wrote:As touching as this sweet tribute was, I'm afraid that my own favorite TP quote (from the one of his books that I did read and barely remember but for this quote) is the following:

"The man who put the torch to Agnes Nutter was a Witchfinder Major. They found his hat in a tree two miles away."


I believe this was Good Omens, which was actually Pratchett and Neil Gaiman writing together.
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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby PM 2Ring » Tue Mar 17, 2015 7:28 am UTC

Ook.
Terry Pratchett wrote:“No one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away – until the clock he wound up winds down, until the wine she made has finished its ferment, until the crop they planted is harvested. The span of someone’s life, they say, is only the core of their actual existence.” ― Reaper Man


From the tribute thread on the official Terry Pratchett forum
MrsWizzard wrote:From the pit of my heart and with the most profound sincerity, thank you, Mr. Pratchett. Make sure you teach him how the little horses move before you go on.


GNU Terry Pratchett

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby ps.02 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:23 pm UTC

Last fall, I took in 4 newborn kittens. Named them Hong, Sung, Fang, and McSweeney. Hong and Sung still live with me, so every day I am reminded of Sir Terry's work. Too bad most people I come in contact with don't get the reference.

I've always said Small Gods is my favorite of his works ("De chelonian mobile!"), but this comic reminds me that I really need to go find the Bromeliad trilogy again. They were a delight. But then, weren't they all? Thank you, Sir Terry, for everything.

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby San Fran Sam » Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:08 pm UTC

I haven't read any of the Discworld books yet. they are part of the stack I haven't gotten to. but I did find this webpage that shows a chronological order to the stories and the threads. I don't know if it is up to date or not.

http://www.lspace.org/books/reading-order-guides/the-discworld-reading-order-guide-20.jpg

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Re: 1498: "Terry Pratchett"

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:33 am UTC

San Fran Sam wrote:I haven't read any of the Discworld books yet. they are part of the stack I haven't gotten to. but I did find this webpage that shows a chronological order to the stories and the threads. I don't know if it is up to date or not.

http://www.lspace.org/books/reading-order-guides/the-discworld-reading-order-guide-20.jpg


Snuff, Raising Steam and I Shall Wear Midnight are missing - the latter follows Wintersmith; the other two follow Thud and Making Money respectively, and probably have minor links between them placing them in that order. Where's My Cow doesn't entirely fit the diagram - the book is based on a book-within-a-book distributed within the pages of Thud, so probably properly belongs slightly before Thud...

There's also another one due out this year.


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