THE DISCWORLD SERIES
The Discworld series contains forty-one novels, five of them are YA/children’s books, set in the Discworld. The first book was published in 1983, the last posthumously in 2015.
The best way to describe the style is fantasy making fun of typical fantasy tropes.
There’s no one central protagonist (or antagonist) for the entire series, the Discworld is a Universe inhabited by a plethora of characters, creatures, and cultures. Instead, it follows different themes with recurring characters appearing through the entire series.
Nothing is sacred, nothing is taken seriously.
One thing to note about the style and format of the books is that few of them follow a traditional chapter format. Some books, like The Color of Magic, have chapters, some are separated into parts, and some don’t have any at all. It can throw you a little when you open a book, and there’s not a single chapter, but once you get into the story, it’s not something you really think about.
Sadly, Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007 and passed away in 2015, no more novels will be released. Honoring Terry’s wishes, his former personal assistant ran over his hard drive, containing at least ten unpublished books, with a steamroller.
THE COLLECTORS EDITION
There are too many editions of these books to count. If things like editions and pretty books are unimportant to you (you heathen), then you can get your hands on a simple paperback copy for around eight or nine dollars/pounds without looking too hard.
I do care, and have begun collecting the “Discworld Library Collectors Edition.” From what I can tell this collection will only include the adult Discworld novels. The novels are released chronologically in installments of three or four novels. Right now, the collection is complete up to the thirtieth adult novel, “Going Postal.”
The books are hardback but in a standard paperback trade size at 130mm x 198mm. The cover illustrations are by Joe McLaren. The covers have a textured, almost a textile feel, and some details have been embossed in a shiny foil. All books have a different color scheme, including the foil details, but are the same size and style, making it a cohesive collection.
Don’t let “Collectors Edition” scare you off, these books are reasonably priced. The standard price is between ten to thirteen pounds in the UK and Amazon have them listed at thirteen dollars. I buy them at around the same price here in Sweden.
I feel like a door to door salesman writing this. Like I said, there are plenty of editions to choose from, especially if you prefer paperback. There are also other more expensive collectors editions, but from what I can tell those are limited edition and do not include the entire series. What drew me to these was that they’re reasonably priced books in what looks to be a complete and cohesive collection, which, if you like books, you’ll know is surprisingly hard to find.
I’m reading these books in publication order. Even though most books in the Discworld series can be read as standalone novels, I believe you’ll get more out of the books if you read them in the order they were written. There are many funny easter eggs and hints to previous books and characters that you won’t notice if you read them out of order.
If you‘re daunted by the thought of forty-one books, another option is to read them thematically. Because Terry Pratchett revisited many characters in several books, The Discworld Series can be divided into subseries. In the Discworld Collector‘s Edition, those subseries have been divided into (so far) six collections: The Unseen University Collection, The Death Collection, The Gods Collection, The Witches Collection, The City Watch Collection and The Industrial Revolutions Collection. Books belonging to a specific collection will have that written out on the spine beneath the title. But there are many ways and orders to read these books, for more suggestions on how to approach this series, take a look at THIS list.
If you choose to listen to the audiobooks, you need to keep an eye on which version you choose. It’s not just about the narrator, it’s also about content since one version is abridged.
In the unabridged recordings books 1-23, except for books 3, 6 and 9, are read by Nigel Planer. Book 3 and 6 is read by Celia Imrie. Book 9 and most of the books from 24 onward are read by Stephen Briggs. The abridged version is read by Tony Robinson.
I really like Nigel Planners narration. He has a voice made for the irony, satire, and sarcasm that flows through the books. Some people seem to dislike Celia Imrie’s narration, I quite like it, it’s more dramatized than Nigel Planners, but I enjoyed it.
From what I can tell from the samples I’ve listened to with Tony Robinson, his version is more comedic, and he has a very pleasant voice, but the abridged versions really are only half the book, literally!
The Color of Magic: Nigel Planner: 6h 52m – Tony Robinson: 3 h 4m
The Light Fantastic: Nigel Planner: 6h 46m – Tony Robinson: 3h 2m
I haven’t listened to the abridged version, but these books are three-four hundred pages at most, I really can’t see how you could cut out half of that and still have a cohesive story.
One negative thing to note is that some of the books (of the four I’ve listened too so far) have poor audio quality. It’s not terrible, and I didn’t find it too distracting. But, if like me, you’re sensitive to bad audio quality it might be something to consider, maybe use a good streaming service instead of paying full price for a copy.
ONE LAST THING
This is something that I will touch upon in my reviews as well, but it’s worth to remember that this is a long series and it’s creation spans over thirty years. This series follows the evolution of a writer as much as the characters and the Discworld universe. Personally, I’m as excited to follow Terry Pratchett’s journey from budding author to fantasy icon as I am about watching the Discworld unfolding.
BOOKS I’VE REVIEWED IN THIS SERIES
Unless credited, all images displayed on this blog are either mine or Copy Right Free and released under Creative Commons CC0. They are available for free at one or more of the following places: Max Pixel, Flickr, Public Domain Archive, Pixabay or Gratisography.