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Why you should read Pratchett


Dr.Bedlam
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Never read Terry Prachett. I've read Good kind. I'll give it a looksie.

One writer that I have a strong distaste for....over fifteen years and I'm still mad about: Piers Anthony's Race Against Time. It was the most pro racial purity garbage I ever read and I was ten at that time. I had never been so mad at a book til I read Oliver Twist. (I had gotten upset at my mother because I didn't know how sad the beginning was...I was sensative back then!)

But yes, Terry Prachett. Since Repairman Jack ended I haven't read a single book. Maybe Prachett can be a new addiction.

Edit: What's a good one to start with?

Not gonna derail too much, but the short form is: Piers Anthony yuck. I've read rhe book you mentioned and, just, yes, grr, yuck. And that one doesn't even have his endemic pedophilia and skeevy rape squick. Yuck.

 

But Terry Pratchett, OMG. To mention those two in the same breath is like ... like mentioning vomiting in a highway rest stop bathroom after a two-day migraine versus spending a semester being paid generously to read Shakespearean comedies in a lovely furnished sixteenth century apartment at Oxford. (Er. Or something like that. My metaphors can be a bit wobbly at times.)

 

Anyway, you get the idea. Pratchett may not be to everyone's taste, but his warm humor and compassion, his sympathy for the downtrodden, and his sharply observing eye and wit is a delight to read.

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Edit: What's a good one to start with?

 

His early stuff (The colour of magic, The light fantastic) is definitely not as good, IMHO - I enjoyed them when they came out, but he has really developed as a writer. The first few books were aimed at an RPG-playing audience ('Rincewind became aware he had fumbled the initiative' for example) and quite humorous and jokey. The later stuff is still funny, but just better written, and often very emotionally engaging.

 

I'd start at the beginning, but just don't expect too much from the first couple of books... 

 

 

Vimes is my personal favourite Discworld character amongst a sea of great characters.

 

Agree with this 100% - Night Watch especially was fantastic!

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Yeah, starting points are hard for Pratchett. The beginning would be best but they definately aren't the best books.

Guards, Guards is a decent alternaive start in my opinion as it's still an early one, the first of the guards books so it's not got much in the way of pre-existing character or concepts coming into it and it's got a heavy focus on (and introduction to) the city Ankh-Morpork around which a lot of the books are either set or involve.

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As for which one to start with, MissMelons, it depends on your interests.

 

Do not start with the first two. Do not.

 

Pratchett himself has said not to start with the first books because they're very different from the later ones and not really gelled yet. (I, alas, *did* read exactly those two first when they came out and they seemed only two among the ten thousand other "zany humor spoof" fantasies that were the fashion just at that moment. If it were not for my love of Neil Gaiman leading me to read "Good Omens" leading me to try once again I might nver have realized how amazing Pratchett could be.)

 

The books don't have to be read in order. There are different threads in them which develop over time, but even those don't have to be read in order, although they are richer if you do.

 

The Watch books, as Aard_Rinn mentioned, are wonderful if you like cops (some police groups in the UK consider Pratchett's "Watch" books to be the best police procedural series ever). The first one is "Guards! Guards!"

 

The Witches books are also marvelous. The very first one is "Sourcery," but be advised it was an early book and so not really squarely in the Discworld yet. I tend to think of the actual first one as "Wyrd Sisters," which is a delightful riff on "MacBeth" from the point of view of a trio of extremely funny and sympathetic witches. The next is "Witches Abroad," which is a mashup between Mark Twain and Perrault's fairy tales with some gimlet-eyed investigation of personal responsibility and destroying other people's lives by mashing them into a shape you find pleasing.

 

The Death books are fantastic. The first one is "Mort," about death taking on an apprentice.

 

There are books that are independent enough to read just as one-offs. "Pyramids" is the tale of a scion of a desert kingdom questioning thr foundations of his weirdly timeless realm. "Moving Pictures" is a hilarious, loving satire of the early days of Hollywood as if run by wizards and alchemists and sitting on top of Cthulhu's dreaming city, and also includes the origin of the character Gaspode the Wonder Dog, a fun and extremely recurring character. "Hogfather" is, or should be, a Christmas classic.

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Never read Terry Prachett. I've read Good kind. I'll give it a looksie.

One writer that I have a strong distaste for....over fifteen years and I'm still mad about: Piers Anthony's Race Against Time. It was the most pro racial purity garbage I ever read and I was ten at that time. I had never been so mad at a book til I read Oliver Twist. (I had gotten upset at my mother because I didn't know how sad the beginning was...I was sensative back then!)

But yes, Terry Prachett. Since Repairman Jack ended I haven't read a single book. Maybe Prachett can be a new addiction.

Edit: What's a good one to start with?

Not gonna derail too much, but the short form is: Piers Anthony yuck. I've read rhe book you mentioned and, just, yes, grr, yuck. And that one doesn't even have his endemic pedophilia and skeevy rape squick. Yuck.

 

But Terry Pratchett, OMG. To mention those two in the same breath is like ... like mentioning vomiting in a highway rest stop bathroom after a two-day migraine versus spending a semester being paid generously to read Shakespearean comedies in a lovely furnished sixteenth century apartment at Oxford. (Er. Or something like that. My metaphors can be a bit wobbly at times.)

 

Anyway, you get the idea. Pratchett may not be to everyone's taste, but his warm humor and compassion, his sympathy for the downtrodden, and his sharply observing eye and wit is a delight to read.

 

Mmm. Right up there with Terry Goodkind and his chicken that was not a chicken.

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I discovered Pratchett through Guards Guards and then tried to find the earlier books to read in order along with any others that were already out at that time. Then I bought and read the newer books as they were published.

 

Definitely agree that the earlier books are not as strong as the rest, but I think they should still be read before one gets too far into the later books.

 

I'd probably go with the guards or witches stories as my general favourites... But really I enjoy the overall variety of the characters.

Also, for myself I prefer to read the books in the order they were published and not group them by character(s).

I think it would spoil something to read all the stories involving your favourite characters first, and then have only stories featuring lesser liked characters left.

 

There's a lot to be said in looking forward towards seeing old friends again after a bit of an absence.

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I (randomly) read my first Pratchett book from what was apparently right in the middle. I found Witches Abroad at the library and ate it up. I did try reading the first few books, but didn't like them as much as the others I read. Things are always better if I start in the middle apparently. :lol:

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I discovered Pratchett through Guards Guards and then tried to find the earlier books to read in order along with any others that were already out at that time. Then I bought and read the newer books as they were published.

Definitely agree that the earlier books are not as strong as the rest, but I think they should still be read before one gets too far into the later books.

I'd probably go with the guards or witches stories as my general favourites... But really I enjoy the overall variety of the characters.

Also, for myself I prefer to read the books in the order they were published and not group them by character(s).

I think it would spoil something to read all the stories involving your favourite characters first, and then have only stories featuring lesser liked characters left.

There's a lot to be said in looking forward towards seeing old friends again after a bit of an absence.

To be fair, many characters have guest appearances in other books. It's useful to know who they are.

 

I do regret that Granny Weatherwax never meets Sam Vimes. Now there are two tough, self-mistrusting good guys.

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The first one I read was Reaper Man which was the newest one at the time, and to be honest a bit of a confusing one to start on with for a 9-year old. I think after that I went back and started at the beginning, I've read them all in order since then, though I've not read the Tiffany Aching books yet (I think I have them all though, definately Wee Free Men and I Shall Wear Midnight, I'll have to check on the other two). I've also not yet read Raising Steam but it is in my unread books stack.

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I started with Guards, Guards. Very fond of the Watch and the Witches, the newer ones with Moist von Lipwig are rather nice, especially since I love a good conman novel.

 

I also highly recommend Good Omens, which has a 6 part audio play up on the BBC site that you can stream for free for a little over a week: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04knt4h

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Used to love his books, then I hit a patch where I felt they were all getting kinda samey and not as good as they used to be (the last one I read was the Witches vs. Vampires), so I stopped picking them up with the intention of starting again in a few years, but I never did.

"Carpe Jugulum" was Pratchett's mockery of romanticized vampires -- in 1998! (He was good at spotting ridiculousness good and early.)

 

It's kind of a collision of the old Hammer horror film vampires and modern peacock-embroidered-waistcoat-wearing ponytailed vampires (an actual character, I swear), with a nod to adolescent angst. Part of its relevance is to show how much milder the killer fanatic religion in "Small Gods" has become, as its chief representative is an earnest, dull, puritanical and in the end utterly heroic traveling preacher.

 

It's the witches who save the day, though.

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I started with a short story titled "The Sea and Little Fishes." I owe a lot to the first Legends Anthology. I bought it for the Stephen King, Tad Williams, and Robert Jordan short stories, but it got me addicted to George R. R. Martin and Terry Pratchett. I still maintain that "The Hedge Knight" is Martin's finest work to date. In fact if you haven't read the Legends  Anthology I recommend it. I liked everything in it but the Anne McCaffrey, and lets be honest I'm never going to like anything of hers anyway.

 

@Talae

 

The Tiffany Aching series for YA are fairly kid friendly, but they assume a bit of background in the Witches series.

 

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents is also fairly kiddo friendly.

 

Maybe Hogfather, depending on the kids. Death of Rats is always worthwhile (SQUEAK).

 

I have to take Pratchett in spells, but I love his sense of humor. I've not doubt mentioned this in other posts, but Granny Weatherwax is hands down my favourite character. Vetinari is also a gem (one man one vote; he's the man and he gets the vote). His take on Dwarves is brilliant.

 

Cheers

 

@Pingo

 

It's starting to scare me how much our opinions coincide.

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