Which Discworld novel do you recommend to start at?

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Which Discworld novel do you recommend to start at?

Postby deldaisy » Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:30 pm

Hi fellow Discworld fans. Well its like preaching to the converted; and I'm sure there MUST be a post that covers this already as I have discussed it in depth with fellow fans but can still not come up with an answer. I tell the "TP virgins" about Discworld and when they ask for a book they should read I can't suggest ONE.... so suggest none. I love the Guards, and the Witches, and it colours my opinion. But then something like "The Truth" and "Going Postal" captures an essence of how Discworld is evolving but I feel those are too far into Discworld to get a grasp of the characters and where they have come from and the history they have with each other. And still I say each novel can be read as a good book in itself...... HELP!
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Postby michelanCello » Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:49 pm

Hi there, deldaisy, and welcome to the forum! :D

I just gave Soul Music to a friend of mine, who likes it really much (he was only wondering why there is a Death of Rats and why does it say NYÍÍÍ (which is how that stupid translator translated SQUEEK into hungarian... :roll: ), and when I explained, that there was even a Death of Fleas, he freaked out about the thought what sound he makes, but he likes it, and he hans't complained over things he didn't understand - yet, at least). I first wanted him to read Reapre Man, which is, I think a good start, because DEATH is an in a very interesting character to read about and RM has a good plot too (it's one of my favorites :wink: ), but he refused to read it in english, and Soul Music is the only book I have in hungarian (thanks to Sjoerd, of course :wink: ).
Personally I started with Small Gods, which was also a good start, I think, but after that I read Feet of Clay, which was a bit confusing, but still good... But after Interesting Times I thought I'd start to read them in chronological order. I wouldn't recommend to start with the Color of Magic, though...
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Postby Sjoerd3000 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:17 pm

I think Mort or Guards! Guards! are good places to start :wink:
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Postby BatrickPatrick » Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:23 pm

I started with Colour of Magic, but the first two aren't the strongest so maybe something later on for skeptics?
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:26 pm

I think Equal Rights is a good start but it really depends on what they're interested in - there's something in the books for most obsessions

Edit ti add - I would never suggest starting with Mort as I don't like the book and think Mort the character is an idiot, but I know there's plenty on here who disagree :)
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Postby The Mad Collector » Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:39 pm

I usually suggest Mort as that is the first book where Death is the character that we come to know, however Guards Guards is an excellent starting point.
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:44 pm

The advantage of Guards! Guards! is that you get an introduction to Ankh-Morpork and how it works along with the newly arrived Carrot.

Actually, it's the only book where he's any use at all. :lol:
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Postby DaveC » Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:31 am

I started with CoM and read them right through chronologically, well, I am as far as Night Watch at the moment, and I think that was the best way.

Even though CoM and LF were the hardest books to read I like the evolution of Pterry's writting and the desicions in made on the way to shape the universe, characterizations etc. if I had started at ER or Mort as others suggest, and hen gone back to read CoM and LF I think it would've been to jarring, in a) the style and b) the differences in the world like the wizards suddenly going from bumbling fools to murderers (poisoners).
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Which book to recommend as a first read?

Postby deldaisy » Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:10 pm

Gee thanks... I guess its like asking me which of my children I love the most. I never really LOVED Mort, and Guards Guards was a no-brainer as I'm a Guards fan. I love any of the books about the witches too but to introduce this as a first seems to give the impression that thats what the Disworld is ALL about... too much fantasy (?) though I tend to recommend witches to women as Terry truly understands the world from a womans mind set (Dear God his parents derserve some form of award), but then I grew up way out west where "magic" was performed with common sense, "well it worked on my horse", and an ointment made out of goannas.

But I love Guards books because of Ank-Morpork... Terry describes it so that you can almost smell the river, taste the rat-on-a-stick, and feel the cobbles under your feet just as Vimes does. (oh dear I just realised; Mum is Granny and Dad is Vimes!)

I have read alot of fiction and non-fiction and it always feels like Terry somehow has had access to all the books I had read in my lifetime.

I do admit I did recommend Lords and Ladies to one girlfriend (easy). As a precocious child she was far better read than her mother and every night her Mum would tuck her in and tell her "Dream of fairies darling" and turn off the light. Poor little thing KNEW how evil faeries really were.
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Postby deldaisy » Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:22 pm

michelanCello wrote:Hi there, deldaisy, and welcome to the forum! :D

I just gave Soul Music to a friend of mine, who likes it really much (he was only wondering why there is a Death of Rats and why does it say NYÍÍÍ (which is how that stupid translator translated SQUEEK into hungarian... :roll: ), and when I explained, that there was even a Death of Fleas, he freaked out about the thought what sound he makes, but he likes it, and he hans't complained over things he didn't understand - yet, at least). I first wanted him to read Reapre Man, which is, I think a good start, because DEATH is an in a very interesting character to read about and RM has a good plot too (it's one of my favorites :wink: ), but he refused to read it in english, and Soul Music is the only book I have in hungarian (thanks to Sjoerd, of course :wink: ).
Personally I started with Small Gods, which was also a good start, I think, but after that I read Feet of Clay, which was a bit confusing, but still good... But after Interesting Times I thought I'd start to read them in chronological order. I wouldn't recommend to start with the Color of Magic, though...


Thank you for the welcome (thank you to everyone!) Yes translated books fascinate me. I read something once where Terry was talking about how much trust he put in his translators. And some "boom boom" moments take an age to get to the punchline. I particularly remember he was talking about a chapter that built to the line "I could just murder a curry!" (something about assassins I think) but I wondered just HOW would such an "english" phrase go over to make it work. Wow! Credit to all the fans who take the time and effort to read the english versions. I stand in awe.
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Postby raisindot » Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:49 pm

Guards Guards or Mort are excellent places to drop new readers into the "now Pterry's got it" phase of the series, but you might also want to consider recommending Thief of Time. I started with this (knowing nothing about DW, just randomly choosing it among the few DW books ay my library), and it totally blew my mind. It's so amazingly creative and innovative and funny in so many ways that you aren't necessarily hampered by not knowing the back stories of Susan, Death and Nanny Ogg.

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Postby CJDobs » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:18 pm

"Now Pterrys got it" . . .

hmm . . . .

I'm pretty sure - nay certain - he had it from the very start.

I suppose you had to be there though - bit like Woodstock to the Hippy fraternity. Trust me, back in the '80's Terrys first books went WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH across the fantasy shelves leaving Ann McCaffreys and the like going WTF was that??? :shock:

And lo, a whole generation of fantasy readers peered at the cover art and spake 'I shall readeth this tome and judge for myselfe whether the wonders lie within".

And verily did those wonders awake! . . . et cetera.

Each to their own I suppose. I feel a bit like a Vietnam vet though, 'you don't know man, you weren't there . . . . :wink:
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Postby Who's Wee Dug » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:44 am

<I have read alot of fiction and non-fiction and it always feels like Terry somehow has had access to all the books I had read in my lifetime.>

And some more,Terry was very active in early fandom in the 60s.

you can read more in Peter Westons book http://www.nesfa.org/press/Books/images/Weston-600.jpg
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Postby Willem » Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:22 am

It depends on the person really. Witches Abroad is a good start, funny stuff and lots of easily recognised fairy tale references. Small Gods for the Dawkins fans :) I'd sooner recommend Reaper Man as a first book than Mort, since I find Mort to suffer just a little bit of 'early Pratchett syndrome'.
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Postby Maeve » Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:04 pm

I agree with Willem, I think it really depends on the person and what they'll like the most :) Then once we've got them into it we drag them down yelling 'ONE OF US, ONE OF US'.... or maybe thats just what I do.
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