I love Discworld. A lot.
I was first introduced to Terry Pratchett through Good Omens in the late 90s. I’d been a big fan of Hitchhiker’s Guide so the humor spoke to teenage me. Good Omens is great. One of very few books I’ve read more than once. But I didn’t really know anything about the Discworld series. Not that there was a good way to learn about things like that besides word of mouth, stumbling on them in a bookstore or library, or maybe some cruddy Geocities website.
I learned about the books from a TA at a summer film program I attended at the Maine Photographic Workshops and it sort of blew my mind. An entire series like the Hitchhiker’s Guide, but longer and about fantasy? Written by one of the guys who wrote Good Omens? Fantastic! Getting the books was a little tougher, though.
This was an era before easily accessible electronic copies of books and most of the older Discworld books were out of print in the US or hard to find. And I certainly wasn’t going to start somewhere in the middle of the series like some insane person with no respect for order. But then Harper Collins started reprinting mass market paperback versions in chronological order.
That meant the time was right. So I dug in! For years, from the reprinting of Color of Magic in 2000 , I’d pick up the next Discworld book as it was reprinted or printed in the US, careful to read them only in original publication order.
If you ask people, they’ll often recommend you start with some of the later books and then only return to the early ones if you find you’ve become a fan. Nonsense. I think the beginning is the best place to start. You really get to see Pratchett come into his own not only as a writer but also as the creator of a world that starts as a sort of send-up of sword and sorcery tropes but becomes a rich, living, satirical thing of its own that is unlike just about anything else in modern fiction.
Discworld is silly. Discworld is exciting. Discworld is profound.
Discworld is great. I love Discworld.
I’ve wanted to start at the beginning again, reread the ones I’ve read already, and finally read the ones I haven’t. About a year ago I had the idea to start collecting Kindle versions as they went on discount and would work my way through as they became available. By the beginning of 2024, I’d collected three books: The Color of Magic (Discworld 1), Hogfather (Discworld 20), and Raising Steam (Discworld 40). Ok. A start. It’s probably going to take me a long time.
And then yesterday I found that Humble Bundle is selling 39 of the 41 Discworld books for the price of a burger and a beer. It might be the universe’s biggest no-brainer. How could I possibly say no to this?
Sure, the books activate on the Kobo store (what?). Sure, it’s missing the graphic novel The Last Hero and Raising Steam (the latter of which I already have). Sure, Humble Bundle is kind of sketchy now. But almost all the books? In one place? For eighteen stupid dollars?
I spent about 2 hours converting the files with Calibre and then sending them off to my Kindle for the sheer convenience of having them all in one place with all my other ebooks. Time consuming, sure, but easy and didn’t require a ton of thought. A little metadata clean up here, find new cover artwork there, and boom! All done.
Now I can reread and read the whole series. So follow along with me as I work my way through forty Discworld books over the next few years. I’ll give each a write up here as a way to stay honest about my progress. Honestly, I am pretty excited about it. If you love Discworld, or are at all curious about it, I encourage you to read along with what is sure to be a wild ride. Should be fun!