Why Terry Pratchett is my Favourite author

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Posted by Richard (1st Jan 2001, 18:02)

Terry Pratchett

I will begin by apologising for this article, it is not a detailed account of the Discworld, nor will it do any justice to the books which I hold in such high esteem. It is not even a very coherent analysis of Terry's writings, it is simply the reasons why I like the books so much, and is based, as someone else said before me, on my own meandering experience.

I agree with people who say that the Discworld books are rather simplistic, one friend said they were flashes of writing genius interspersed with pages of waffle and wibbling, I agree with him, but I think this is just what makes them so special. The unique mix of humour, excitement, fantasy, parody, mundane detail and outlandish but very real characters makes these books a joy to read time and again. The easy wit and charm of so many of them, is such a nice change from many books, which take things too seriously. The way a fantasy world can so exactly mirror our own and yet be so much better at the same time never ceases to amaze me.

In this way Pratchett manages to tell fantastic stories in what to me now seems a very familiar place, adding an extra layer of excitement to each new book like a chance meeting of an old friend. Each of the incidental characters, CMOT and Detritus for example bring back memories of past histories and adventures, and a deeper character is found lurking behind some subtle in jokes which make no difference to a first time reader and which are easy to miss but are there nevertheless.

The aspect that I find most enjoyable about the Discworld books is that although there is supposedly some chronological order to them they are not a series of books so much as a collection of individual adventures all happening in the same universe. So unlike many authors who write many books about the same group of people and places you don't have to read all twenty five in a row in order to gain the benefits of an ongoing narrative. You pick up bits and pieces but they are in no particular order, you can read any one of the books, and enjoy a comic fantasy adventure played out by familiar characters and have a definite feeling of satisfaction at the end of the book of a decent ending, you are not then forced to read the rest of a series.

One of the official reviews compared them most closely not to Douglas Adams but to Asterix the Gaul, I thin this is fair personally, the easy satire and language jokes are the same as are the shrewd plots and funny characters. I'm a big fan of Asterix as well by the way.

To my mind there is nothing so important as happiness and humour and by this definition the Discworld are some of the most important books ever written. Stuff 1984 and faux deep and meaningful rubbish I enjoy a good laugh.

pratchett books in the library

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