Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Discworld is a series of over 30 novels by Terry Pratchett set on the Discworld. Since the first novel of the series, 1983's The Colour of Magic, the series has gone from strength to strength, spawning many related works including music inspired by the series as well as cartoon and theatre adaptations. Newly released Discworld books regularly top The Sunday Times bestsellers list, with Pratchett being the UK's best selling author in the 1990s, mainly on the strength of the Discworld (he has since been overtaken by J.K. Rowling). Discworld novels have also won awards such as the Prometheus Award and the Carnegie Medal. In the BBC's Big Read, four Discworld books were in the top 100, and a total of fourteen in the top 200.
The world has been chronicled through at least 30 novels so far and several short stories. The novels prior to The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents (and almost all Pratchett books to date) had cover art done by Josh Kirby (who died in October 2001), but only in the original British editions. The American editions, published by HarperCollins, do not feature Kirby's cover art. Recent British editions of Pratchett's older novels no longer feature Kirby's art. Since the death of Kirby, the covers have been designed by artist Paul Kidby.
Almost all of the Discworld novels are notable for having no chapter divisions. Instead, most of the time there are different storylines interwoven with each other. Going Postal did entirely the opposite even going so far as to include a prologue and epilogue along with brief teasers of what was to come in each chapter.
Many novels share the same lead characters and show their development over time. Some of the main characters of one book may also make a cameo appearance in another book where they are not the primary focus; for example Samuel Vimes appears in Going Postal in a brief appearance. The novels can be grouped into several story 'arcs', with characters or themes in common:
- The Rincewind stories - These stories centre around a wizard of sorts called Rincewind. The 'of sorts' is because Rincewind is a complete failure at magic, but through a series of events is recognised as a wizard (for want of any other suitable term). The other wizards at the Unseen University are sometimes seen in these stories.
- The Witches stories - These stories centre around the witches of Lancre, particularly Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Magrat Garlick, and later Agnes Nitt.
- The Death stories - These stories centre around Death in his usual personification as a skeleton in black robes with a scythe. Death's companions are his granddaughter Susan, his butler Albert and the Death of Rats, the rat equivalent of the human Death. In later novels Susan takes centre stage, although Death is still a key player.
- The City Watch stories - These stories centre around Ankh-Morpork's equivalent of a police force, the City Watch. Samuel Vimes leads the city watch, and among his officers are Carrot Ironfoundersson, Angua, Fred Colon, Detritus and "Nobby" Nobbs.
- The Tiffany Aching stories - These stories centre around the character of Tiffany Aching, a young girl who has the unusual allies of the Nac Mac Feegle. The stories are primarily written as children's books. They also tie in to the Witches stories, especially A Hat Full of Sky.
- The Miscellaneous stories - where none of the above five applies, or the main characters from them only appear briefly, or at least not as the main characters of the story in question.
The Discworld novels are as follows:
|The Colour of Magic||Rincewind||Paperback: ISBN 0552124753||First published 1983. Came 93rd in the Big Read.||Fantasy clichés; Role-playing games|
|The Light Fantastic||Rincewind||Paperback: ISBN 0552128481||First published 1986.||Fantasy clichés|
|Equal Rites||The Witches||Paperback: ISBN 0552131059||First published 1987.||Fantasy clichés, Gender equality|
|Mort||Death||Paperback: ISBN 0552131067||First published 1987. Came 65th in the Big Read.||Death and its personification|
|Sourcery||Rincewind||Paperback: ISBN 0552131075||First published 1988.||Fantasy Stories, Apocalypse|
|Wyrd Sisters||The Witches||Paperback: ISBN 0552134600||First published 1988. Came 135th in the Big Read.||Shakespeare, especially Macbeth and Hamlet|
|Pyramids||Miscellaneous||Paperback: ISBN 0552134619||First published 1989.||School stories; Egyptian mythology; Quantum physics|
|Guards! Guards!||The City Watch||Paperback: ISBN 0552134627||First published 1989. Came 69th in the Big Read.||Cop novels, Pedigree dog (dragon) breeding, fantasy stories|
|Eric||Rincewind||Paperback: ISBN 0575600012||First published 1990. Originally published as a 'Discworld story': larger format and fully illustrated by Josh Kirby; more recently reissued as a normal paperback with no illustrations.||Faust, Dante's Inferno, Homer's Iliad|
|Moving Pictures||Miscellaneous||Paperback: ISBN 0552134635||First published 1990.||Hollywood, The Cthulhu Mythos|
|Reaper Man||Death||Paperback: ISBN 0552134643||First published 1991. Came 126th in the Big Read.||Alien invasion SF, "Man With No Name" Westerns, Modernization, Shopping malls, Minority rights movements|
|Witches Abroad||The Witches||Paperback: ISBN 0552134651||First published 1991. Came 197th in the Big Read.||Fairy tales, Voodoo and tourism|
|Small Gods||Miscellaneous||Paperback: ISBN 0552138908||First published 1992. Came 102nd in the Big Read.||Religion, Philosophy|
|Lords and Ladies||The Witches||Paperback: ISBN 0552138916||First published 1992.||Shakespeare, UFOs, Fairy lore|
|Men at Arms||The City Watch||Paperback: ISBN 0552140287||First published 1993. Came 148th in the Big Read.||Cop novels|
|Soul Music||Death||Paperback: ISBN 0552140295||First published 1994. Came 151st in the Big Read.||Rock music and related mythologising|
|Interesting Times||Rincewind||Paperback: ISBN 0552142352||First published 1994.||Imperial China, Communism|
|Maskerade||The Witches||Paperback: ISBN 0552142360||First published 1995.||Opera; The Phantom of the Opera|
|Feet of Clay||The City Watch||Paperback: ISBN 0552142379||First published 1996.||Cop Novels; Robots|
|Hogfather||Death||Paperback: ISBN 0552145424||First published 1996. Came 137th in the Big Read.||Christmas; Children's stories|
|Jingo||The City Watch||Hardback: ISBN 0575065400||First published 1997.||War, Diplomacy, Racism and Xenophobia, Multiculturalism, Jingoism|
|The Last Continent||Rincewind||Hardback: ISBN 0385409893||First published 1998.||Action/Adventure; Australia|
|Carpe Jugulum||The Witches||Hardback: ISBN 0385409923||First published 1998.||Vampire novels|
|The Fifth Elephant||The City Watch||Hardback: ISBN 0385409958||First published 1999. Came 153rd in the Big Read.||Diplomacy, Eastern European folklore and literature, The Maltese Falcon, Political-conspiracy novels|
|The Truth||Miscellaneous||Hardback: ISBN 0385601026||First published 2000. Came 193rd in the Big Read.||Watergate, Newspapers, The Front Page and His Girl Friday|
|Thief of Time||Death, or arguably Miscellaneous||Hardback: ISBN 0385601883||First published 2001. Came 152nd in the Big Read.||Wuxia and Martial arts films, Chaos, The Fab Four and the Apocalypse|
|The Last Hero||Miscellaneous||Hardback: ISBN 057506885X||First published 2001. Published in a larger format, fully illustrated by Paul Kidby.||Legends, Prometheus, D&D, Conan the Barbarian, the Space shuttle, Apollo 13, the designs of Leonardo da Vinci|
|The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents||Miscellaneous||Hardback: ISBN 0385601239||First published 2001. A children's Discworld book. Winner of the 2001 Carnegie Medal.||Beatrix Potter, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, The Secret of NIMH|
|Night Watch||The City Watch||Hardback: ISBN 0385602642||First published 2002. Received the Prometheus Award in 2003. Came 73rd in the Big Read.||Cop Novels, Historical novels (esp. Les Misérables), time travel, the French Revolution, the Peterloo Massacre|
|The Wee Free Men||Tiffany Aching||Hardback: ISBN 0385605331||First published 2003. Another children's Discworld book.||Folklore, Mythic Scotland, as seen in Braveheart and Highlander, the fairy paintings of Richard Dadd|
|Monstrous Regiment||Miscellaneous||Hardback: ISBN 0552149411||First published 2003. For the origin of the title of this novel, see The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.||Folk song (especially Sweet Polly Oliver), women who disguise themselves as men to join the army (e.g. Colonel Gauntlett Bligh Barker ), the Napoleonic Wars (possibly as interpreted through Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe novels), First World War (especially the patriotism and "Home by Christmas" mentality)|
|A Hat Full of Sky||Tiffany Aching||Hardback: ISBN 0385607369||First published 2004. A third children's Discworld book.||The history and folklore of witches in Britain, mind controlling aliens in science fiction, arguably Jill Murphy 's The Worst Witch|
|Going Postal||Miscellaneous||Hardback: ISBN 0385603428||First published 2004.||Politics, con men, corporate crime and business practices, monopolies (especially AT&T and its "Golden Boy"), Ayn Rand and Objectivist philosophy, history of the Post Office, the Internet, hacking|
|Thud||The City Watch||Future novel. A brief excerpt was read at the 2004 Convention. Due for publication in October 2005. There is a preview of the cover artwork available at Paul Kidby's website. ||Presumably relations between Dwarves and Trolls (Thud is a game based upon a historic battle between the races).|
|Wintersmith||Tiffany Aching||Possible future novel, hinted at in 'The Art of Discworld'. A brief excerpt was read at the 2004 Convention. Contracted to appear by March 2006.|
|I Shall Wear Midnight||Tiffany Aching||Possible future novel, hinted at in 'The Art of Discworld'.|
|No title as yet||Rincewind||Possible future novel featuring Rincewind - From 'The Art of Discworld', Rincewind Section, "so - sigh - there is at least one future outing lined up for him" (This may however refer to the third 'Science of Discworld' book).|
There are also four short stories by Pratchett based in the Discworld: Theatre of Cruelty, Death and What Comes Next, Troll Bridge and The Sea and Little Fishes . The first two are available online. The third was published in After The King: Stories in honour of J. R. R. Tolkien, and the fourth in Legends, edited by Robert Silverberg.
In addition, all of these stories, as well as such Discworld miscelleny as the history of Thud and the Ankh-Morpork national anthem have been collected as part of a compilation of all Pratchett's shortwork, Once More* *With Footnotes.
- The Unseen University Challenge See University Challenge (TV)..
- The Wyrdest Link See The Weakest Link (TV)..
Furthermore, there are four Maps:
- The Streets of Ankh-Morpork (1993)
- The Discworld Mapp (1995)
- A Tourist Guide to Lancre (1998)
- Death's Domain (1999)
The first two were drawn by Stephen Player, based on plans by Pratchett and Stephen Briggs, the third is a collaboration between Briggs and Kidby, and the last is by Paul Kidby. All also contain booklets written by Pratchett and Briggs.
- The Science of Discworld
- The Science of Discworld II: The Globe
- The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch
Most years see the release of a Discworld Diary and Calendar, both usually following a particular theme.
Other Discworldesque publications include:
- The Discworld Portfolio (a collection of Paul Kidby's artwork, with notes by Pratchett)
- The Discworld Companion (an encyclopedia of Discworld information, compiled by Pratchett and Briggs)
- Nanny Ogg's Cookbook (a collection of Discworldly recipes, combined with ettiquette, language of flowers etc., written by Pratchett with Stephen Briggs and Tina Hannan )
- The Art of Discworld (another collection of Paul Kidby's art)
- The Ankh-Morpork Almanack (an almanac for the Discworld year, in the style of the Diaries and the Cookbook, written by Pratchett with Bernard Pearson)
Stage adaptations of nine Discworld novels have been published, with proceeds from the rights going to charity. The adaptations are by Stephen Briggs, and were first produced by the Studio Theatre Club in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. They include adaptations of The Truth, Maskerade, Mort, Wyrd Sisters, and Guards! Guards!. Stage adaptions of Discworld novels have been performed on every continent in the world, including Antarctica.
There have been several aborted attempts at bringing stories from the Discworld to the silver screen, including a fan attempt of Maskerade that inevitably failed through lack of funds. Australian group Snowgum Films have completed principal photography on the short story Troll Bridge. A link to their website can be found below. A fan movie adaptation of Lords and Ladies is currently being produced in Germany.
Animated adaptations of Soul Music and Wyrd Sisters were produced by Cosgrove-Hall Productions for Channel 4 in 1996. These are available on DVD and VHS in the US from Acorn Media. The soundtrack to Soul Music was also released on CD.
- GURPS Discworld
- GURPS Discworld Also
An unofficial online supplement to this is:
- GURPS Discworld Bye Nighte
Available computer games are:
- The Colour of Magic (Sinclair Spectrum)
- Discworld 1 (PC/Windows)
- Discworld 2: Missing Presumed...!? (Europe) / Discworld 2: Mortality Bytes! (USA) (PC/Windows)
- Discworld Noir (PC/Windows, PlayStation)
- Discworld MUD (Internet)
There is an adaptation of the card game Cripple Mr. Onion from the novel Witches Abroad.
It is even possible to get a character in one of the future Discworld books named after yourself. Usually people appear in the books by bidding for the privilege in charity auctions. The first one of these is Colette in Maskerade, who is briefly commented on by Granny Weatherwax, referring to the interesting earrings she is wearing. This is a reference to a girl Pratchett met at a convention, who was wearing "Anorankh" earrings – small figurines of an ankh wearing an anorak. The idea has resulted from a bit of confusion on the Pratchett newsgroup, and has become an unofficial symbol for the fanclub; they are made available as merchandise.
- The L-Space Web, possibly the definitive Discworld web site
- Discworld Monthly (free monthly newsletter about Terry Pratchett OBE and his Discworld and other novels.)
- Discworld.Com The official Discworld website. No longer under construction.
- A 30kb .gif showing the interrelationships between the books and series within Discworld
- Snowgum Films Makers of Troll Bridge: The Movie.
- Discworld MUD Allows you to enter the Discworld and become a wizard or assassin, or whatever you choose.
- The Watch House An unofficial messageboard for discussing Discworld and other related topics
- Lords and Ladies movie page A feature-length fan movie adaptation of Lords and Ladies
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