Early Morning Open Thread: News of the Discworld

Via Paul Constant, the New Statemen has an interview with Terry Pratchett that includes this tidbit:

[Sir Terry’s daughter Rhianna] will be a co-writer on the BBC Discworld series The Watch, news of which has had fans like me chewing their cheeks in excitement. Mine may never recover after hearing some particularly exciting casting details that I’m absolutely not allowed to tell you about.

Run by Pratchett’s new production company, Narrativia, The Watch will continue the well-loved City Watch saga where the books left off, and Rhianna will be an important member of the writing team. The author tells me that he will be happy for her to continue writing the Discworld books when he is no longer able to do so. “The Discworld is safe in my daughter’s hands,” Pratchett assures me.

Rhianna has grown up immersed in her father’s universe and knows it inside out…

Constant thinks this is a terrible idea. Admittedly, “legacy” fantasy serial writers — a tradition going back to at least L. Frank Baum — don’t have a great record in general. I’m not emotionally invested in the television version, and I don’t know Rhianna’s work at all, so I may have to wait until (if) the day comes when Ms. Pratchett actually publishes a Discworld book of her very own to make up my mind. What say my fellow Prachett fans?

And apart from the world-building book chat, what’s on the agenda today?






91 replies
  1. 1
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    Am a big Sir Terry fan, can’t bear the thought of waht he is having to endure. I can go back and re-read his dicworld novels and lugh out loud again and again, even as I have the polt down pat. A great great writer

  2. 2
    isildur says:

    My wife is an obsessive Discworld fanatic, and she found the latest (Snuff) unreadably bad. So she’s enthusiastic about Rhianna writing Discworld material.

  3. 3
    Ole Phat Stu says:

    I’ll give her pre-credit and buy a copy from CMOT Dibbler.

  4. 4
    Ecks says:

    succession is always touch and go, even in non-creative enterprises. In ones based on individual brilliance where almost nobody can sustain success even with the same person at the helm (PTerry being the rare exception to the George Lucas type normality), it’s truly a mug’s game.

    Fingers crossed, though, because extremely improbable is not the same as impossible.

  5. 5
    Warren Terra says:

    I’m not a huge Pratchett fan – I’ve read a couple, and found them to be enjoyable but not really better than a lot of other mildly satirical, occasionally punning Sci-Fi/Fantasy I’ve come across (the names of most comparable authors escape me, but Craig Shaw Gardner comes to mind). I might rate Good Omens above the couple of Discworld novels I’ve read, but then it wasn’t just Pratchett’s.

    There are several British TV adaptations of Discworld novels, which tend to be fairly low-budget but enthusiastic and seemingly faithful; I imagine they’d be fantastic for kids. Also at least five Discworld adaptations for BBC Radio 4 that are done to their usual high standard.

    RE the daughter carrying on and extending on her father’s writing: my fears are very much in line with Paul Constant’s, but so what? The world is Terry Pratchett’s property; as long as he wants to bequeath it to anyone, and as long as the books she writes are labeled with her name, it’s their business, not mine and not Constant’s. If she turns out not to be great, the market will decide, and if she turns out to be wonderful it will be her own fault to have decided to forever live in his shadow instead of striking out on her own. I’m betting she’ll do fine, based largely on my assessment that the original Discworld novels are fun but oddly overrated.

  6. 6
    nancydarling says:

    OT, but has Cole mentioned how his father is doing?

  7. 7
    Alex S. says:

    I hope she isn’t as bad as Frank “Dune” Herbert’s son and his co-author.

  8. 8
    Bruuuuce says:

    I’m cautiously excited about this, though I hope the Pratchetts do better than the McCaffreys (or yes, Alex S., the Herberts).

  9. 9
    Architeuthis says:

    I am cautiously optimistic. Though I haven’t read anything since Making Money, even Snuff, and I am a big Vimes/The Watch fan. That is easily my fave-o-rite Pratchett, all the Watch stuff. Including Good Omens, which is probably my most beloved, period, between Pratchett and Gaiman. (And honestly, that, Neverwhere and American Gods are what I really like from the latter. Given the choice, though, I will go with Pratchett and The Watch.

  10. 10
    J R in WVa says:

    I too am really saddened by Sir Terry’s illness, seeminglcy implacable, and striking directly at his creativity. I wish the best of luck to his family and fans going forward. And Sir Terry, of course!

    That said, I’m not much interested in an infinite series of Pern Dragon novels, and Dune basically was over long before Frank H. died.

    But Discworld seems different, a little, with humour [to use the britich speling] an integral part of plot and character both. Seems like a difficult target. Hope they hit it square on!

    And Pater Cole’s last medical difficulty was evidently caused by home-made chorizo working its evil ways on his digestive parts, which isn’t that bad when you think about it. IIRC, of course. Hope all is well there too.

  11. 11
    Bostondreams says:

    This is exciting to me! But I’m happier at the news that his original Alzhiemers diagnosis was revised to something a bit different. That brilliant mind can still create.

  12. 12
    McJulie says:

    My first thought was that I didn’t know what people were worried about. Either the books are good, in which case, yay! Or they’re bad, in which case you don’t have to read them. So what’s the problem?

    Then I realized it’s fans who are afraid that the books will be bad, but they’ll feel compelled to read them anyway.

    Unless she’s planning to release all the original books in special “improved” editions, and make the true originals no longer available, I’m fine. Cautiously optimistic, in fact.

  13. 13
    Narcissus says:

    I was just going to mention the Dune example. Has to be better than that.

  14. 14
    dmsilev says:

    @Bruuuuce: Though to be fair, so to speak, Anne McCaffrey’s books started going way way downhill long before her son started co-authoring them.

  15. 15
    gvg says:

    I haven’t heard the revised medical news. Anyone care to enlighten me? At least she should be able to help him now, when he is still wanting to write but finds it difficult. I would think that this means we will get a least a few more that are mostly his, that we wouldn’t otherwise, so that’s a win. After that, we’ll just have to see.

  16. 16
    PeakVT says:

    @nancydarling: The latest I heard he was trying to put a hard salami through his woodchipper.

  17. 17
    Bostondreams says:

    @gvg:

    He has a very rare and different form of brain degeneration, posterior cortical atrophy. Tragic, and it impacts his ability to write, but is no threat to his creativity or thinking or memory.

  18. 18

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  19. 19
    PeakVT says:

    Relevant to a discussion of legacy authors: House Republicans release position paper on copyright reform and… are promptly bullied into retracting it.

  20. 20
    PaulW says:

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  21. 21
    RoonieRoo says:

    Any way I can get more Discworld works for me. I am going to choose to be optimistic about Rihanna writing them in the future.

  22. 22
    Steeplejack says:

    @Warren Terra:

    I’m not a huge Pratchett fan–I’ve read a couple, and found them to be enjoyable but not really better [. . .].

    It might make a difference which ones you read. I read most of the Discworld novels in a rush a couple of years ago in semi-chronological order* and found that there are two distinct parts to Pratchett’s career: the first part is as you describe, but then there is a quantum shift around 1991-92 and the books get markedly better, with the occasional “they can’t all be gems” here and there.

    * I read them in chronological order by subseries–e.g., the Watch, Death, the witches, Rincewind–guided by this handy chart. In every series, the first book or two is just okay, but then they get better–often much better–with occasional outbreaks of pure genius.

    That makes it a problem when I recommend Pratchett to someone. Which book to start with? Usually I’m a strict chronological-order reader, but Guards! Guards! doesn’t really show how great the Watch series ends up being. Ditto for Mort and Equal Rites. (Of all the subseries, the Rincewind one took the longest to catch fire for me.) But the early books lay down a lot of foundational stuff that you might sorely miss if you start later in the series.

    I haven’t figured out the answer to that. “Pratchett? Yes!” But then a lot of hand-waving and explaining that probably puts people off. It’s sort of the same way I have a hard time getting people to read Patrick O’Brian. “Sailing ships? Like Hornblower? Not my thing, old man.”

  23. 23
    canuckistani says:

    The unsubstantiated rumour I’ve heard is that his daughter was already doing most of the writing on his last few novels. All disclaimers apply.

  24. 24
    Percysowner says:

    @Steeplejack: TBH the Rincewind series never caught fire for me, so you’re one step ahead there. I’ll stick with Discworld until I don’t enjoy them Snuff was one of my less favorite books of his, and I’m starting Dodger now, which is interesting since it’s not Discworld at all.

  25. 25
    Schlemizel says:

    The AP has a story in papers this morning saying that budget talks are likely to fail because Democrats feel empowered by the recent election so they won’t gut Social Security and Medicare.

    Apparently elections have consequences only when goopers win them, when Dems win they should ignore voters and do what the goopers want anyway

  26. 26
    Michael says:

    Volunteering today…to be a driver in the Veep’s (!!) motorcade. I’ll either have his staff, or press, in my van. Pretty pumped, obviously. Will probably have a chance to say hi and take a photo with Biden

  27. 27
    PoliticalHack says:

    You know, after practicing on the first two or three books, Frank Herbert’s kid didn’t destroy the Dune universe. Maybe Pratchett’s kid should be given a fair chance (at least her practice will be while papa is still alive…).

  28. 28
    Princess says:

    Maybe Luke Russert won’t be so bad. Jonah Goldberg has a lot to contribute as a pundit. Mitt Romney should really try to fulfill his fathers dream to become president — we really need someone to express the moderate side of the Republican legacy right now.

    If she were talented and creative, she would be writing her own stuff. This is all about money and the brand.

  29. 29
    Steeplejack says:

    @Percysowner:

    Rincewind is my least favorite subseries, but it is almost completely redeemed by the Luggage, or whatever it’s called (the recurring suitcase with a mind of its own).

    ETA: Also the Unseen University librarian. “Ook?”

  30. 30
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Michael:

    Very very cool! Please do share any photos you get with VPJB. Where are you, and will Dr. Jill Biden be traveling with him?

  31. 31
    gnomedad says:

    @Bostondreams:

    He has a very rare and different form of brain degeneration, posterior cortical atrophy. Tragic, and it impacts his ability to write, but is no threat to his creativity or thinking or memory.

    I didn’t know this detail – this is good news of sorts, I guess. I saw Sir Terry when he appeared in Naperville, Il recently. He had an “assistant” who basically interviewed him, but Sir Terry seemed sharp-witted (if not spectacularly quick-witted), responded to questions at length and with humor and, I took care to notice, referred back to earlier parts of the discussion.

  32. 32
    Thursday says:

    Huh. I actually really enjoyed Snuff. It featured Vimes being Vimes which is always wonderful. It also showed some character development (both in story, and in the changes of the characters in between it and the previous story) that I thought was both wonderful and a natural development of how things had been going.

    I too am going to go with the cautiously optimistic route. After all, if the daughter is even half as good as the father any books she writes will still be some of the most enjoyable on the shelf.

  33. 33
    Schlemizel says:

    @Michael:

    Sounds like it could be fun – enjoy the hell out of it!

  34. 34
    hep kitty says:

    And so you look out the window and see the leaves have turned
    And you say to yourself, he’ll never be back
    My father will never set foot in this house again
    The stairs themselves would be too much
    As he is fading
    Fading away
    Try to get ready to say goodbye
    When the time comes

    Goodbye, I love you

  35. 35
    WereBear says:

    The daughter might also be doing it to keep him alive; in the physical, and also the metaphorical, sense.

    She can always write her own stuff under a pseudonym, as many have before her, to see what readers truly think.

    As a huge fan, I think it’s comforting that it can continue; and there would be changes in any case.

  36. 36
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Princess: Yeah, Alexandre Dumas fils boys totally sucked. The Manning boys and Clay Matthews III should not have gone into football. There is nepotism, and then there is inherited talent and an interest in a career path based on familiarity with it from childhood on. Let’s see which one of these the Pratchett situation is before condemning, shall we?

  37. 37
    The Moar You Know says:

    I’m not emotionally invested in the television version, and I don’t know Rhianna’s work at all, so I may have to wait until (if) the day comes when Ms. Pratchett actually publishes a Discworld book of her very own to make up my mind. What say my fellow Prachett fans?

    The disaster that is Brain Herbert’s writing “career” ought to put this “legacy writer” horseshit into the grave where it belongs.

  38. 38
    Ming says:

    I loved Snuff. And Thud. I make the occasional attempt at getting into the Rincewind books, with no luck thus far.

    I do think the daughter might take the helm for more reasons than just money and the brand. Certainly there are legions of fans of various series who feel compelled do their own fan fiction — incredible amounts of it — for no profit whatsoever. It only requires that she love the worlds and characters. Maybe she does. Maybe the fact that they come from her own dad makes her love them even more. And if she’s done writing on her own already, maybe she’s not feeling the need to distinguish herself from her dad.

  39. 39
    IowaOldLady says:

    The daughter will be writing what’s essentially fanfiction. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’ve written some fanfic myself. But it’s not the same thing the original author produced.

    The market will eventually decide, but in the meantime, lots of people buy books in a series they love even when it’s going downhill, and that’s what the publishers are responding to.

  40. 40
    JoeK says:

    I think much of the brilliance of Pterry’s work is that it is a product of his sharp observation of the real world. What comes out of that isn’t simple allegory, but a kind of reflected transformation of our world into the Discworld that usually brings insight to the reader, and is often hilarious to boot. I’m skeptical that his daughter will be able to continue that sensibility, but I’m willing to give her a chance.

  41. 41
    karen marie says:

    @dmsilev: I thought Anne McCaffrey was a horrible writer all on her lonesome. This is based on the attempted reading of only one book, Pegasus In Space (2000 publication); maybe she was better earlier, but I thought this one example bad enough that I wouldn’t read another if it were the last book on earth.

    ADD: Let me correct the record – I also read Beyond Between, a novelette in an anthology, and it only reinforced my opinion.

  42. 42
    DaddyJ says:

    @Steeplejack: You’re quite right. I started out with *Thud* mostly because my eye was caught by the amusing US cover.

    Loved it, so then tried the first two books, which were pure pastiche, only slightly better than *Bored of the Rings*. Would have given up on them, but *Equal Rites* hooked me in.

    I recommend *Guards! Guards!* and *Small Gods* in particular.

    In re: the daughter, we’ll have to wait and see, won’t we? If they are sold “onna stick” we’ll know.

  43. 43
    jl says:

    I have no idea what this fantasy series is about, or why whatever the idea is (that I don’t quite understand) is so bad.

    But who chews their cheeks? Which cheeks?

    As always, I am confused.

  44. 44
    yopd1 says:

    @Bostondreams: Really. Do you have the gist of what the new diagnosis or issue is?

  45. 45
    Bostondreams says:

    @yopd1:

    Posterior cortical atrophy. Impacts writing and spelling, but not memory and creativity or communication.

  46. 46
    DaddyJ says:

    @Steeplejack: Yeah, perhaps I was too hard on the first couple of books: the Luggage is priceless, and I forgot about Cohen the Barbarian as well. Both worth the price of admission.

  47. 47
    dmsilev says:

    @karen marie: McCaffrey’s early stuff (from the 60s and 70s) is really good, though at this point a tad dated stylistically. The original Dragon trilogy, for instance (Dragonflight, Dragonquest, The White Dragon). The Crystal Singer would be another good read.

    Anything from say 1985 onwards though, strongly consider skipping.

  48. 48
    karen marie says:

    Slightly off topic, in a thread the other day someone asked who it was that said “I don’t know how Richard Nixon could have won. I don’t know anybody who voted for him.” I responded that it was Pauline Kael and provided the wiki link.

    James Wolcott explains that it doesn’t mean what the RWers think it does (because they’re not using the full quote and it’s out of context).

  49. 49
    befuggled says:

    @Steeplejack: If it’s any consolation, that works for me. I think Guards, Guards was one of the few Pratchett books I’ve read (along with the first Discworld book and Good Omens). With the exception of Good Omens, they’ve been enjoyable but not so much that I’ve felt compelled to follow along. I will probably give some of the others a try.

    O’Brian is also on my list, although I am stuck. I saw the movie of the first book, read and enjoyed it a few years later, but couldn’t get past the beginning of the second book.

  50. 50
    Allan says:

    So sorry to hear of Terry Pratchett’s health problems. I wish him well and thank him for the many hours of joy his stories brought me. Seeing his picture, he looks to fit right in with the other Wizards at the Unseen University. I have treasured and reread every Disc World novel. The BBC series has been an amazing discovery for me. True to the story, high production values, and wonderful characters.

  51. 51
    Daulnay says:

    I hope and pray that she proves as incisive and witty as her father. Given that he’s a (small) god of satirical writing, she has a tough act to follow.

    His satire is gentle, rather than bitter (with perhaps the exception of Moving Pictures). Not all of his work appeals to everyone, and it helps to be a computer nerd. Even so, my computer-illiterate mother loves him, as does my internet-living daughter.

    My favorites are the Watch books, Masquerade, and Making Money (so far), tho the other books in the witches thread are also favorites. Rincewind reminds me too much of Jerry Lewis for me.

  52. 52
    Steeplejack says:

    @befuggled:

    [. . .] couldn’t get past the beginning of the second book.

    Post Captain is a big shift, because (if I remember correctly) it begins with Aubrey going back to England and has a very long, Jane Austen-like section in which Aubrey becomes involved with “society” and not much happens on the naval/ripping yarn side. But it has its charms, and it sets up the series for its later epic scope.

  53. 53
    DaddyJ says:

    @JoeK: Yes, that’s the potential problem.

    The genius of Terry Pratchett is the way he walks a knife edge between vitriolic cynicism about human nature and optimism about the rare heroic human impulse to do the right thing. That’s why Good Omens is so successful; it’s Gaiman’s usual black bitter tea combined with a dash of Pratchett’s milk-of-human-kindness.

    I think the problem with nepotism in the arts or politics is that inheritors are expected to continue their progenitor’s world view, which is an impossible task.

  54. 54
    befuggled says:

    @Steeplejack: It was pretty apparent at the time that the beginning was a setup. I just couldn’t get through it at the time and I’ve planned to return to it but just haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve done that often enough with other books.

  55. 55
    Steeplejack says:

    @Daulnay:

    Yeah, Rincewind is a bit too hapless. It’s a hard tone to sustain and gets old after a while.

    As for the others, I have a hard time picking a favorite series among Death, the Watch and the witches. Each has some incredible high points. And Small Gods is a tremendous novel, among the (sort of) one-offs.

  56. 56
    IowaOldLady says:

    The Pratchett book I like best–the young adult Nation–is outside Discworld. And as always, it’s Pratchett’s human insight that makes the book funny and simultaneously deep.

  57. 57
    karen marie says:

    For the writers:

    (James Wolcott) Art critic, Vanity Fair contributor, and all-around super-seer Dave Hickey announced in an interview given to Sarah Douglas at GalleristNY that he is paddling into semi-retirement, silhouetted against the sinking sun as it melts into the waves.

    What’s he going to do in semi-retirement?

    I want to write a creative writing book about the statistics of literary prose accompanied by software so you could compare the statistical shape of your writing to that of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Dickens, Ray Carver or David Foster Wallace. My idea is to provide professors a way of teaching creative writing without having to read quires of crap. Also, I really believe that most of the problems with literary prose tend to be statistical. They have to do with sequencing, and the calculus is helpful in gaining this sort of information. When I was in graduate school I invented a grammar based on the paragraph rather than the sentence—very radical at the time. I also had works by writers in three states of revision so I could say: the numbers are like this here, and then here and then here. So I could make empirically based observations about intention. Hemingway means to do this. Gertrude Stein means to do this.

  58. 58
    Michael says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: don’t know about Jill. In NY. Heading over now

  59. 59
    WereBear says:

    @karen marie: That is fascinating. It is excellent as a guide to structure; which might be that hardest thing to teach. Or learn~

  60. 60
    SectionH says:

    Well, will BBCAmerica show The Watch as it’s aired (or almost-as)?

    @Steeplejack: Reccing a starting book is indeed tricky. My own experience was mostly random luck. I read Equal Rites (it was a freebie at the 1988 Worldcon) and had a reaction similar to Warren Terra’s. Years later, mostly in response to repeated proddings by a book dealer friend to read more Pratchett, I bought a used copy of Men At Arms – and was totally hooked on the Discworld from that point on. I still appreciate the earliest ones mostly for the background, and I’m mostly “meh” about Rincewind (and The Luggage) but I enjoyed E Rites much more on second reading.

    I got stuck about 2/3rds of the way through Snuff, which has never ever happened with a Pratchett book before, and had no impetus to pick it up again for months. So I guess I’m not too exercised about future books, although of course one hopes they’re good.

  61. 61

    @Bostondreams:
    It is sad that he can’t write, and I do not approve of handing the series over to a writer who (even if she turns out to be better) will never be him. However, I could cry from relief that he can still think clearly.

  62. 62
    CaseyL says:

    That’s actually pretty good news about Sir Terry. Sounds like the issue is in getting the novel onto the page, not in inventing plot, remembering character arcs, or the actual creative side. Hell, he could dictate the book using voice recognition software, and have Rhianna take it from there.

    It might be possible for Rhianna to carry on her dad’s deft, intricate balance of satire, comedy, and anti-sentimental sentimentality. After all, there is some wonderful fanfic that manages the trick.

    What she can’t continue is Sir Terry’s perspective: he’s a Brit of a particular age, with direct personal experience and knowledge of the various upheavals over the last 50-odd years. Rhianna will bring a different generational take on Discworld’s perennial themes. I think it would be best if she didn’t try to duplicate his perspective, but found and used her own voice – without, of course, violating the overall character development and “feel” of Discworld.

    I think the Pratchett family is financially secure enough that Rhianna won’t continue Discworld for mercenary reasons. Hopefully, she’ll do it because she loves Discworld even more than we do. If so, I look forward to seeing what she does when and if Sir Terry hands her the keys.

  63. 63
    Steeplejack says:

    @SectionH:

    I bogged down in Moving Pictures, which I started after I had read the various “main” series. I thought, well, you just read too many in too little time, but the couple of times I picked it up later I couldn’t get back into it. This discussion has reminded me that it suffers from the pre-1991 thing and that I should push through it and move on to The Truth and Monstrous Regiment. I also never got around to the Tiffany Aching books.

  64. 64
    Jamey says:

    Did anyone here make a Chris Brown/Rihanna joke yet? How ’bout a Frank Sinatra, Jr. one?

  65. 65
    Taylor says:

    @befuggled:

    O’Brian is also on my list, although I am stuck.

    For me, O’Brian clicked with Desolation Island, and everything before was just setting the scene. One of my favorite writers. Funny, intelligent, and some beautiful descriptions of seeing the world from the deck of a sailing ship. Invariably through the eyes of Maturin, who is probably the closest in the book to the modern reader. Aubrey is also a deeply imagined character, the Horatio Hornblower who goes to see to escape the disaster of his business and personal life.

    I am also a big fan of the narrations by Patrick Tull for the audiobooks. If you are having trouble getting into the books, I would try listening to those. It’s a slower journey, but you can go back and reread the books with Tull’s voice.

  66. 66
    GeoX says:

    Admittedly, “legacy” fantasy serial writers—a tradition going back to at least L. Frank Baum—don’t have a great record in general.

    True, but I would argue that Ruth Plumly Thompson, who continued the Oz series after Baum, was at least as good as her predecessor.

  67. 67
    Tehanu says:

    @Steeplejack:
    What you said. In the 80’s I had read the first couple of books, the early Rincewind ones, and thought they were nice C+/B- fantasies, nothing special. Occasionally I’d pick up another one and not quite get it. Then about 10 years ago or so I read “Monstrous Regiment” and suddenly it all clicked — and I tore through ALL the books — and you actually do have to read a LOT of them, not just one or two. Which is unusual — but totally rewarding. If anything, I think he’s gotten better and better, although “Snuff” was a little chaotic so I can see where people didn’t like it much; I’m going to re-read it soon and see how it looks on second consideration. And then there are the Tiffany Aching books — which are incredibly good additions to the whole Granny Weatherwax saga — and “Going Postal” and the movie book and the opera book and the vampire book and the soccer book and Lord Vetinari … oh, and The Luggage!

  68. 68
    Opie_jeanne says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: He DOES write, but he can’t type, so he uses a voice recognition program, with sometimes hilarious results.

    His small motor skills and his balance are affected by his illness, but not his wit.

    In 2011 at the Discworld con in Madison WI, Neil Gaiman showed up and spent two hours on stage talking with Terry and it was great but Terry wasn’t himself at that con because his back was hurting. He was much more Pratchetty this summer in Birmingham.

  69. 69
    opie_jeanne says:

    @CaseyL: He does dictate it to a voice recognition program, and he and his assitant, Rob Wilkins, sort it out.

  70. 70
    Gogiggs says:

    Well, we can only wait and see and hope for the best, right.

    I thought Snuff was alright. Not one of the best, but enjoyable enough. Vimes books are always a mixed bag for me. I get Vetinari, which I love, but it seems to me that Pratchett fell a little too in love with Vimes in a way that can make the character a bit much. He did that with Granny Weatherwax for a while, too, but I felt like he got a grip on that, eventually. Also, I resent a little the way Vimes took over the guard sub-series from Carrot. I miss Carrot.

    Post Captain is a bit of a change in tone from Master and Commander, but it’s also my favorite book of the series. I really enjoy when the characters return to England and it’s the first appearance of Villiers, my favorite character in the series.

  71. 71
    Steeplejack says:

    @Gogiggs:

    Diana Villiers is a great character! This could get me going on Post Captain again. I decided to reread the series a few months ago (along with my brother), raced through Master and Commander and then got becalmed in the second book as I got distracted by other things. Right now I am finishing up Iain M. Banks’s The Hydrogen Sonata, but then it’s back to O’Brian, or at least alternating it with other stuff.

  72. 72
    MtnBob says:

    I started with Interesting Times. Pretty good, so I read more. The first few were okay, but everything hit its stride starting with Wyrd Sisters and Guards Guards. That was the Golden Age for me, all the way through Night Watch. It’s so reflective of our world that it approaches Shakespeare for me. It’s the only series of books that my wife and I read every several years.

    I’m happy that Terry doesn’t have Alzheimer’s. I know, let’s do stem cell research! Just a thought.

  73. 73
    TenguPhule says:

    Nightwatch, Small Gods, The Fifth Elephant, Interesting Times, Thud, Going Postal, Making Money, Hogswatch & Men at Arms.

    Those are pretty much the crown jewels of Discworld.

    If those don’t get you emotionally invested in it, nothing will.

  74. 74
    DailyAlice says:

    @Alex S.: @Alex S.: That’s the guy I was trying to remember:Brian Herbert. Truly untalented. OTOH, Stephen King’s kid is maybe better than the old man. Joe Hill.

    I still think all Pratchett’s books are good, many are supremely good, and Wyrd Sistersis the best ever. I like the witches.

  75. 75
    Steeplejack says:

    @DailyAlice:

    Heart-Shaped Box is good. I haven’t read any of Joe Hill’s other stuff.

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    Julia Grey says:

    Right now I am finishing up Iain M. Banks’s The Hydrogen Sonata

    I was sorely disappointed with that one. Didn’t have his usual snap, crackle and pop. No fine ironic ending, no deep character development. Vyr Cossont basically dragged across the universe of set pieces by the machinations of the chitter-chattering Minds rather than being an active agent in her own right (yes, yes, I know that was sort of the point, but Minds are a fking bore as “characters” — they need to at least be avatars to remain interesting to me).

    It certainly wasn’t anywhere near Surface Detail or Player of Games, much less Look to Windward.

  77. 77
    karen marie says:

    @WereBear: I figured there would be those here who would be interested in it. Music is mathematical, why not writing?

  78. 78
    Arclite says:

    I thought Terry Pratchett had died. Glad that’s not the case. I must be thinking of Douglass Adams.

  79. 79
    Steeplejack says:

    @Julia Grey:

    I have to admit that even as I’m reading it I feel like I’m getting tired of the Minds as bitchy know-it-all queens. And Vyr Cossont has been a cipher so far.

  80. 80
    Splitting Image says:

    I only started reading Pratchett this year. I am indeed reading them in chronological order. I’ve enjoyed all five of the books I’ve read so far, so if they get better from here out, I don’t have a problem with that at all.

    I have seen the Hogfather adaptation, which I thought was terrific. A friend of mine screened it a couple of years ago.

    I wasn’t aware of his illness. That was particularly depressing to read about, although it’s good that he seems to have kept a positive attitude so far.

  81. 81
    J R in WV says:

    Just finished Hydrogen Sonata, and am glad to learn that others were similarly unimpressed with it. It isn’t bad, just not great as many of his others are.

    Here’s hoping he gets it back soon, and keep working for many years.

    William Gibson kind of lost me with his newest work, I tried twice to read one and couldn’t get past about 50 pages either time.

    Maybe it is that my brain is getting old itself, rather than the writers loosing their acute wit?

  82. 82
    KJbrooklyn says:

    So, after reading all the comments, I’m still not sure which Terry Pratchett novel to start with. By the way, I love O’Brien, usually read (and reread) as a comfort book before bed.

  83. 83
    krenrustaz says:

    Normally only have time to lurk and see if a couple of friends have been by, but I would like to call attention to another jem in Prachett’s crown. One that got him the Carnegie_Medal_in_Literature: The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. Terry’s version of the Pied Piper (Grimm’s version). Enjoy.

  84. 84
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @Alex S.: You got that right, Alex. Everything after Chapterhouse is space opera.

  85. 85
    Steeplejack says:

    @KJbrooklyn:

    Don’t know if you’ll see this, but I would recommend starting with Men at Arms (1993), the second in the City Watch subseries. It lets you avoid Guards! Guards!, which is a little hokey–but of course you can go back to it later if you want to–and it drops you right into the rich stew that is the Discworld milieu, particularly Ankh-Morpock, the capital city. You get introduced to a lot of the recurring characters, and you’ll get a feel for Pratchett’s narrative voice.

    After that I would read the rest of the City Watch series and then branch out from there.

  86. 86
    Ian says:

    @TenguPhule:

    You don’t have any Weatherwax on your list! Let’s add Lords and Ladies, and maybe Carpe Jugulum.

    Making Money (2007) was marvellous, if not quite at the level of Going Postal or Thud. Something changed with Unseen Academicals (2009). It’s very good in parts, but the voice is different. I wondered then if someone was co-writing with him.

    Something is seriously wrong with Snuff (2011). Vimes spends much of his time boasting about what a badass he is. He *is* a badass, but he’s the last person who would ever boast about it, or about anything else. It does have a whiff of fanfic to it, and if that’s the influence of the daughter I’m very pessimistic about the series going forward.

    Luckily, I’ll have the first three dozen novels to console me.

  87. 87
    TenguPhule says:

    So, after reading all the comments, I’m still not sure which Terry Pratchett novel to start with.

    I suggest doing the following: “Small Gods” followed by Interesting Times, Hogfather then hit “Guards, Guards” (its a little iffy in places, but you need the references) then Men at Arms, the Fifth Elephant, Nightwatch, Going Postal, Making Money and Thud. After that, you should be hooked enough to go for the Weatherwax & Aching Novels and more DEATH and Rincewind.

  88. 88
    TenguPhule says:

    You don’t have any Weatherwax on your list! Let’s add Lords and Ladies, and maybe Carpe Jugulum.

    Weatherwax is more of a hit or miss for readers, we need to hook them good and tight, then reel them in first. Plus, Weatherwax leads to Aching, which leads to Nac Mac Feegles…

  89. 89
    TenguPhule says:

    Something is seriously wrong with Snuff

    Its been wrong since Academicals.

    DEATH never shows up even once.

  90. 90
  91. 91
    Original Lee says:

    @Ian: I agree with most of what you said about Snuff. I would add that it was too verbose. A lot of the action in the other books does take place in Vimes’ head, but generally much more tersely than in Snuff. It read to me as if the editors thought it was the last novel from him and were afraid to ask him to edit.

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