Wanderers, despite the fact that we don’t seem to have done as many book reviews as we may have liked to have done, it is important that you know that all of us were at FW Towers are big on the whole reading there. There’s just something about getting lost in the fictional world an author creates, and being able to experience the adventure along with the characters. Books are bigger on the inside, and they can take you anywhere in time and space. They’re a bit like a Tardis, in that respect. Only not blue. Apparently these Tardises have working chameleon circuits. But yes, books are wonderful things, and indulge me, if you will dear Wanderers, as we take a look at one of my all-time favourites series of books; the Discworld series, by author Terry Pratchett.
First things of all, what is the Discworld? The Discworld is, as the name implies, a flat disc of a world, that travels through space, sitting atop the backs of four elephants as they ride on a great flying turtle, known as the Great A’Tuin. The series is one of the longest running fantasy series that is still being currently worked on, having lasted 30 years. Originally, it can be gathered, the series set out to be a straight up parody and satire on common tropes and clichés that were frequently recurring in fantasy novels. Over time, though, the series has developed beyond that, and visits to the Discworld are always filled with adventure, suspense, dark moments, and above all, humour.
And, that’s me being as basic as I can with my description of the series because honestly, if I was to get really into it, we’d be here for quite a while. Which would be fun for some, not so much for others. Pratchett’s writing has a very distinctive style to it, you can automatically tell when he’s been involved in writing something, and the style of Discworld has it’s own special flair to it. Fairy tales, mythology, folk lore, even Shakespeare isn’t ‘safe’ from Pratchett’s world, being turned and twisted on it’s head until it reflects our world in a way that’s recognisable, but not the same.
Actually, that’s the Discworld in a sentence. Where we use science, the Disc uses magic – and magic is extremely potent on the Disc. It’s considered far safer to just keep the wizards shut up in their universities, over-fed and content, than ruling the way they used to, with fireballs and creatures from other dimensions showing up. Good thing there’s the witches to do for them what can, and head witch – not that witches have a leader, she wouldn’t allow it – Granny Weatherwax has thoughts on this willy-nilly use of magic to solve problems that good old headology can fix just as well.
The witches and the wizards are only the tip of the iceberg of characters that this series can boast. No worries in the justice of the Disc, you can leave all that to the incorruptible, and unable-to-be-bribed Sam Vimes, who’s straight like a corkscrew, and believes justice to be the protection of the innocence, and something that can’t be bent or broken. Running the biggest city on the Disc, and indeed probably the main hotspot of the Disc itself, is Lord Vetinari, Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, and all around general bad-ass. He studied to be an assassin and failed his stealth classes because he was said to ‘never be seen in class’.
And again, I find myself not even scraping the top when it comes to all the wonderful characters in this series. Strong, fantastic, characters, who know who they are and know what they can do and will do it, and to hell with anyone who tries to stop them. Unless it’s Vetinari or Vimes, then it’s be polite and hope the latter really isn’t in a bad mood. He’ll go spare. For younger readers, there’s the Tiffany Aching series about a witch-in-training, and … Okay, I’ll admit it, it’s quite nice to see a female protagonist for younger readers who holds up her hands when she makes a mistake, admits to it, and then goes to fix said mistake.
And now I’m running out of space and I haven’t even began on this series. It is amazing, with some of the best characters I have ever had the pleasure to read about, and the stories themselves are among some of my all-time favourites. Check out a book, if only to discover that The Turtle Moves.