iApprove: Discworld.

November 14, 2008

I am a picky reader of fantasy novels.  They need to be good enough to keep me entertained for hours, short enough that they don’t have to, or both.  Consequentially, this rules out a lot of novels.  Eragon, for example.  When I read that particular book, it took me a week to get through because the prose bored me out of my mind.

On the other hand, it took me less than a day to read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

One series of books that is both good enough and short enough is the Discworld series, by Terry Pratchett.  A fractured fantasy series set on the mythical Disc, the series covers a myriad of stories about different people having different adventures, and does so with a brilliantly self-aware British wit.  Pratchett knows exactly how everything works, and he won’t hesitate to tell you — the good, the bad, and the silly.  There is no coating of fairy dust over the functions of his world; things simply function the way you would expect them to function if real people ran a fairytale land.  But it isn’t all gritty realism; the Disc does run under its own set of rules, most of which obey the laws of good theatre.

This whole mishmash of things manages to balance itself quite well, providing a world that is both unbelievable and oh-so-familiar, with characters who are bold enough to break free of traditional fantasy molds and work their world for everything it’s worth.  And also some mighty fantastic luggage.


One comment

  1. I love all Terry Pratchett’s book, especially The Wee Free Men trilogy. With each book you can almost hear him thinking and getting wiser. Andrew Norriss writes fiction for children which are sort of fantasy adventure. Rooted in the real world yet with a twist: Bernard’s Watch – a watch that stops time, Aquila – a flying machine apparently last flown by a Roman centurion… You might like them too.

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