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Terry Pratchett

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Terry Pratchett Quotes

Yo. 'Tis me. I figured since Merlin got to do a page of quotes on The Iliad, I can do my own little (read: huge) page dedicated to Terry Pratchett. If you're an uncultured Philistine, Terry Pratchett is the author of the fantasy/comedy Discworld series, as well as several other nonaffiliated titles. I've been collecting quotes from him for quite a while (and I'm not alone) so I thought I'd share them with you. At one point, all my messageboard signatures came from here. 8-) There aren't any spoilers in here, so enjoy! Quotes and books are listed in order of publication (Discworld books, Johnny books, then others).

Narrative Nuances
Profound Impressions
Comedic Conversations
Autobiographical Anecdotes
About The Author
Discworld Book Guide

Narrative Nuances

Here's the stuff right from the horse's mouth; Pratchett as narrator in his books.

There was a long silence. Then a slightly shorter silence. The Light Fantastic
"You look like a wizard," he said, in a tone of voice that suggested this was very unwise and quite possibly fatal. The Light Fantastic
It was a nice green waterproof one. That meant that all the rain that had got into it couldn't get out of it again. It was indescribable. Equal Rites
Still, it was a relief to get away from that macabre sight. Gander considered that gnolls didn't look any better inside than out. He hated their guts. Equal Rites
It became apparent that one reason why the Ice Giants were known as the Ice Giants was because they were, well, giants. The other was that they were made of ice. Sourcery
The duke had a mind that ticked like a clock and, like a clock, it regularly went cuckoo. Wyrd Sisters
The days followed one another patiently. Right back at the beginning of the multiverse they had tried all passing at the same time, and it hadn't worked. Wyrd Sisters
The vermine is a small black and white furry creature, much famed for its pelt. It is a more careful relative of the lemming; it only throws itself over small pebbles. Wyrd Sisters
First, she had to find out his name. The old peel-the-apple trick should do that. You just peeled an apple, getting one length of peel, and threw the peel behind you; it'd land in the shape of his name. Millions of girls had tried it and had inevitably been disappointed, unless the loved one was called Scscs. Wyrd Sisters
The calendar of the Theocracy of Muntab counts down, not up. No-one knows why, but it might not be a good idea to hang around and find out. Wyrd Sisters
All assassins had a full-length mirror in their rooms, because it would be a terrible insult to someone to kill them when you were badly dressed. Pyramids
The only curse they could afford to put on a tomb these days was "Bugger Off". Pyramids
By and large, the only skill the alchemists of Ankh-Morpork had discovered so far was the ability to turn gold into less gold. Moving Pictures
"If you put butter and salt on it, it tastes like salty butter."
(Popcorn comes to the Discworld)
Moving Pictures
"Why's it called Ming?" said the Archchancellor, on cue.
The Bursar tapped the pot. It went ming.
Moving Pictures
Currently Magrat was finding herself through the Way of the Scorpion, which offered cosmic harmony, inner one-ness and the possibility of knocking an attacker's kidneys out through his ears. Witches Abroad
They were the kind of mountains where winters went for their summer holidays. Witches Abroad
No one ever went hungry when they had some dwarf bread to avoid. You only had to look at it for a moment and instantly you could think of dozens of things you'd rather eat. Your boots, for example. Mountains. Raw sheep. Your own foot. Witches Abroad
It was hard for people when Magrat was annoyed. It was like being attacked by damp tissue. Witches Abroad
And it would be a lazy use of the language to say that the thing that answered the door was a nightmare. Nightmares are usually rather daft things and it's very hard to explain to a listener what was so dreadful about your socks coming alive or giant carrots jumping out of the hedgerows. Faust Eric
The maze was so small that people got lost looking for it. Men At Arms
Witches generally act as layers-out of the dead as well as midwives; there were plenty of people in Lancre for whom Nanny Ogg's face had been the first and last thing they'd ever seen, which had probably made all the bit in the middle seem quite uneventful by comparison. Lords and Ladies
Using a metaphor in front of a man as unimaginative as Ridcully was like a red flag to a bu-- was like putting something very annoying in front of someone who was annoyed by it. Lords and Ladies
"I know she's in there," said Verence, holding his crown in his hands in the famous Ai-Señor-Mexican-Bandits-Have-Raided-Our-Village position. Lords and Ladies
In fact, the mere act of opening the box will determine the state of the cat, although in this case there were three determinate states the cat could be in: these being Alive, Dead, and Bloody Furious.
(Schrödinger's Moggy explained)
Lords and Ladies
In Pewsey's case, she felt that no one should be allowed to wander around in just a vest even if they were four years old. And the child had a permanently runny nose and ought to be provided with a handkerchief or, failing that, a cork. Lords and Ladies
Instead, people would take pains to tell her that beauty was only skin-deep, as if a man ever fell for an attractive pair of kidneys. Maskerade
There was, indeed, a very short man in a suit intended for a rather larger man; this was especially the case with the opera cloak, which actually trailed on the floor behind him to give the overall impression of a superhero who had spent too much time around the Kryptonite. Maskerade
It was always raining in Llamedos. Rain was the country's main export. It had rain mines. Soul Music
The Mended Drum had traditionally gone in for, well, traditional pub games, such as dominoes, darts, and Stabbing People In The Back And Taking All Their Money. Soul Music
The class was learning about some revolt in which some peasants had wanted to stop being peasants and, since the nobles had won, had stopped being peasants really quickly. Soul Music
The hotel owners had just left, after going through the "dis is der window, it really opens, dis is der pump, you get water out of it wit der handle here, dis is me waiting for some money" routine. Soul Music
Anatomy was an important study at the Alchemists' Guild, owing to the ancient theory that the human body represented a microcosm of the universe, although when you saw one opened up it was hard to imagine which part of the universe was small and purple and went blomp-blomp when you prodded it. Feet of Clay
The wizards began to stand up and brush themselves off, giving one another the rather embarrassed grins of people who know that they've just been part of a synchronized making-a-fool-of-yourself team. Hogfather
Sergeant Colon had had a broad education. He'd been to the School of My Dad Always Said, the College of It Stands To Reason, and was now a post-graduate student of the University of What Some Bloke In The Pub Told Me. Jingo
Something as artificial and human as an hour wouldn't last five minutes here. It would be dried out and shrivelled up in seconds. The Last Continent
He met heroes frequently, generally surrounded by, and this was important, the dead bodies of very nearly all their enemies and saying, "Vot the hell shust happened?"
(Death ponders heroism)
The Last Continent
The only curses of his that stood a chance of working were on the lines of "May you get rained on at some time in your life," and "May you lose some small item despite the fact that you put it there only a moment ago." The Last Continent
The Bursar was, as he would probably be the first to admit, not the most mentally stable of people. He would probably be the first to admit that he was a tea-strainer. The Last Continent
He felt as though he was falling into a hole. He'd had the sensation before, although usually it was when he was falling into a hole. The Last Continent
He wasn't strictly aware of it, but he treated even geography as if he was investigating a crime (Did you see who carved out the valley? Would you recognize that glacier if you saw it again?)
(Commander Vimes prepares for a trip.)
The Fifth Elephant
A couple of what Vimes thought of as the heavy dwarfs stepped through and gave everyone the official, professional look that said that for your comfort and convenience we have decided not to kill you at this very moment. The Fifth Elephant
Lu-Tze, who was not holy and therefore could think unholy thoughts, occasionally wondered whether the chanting monks were chanting anything, or were just going "aahaaahahah". You could never tell with all that echo. Thief of Time
If children were weapons, Jason would have been banned by international treaty. Thief of Time
Perhaps it was boredom, not intelligence, that had propelled them up the evolutionary ladder. Trolls and dwarfs had it too, that strange ability to look at the universe and think "Oh, the same as yesterday, how dull. I wonder what happens if I bang this rock on that head?" Thief of Time
"Good morning, sergeant," said William.
A nod from the troll indicated that he was prepared to accept, on available evidence, that it was morning and, in certain circumstances, by some people, it might be considered good.
The Truth
If stress were food, he'd succeeded in turning his life into porridge. The Truth
The dungeons of the palace held a number of felons imprisoned "at his lordship's pleasure", and since Lord Vetinari was seldom very pleased they were generally in for the long haul. The Last Hero
Many of the things built by the architect and freelance designer Bergholt Stuttley ("Bloody Stupid") Johnson were recorded in Ankh-Morpork, often on the line where it says "Cause of Death". The Last Hero
Wizards can put up with any amount of deprivation and discomfort, provided it is not happening to them. The Science of Discworld (with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen)
"Not exactly, sir," said Ponder, employing the phrase in its traditional sense of "absolutely wrong". The Science of Discworld (with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen)
THE RULES [Ponder Stibbons' observations of the early days of Roundworld]
1. Things fall apart, but centres hold.
2. Everything moves in curves.
3. You get balls.
4. Big balls tell space to bend.
5. There are no turtles anywhere.
6. ...It's so depressing.
The Science of Discworld (with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen)
Wobbler had written an actual computer game like this once. It was called "Journey to Alpha Centauri". It was a screen with some dots on it. Because, he said, it happened in real time, which no-one had ever heard of until computers. He'd seen on TV that it took three thousand years to get to Alpha Centauri. He had written it so that if anyone kept their computer on for three thousand years, they'd be rewarded by a little dot appearing in the middle of the screen, and then a message saying, "Welcome to Alpha Centauri. Now go home." Only You Can Save Mankind
Suicide was against the law. Johnny had wondered why. It meant that if you missed, or the gas ran out, or the rope broke, you could get locked up in prison to show you that life was really very jolly and thoroughly worth living. Johnny and the Dead
Bigmac wasn't an athlete. If there was an Olympic Sick Note event, he would have been in the British team. He would've won the 100 metres I've Got Asthma, the half-marathon Lurk in the Changing Rooms, and the freestyle Got to Go to the Doctor. Johnny and the Bomb
Along with the standard computer warranty agreement which said that if the machine 1) didn't work, 2) didn't do what the expensive advertisement said, 3) electrocuted the immediate neighbourhood, 4) and in fact failed entirely to be inside the expensive box when you opened it, this was expressly, absolutely, implicitly and in no event the fault or responsibility of the manufacturer, that the purchaser should consider himself lucky to be allowed to give his money to the manufacturer, and that any attempt to treat what had just been paid for as the purchaser's own property would result in the attentions of serious men with menacing briefcases and very thin watches. Good Omens (with Neil Gaiman)
Kids! Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous. Do not attempt it in your home. Caveat to Good Omens
It wasn't a dark and stormy night.
It should have been, but there's the weather for you. For every mad scientist who's had a convenient thunderstorm just on the night his Great Work is complete and lying on the slab, there have been dozens who've sat around aimlessly under the peaceful stars while Igor clocks up the overtime.
Good Omens
The babies looked similar, both being small, blotchy, and looking sort of, though not really, like Winston Churchill. Good Omens
It was already growling, and the growl was a low, rumbling snarl of spring-coiled menace, the sort of growl that starts in the back of one throat and ends up in someone else's. Good Omens
This is how Newton Pulsifer looked as a man; if he went into a phone book and changed, he might manage to come out looking like Clark Kent. Good Omens
He was black. Newt always felt guilty in the presence of black Americans, in case they blamed him for two hundred years of slave trading. Good Omens
SCIENCE: A way of finding things out and then making them work. Science explains what is happening around us the whole time. So does RELIGION, but science is better because it comes up with more understandable excuses when it is wrong.
(From A Scientific Encyclopedia for the Enquiring Young Nome by Angalo de Haberdasheri)
"He's a man of few words, and he doesn't know what either of them mean," people said, but not when he was within hearing. The Carpet People

Profound Impressions

The funny stuff is above. Here are some rather interesting impressions on life and culture given by Pterry.

For animals, the entire universe has been neatly divided into things to (a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from, and (d) rocks. Equal Rites
The relevant equation is: Knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass; a good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read. Guards! Guards!
People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else." Guards! Guards!
The shortest unit of time in the multiverse is the New York Second, defined as the period of time between the traffic lights turning green and the cab behind you honking. Lords and Ladies
"Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind." Rincewind in Faust Eric
According to the philosopher Ly Tin Wheedle, chaos is found in greatest abundance wherever order is being sought. It always defeats order, because it is better organized. Interesting Times
Adventure! People talked about the idea as if it was something worthwhile, rather than a mess of bad food, no sleep, and strange people inexplicably trying to stick pointed objects in bits of you. Interesting Times
Grand Viziers were always scheming megalomaniacs. It was probably in the job description: "Are you a devious, plotting, unreliable madman? Ah, good, then you can be my most trusted advisor." Interesting Times
Probably the last sound heard before the Universe folded up like a paper hat would be someone saying "What happens if I do this?" Interesting Times
People who didn't need people needed people around to know that they were the kind of people who didn't need people. Maskerade
The philosopher Didactylos has summed up an alternative hypothesis as "Things just happen. What the hell." Hogfather
The alchemists say it's the key to mortality, but they say that about orange juice, crusty bread and drinking your own urine. An alchemist would cut his own head off if he thought it'd make him live longer. The Last Continent
It was funny how people were people everywhere you went, even if the people concerned weren't the people the people who made up the phrase "people are people everywhere" had traditionally thought of as people. The Fifth Elephant
Genius is always allowed some leeway, once the hammer has been pried from its hands and the blood has been cleaned up. Thief of Time
If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying "End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH", the paint wouldn't even have time to dry. Thief of Time
The difference between [the hard way] and the easy way is that the hard way works. The Truth
Flight has been said to be one of the great dreams of Mankind. In fact it merely harks back to Man's ancestors, whose greatest dream was of falling off the branch. In any case, other great dreams of Mankind have included the one about being chased by huge boots with teeth. And no one says that one has to make sense. The Last Hero
It is in the nature of things that those who save the world from certain destruction often don't get hugely rewarded because, since the certain destruction does not take place, people are uncertain how certain it may have been and are, therefore, somewhat tight when it comes to handing out anything more substantial than praise. The Last Hero
Magicians and scientists are, on the face of it, poles apart. Certainly, a group of people who often dress strangely, live in a world of their own, speak a specialized language and frequently make statements that appear to be in flagrant breach of common sense have nothing in common with a group of people who often dress strangely, speak a specialized language, live in... er... The Science of Discworld (with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen)
With magic, you can turn a frog into a prince. With science, you can turn a frog into a Ph.D and you still have the frog you started with. The Science of Discworld (with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen)

Comedic Conversations

Here Pratchett-san assumes the persona of his myriad characters. Speakers are in order of the lines spoken.

"We flattened all the wolves around here years ago. Old Granddad did, anyway."
"He didn't like them?"
"No, he just didn't used to look where he was going."
Kwartz and Rincewind The Light Fantastic
"Yeah, let's get him!"
"Let's throw him off the tower!"
"Let's get him and throw him off the tower!"
Two unidentified rioters The Light Fantastic
"You stay here. I'll whistle if it's safe to follow me."
"What will you do if it isn't safe?"
Teppic and Ptraci Pyramids
"Of course it's a dream," he said. "The world is the dream of the Creator. It's all dreams, different kinds of dreams. They're supposed to tell you things. Like: Don't eat lobster last thing at night." Khuft Pyramids
"'e's fighting in there!" he stuttered, grabbing the captain's arm.
"All by himself?" said the captain.
"No, with everyone!"
Nobby Nobbs and Samuel Vimes Guards! Guards!
It's a metaphor of human bloody existence, a dragon. And if that wasn't bad enough, it's also a bloody great hot flying thing. Samuel Vimes Guards! Guards!
"I'm vice-president of Throwing Out People Mr Dibbler Doesn't like the Face of." Troll bouncer Moving Pictures
"Did I hear things, or can that little dog speak?" said Dibbler.
"He says he can't," said Victor. Dibbler hesitated.
"Well," he said, "I suppose he should know."
Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler and Victor Moving Pictures
"What is this thing, anyway?"
"It's called a shovel. I've seen the gardeners use them. You stick the sharp end in the ground. Then it gets a bit technical."
The Dean and the Senior Wrangler Reaper Man
"It's far too early in the morning for it to be early in the morning." A groggy Nanny Ogg Witches Abroad
"How about a date?"
"How old do you think I am?"
"All right, then. How about a prune?"
Casanunda and Nanny Ogg Witches Abroad
"That's right. We're philosophers. We think, therefore we am." Didactylos (?) Small Gods
"Pets are always a great help in times of stress. And in times of starvation too, o'course." I forget. Small Gods
"There's a door."
"Where does it go?"
"It stays where it is, I think."
Rincewind and Eric Faust Eric
"What're quantum mechanics?"
"I don't know. People who repair quantums, I suppose."
Eric and Rincewind Faust Eric
"How did you do that?"
"Simple. He knows you wouldn't make his daft head explode."
"Well, I know you wouldn't, too."
"No you don't. You just know I ain't done it up to now."
Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax Lords and Ladies
"Oh-ho, dwarf smuggling, eh?"
"I'm a giant."
"Giants are a lot bigger."
"I've been ill."
Unnamed troll guard and Casanunda Lords and Ladies
"Luck is my middle name. Mind you, my first name is Bad." Rincewind Interesting Times
(A thought about Rincewind)
Death Interesting Times
"I don't see why everyone depends on me. Even I don't depend on me, and I'm me." Rincewind Interesting Times
"There's a lot of waiting in warfare."
"Ah, yes. I've heard people say that. They say there's long periods of boredom followed by short periods of excitement."
"Not really. It's more like short periods of waiting followed by long periods of being dead."
Cohen the Barbarian and Ronald Saveloy Interesting Times
"Yes, Mr. Skazz?"
"Er. I read something about this once."
"Remarkable. How did you manage that?"
Archchancellor Ridcully and Skazz Soul Music
"Just don't look."
"Because there's just us and there's at least two dozen of them. And all our clothes were made for people with full sets of arms and legs."
Angua and Cheery Littlebottom Feet of Clay
"This thing's a kind of big artificial brain, then?"
"You could think of it like that. Of course, Hex doesn't actually think. Not as such. It just appears to be thinking."
"Ah. Like the Dean."
Archchancellor Ridcully and Ponder Stibbons Hogfather
"I am not losing my hair! It is just very finely spaced!"
"Half on your head and half on your hairbrush."
"No sense in bein' bashful about goin' bald. Anyway, you know what they say about bald men, Dean."
"Yes, they say, 'Look at him, he's got no hair.'"
The Dean, the Lecturer in Recent Runes, Archchancellor Ridcully, and Runes again Hogfather
"It demonstrates the friendly alliance between the University and the civil government which, I may say, seems to consist of their promising to do anything we ask provided we promise not to ask them to do anything." Lord Vetinari Jingo
"Are you going out, Sam?"
"Yes. I'm just going to kick some arse, dear."
"Oh, good. Just be sure you wrap up well, then."
Sybil and Samuel Vimes Jingo
"Speed of light crossing the Disc," said Ponder. We are close to the Rim, I'm sure. I'm trying to remember how you tell the time by looking at the sun."
"I should leave it for now," said the Senior Wrangler, squinting under his hand. "It's too bright to see the numbers at the moment."
Ponder Stibbons and the Senior Wrangler The Last Continent
"Tell me, Leonard, has it ever occured to you that one day war will be fought with brains?"
"Oh dear. Won't that be rather messy?"
Lord Vetinari and Leonard of Quirm The Fifth Elephant
"Dwarfs are very argumentative, sir. Of course, many wouldn't agree." Cheery Littlebottom The Fifth Elephant
"I believe you ver an alcoholic, Sir Samuel."
"No, I was a drunk. You have to be richer than I was to be an alcoholic."
Lady Margolotta and Samuel Vimes The Fifth Elephant
"Possibly? You turn up when people are possibly going to die?"
"What's that?"
Samuel Vimes and Death The Fifth Elephant
"And if I vas to point at a castle on a towering crag and say 'Yonder is... zer castle' a volf would be bound to howl mournfully. In zer old country, zer scenery is psychotropic and knows vot is expected of it. Here, alas, people just look at you in a funny vay." Otto von Chriek The Truth
"Another fifty dollars? That'll make it fifteen dollars!" Arnold Sideways The Truth
"In fact, 'not this bit' has never even been accepted as a valid part of any magical invocation, ever since the late Funnit the Forgetful tried to use it as a last-minute addition to his famously successful spell to destroy the entire tree he was sitting in." Ponder Stibbons The Science of Discworld (with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen)
"Don't play God. He always wins." Omnian saying The Science of Discworld (with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen)
"Come on. I miss old Wobbler."
"'Cos I don't throw straight."
Bigmac and Kirsty/Kasandra Johnny and the Bomb
"And I'm not James Bond. If I was, the bad guys would have shown me all the megadeath levers and told me how they bloody well worked, wouldn't they?" Newt Pulsifer Good Omens (with Neil Gaiman)

Autobiographical Anecdotes

These quotes were mentioned by Pratchett himself, either on his infrequent visits to the newsgroup (AFP), or in various interviews; they were gathered in a quotes file at L-Space.

I stroll along, talk, I sign books, people buy me drinks, I forget where my hotel is, I get lost and fall into some local body of water... done it hundreds of times.
(Going to a convention is fun!)
What you have here is an example of that well known phenomenon, A Bookshop Assistant Who Knows Buggerall But Won't Admit It (probably some kind of arts graduate).AFP
Everywhere I've been in Manhattan the streets are called Walk and Don't Walk.AFP
That seems to point up a significant difference between Europeans and Americans. A European says: "I can't understand this, what's wrong with me?" An American says: "I can't understand this, what's wrong with him?"AFP
I mean, I wouldn't pay more than a couple of quid to see me, and I'm me.AFP
Over the centuries, mankind has tried many ways of combating the forces of evil...prayer, fasting, good works and so on. Up until Doom, no one seemed to have thought about the double-barrel shotgun. Eat leaden death, demon...AFP
Death isn't on line. If he was, there would be a sudden drop in the death rate. Although it'd be interesting to see if he'd post things like: DON'T YOU THINK I SOUND LIKE JAMES EARL JONES?AFP
'They can ta'k our live but they can never ta'k our freedom!' Now there's a battle cry not designed by a clear thinker...
Musing about Braveheart.
Eight years involved with the nuclear industry have taught me that when nothing can possible go wrong and every avenue has been covered, then is the time to buy a house on the next continent.AFP
What your soldier wants-- really, really wants -- is no-one shooting back at him.AFP
Dickens, as you know, never got round to starting his home page.AFP
I always call it 'Tour Flu', because two or three weeks in hot bookshops with hundreds of people usually produces an ailment of some kind. Going on tour is like a box of rare diseases -- you never know what you're going to get.AFP
If it wasn't for the fun and money, I really don't know why I'd bother.AFP
Q: Terry, how did you and Neil Gaiman work together on Good Omens? Who wrote what?
TP: I did the words, he did the spaces. Mind you, he tells it differently.
CompuServe Science Fiction/Fantasy Forum, Aug. 11, 1991
My job is to make you think it exists. If I think it exists I'm a candidate for the white waistcoat with the optional long sleeves.Melbourne's 3RRR Radio program "Zero G", July 4, 1994
The Johnny Maxwell books are YA stories about a kid with an extremely active imagination. Two of them get shortlisted for the Carnegie, I think, but didn't win because they weren't about drugs and inner-city deprivation.IRC chat at the World Fantasy Convention
I always use a keyboard and tend to buy a new PC every year. For writing, of course -- you *need* MMX, a 24speed cd- rom and a big sound card for writing, as everyone knows.IRC chat at the World Fantasy Convention
Q: You have three T's in your last name. What do you have to say about this?
TP: The third one took some achieving.
Interview in Blink Magazine
I would like to apologise to the relatives of the fan who gave me 29 books to sign in Odyssey 7, Manchester. I'm a little twitchy towards the end of a day of signing and did not mean to kill and eat him."?

About The Author

I thought you might enjoy some of the blurbs put on the back/front of Pratchett's various novels. Besides for being informative, they're also rather wacky.

Terry Pratchett was born in 1948 and is still not dead. He started work as a journalist one day in 1965 and saw his first corpse three hours later, work experience meaning something in those days. After doing just about every job it's possible to do in provincial journalism, except of course covering Saturday afternoon football, he joined the Central Electricity Generating Board and became press officer for four nuclear power stations. He'd write a book about his experiences if he thought anyone would believe it.

All this came to an end in 1987 when it became obvious that the Discworld series was much more enjoyable than real work. Since then the books have reached double figures and have a regular place in bestseller lists. He also writes books for younger readers. Occasionally he gets accused of literature.

Terry Pratchett lives in Wiltshire with his wife Lyn and daughter Rhianna. He says writing is the most fun anyone can have by themselves.

Terry Pratchett lives in England, an island off the coast of France, where he spends his time writing Discworld novels in accordance with the Very Strong Anthropic Principle, which holds that the entire Purpose of the Universe is to make possible a being that will live in England, an island off the coast of France, and spend his time writing Discworld novels. Which is exactly what he does. Which proves the whole business true. Any questions?
For those who really need to know, Terry Pratchett was born in Buckinghamshire in 1948. He has managed to avoid all the really interesting jobs authors take in order to look good in this kind of biography. In his search for a quiet life he got a job as a Press Officer with the Central Electricity Generating Board just after Three Mile Island, which shows his unerring sense of timing. Now a full-time writer, he lives in Wiltshire with his wife and daughter. He likes people to buy him banana daiquiris (he knows people don't read author biographies, but feels this might be worth a try).
Terry Pratchett was born in what is rapidly becoming the last century, and did various journalistic jobs before becoming a full-time writer. They were not as much fun as writing the bestselling Discworld series of fantasy books, among others.

He now lives behind a keyboard in Wiltshire. He doesn't want to get a life, because it feels as though he is trying to lead three already.

Discworld Book Guide

I've gotten enough requests for this to put it here. There are lots of books in the Discworld series (over 30 now!) and there are several distinct "streams" in it, as well as some independent ones as well. The four major streams are as follows:

  • Rincewind: Probably the most popular (as well as the first) stream, it follows Rincewind, an inept wizard whose only real skill is running away from things.
  • Witches: The only stream that generally has no ties to the city of Ankh-Morpork, this follows Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Magrat Garlick, and other sundry witches, in the tiny country of Lancre.
  • Death: As you might expect, this follows the exploits of the incredibly popular Death of the Discworld and his extended family of sorts.
  • City Watch: Follows the adventures of Samuel Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork Watch and his growing list of subordinates.

The Wizards of Unseen University, while they do appear in a great many books, always appear with one of the above four in addition to them; they're never the main attractions. They're generally around for comic slapstick. 8-) The ape Librarian appears in very nearly every book for a few sentences, at least. 8-) So's Death, of course (in absolutely every book).

The table below shows the books in order of publication, and indicates what stream they're part of. Generally speaking it's always best to read the books in order if at all possible, since there are spoilers (except, to an extent, the Rincewind books, since the plot involving the main character is generally always the same 8p).

BookStreamParody OfNotes
The Color Of MagicRincewindCthulhu, PernNot as good as later books, IMO, and a lot of ideas changed in later ones too. He's just getting his feet wet. Cliffhanger ending.
The Light FantasticRincewindConan, generic fantasyThe only direct sequel in the series. Although these two books aren't as funny as later ones, they do set the pace for them, so I'd recommend checking them out if you can. Features Cohen the Barbarian, more arthritic than usual.
Equal RitesWitchesNothing, really.Only Granny's in this one. Also not as good as later ones, but he's getting there.
MortDeathNothing, really.This is the start of the Death storyline. Definitely read this before the others in the stream.
SourceryRincewindApocalypse, ArabiaNo real comments here.
Wyrd SistersWitchesShakespeare, esp. MacbethOne of my favorites. Read Macbeth cover to cover and then this book and you'll LOVE it. 8p
PyramidsIndependentAncient Egypt, ancient Greece, GormenghastFollows Teppic, an assassin from Ankh-Morpork, as he takes over the kingship of the equivalent of Egypt. Less active than other DW books, but satisfying.
Moving PicturesIndependentEarly HollywoodA lot of hard-to-get jokes in this; you'll need to know a lot about the early days of Hollywood (Cecil B. DeMille era) to get them. Follows a student wizard named Vincent and his job change to movie star.
Reaper ManDeathAliens (the movie), to some extentMostly original stuff here, but deals with the undead a lot. If my memory serves me, this is the first book that Archchancellor Ridcully appears in. Quite touching in parts.
Witches AbroadWitchesFairy tales, voodoo magicSome very nice themes in this one.
Small GodsIndependentReligion, esp. Spanish InquisitionThis book is generally touted to be the most popular among non-Pratchett-fans. It's a good deal deeper than usual and asks a lot of questions about religion.
Faust EricRincewindFaust, Trojan War, Dante's InfernoThis book's basically a filler between Sourcery's ending and Interesting Times' beginning. Much smaller than usual, but has a very solid, complete feel to it.
Interesting TimesRincewindFeudal China/JapanOne of my favorites as far as uncontrolled chaos goes. 8-) Very funny. You should definitely first read The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic before this one, though.
Men At ArmsCity WatchNot much... clowns?Chemistry's really starting to get going here. 8-) Explains why there are no guns in the Discworld.
Lords and LadiesWitchesMore Shakespeare (Twelfth Night).Think elves are nice little thingies that grant wishes? Think again. Wizards feature largely in this one, especially Ridcully.
MaskeradeWitchesOpera, Broadway (esp. Phantom of the Opera)Also some nice themes in this one. You should at least know the basic story of the Phantom of the Opera before going into it.
Soul MusicDeathHistory of rock 'n' rollThe Wizards have a large part in this one. If you can understand most of the song "American Pie" by Don McLean, chances are you'll get most of the jokes in here. Otherwise, read up on early rock (Elvis, Buddy Holly, etc.).
Feet of ClayCity WatchRobocop, Asimov's Robot novels, TerminatorAlso has a few golems and Jewish jokes, so those are nice. 8-) To get all the jokes you'll need to have seen the first Robocop movie, know a bit about the Robot novels, and seen both Terminators. 8p
HogfatherDeathChristmas, Tooth FairyOne of my favorites as far as hilarity and insanity goes. The Wizards as well as the Watch come into this one.
JingoCity WatchWartime, Arabia (esp. Lawrence of Arabia), JFKMore breaking down the stereotypes. Very nice. 8-)
The Last ContinentRincewindAustralia, inc. Crocodile Dundee and Mad Max.Even more nonsensical than most Rincewind novels. If you know nothing about Down Under it'll still be funny, but nowhere near as funny as if you do.
The Fifth ElephantCity WatchMonster movies, sort of.This is the start of Pratchett's more character-driven, less parody-driven style. This is where the Discworld version of e-mail starts going (although it was introduced in Jingo, sort of).
Thief of TimeDeathKung Fu/Karate Kid, Star Trek's BorgAlthough the Death storyline is a major part, so is following Lobsang, a student of Lao Tze the Sweeper, a History Monk. The story is a good deal deeper and a bit harder to follow than usual (lots of stuff about time).
The TruthIndependentNewspapersWilliam de Worde is the Discworld's first newspaper editor, and he's got a hell of a time ahead of him. 8-) The Watch make an appearance too.
The Last HeroEverybody!Space travelThis is a large book with illustrations on every page, done by Paul Kidby. It brings together Rincewind, the Watch, Cohen the Barbarian, Leonard of Quirm, and some really funny new characters. 8-)
Night WatchCity WatchLes MiserablesA much darker book than most Discworld reads, and much more seat-of-your-pants interesting. One of my favorites, and very very different from most Discworld books.
The Wee Free MenTiffany AchingNothing, reallyThis one reaches out to kids more than usual, but it's still very readable. Features the Nac mac Feegle from Carpe Jugulum, the elves from Lords and Ladies, and a girl learning to be a witch.
Monstrous RegimentIndependentWomen's lib.This follows a regional war in a previously un-remarked-on country where at least one woman masquerades as a man to fight. I found it less entertaining than usual.
Going PostalIndependentPostal service.A really great read, featuring a former con artist propped up by Lord Vetinari to revitalize the decrepit postal service.
Thud!City WatchMulticulturalism.Sam Vimes returns again, this time trying to defuse the tension between dwarfs and trolls on the anniversary of the Battle of Koom Valley. A bit predictable, but a very interesting social commentary.
Where's My Cow?City WatchN/A.A "companion" book to Thud!. Haven't read it yet.
Hat Full of SkyTiffany AchingNone.Tiffany's adventures continue as she's apprenticed to Miss Level, but has to deal with a malevolent spirit.
The Science of DiscworldNone (Wizards)Real-world scienceA weird book... the story sections are interspersed with sort of essays about astronomy, evolution, chemistry, etc. After a while I just started to skip those bits. 8p The Wizards of UU start the Roundworld project, where what's apparently our world is created in a little glass jar. Rincewind is in it, but he's not a major player.
The Science of Discworld II: The GlobeNone (Wizards)More real-world science.The wizards take a more in-depth look in Roundworld, by being thrown right into it, where they're pitched into a battle with elves over Roundworlders' imaginations and subsequent ability to get off the planet before it's destroyed. Same format as the previous one, but a bit more interesting.
The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's WatchNone (Wizards)None (Wizards)The wizards try to make sure that Charles Darwin is born and writes his seminal work, and that he isn't swayed too much by his religious fervor.

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