There was always something about Sir Terry Pratchett’s writing and personality that drew me in. Dark and funny, his writing drew heavily on societal myths and mores. His penchant for mocking authority and tradition always spoke to me. That he could weave great stories also helped. Pratchett had the ability to make you chuckle and think at the same time, which is undoubtedly a great talent. If you are not familiar with this giant of an author, I would recommend his works to anyone interested in fantasy, satire, humour, or books that can make you think. I also suggest you check out one of the many retrospective biographies such as the articles available from the CBC, the BBC, the Guardian, and many others. To celebrate the life of a great, here are my favourite works by the legendary author. Pratchett always managed to work in wonderful characters and scathing critique. (He also happened to truly understand librarians.) He will be missed, but we are left with a plethora of written treasures to help us remember this remarkable man.
When you’re desperate for a job, you may have to consider things outside your comfort zone. If offered room, board, and use of the company horse you would have to consider yourself lucky – even if the job is to be Death’s apprentice.
Mort follows the title character who must first deal with his family, and then an exciting new career. While the protagonist is happy to get a new job, he quickly finds that a work/life balance is quite difficult in his new position. It becomes especially problematic when he meets a new romantic interest while on the job. Set in Pratchett’s remarkable Discworld, this is an enthralling tale which manages to avoid getting depressing while straddling the line between dark and humour. It’s a timely read for Pratchett fans, and those new to the man’s works.
Discworld is a planet on the back of four elephants standing on a giant turtle floating through space, and is the setting for many of Pratchett’s most popular stories.
Following the incompetent wizard Rincewind, Colour of Magic reveals much of the interesting “planet” on which Pratchett’s stories were often set. This one is about Rincewind, a naive tourist, and a homicidal sentient trunk, who have adventures after having to flee the big city due to a fire set by a bartender who misunderstands the concept of insurance.
With an appearance by Fate herself, hydrophobic wizards, a very intelligent sword, and many great characters – this is a great story. I believe it would particularly appeal to those who enjoy works such as Harry Potter, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and the Magicians Trilogy.
A collaboration with Neil Gaiman, this is one I’d recommend to all readers of fantasy. If you are interested in how the two giants collaborated, the BBC has a fascinating article on the topic (available here.)
With the world set to end next Saturday, it’s an inconvenient time. Things are particularly troublesome for the Angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley (who are respectively the representatives for Heaven and Hell on Earth.) It just so happens that the two sort of like humanity, and aren’t particularly looking forward to giving up their lot.
As the Four Horse-Persons of the apocalypse begin to muck about on motorcycles, the world deals with the coming to fruition of Agnes Nutter’s prophecies. (That she only wrote her book for a free author’s copy is a minor detail.) Compounding issues is that somebody seems to have misplaced the Antichrist. With aliens visiting, Atlantis rising, and so much more going on, it’s an enthralling tale that will keep you hooked. Actually, I think I might go back and read this one again.
There are so many great Terry Pratchett works to share that I could spend a long time talking about them. These are (at the moment) my top three. Terry Pratchett will be missed, but also gave us a sad yet delightful story to go out on via Twitter (meant to be read from the bottom up.)