Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Genius that is Terry Pratchett

Great A’Tuin the cosmic turtle swims slowly through the interstellar gulf. On it’s Hydrogen frosted back rides four gigantic elephants and upon their shoulders they carry a great land mass. This is the Discworld. A magical world, where wonderfully weird characters call their home. Humans, dwarves, trolls, wizards, witches, vampires, werewolves, zombies and a host of other exciting characters co-exists, in a world where going over the edge means flying off into space.

The most famous city in the Discworld is Ankh-Morpork where anything and everything will happen. As they say in the Disc “All roads lead to Ankh-Morpork”. Here humans live and work side-by-side with Dwarves and Trolls. Over at the Unseen University, the wizards play merry havoc and the Alchemists blow things up. Ankh-Morpork is a true cosmopolitan city, where (species) from all over the Disc comes to make their fortune. To make their dreams a reality.

This is just a smidgen of what happens in the Discworld. A magical world born out of one man’s wild imagination. That genius mind belongs to none other than Terry Pratchett.

The Discworld series of novels includes 25 books, all revolving around the various characters of the Disc. The Disc is a parody for our real world. All the stories have a theme from our real world, but the players are the people of the Discworld. Terry Pratchett manges to give the readers a whole new view point on a subject while being extremely funny.

The Terry Pratchett portfolio is not limited to the Discworld series. There are many other novels written by him. Most of the Discworld novels have been adapted to plays too.

I’m not going into details but for those who are interested can check out these links
Terry Pratchett Biography

Terry Pratchett Books

As far as storytellers go, Terry Pratchet is one of a kind. That is why he takes (a reluctant) #2 place on my list of favorite authors. (#1 being the grand master, Stephen King, who will reign supreme for ever and ever…)


John said...

The genius who coined the phrase "Give a man a match and he will stay warm for a day, but set fire to him and he will stay warm for the rest of his life"

Lady divine said...

I've never heard about this.. Sounds something like what would interest guys on a higher note..

But would love to check it out.. Thanks for letting us know..:-)

Azrael said...

John - Right on!

Lady D - Aha a convert he he
Vijitha Yapa has the books for sale. The British Council also has some books, but very difficult to get. They are out most of the time.

Jack Point said...

Pratchett parodies history, science, religion, philosophy and much else.

For example the story of discworld owes its origins to ancient beliefs about the world being flat and carried on the back of elephants. I remember learning this is school and I just found the following reference:

"ancient Hindu cosmology wherein a flat earth was supported on a turtle's back, which swam on the back of an elephant, which stood on the back of something else",


Certain plots are based entirely on some historical event, for example Small Gods seems to be based on the Spanish inquisition.

There was another which seemed to be based on the Boxer rebellion but the name escapes me now.

Of course there are some liek Reaper Man that are close to pure fantasy.

The books are generally very readable but quality can vary sometimes. Sometimes the plots get too complicated resulting in fairly weak endings. In general his endings tendt o eb weak, mostly about tying up loose ends and where the plot is too complex, not very satisfying.

Azrael said...

Jack Point - Yeah, I also remember hearing about the flat earth being carried around elephants and turtles. Can’t remember the exact details though. Thanks for the interesting link.

I’ve no complains against the Discworld series, some of the others, maybe. Whatever said they are good reading.

niroshinie said...

I love Pratchett! Yep, he does borrow ideas from reality (flat earth, turning water to wine, vegemite, even hacking to name a few)but the beauty of it is he gives it his own twists...Small Gods and Night Watch are probably my favs.
Lady D, u might check out public library too - roughly the same no. of Pratchetts as BC

Jack Point said...

Make no mistake, I do like reading Pratchett.

I find that the real fun in the reading is understanding the parody.

pissu perera said...

hmm...been trying to get myself to finish a pratchett.. its no fault of his though, he's pure genius..i love his sarcastic, ironic way of putting things..just that i havent been in the mood to read lately..must finish soul music somehow..thanks for the nudge..:)