The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (Colin Smythe, 1983); audiobook read by Nigel Planer (Isis, 1995) Pratchett’s first Discworld novel is a bubbling primordial soup of imagination. It sets the scene but at this burgeoning stage is less a crowning achievement in comedy and more the concomitant satire of a very funny man trying to write serious fantasy. …
Mrs Bradshaw’s Handbook by Terry Pratchett (Doubleday, 2014); audiobook read by Penelope Keith & Michael Fenton Stevens (Isis, 2015) An accompaniment to the novel ‘Raising Steam’, this playful but not-particularly-funny imitation of the old Bradshaw’s Guides holds, unfortunately, no independent merit. Mrs Bradshaw is like a walk-on Discworld character whose tedious observations demand interruption… only she’s been given an entire…
Going Postal by Terry Pratchett (Doubleday, 2004); audiobook read by Stephen Briggs (Isis, 2004) One of the more focussed Discworld novels, and all the better for it. Pratchett cannot help being funny but the humour here is less discursive than usual. Instead we have new characters, incisive social commentary, and a beguiling story of personal redemption.
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (Doubleday, 2003); audiobook read by Stephen Briggs (Isis, 2003) Behind all the humour, Pratchett sneaks in the quite moving story of a nine-year-old girl coping with loss. Tiffany Aching is a protagonist to watch out for, while Granny Aching is one of the finest characters ever to appear only in memory.
The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett (Doubleday, 1998); audiobook read by Nigel Planer (Isis, 1999) One of the weaker Discworld novels. Pratchett makes suitably merry with intelligent design and the origins of (stereotyped) Australianism, but the Unseen University wizards are rather tiresome when employed as main characters and Rincewind’s exploits are equally belaboured. Funny but unusually pointless.
Jingo by Terry Pratchett (Victor Gollancz, 1997); audiobook read by Nigel Planer (Isis, 2000) Plotwise, Jingo ties itself in knots and threads. The humour is less overt than elsewhere in the Discworld canon, but there remains a droll, page-turning appeal in Pratchett’s railing against—with every weapon at his disposal, primarily Sam Vimes—humanity’s absurd jingoism.
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett (Victor Gollancz, 1992); audiobook read by Nigel Planer (Isis, 1997) Pratchett’s one-off Discworld novels were often rather special, and such is the case with this exposé on organised religion. The (formerly) Great God Om finds himself unwillingly manifested as a tortoise with only one follower. Nigel Planer is exquisite in his narration.
A Blink of the Screen by Terry Pratchett (Doubleday, 2012); audiobook read by Michael Fenton Stevens & Stephen Briggs (Isis, 2012) With the exception of ‘The Sea and Little Fishes’, this collection of short stories and miscellanea (some Discworld, some not) is sadly lacking, at least by Pratchett’s standards. The qualities that brought his novels alive simply don’t lend themselves…
Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett (Victor Gollancz, 1988); audiobook read by Celia Imrie (Isis, 1996) Terry Pratchett tells comic stories within stories within Shakespearian tragedy as the King of Lancre is murdered and Granny Weatherwax and her fellow witches take centre stage in the unfolding history of his succession. Celia Imrie does a wonderfully witchy job narrating.
Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett (Gollancz, 1991); audiobook read by Nigel Planer (Transworld, 1995) Having given Death a personality, Pratchett next postulated the consequences of him having to die. Since this was still quite early in the Discworld saga, the result is mostly comedic mayhem (although Death’s relationship with Miss Flitworth is both sweet and philosophical).