Tag: Terry Pratchett

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett (Doubleday, 2001); audiobook read by Stephen Briggs (Isis, 2001) Only nominally a children’s book. Pratchett puts a sardonic spin on the Pied Piper fairy tale, foregrounding the rats so as to take humans down a notch. Narrator Stephen Briggs soups up the audiobook by using his Sam Vimes voice for…

Sunset at Blandings

Sunset at Blandings by P.G. Wodehouse (Chatto & Windus, 1977; revised Everyman’s Library, 2015) The final, unfinished Wodehouse novel. Much like Pratchett’s ‘The Shepherd’s Crown’, the un-fleshed-out text stirs memories of what was, while throwing light on the authorial process. In this instance, Plum-worship has led to the adding of copious and mostly inconsequential third-party annotations.

The Fifth Elephant

The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett (Doubleday, 1999); audiobook read by Stephen Briggs (Isis, 2000) A relatively dour instalment that, uncharacteristically, loses a little upon re-reading. As per many City Watch stories, much rests upon Vimes’s world view (good) and a slow-burning mystery (muddled). The grating Fred Colon subplot serves only to highlight the paucity of humour.

Witches Abroad

Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett (Victor Gollancz, 1991); audiobook read by Nigel Planer (Isis, 1996) Lots of witchy dialogue ‘get the reference’ humour but overall a little too much icing, not enough cake. Nigel Planer’s Discworld audiobook readings are wonderful, but it’s a shame not to have had Celia Imrie continue her association with these all-female instalments.

Johnny and the Bomb

Johnny and the Bomb by Terry Pratchett (Doubleday, 1996); audiobook read by Richard Mitchley (BBC Audiobooks, 1997) Pratchett gifts middle-grade readers the perfect introduction to time travel, albeit that his mid-1990s ‘now’ is itself receding into history, in rapid pursuit of the Second World War ‘then’. Thought-provoking and wryly funny, with memorable characters and a rich vein of dialogue.  …

Monstrous Regiment

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett (Doubleday, 2003); audiobook read by Stephen Briggs (Isis, 2003) Pratchett marries a senseless war with a young female protagonist of insight and independence, thereby taking aim at the way men in particular—and stupid people in general—make a mess of things. A droll standalone (albeit that Vimes makes a cameo).    

Johnny and the Dead

Johnny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett (Doubleday, 1993); audiobook read by Richard Mitchley (Chivers, 2001) Inspired by the real-life selling off of cemeteries in Westminister, Pratchett brings back middle-grade protagonist Johnny Maxwell (Only You Can Save Mankind) in this droll commentary on modern society (as it was in 1993) and earnest entreaty that history’s value be recognised.    

Equal Rites

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett (Victor Gollancz, 1987); audiobook read by Celia Imrie (Isis, 1995) Not the most substantial of storylines, yet a key work in the development of the Discworld. Pratchett sets Rincewind aside in favour of the far richer character Granny Weatherwax. In so doing he makes societal change a serious part of his worldbuilding.    

Soul Music

Soul Music by Terry Pratchett (Victor Gollancz, 1994); audiobook read by Nigel Planer (Isis, 1996) Though chock full of rock ‘n’ roll allusions and puns, Soul Music is a rarity amongst the Discworld novels in that it isn’t really about anything. Witty and imaginative and still amusing on a micro level, yes, but by Pratchett’s standards underwhelming.    

The Colour of Magic

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.  …