Discworld is a comedic fantasy book series by the British author Terry Pratchett set on the Discworld, a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which are in turn standing on the back of a giant turtle, Great A'Tuin. The books frequently parody or at least borrow ideas from J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft and William Shakespeare, as well as myth, folklore and fairy tales, often using them for satirical parallels with current cultural, technological and scientific issues.

Since the first novel, The Colour of Magic (1983), the series has expanded, spawning several related books and maps, four short stories, cartoon and theatre adaptations, and even music inspired by the series. The first live-action screen adaptation for television (Terry Pratchett's Hogfather) was broadcast over Christmas 2006. Another one for the cinema (The Wee Free Men) is currently in development.

Newly released Discworld books regularly top The Sunday Times bestsellers list, making Pratchett the UK's best-selling author in the 1990s. He has since been overtaken by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. Discworld novels have also won awards such as the Prometheus Award and the Carnegie Medal. In the BBC's Big Read, five Discworld books were in the top 100, and a total of fifteen in the top 200.


Pratchett has developed the Discworld in a series of novels, short stories, and other works.


As of 2007 there have been 36 Discworld novels published (four of which are marketed as children's or "young adult" (YA) books). The original British editions of the first 26 novels, up to Thief of Time (2001), had distinctive cover art by Josh Kirby; the American editions by HarperCollins used their own cover art. Since Kirby's death in October 2001 the covers have been designed by Paul Kidby. Recent British editions of Pratchett's older novels no longer re-use Kirby's art.

Very few of the Discworld novels have chapter divisions, and feature interweaving storylines instead. Pratchett is often quoted that he "just never got into the habit of chapters", adding later "I have to shove them in the putative YA [young adult] books because my editor screams until I do". However, the first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, was divided into "books", as is Pyramids. Also, Going Postal and Making Money do have chapters, including both a prologue and an epilogue along with brief teasers of what was to come in each chapter in the style of A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories or the novels of Jules Verne and Jerome K. Jerome.

Reading Orders

Many novels share the same lead characters and show their development over time. Some of the main characters of one book may also make a cameo appearance in another book where they are not the primary focus; for example, Carrot Ironfoundersson and Angua von Überwald appear briefly in Going Postal. The books take place roughly in real-time, and the characters' ages change to reflect the passing of years. The novels can be grouped into several story arcs, with characters or themes in common, however no distinction will ever be clear-cut. Many stories (such as The Truth and Thief of Time) nominally stand alone but nonetheless tie in heavily with main storylines. A number of characters, such as the Unseen University staff, Lord Vetinari and the Elves, appear prominently in many different storylines without having titles of their own. As it is, many of these 'standalone' stories deal with the development of the city of Ankh-Morpork into a techno-magically advanced metropolis, that readers will find analogous to real-world cities. For example, The Truth catalogues the rise of a newspaper service for the city, the Ankh-Morpork Times, and Going Postal similarly deals with the development of a post service and the rise of the Discworld's telecommunications system called 'the clacks'. With the main character of Going Postal starring in the similarly-themed Making Money in which he takes over the Ankh-Morpork Mint, it can be considered a new arc: the Moist von Lipwig stories.

Reading order is not restricted to publication order. However, each arc may be best read chronologically. The best introduction to the geography and structure of the world is The Colour of Magic, although the style and contents differ somewhat from what later Discworld developed into. Character and plot development became foremost in Guards! Guards!

Lists of novels

Name Published Group Notes Motifs
1 The Colour of Magic 1983 Rincewind Came 93rd in the Big Read. Fantasy clichés, H. P. Lovecraft, tourism, insurance
2 The Light Fantastic 1986 Rincewind tourism, apocalypse
3 Equal Rites 1987 The Witches Gender equality, Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea trilogy[1]
4 Mort 1987 Death Came 65th in the Big Read Death and its personification, Apprenticeship
5 Sourcery 1988 Rincewind Apocalypse, Kubla Khan, Aladdin,[2] Arabian Nights
6 Wyrd Sisters 1988 The Witches Came 135th in the Big Read Shakespeare, especially Macbeth and Hamlet
7 Pyramids 1989 Miscellaneous, Discworld gods Egyptian mythology, Quantum physics, Greek philosophy (Including Zeno's paradox), United Kingdom driving test[3]
8 Guards! Guards! 1989 The City Watch Came 69th in the Big Read Cop novels, show dogs, dragons, fraternal organisations, aristocracy
9 Faust Eric 1990 Rincewind First published 1990 in a larger format, fully illustrated by Josh Kirby; reissued as a paperback without illustrations. Faust, Dante's Inferno, Homer's Iliad
10 Moving Pictures 1990 Miscellaneous, The Wizards Hollywood (especially silent movies and the early years of the studio system), the Cthulhu Mythos, Celebrity, King Kong, Gone with the Wind and many other films
11 Reaper Man 1991 Death, The Wizards Came 126th in the Big Read Death and its personification, Alien invasion SF, "Man with No Name" Westerns, Minority rights movements
12 Witches Abroad 1991 The Witches Came 197th in the Big Read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Voodoo, tourism
13 Small Gods 1992 Miscellaneous, the History Monks, Gods Came 102nd in the Big Read Abrahamic religions and the Spanish Inquisition (with thematic references to Nietzsche), Ancient philosophy
14 Lords and Ladies 1992 The Witches, The Wizards Shakespeare, especially A Midsummer Night's Dream, UFOs, Fairy lore, the Mythopoetic men's movement
15 Men at Arms 1993 The City Watch Came 148th in the Big Read Cop novels, gun politics, racism, 'kings in hiding'
16 Soul Music 1994 Death, Susan, The Wizards Came 151st in the Big Read Rock music, Beatlemania, Welsh language
17 Interesting Times 1994 Rincewind, The Silver Horde Imperial China, Maoism, Lemmings[4]
18 Maskerade 1995 The Witches Opera, The Phantom of the Opera, Goth subculture
19 Feet of Clay 1996 The City Watch Cop novels, robots, golem mythology, atheism, race relations, heraldry, slavery, and serfdom
20 Hogfather 1996 Death, Susan, The Wizards, Gods Came 137th in the Big Read Christmas, mythology, Mary Poppins[5]
21 Jingo 1997 The City Watch War, diplomacy, Imperialism, xenophobia, multiculturalism, Jingoism, Captain Nemo, the Cthulhu Mythos
22 The Last Continent 1998 Rincewind, The Wizards Australia (Mad Max, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Aborigines and Dreamtime),[6] evolution, and creation
23 Carpe Jugulum 1998 The Witches & Überwald Vampires, existentialism
24 The Fifth Elephant 1999 The City Watch Came 153rd in the Big Read Diplomacy, Eastern European folklore and literature, Political-conspiracy novels, global economy, national myths
25 The Truth 2000 William de Worde, the City Watch Came 193rd in the Big Read Watergate scandal, newspapers, organized crime, oligarchy
26 Thief of Time 2001 Death, Susan, the History Monks Came 152nd in the Big Read Martial arts, quantum physics, apocalypse
27 The Last Hero 2001 Rincewind, The Silver Horde, Discworld gods Published in a larger format and fully illustrated by Paul Kidby Legends, Prometheus, Dungeons & Dragons, Space Shuttle program
28 The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents 2001 Miscellaneous A YA (young adult or children's) Discworld book; winner of the 2001 Carnegie Medal The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Beatrix Potter[7]
29 Night Watch 2002 The City Watch, the History Monks Received the Prometheus Award in 2003; came 73rd in the Big Read Cop Novels, Les Misérables,[8] time travel, revolutions
30 The Wee Free Men 2003 Tiffany Aching The second YA Discworld book Folklore, mythic Scotland (e.g. Braveheart),[9] The Smurfs
31 Monstrous Regiment 2003 Miscellaneous, William de Worde, the City Watch The title is a reference to The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women[10] Folk songs, Joan of Arc, women who disguise themselves as men to join the army, the Napoleonic and other wars, Taliban, feminism, pacifism
32 A Hat Full of Sky 2004 Tiffany Aching, Witches The third YA Discworld book The history and folklore of witches in Britain, mind controlling aliens in science fiction
33 Going Postal 2004 Moist von Lipwig Politics, cons, corporate crime and business practices, monopolies, the postal system and stamp collecting, the Internet, cracking and phreaking, fraternal organizations, alternative medicine
34 Thud! 2005 The City Watch Cop novels, politics, affirmative action, race relations, chess and tafl games
35 Wintersmith 2006 Tiffany Aching, Witches The fourth YA book. The Snow Queen, Orpheus, Persephone, Sleeping Beauty, The Snow Maiden
36 Making Money 2007 Moist von Lipwig gold standard vs. fiat currency, computer simulation, quantum physics, mad scientists
37 I Shall Wear Midnight Not yet Tiffany Aching The next Discworld novel that will follow after completion of Nation, which is not a Discworld novel.[11]
38 Raising Taxes Not yet Moist von Lipwig The third book in Moist's series, announced on 21 September at the book signing in Torrance, CA.Template:Fact

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