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The New Discworld Companion Paperback – 27 Mar 2003

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Paperback, 27 Mar 2003
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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; 1st revised edition (27 Mar. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575074671
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575074675
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 852,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sir Terry Pratchett was the acclaimed creator of the global bestselling Discworld series, the first of which, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. In all, he was the author of fifty bestselling books. His novels have been widely adapted for stage and screen, and he was the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, as well as being awarded a knighthood for services to literature. Worldwide sales of his books now stand at 70 million, and they have been translated into thirty-seven languages.

Sir Terry Pratchett died on 12th March 2015

Photography © David Bird

Product Description

Amazon Review

Terry Pratchett's enormously successful comic fantasies need no introduction, but the Discworld saga is so wide-ranging as to require its own encyclopaedia: The New Discworld Companion, latest revision of the original 1994 Discworld Companion.

Once again the alphabetical round-up of Discworld's people, places, creatures, organisations, books, food and miscellanea is (to hi-tech Pratchett's alleged disgust) based on Stephen Briggs's much-thumbed, uncomputerised card index. It draws its material not only from the first 30 Discworld novels and novellas--from The Colour of Magic to The Wee Free Men--but from associated maps, guides, diaries, cookbooks, short stories and two volumes of The Science of Discworld.

This torrent of information about a world that doesn't even exist (though often seeming suspiciously more real than our own) is carefully channelled. Minor entries on walk-on characters from the early novels have been ruthlessly crossed out to make room for Discworld facts and fancies that are either more important or--preferably--offer better scope for jokes. The Companion is consistently, unashamedly entertaining. From a geopolitical entry on a small but frighteningly important country:

Lancre operates on a feudal system--everyone feuds all the time and hands on the fight to their descendants. The chips on some shoulders have been handed down for generations. Some have antique value. A bloody good grudge, Lancre reckons, is like a fine old wine; you look after it carefully and leave it to your children.

It would probably be madness to read the New Companion from cover to cover, but it's endlessly browsable and offers something amusing on every page. From Abbot via Bugarup University, Orang-Utan/Human Dictionary ("Ook"), Place Where the Sun Does Not Shine, and Vestigial Virgins to "Zweiblumen, Jack", all Discworld life is here. In a closing interview Pratchett lets slip the title of the Autumn 2003 novel, Monstrous Regiment. All in all, it's a must for the hardened fan. --David Langford

Book Description

The All-New Revised Essential Companion to all things Discworld

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First Sentence
When I look back over the years since I last revised the introduction to the Companion, I am staggered at how much has happened. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 April 2003
Format: Paperback
They lied. The Discworld Companion (1994) proclaimed itself to be the definitive, and only guide...but then Terry Pratchett wrote a bunch of fantastic new books. They changed Discworld, and expanded on the characters and so the answer was clear, and the New Discworld Companion was written. Yay!
It's hugely informative, collating together the histories of characters, places, guilds and even dogs of Discworld. Some of the original entries are still present and many characters that were born only to leave the world with a messy squish have been removed. There is an immense amount of new material, much of it hilarious, taken from Terry Pratchett's more recent novels, the Discworld Diaries and other publications. It's arranged in a simple, easy to use A-Z, and comes with the added bonus of a Pterry Interview at the back.
This is a must for Discworld fans, and anyone else who wants to know what happens when the Quantum Weather Butterfly flaps its wings, or how to select the best Bonsai Mountain to cultivate.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on 23 May 2005
Format: Paperback
The wonderful thing about reading encyclopaedias is that there are no rules to follow. From cover to cover, if you wish. Selecting topics of personal interest and ignoring all else, if that's your preference. There's pleasure gained by arbitrary random choices as well as with following cross-references to see where they lead. One thing is certain about this collection, you won't be disappointed in whichever path you follow. And there's a laugh per page, if not per entry.

Ever since the Enlightenment and Diderot's compendium of the natural world, encyclopaedias have remained a buttress to learning. Some of us had the "EB" as children almost as a matter of course. All these references were collections of facts - about nature, people, literature - almost anything you might name. Rarely is an encyclopaedia a collection of one man's imaginative musings. And there are few writers around with the imagination, wit and prose style of Terry Pratchett. If you can catalogue a man's thoughts, it's been done with this "Discworld Companion".

In the earlier part of his career, Pratchett declared he didn't strive for consistency or much order in his writings. Characters, events and places on the Discworld could vary in personality, happen and be forgotten, or be seen and lost. The same place wasn't always in the same place twice. With so many books, so large a fan base and a deluge of questions, some level of order was demanded. Although there is a web page devoted to sources for the origins of Pratchettean allusions, there has never been a catalogue of persons, places and events. Hence this book.

The Companion is a rich trove of entries, many enhanced by Briggs' delightful illustrations. Anyone can read it. The long-term fan will find explanations for things encountered.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Monika Zaboklicka on 5 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
This is an amazing book, a must-have for all big fans of Discworld series. I suppose most of them, just like me, will grab this book and run away happy. And the happiness will be entirely justified.
One point must be stressed: the Companion consists mostly of spoilers, so if you didn't read all the Discworld series, wait until you do before getting a copy for yourself.
There's a lot of stuff to be found in the book. Words of Ankh-Morpork national anthem, complete with all the "ner hner ner". Extensive entries on most of major guilds, together with the crests and the mottos. Sadly, most of them are not translated, no doubt in order to grant the readers a possibility to exasperate Oxbridge Professors of Clasics with questions like "But sir, what does 'non ante septem dies proxima, squiri' really mean?"
There is even a complete list of guilds. And of books, songs, food and drinks.
Anyway, and that's a remark only for fanatics like myself - do not expect too much. You'll be disappointed.
I knew that minor characters had been left out, but I was nonethless surprised when I didn't find any entry for Stronginthearm. Neither the seargant nor the crossbow maker. And there is a whole paragraph about the Gaiters (the people who employed Susan Sto Helit for some time).
It is mentioned that the Patrician throughout the Discworld series is Vetinari, except for "some events in Night Watch". I do not complain that the "some events" happen to make 4/5 of the book, but what about "Colour of Magic"?
All in all, the people who know the series will find the book strangely uninformative at times, while the new readers will jump on a spoiler mine every now and then.
How can it be that the entry of Treacle Mine Road failes to mention either the burnt Watch House or the Republic?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Y. Juhani Westman on 3 April 2011
Format: Paperback
A Cast of Characters does not a Novel make, but the newly hooked Pratchett Fan will certainly profit from this overview of the types and places in and off the myriad places of Discworld. The style is somewhat dryish, the Companion is, after all a Catalogue, but the layout i well thought out, you find what you search for - mostly. Some things are best left to the imagination. Isaac Asimov once said that the book is the ideal video, works without an outer power source, and will be illustrated within the worlds of the readers thoughts. Thankfully this companion is sparse on the illustrations, which in my opinion restricts the imagination of most readers. Sketch maps are, for the same reasons only helpful as long as they do not get mired into details. The initials of the novels in which the items are to be found are most useful - some characters directed me to one or two novels that had slipped me by. The New Companion is not "a read" as such, but rather fun to take a glance at in short moments of leisure, like a short stroll in the alleys of the Shade. Watch out though, you may be waylaid!
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