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105 of 106 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adds depth to the Discworld for fans
I got an advanced copy of this book at the Discworld Convention and read it straight away. It is written in an entertaining style and explains how the books of the Discworld series have been influenced by the folklore of Earth - for example, why there are 3 witches and why wizards have a university.

The book is split into chapters covering different aspects of...
Published on 11 Sept. 2008 by M. Booth

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly Dull
Not nearly as interesting as I'd hoped, and I even had to put it down out of boredom several times. It seemed mainly to concentrate on 'creatures' rather than 'legends, myths and customs' which in my opinion got rather short shrift. This probably arises from trying to cram too much into this small volume, but disappointing as the authors clearly understand and enjoy...
Published on 14 Sept. 2010 by Rumpuscat


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105 of 106 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adds depth to the Discworld for fans, 11 Sept. 2008
By 
M. Booth (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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I got an advanced copy of this book at the Discworld Convention and read it straight away. It is written in an entertaining style and explains how the books of the Discworld series have been influenced by the folklore of Earth - for example, why there are 3 witches and why wizards have a university.

The book is split into chapters covering different aspects of the Discworld, e.g. the animals of the Discworld, the country of Lancre. Unlike the "Science of the Discworld" books, there isn't also a story to follow, only the description of the use of folklore. Don't expect to find full annotations of every reference to folklore in each of the Discworld books - it is more an extended essay on the subject, with good examples from the novels chosen to illustrate interesting points.

For fans of the Discworld familiar with the novels, it can be an illuminating experience reading this book - there were certainly times where I said to myself "I never knew that!". However, it is unlikely to be of interest to people who are not familiar with the Discworld universe, and there are even a few small spoilers which may annoy fans who haven't yet read all of the books.

Overall, I enjoyed this book very much and was only slightly disappointed because there isn't really any new Discworld in it - however it supports the Discworld novels very well and did increase my enjoyment of them!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Discworld enthusiast's necessity, 4 Feb. 2009
By 
R. F. Stevens "richard23491" (Ickenham UK) - See all my reviews
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If you've not read a Discworld book, then don't bother reading this one - you'll be mystified and bored. It is really only a reference book and the references will be meaningless to you.

However, if you have read several Discworld books, or, better, lots of them, then this is facinating since it ties together unexplained oddities and also shows some of the thinking behind the quirky ideas. Some of the strangest are based on the reality found here on the Roundworld.

Jacqueline Simpson has an excellent light and humorous style and I soon gave up wondering who wrote which bits, and just enjoyed the book.

I would have liked more of it, but then that is always true of good things.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nineteen versions??, 20 Oct. 2008
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Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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Folklore, ancient or modern, is one of the major foundation stones of the Discworld books. Human nature being another, one assumes. Discworld folklore is a trivia test among Discworld fans who will slyly ask one another [generally over a pint], if they can identify the origins of a certain figure or idea. With some slight discrepancies between UK and North American versions, such exchanges can become, well, spirited. "Elves or elfs?" is always good for starting an evening.

Pratchett and Simpson sort all this out - and much else besides - in this delightful work on matters folklorish. Typically, the prompt for the book was Pratchett chanting as he signed a previous release: "How many versions of the Magpie Song do you know?" A distinguished-looking lady gave the query a moment's thought and responded "about nineteen" Thus began the wonderful collaboration leading to FoD. It's typical also of the theme of the book. Discworld and Roundworld [Earth] are linked by the universal presence of narrativium, which Dimitri Mendeleev inexplicably omitted from the Periodic Table. Pratchett knows all about narrativium, carefully explaining how it drifts between universes, carrying ideas or stimulating new ones. Folklore on the Discworld compared to that of Earth may demonstrate strong similarities, or just vague likenesses that have been severely modified. The process is unhelpful, the authors note, in determining which world is the source of the story, which is sometimes a let-down.

The book's organisation is appropriate for what it must cover - it begins with the entire universe. From there it works its way through Dwarfs and Elves, giving us an interesting account of how the Elves, feared and despised on Discworld for their dark and evil ways, have somehow become transformed in modern times into charming little creatures who make toys for children. Drifting through space, narrativium must form some bizarre isotopes. The two witch types - those from Lancre and the Witches of the Chalk Downs are described. The Nac Mac Feegle are given a full chapter, which might be viewed as insufficient as you read it. Granny Aching truly deserves a book of her own. The chapter on Heroes is extensive, justifiably, when you discover the variety of Heroes Pratchett has introduced to us. Finally, almost as icing on a delicious cake, the authors provide a "Bibliography and Suggestions for Further Reading". Plan your book budget carefully.

For those in North America who think this book might be too limited in scope to be worth the investment, think carefully of your own family ancestry. While much of the material is limited to the British Isles, no small part is derived from the rest of Europe and elsewhere. Those tales and legends your ancestors took on board ship to cross the Atlantic didn't go over the rail with breakfast at the first roll of the vessels on the high seas. Those stories survived to take root here and sprout new versions of themselves in the new environment. Go through this book and see if you can't find a few you recognise. Besides the bloody elves and the obese bloke with the demented laugh. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting & enjoyable book, 21 Feb. 2012
By 
T. R. Alexander (East Anglia, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Folklore of Discworld (Paperback)
I have always been fascinated by folklore and legends, and as I am also a big Discworld fan I have been meaning to get this book for a while but never got around to it until now. The book is co-written by Sir Terry and folklorist Jacqueline Simpson who he met at a book signing event and I must say that it is very interesting and informative to read.

The book is nicely set out into short sections easy to read sections. Each section deals with a subject such as gods, fantastical sentient races such as trolls and dwarves, heroes and various miscellanies legends. The sections deal with how their subject is dealt with on the Discworld, as well as their Earthly counterparts. From what I can see, the book has been very well researched and includes many interesting facts, some of which I knew and some I didn't, from both the Discworld and Earth.

On the downside, the book can be a little dry in places and so people who are expecting to laugh out loud will probably be a little disappointed but in my view the book is never less than entertaining. Also the book is, understandably, mostly focused on the folklore of the British Isles and Europe, and I felt that there were a number of places where the book could be quite easily expanded to include some folklore from further afield.

Despite its minor faults, `The Folklore is Discworld' is a very entertaining book and one that I am sure any Discworld fan will find at least a little interesting and overall I will give it a full five stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 12 Nov. 2008
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Dr. Michael Heron (Brechin) - See all my reviews
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While I was never a fan of the Science of Discworld series, I picked this one up since it seemed to approach things from an interesting new angle. I'm certainly not disappointed - there is a whole gamut of folklore covered within, showing the links and relationships between Discworld and the Earth. It's very well written, and flows like fine honey!

However...

There isn't an awful lot of 'meat' to a lot of the content. It's very much a case of 'Here's a thing from Discworld, and here's it's real world equivalent.', and then after a paragraph or so it moved on to the next thing. I would have liked it to be a bit more in-depth, but there is a bibliography provided at the end that helps flesh out the detail.

I wholeheartedly recommend it, though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Reference for Discworld Readers, 31 Jan. 2012
By 
James Kemp (Merstham, Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Folklore of Discworld (Paperback)
I'm a fan of both Terry Pratchett and folklore. I definitely learnt some things, but also knew quite a lot of it already, which perhaps reflects the four star rating rather than the five one might otherwise expect given my stated interests.

You don't need to have read all the discworld novels to get this book, but you do need to be a discworld reader or a large chunk of it will be lost on you. This book is a reference list that explains how earth's folklore (primarily British, but not exclusively so) has influenced the stories, and it comes with a really good index at the back. So you could have it on the side when reading through the various discworld books to look up the bits you weren't sure of. However, it works best on the novels set outside Ankh-Morpork. From memory the most referenced are Pyramids, Sourcery, Hogfather, Lords and Ladies, Soul Music, Monstrous Regiment and the Tiffany Aching books.

Another word on spoilers. Although there are a good number of quoted sections and explanations of references I don't think any of these directly related to the main plots of the stories. However, you might want to read the actual Discworld books before reading this one. You'll enjoy it all the more for being familiar with the stories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly Dull, 14 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: The Folklore of Discworld (Paperback)
Not nearly as interesting as I'd hoped, and I even had to put it down out of boredom several times. It seemed mainly to concentrate on 'creatures' rather than 'legends, myths and customs' which in my opinion got rather short shrift. This probably arises from trying to cram too much into this small volume, but disappointing as the authors clearly understand and enjoy their subject and should have been allowed a bit more space.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Folklore of Discworld by Terry Pratchett, 10 Oct. 2009
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An excellent add - on to any collector of Terry Pratchett. This book is informative and entertaining at the same time. This could be read by anyone interested in Folklore in general as there is so much of that as well. It is a book which can be dipped in and out of with ease so ideal holiday reading. Trouble is there is a great bibliography at the end so if you fancy reading more, you'd have to wait til you got home. As with all Pratchett, it educates at the same time as letting you think you are having some guilty Fantasy reading pleasure. Personally, I loved the artwork so would have liked more, but that's just greedy...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much about the Discworld - Too little about Folklore, 12 Feb. 2013
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I hoped that this book would be like the Science of Discworld books: those were mostly about science, with alternating story chapters to give breathing and thinking space. Unfortunately the Folklore of Discworld is mostly actually about the Discworld: if you've read the books, then two-thirds of this book will be dull re-hashing of what you've already read (the book is liberally padded with excerpts from the books). The other third is interesting however: history of folklore on earth, from around the world. Sadly there just isn't enough of the interesting stuff.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Completing my collection, 29 May 2013
By 
P. Walters (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Folklore of Discworld (Paperback)
I am a die-hard Pratchett fan and have bought all his books so I had to buy this, too. It's okay but there's nothing new so I'm just waiting for then next Discworld novel....
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The Folklore of Discworld
The Folklore of Discworld by Jacqueline Simpson (Paperback - 8 Oct. 2009)
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