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on 26 April 2009
It's hard to see the purpose of this book. There's too little info for Discworld devotees, and too much plot spoiling for new readers. The same points are reiterated ad nauseum and the whole thing smacks of a weekend's hack work. Buy a proper Discworld novel instead.
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on 4 December 2009
The author regrets that he cannot write as well as Terry Pratchett. Neither can I but this is all I will write. The book gives a fair survey of the breadth of the Pratchett series of series but adds little for those who have read them and seek more understanding. For those who have not read them there are spoilers aplenty.
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The substance is called "narrativium" and Mr Watt-Evans is a Heavy Dealer of the material. And why not, since his book is concerned with the inventor of narrativium, Terry Pratchett? "Narrativium" has to do with telling stories and Pratchett is peerless in that regard. Watt-Evans has undertaken a momentous task in relating and assessing the many volumes comprising the [sort-of] series of Pratchett's Discworld. The collection is an outstanding synthesis, each piece addressing both the established fan and the newcomer to this magical world. Watt-Evans own prose skills are amply displayed here in a highly personalised account.

It's telling that Watt-Evans must begin with THREE Introductions. That's a sign that Discworld books are anything but simple "fantasy" and that their readership is wide and varied. He follows this with some "Commentary" [of which there are two more sets in the book], then descriptions of the books in chronological order. That order causes some continuity problems as he notes things like "six[!] novels later" for readers to revisit certain characters. Each of the essays on the individual books necessarily imparts enough of the story to establish its place and value in the set, while struggling to avoid spoilers. He does this well, although there are a few giveaways that might have been avoided. The point of this string of chapters is to both entice the new reader to the Discworld books while offering insights regular fans may have missed. He offers "starting points" to the new reader, each explained with solid reasons for the selection. "Background" characters and villains are given a hearing, with The Luggage granted its own chapter.

If it's necessary to select an outstanding essay in this collection, that will unquestionably be Chapter 56 on Sam Vimes and the City Watch. While many characters in the Discworld series grow and develop over several volumes, Sam Vimes does so in a very special way. Although he rises in the hierarchy of the Watch, while at the same time marrying into the richest family of the City of Ankh-Morpork, he resolutely remains his own man. Vimes is beset by a need for justice as well as keeping his City intact and running smoothly. His anger often rises in response to events, and he has an internal Beast to maintain control over. The conditions for Ankh-Morpork's running smoothly are set by Vimes' chief foil [he has no trouble with criminals], the City Patrician, Havelock Vetinari. Watt-Evans offers fine portraits of both and why their interactions are so important.

There are a couple of small clangers in this book - omissions, mainly. He lets most of Pratchett's titles stand without comment, but "The Last Continent" is so named not just because it seems to have been the final effort by a Discworld creator, but because it was the last one visually encountered by European seamen. "Monstrous Regiment", an otherwise totally enigmatic title, derives from a 16th Century religious tract. Either because Watt-Evans is US-born or is pandering to that audience, he fails to inform readers of something every child in the UK would instantly recognise. These are minor things which detract nothing from an excellent summation of Terry Pratchett's work and his genius. Watt-Evans has no problem with Terry's international renown, but deftly avoids declaring that Discworld stories are more than entertaining, they are addictive. He's candidly envious of Pratchett's genius, which is only right and proper. Pratchett is without equal. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 4 November 2008
This book is quite entertaining, it tries to give a synopsis of the Discworld and the books of Terry Pratchett, and it does it well.

The author has taken the books and looked at the mythology and lore relating to the certain aspects of each book. I have a problem with a couple of the "Americanised" versions of why certain things have been included, and especially the inaccurate ones, but I may be being pedantic.

The errors and omissions from his book are not substantial, just sometimes a little irritating, and the book has obviously been written from an American perspective for the growing American readership of Discworld books. This does not detract from the from what is one of the best discworld guides I've ever read.

Overall, it's an outstanding guide to the discworld.
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on 26 September 2011
This book needs no introduction ... or indeed no preface, no body and no conclusion either

It's a short-changing hackwork that should be ignored by all

The various book précis are too short to be of any interest to an existing reader, and far too revealing for anyone who hasn't read them yet

The author clearly has only skimmed some of them, making the whole a mockery of its parts

It's hard to imagine what audience this book is aimed at

All in all, you can find more detail, including MANY more notes and references on the lspace website (search for it) and more educated discussion on the books themselves on any of the many many Pratchett forums

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on 10 April 2009
If you've read Terry Pratchett before you don't need this book - 97% of this book will be old hat - no sky here. If you haven't read Terry Pratchett then go buy a book or borrow from the library & enjoy!
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on 17 September 2010
A likeable and well written book outlining the history of Terry Pratchett's hugely successful Discworld series of fantasy novels. This includes chapters ranging from the Colour of Magic, published in 1983 right through to Making Money, 2007. The recently published I Shall Wear Midnight is also mentioned. Space doesn't permit any great details but several of the major characters are explored in depth. There are also short chapters on the writings, articles and short stories produced during the earlier days of Sir Terry's career. Also a list of on line resources where more information and merchandise can be found.

Ideal for the newer convert to Discworld but doesn't contain anything much that the ardent Pratchett fan might not know already.
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on 27 November 2011
Some reviewers have mentioned that if you have read pratchett you do not need this book and if you haven't you should in stead of this one. I feel this is a bit harsh. This book does not pretent to be a discworld novel but admits to be an badly concealed attempt to use the discworld success for it's own.
It goes through the books in a logical and thourough fashion and comments on the unfair brilliance of Sir Terry.
I found myself rereading this book after a few months (inbetween T.P. books ofcourse) just because it is funny and the author clearly is a fan of the series.

I think it is a feast of recognition for the people that have read discworld but I agree others should go and get small gods, or guards,guards or witches abroad or.....
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on 16 July 2012
Sadly this book has no merit where Terry Pratchet is concerned.It stumbles along and adds no enjoyment to the fun of Disc World Books.I suspect Sir terry is NOT amused.
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on 10 June 2013
I am of mixed views about this book. I love Discworld and all things TP and thought this would interesting. It's not. While Lawrence Watt Evans (real name) tries to be funny, he comes across as jealous. He finds faults with Discworld which are purile and irrelevant and his points of view add little to the series.

He also constantly moans about the fact that Terry Pratchett is English and writes in English, not American. How dare he! Yes we read books in the UK.

I have never heard of Lawrence Watt Evans and going by this book, I wouldn't want to read anything by him again. I'm not surprised this is unauthorised.
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