Celebrate Sir Terry Pratchett’s Birthday with New Editions!

Since I first discovered that Sir Terry Pratchett shared a birthday with a family member (who is also a big fan), I think of thebeloved and belated author every year on April 28. Today, which would have been Sir Terry’s seventy-fourth birthday, is the first official Terry Pratchett Day, which will be celebrated this year with new editions of his novels, beginning with six of his fabulous Discworld books, the ones in the “Witches” series plus one stand-alone. If  you have never experienced the joy and madness that is Discworld, these books are a great place to begin. Discworld often has connections to another wizarding world, although the Unseen University is probably less enticing than Hogwarts if one were choosing an institution of magical education.  Rincewind, Pratchett’s endearingly failed “Wizzard,” undoubtedly flunked his OWLS, but he is good value as entertainment!

Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade, and Carpe Jugulum, along with Small Gods, are all getting splendid new covers, released today. This summer will see new-cover releases for the Wizards series, and, appropriately, on October 27 the Death series, WILL ALL BE RELEASED (I am rather partial to Pratchett’s cat-loving fellow in the long black robe, capital letters and all). That group will include the wonderful Hogfather. Next year will see the release of the City Watch novels and several others. So, if you love Discworld and need an excuse to buy new editions, or if you want to share this wonderful series with someone else, this is a good time to gift yourself or a loved one in honor of Sir Terry on his birthday! If you are not yet a fan of the fantastic world that travels through space on the back of a turtle (really!), and you need a place to start, you can begin at the beginning with The Colour of Magic, but Discworld is the sort of place you can just drop into from anywhere, so I highly recommend the re-working of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lords and Ladies, which is in the series being released today. Happy Terry Pratchett Day!

Comments

  1. If there’s anyone out there in need of a good reason to pick a Pratchett book, then maybe this will question will help? What would a novel co-written by Monty Python and J.R.R. Tolkien look like? I don’t will ever get an exact answer on that score, yet Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series comes pretty darn close to giving us one heck of a good answer!

    Let me put it this way. To read Pratchett is to get a sense of what sort of direction the Pythons might have gone if they’d kept the act going, and branched their world famed surrealist style of comedy into longer running formats. Like I can’t tell how a group written novel by the troupe would even look like, yet Pratchett proves to be so good at mimicking their style of humor, that there is a sense in which his impersonation can be said to “pass the test”.

    This might also count as Pratchett’s supreme literary achievement, as that is without doubt one of the most difficult styles of comedic writing to pull off without a hitch. It requires the writer to try and hunt down, or look for (if possible) the sense of humor in the surreal. Now, to be fair, this type of writing is not without actual literary precedent. Names like Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear might be considered logical enough origin points for the Pythonesque style of writing. Indeed, one can even go further, and claim that if the Pythons had ever taken it upon themselves to make an adaptation of Carroll’s book, then they might conceivably have come as close as anyone was ever likely to in capturing the essence of both Carroll’s words, and Tenniel’s illustrations. They also might have succeeded in making “Alice” subversive once again to a time which hopes to keep it relegated to the nursery.

    This is pure speculation, however. The point is that Pratchett seems to have been amazingly able to capture this comedic absurdism with surprisingly lucrative, and ever creative enough results. I can’t think of much better praise than that.

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