Terry Pratchett, or as we now should call him Sir Terry Pratchett, is the phenomenally successful author of the well-known and loved Discworld series. Unlike many authors in the fantasy and science fiction genres, Pratchett’s appeal has extended out into the general reading community. To date, he has published 36 books in the Discworld series and a number of spin-off books.
In 2008 Pratchett fans were offered several titles. Not only was the latest Discworld novel, Making Money (Random House, 2007), brought out in paperback, Pratchett also released an independent novel Nation (Doubleday, 2008) and The Folklore of Discworld (Random House, 2008) with Jacqueline Simpson.
The Folklore of Discworld offers an overview of the real world influences that have infiltrated the pages of Discworld, through the characters and settings as well as the mythology and history of the Discworld itself. It is a fascinating read and fans of Pratchett’s novels are sure to enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at the incredible diversity of sources and details that he has used in the 25 years of Discworld novels.
For those who were interested in finding out whether Pratchett could write something other than Discworld after all these years, Nation was their opportunity to find out. I enjoyed the different and more “real world” setting in Nation, but found that the novel still reflected Pratchett’s social commentary style. I really enjoyed Nation and found, just like the Discworld novels, that I couldn’t put it down.
There are plans for a Nation stage production to open at the Olivier Theatre in November 2009. The novel will be adapted by Mark Ravenhill with the production directed by Melly Still and sponsored by Accenture, supporters of Innovation at the National Theatre.
Despite the fact that I am an enthusiastic Pratchett fan myself, I can see that his style of writing isn’t for everyone. Meredith has never warmed to the Discworld, although she has suggested that it is the font rather than the actual writing that bothers her. Some people are just too picky. For those who find the fantasy aspects of Discworld not to their liking, Nation offers a good alternative and is a very enjoyable novel.
For those looking for an overview of the Discworld series and Pratchett’s success in the fantasy genre, I can recommend The Turtle Moves! by Lawrence Watt-Evans (BenBella Books, 2008). Watt-Evans is an experienced fantasy author and offers some very interesting insights into the novels and the Discworld phenomenon.by