Happy Hour – June 25th

I’m back in the countryside this weekend, and probably will be for a couple weeks. Rabbit and his family are on vacation once again, and I will never pass up an opportunity to surround myself with green hills and starry night skies. This comes at a good time. I’ve got a tremendous amount of work to do next week, and I’m coming off a grueling week that ended on a disappointing note.

It doesn’t bear getting into, because freelancing is nothing if not high hopes, frustrating disappointments, and quick rebounds. This time I dealt with disappointment by getting a stack of new assignments, then drinking my way into the weekend with some good company. Now MK and I are out in the woods, a chicken is roasting in the oven, and I’m back to being excited about my work. The nice thing about where I am at in my career right now is that each setback occurs against a backdrop of steady work. A year ago, I’d miss out on a good gig and there might not be anything in the pipeline to distract me from that failure.

As for this weekend, it’s going to be full of FEAR 3 and the Age of Empires Online beta, both work-related. I’m also hoping to work in a couple board games with MK, perhaps some Hold the Line with our new house rules, or maybe something from Rabbit’s collection. I’m also reading through V for Vendetta this weekend, as part of my slow-going comics education. However, the Murdochs’ collection raises an important question for me: what are some good Terry Pratchett books to start with?

  1. I always recommend starting with the Colour of Magic, then the Light Fantastic. Afterwards, you can go either chronologically or through the different sub-series. But the two are the single entry point.

    I know Pratchett aficionados tend to scoff at the Colour of Magic, as its not a good Discworld novel in many of the themes presented in, and definitely later books have either retconned or contradicted stuff in it, as Pratchett found better ways to wield the world he created, but again, that’s all very nice, however, this is where the series started, and in the transition to the Light Fantastic, he took this amusing parody and made it into a world.

    • Colm Mac
    • June 26th, 2011 8:35am

    “Guards Guards” is my go to Terry Pratchett start book. While Pratchett books are all quite stand alone, there do seem to be cycles in them with common themes. The Vimes cycle is the one about the development of the City Watch and it’s in this cycle the development of Ankh-Morpork’s government and unique urban favour comes through. The full Vimes books are:
    Guards Guards, Men at Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, The Fifth Elephant, Night Watch and Thud.

    Of course you could read them through in order of publication date but that does mean having an awful lot of Rincewind in the early stages and the early books seem to rely on you having read the exact Fantasy novel that they are a parody of to work.

    The other book that I tend to give to people new to Discworld is Small Gods, it’s completely standalone. It features everything I;ve come to love about Pratchett, the mundane of the supernatural, the humanistic outlook on problems and making fun of cold hard logic.

    • Hell-Mikey
    • June 26th, 2011 7:37pm

    If you’re in toe-dipping mode, start with Small Gods. In isolation, it’s his best book, and if you like the writing, you’ll like the rest of his stuff.

    If you like Small Gods, I’d run the Guards series referenced above. If you love Small Gods, then go Colour of Magic – Light Fantastic and then Guards or Witches. I do think Colour holds up, just because he does so much worldbuilding (and as a genre guy, I’m a sucker for worldbuilding). What suffers are some of his other early works, especially Moving Pictures and Pyramids, which have the tang of works hastily written to meet a contractual obligation.

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