Books by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe. Terry worked for ma

Released: Jan. 3, 2017

"Bravery shows up almost as often as buffoonery in these satiric bits and bobs. (Fantasy/short stories. 10-12)"
More free-range juvenilia from the much-missed creator of Discworld. Read full book review >
THE LONG COSMOS by Terry Pratchett
Released: June 14, 2016

"Scientist Baxter's naturally rather pedantic and dispassionate tone needed more of the warmth and wit of the late fantasist Pratchett (who died in 2015)."
Final installment of the series (The Long Utopia, 2015, etc.) wherein Earth is one of an indefinite sequence of worlds occupying the same space but separated by some higher dimension (one can almost hear Pratchett murmur, "Nobody knew for certain, but it was probably quantum"). Read full book review >
THE SHEPHERD'S CROWN by Terry Pratchett
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"This is the late Pratchett's last book; even not-quite-perfect Pratchett is something to treasure and can proudly take its place in one heck of a literary legacy. (Fantasy. 12 & up)"
"Cry ‘Crivens!' and let loose the clan Mac Feegle!" Read full book review >
A BLINK OF THE SCREEN by Terry Pratchett
Released: March 17, 2015

"One of the main draws of this collection for serious fans, or aspiring writers, will be the chance to trace the evolution of Pratchett's craft—but there's plenty here for readers who have never heard of him to enjoy."
A short story collection covering the entire career of one of our most prolific, and beloved, fantasy writers. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"Juvenilia from a genius, showing bright signs of future masterworks. (introduction) (Short stories. 10-12)"
Fourteen rollicking tales, most of which were written when the author was a teenager and published over 40 years ago in his local newspaper. Read full book review >
THE GLOBE by Terry Pratchett
Released: Jan. 20, 2015

" It's baffling why this appealingly distinctive offshoot (there are two volumes still to come) of the wildly popular Discworld yarns took so long to cross the Atlantic."
This sequel to the fantasy/nonfiction hybrid The Science of Discworld (2014; U.K. 1999), wherein the bumbling wizards of Discworld's Unseen University accidentally created our universe and the planet Roundworld, aka Earth, first manifested in the U.K. in 2002.Read full book review >
A SLIP OF THE KEYBOARD by Terry Pratchett
Released: Sept. 23, 2014

"Lit throughout by the bright star of wonder."
The celebrated creator of the Discworld series of fantasy novels offers an eclectic collection of pieces and speeches from as early as the 1970s. Read full book review >
THE LONG MARS by Terry Pratchett
Released: June 17, 2014

"Panoramic and fascinating, if sometimes vexingly discursive."
Third in the series (The Long War, 2013, etc.) exploring the idea that alternate Earths exist and can be visited simply by "stepping" into them. Read full book review >
TURTLE RECALL by Terry Pratchett
Released: April 8, 2014

"Won't do you much good if you haven't read any of the Discworld books. But then, if you haven't—why haven't you?"
From Pratchett (Dodger's Guide to London, 2014, etc.) and collaborator Briggs: the fourth incarnation of the Discworld Companion, which is essentially an encyclopedia of a fictional world—perhaps the most popular and deservedly acclaimed fantasy creation of them all. Read full book review >
RAISING STEAM by Terry Pratchett
Released: March 18, 2014

"Brimming with Pratchett's trademark wit, a yarn with a serious point made with style and elegance."
Pratchett's 40th Discworld novel brings in one—or, as it turns out, two—intriguing new characters and introduces a radical new concept: the railway. Read full book review >
THE CARPET PEOPLE by Terry Pratchett
Released: Nov. 5, 2013

"Small in scale but large in pleasure. (author's note; illustrations not seen) (Fantasy. 9 & up)"
Pratchett's first children's book has finally crossed the pond, 42 years after its initial publication and 21 years after its second, revised edition (which this edition mostly matches). Read full book review >
DODGER by Terry Pratchett
Released: Sept. 25, 2012

"Unexpected, drily funny and full of the pathos and wonder of life: Don't miss it. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)"
Pratchett leaves Discworld to bring us something that is quite nearly—but not exactly—actual historical fiction. Read full book review >
THE LONG EARTH by Terry Pratchett
Released: June 19, 2012

"Still, the authors have plenty of fresh insights to offer, and fans of either will want to tag along and see where it all leads."
Pratchett, author of the esteemed Discworld yarns (Snuff, 2011, etc.), and collaborator Baxter (Stone Spring, 2011, etc.) venture into alternate worlds. Read full book review >
SNUFF by Terry Pratchett
Released: Oct. 11, 2011

"A treat no fan of Discworld—and there are boatloads of them—will want to miss."
Pratchett's new Discworld (Unseen Academicals, 2009, etc.) novel—the umpteenth, but who's counting?—features the Duke of Ankh, otherwise known as Commander Sir Samuel Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, whose estimable wife, Lady Sybil, decrees that they shall take a vacation at her ancestral estate in the country. Read full book review >
I SHALL WEAR MIDNIGHT by Terry Pratchett
Released: Sept. 28, 2010

"A passionately wise, spectacularly hilarious and surpassingly humane outing from a master."
Ask Tiffany Aching, and she'll tell you: It's not easy being a witch, especially when you're only almost 16 years old. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 6, 2009

"A witty addition to the long-running fantasy series."
Imagine Harry Potter rewritten by Monty Python: That's the mood of Pratchett's return to Discworld (Making Money, 2007, etc.). Read full book review >
NATION by Terry Pratchett
Released: Sept. 30, 2008

Pratchett's latest masterpiece chronicles a lad's struggle to survive, and far harder struggle to make sense of the universe, after a tsunami wipes out his entire people. Along with the lives of everyone he has ever known, the devastating wave sweeps away Mau's simple, happy soul—literally, he believes. Fortunately, though much of his angry quest to find something to replace his lost faith in the gods is internal and individual, he acquires company on his tropical island, in the form of the shipwrecked, repressed-but-not-for-long daughter of a high British government official and a ragged group of survivors from other islands who straggle in. This is no heavy-toned tale: Tears and rage there may be in plenty, but also a cast of marvelously wrought characters, humor that flies from mild to screamingly funny to out-and-out gross, incredible discoveries, profound insights into human nature and several subplots—one of which involves deeply religious cannibals. A searching exploration of good and evil, fate and free will, both as broad and as deep as anything this brilliant and, happily, prolific author has produced so far. (Fantasy. 11 & up) Read full book review >
MAKING MONEY by Terry Pratchett
Released: Oct. 1, 2007

"Far from Pratchett's best, but entertaining nonetheless."
Now that he's helped whip the post office into shape, what's a reformed criminal to do? Read full book review >
JOHNNY AND THE BOMB by Terry Pratchett
Released: April 1, 2007

Johnny Maxwell, earnest English lad, and his friends take on the tricky ethics of time-travel paradox in this, the concluding volume of The Johnny Maxwell Trilogy. Seems Johnny's been researching WWII for school, and when the local bag lady's shopping cart sends him and his cronies back to a critical moment, he needs to decide whether to warn the town of an impending Luftwaffe raid and change history or let the unaware residents of Paradise Street die. Pratchett being Pratchett, of course, this inquiry into the Butterfly Effect comes replete with giggles, from the antics of the hapless Bigmac (who nearly derails the mission when his WWII-era costume turns out to be a salvaged German uniform) to the kids' reappearance into modern times in a church basement during the Over-50s Keep-Fit class. Chuckles aside, it's Johnny's agony at the human suffering of the world that cuts to the bone and will keep readers tracking the moral debate at the core of the novel, as the always-angry Kirsty hews to theoretical absolutes while the always-worried Johnny grieves the world's madness. Complex, funny and, above all, impassioned. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
WINTERSMITH by Terry Pratchett
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

Crivens! When almost-13-year-old Tiffany Aching, apprentice witch, dances into the Dark Morris, she dances into one of the oldest stories of all—the endlessly repeating cycle of the seasons—and wins the heart of the Wintersmith. As the lovestruck god piles Tiffany-shaped snowflake onto Tiffany-shaped snowflake, winter threatens to choke the world, and naturally, it's up to Tiffany and the tiny and raucous Nac Mac Feegles to put the story to rights. Pratchett once again delivers a sidesplittingly funny adventure that overlays a deeply thoughtful inquiry into the nature of narrative and identity: how the stories we tell shape our understanding of ourselves and of the world we inhabit. This is what readers will understand with their Third Thoughts; their First Thoughts will delight in the return of Tiffany, the Feegles and the not-quite-hero Roland, and their Second Thoughts will revel in the homely details of the relationships among the witches and the people they serve. As Wee Billy Bigchin says, "A metaphor is a kind o' lie to help people understand what's true." This one is verra weel done indeed. (Fiction. 10+)Read full book review >
JOHNNY AND THE DEAD by Terry Pratchett
Released: Jan. 1, 2006

Fresh from leading the ScreeWee fleet across hostile game space and back to their own territory, Johnny Maxwell returns to champion a more local group of beings in need: the dead denizens of the local cemetery, slated for redevelopment into Modern Purpose-Designed Offices by United Amalgamated Consolidated Holdings. Pratchett's cry against the needlessly tragic rejection of communities and their histories is just as passionate as was his cry against war in Only You Can Save Mankind (2004). Johnny allows himself to be conscripted by the dead, whom only he can see. They are an agreeable assortment of sweetly loony characters including a former Alderman, a suffragist, a socialist and an inventor, who, along with the rest of their fellows, represent the collective history and culture of Blackbury. If the narrative turns a bit preachy at times, kids will nevertheless find themselves won over by both the dead and Johnny's basic sense of decency. Humor and honest pathos play off each other to make for an emotionally balanced whole, one whose resolution will be as satisfying to readers as it is to Johnny. (Fiction 10-14)Read full book review >
THUD! by Terry Pratchett
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

"Bitingly relevant and laugh-out-loud funny."
More amiable mockery from one of our leading lights. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2005

An author's note explains that this volume, the first in the "Johnny Maxwell" trilogy, was written during the first Gulf War, though this is its first publication in the U.S. Johnny Maxwell is like many boys, spending his time after school busily blowing up alien ScreeWee fighters in his new computer game. Until one of the ScreeWee talks to him. She is Captain of the ScreeWee fleet, and she has asked Johnny for safe conduct back to ScreeWee space, because "[w]hen we die, we die. Forever." Juxtaposed against Johnny's inexplicably real involvement in a computer game—when he dreams, he enters game space and can wake up only when he "dies"—are the televised events of the first war in Iraq, when the nightly news showed missile's-eye views of the remote bombing of Baghdad. This offering doesn't pretend to subtlety at all, but the premise is so very intriguing, and so well-presented (in characteristically wry Pratchett fashion), that Johnny's cry for the essential humanity of all to be recognized, whether English, Iraqi or ScreeWee, loses none of its poignancy—or timeliness. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
GOING POSTAL by Terry Pratchett
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

"Sharp-edged humor—and wonderfully executed. "
Pratchett satirizes the modern telecom business in a deeply satisfying comedy about a man sent to a fate worse than death: the post office. Read full book review >
A HAT FULL OF SKY by Terry Pratchett
Released: June 1, 2004

Tiffany Aching and her loyal friends, the crazed six-inch Nac Mac Feegle, return in an outing rather less uproarious but more weighty, and thereby possibly more satisfying, than The Wee Free Men (2003). Tiffany, now 11, has left the Chalk to apprentice to a career witch. On the brink of adolescence, she has become more conscious of image, and it is this weakness that leaves her open to attack by a hiver, a parasite that seeks out the powerful, taking over their minds—and killing them in the process. It's the Feegles to the rescue, a highly dubious enterprise. Pratchett weaves a tale that isn't afraid to detour into biting satire or to stop and admire a mot particularly juste, but that keeps returning to the critical question of identity—how an individual must embrace her worst aspects to become her best self, how worth is found in works, not in posturing. The great chalk horse cut into the downlands becomes the metaphor for Tiffany's understanding of this: "Taint what a horse looks like. It's what a horse be." By turns hilarious and achingly beautiful, this be just right. (Fiction. 12+)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2003

" Surprisingly meaningful but never short of hilarious: a monstrous success for Pratchett."
Twenty-ninth in Pratchett's Discworld series (Night Watch, 2002), kicked off twenty years ago with The Color of Magic. Read full book review >
THE WEE FREE MEN by Terry Pratchett
Released: May 1, 2003

There will be upheavals in the human and fantasy worlds of elves and witches, with drastic consequences, and Tiffany, with only a frying pan for a weapon, is caught in the middle. In an effort to rescue her spoiled, candy-loving baby brother whom the Elf Queen has stolen with the temptation of endless sweets, Tiffany enlists the aid of the Wee Free Men. The baby's rescue is accomplished with unrelenting drama, large servings of Pratchett's ironic humor, and a unique cast of characters. This includes an imperfect heroine who has inherited "First Sight and Second Thoughts" and who feels guilty because she did not truly love her whiney brother. The Wee Free Men are six-inch-tall blue men with a robust enthusiasm for stealing, fighting, and drinking. Set in a chillingly unrecognizable "fairyland," this ingenious mélange of fantasy, action, humor, and sly bits of social commentary contains complex underlying themes of the nature of love, reality, and dreams. The Carnegie Medal-winner's fans will not be disappointed. (Fantasy. 12+)Read full book review >
NIGHT WATCH by Terry Pratchett
Released: Nov. 12, 2002

"Not a side-splitter this time, though broadly amusing and bubbling with wit and wisdom: both an excellent story and a tribute to beat cops everywhere, doing their hair-raising jobs with quiet courage and determination."
Another Discworld yarn—#28 if you're counting (The Last Hero, 2001, etc.). Commander Sam Vimes of Ankh-Morpork's City Watch has it made: he's a duke, rich, respected, and his wife Sybil is about to give birth. But then Vimes is called away to deal with a notorious and ruthless murderer, Carcer, now trapped on the roof of the university library. Amid a furious storm, lightning and magic hurl Sam and Carcer 20 years back in time. Sam's younger self is a rookie Night Watch cop. History, and Sam's memory, tells that Sam learned his street smarts from a skillful, straight-arrow cop named John Keel. But Carcer's arrived in the past, too—and he's murdered Keel. In the same fight (coincidentally?), Sam received an injury he remembers Keel having. Must he somehow impersonate Keel, and teach young Sam how to survive? What will the History Monks—the holy men who ensure that what's supposed to happen, happens—do? Adding further complications, Sam knows that the current ruler of the city, Lord Winder, is both mad and utterly corrupt: revolution's a-brewing, with riots, street barricades, cavalry charges, and thousands dead. And the horrid Unmentionables, Winder's secret torturers and jailers, must be curbed—especially when Carcer turns up in charge of them. Read full book review >
THE LAST HERO by Terry Pratchett
Released: Nov. 1, 2001

"Moderately funny, aimed primarily at Discworld addicts and holiday-season gift-givers."
A new, albeit rather short, Discworld yarn (Thief of Time, 2001, etc.), profusely illustrated by popular Discworld artist Kidby in an oversized format. This time out, Cohen the Barbarian—he still swings a mean sword, but he's so old he needs a walking-stick, and can't always remember where he put his dentures—and assorted old friends (very old friends) plan to go out in a blaze of glory. None of them are happy about growing old, and who's to blame except the gods? So they plan to return—with interest—what the first hero, Mazda, stole from the gods long ago. If they succeed, of course, the Discworld's magical field will shut down and every living thing will die. So Lord Vetinari, ruler of the huge, rotting city Ankh-Morpork, puts together a team that, by a million-to-one shot, just might save the day: the great inventor and artist Leonard of Quirm, Captain Carrot of the City Watch, and Rincewind the incompetent wizard. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2001

Satiric adult SF superstar Pratchett (The Last Hero, p. 1254, etc.) resets the Pied Piper tale on Discworld, with predictably unpredictable results. Here the rats themselves are pulling off a profitable scam, masterminded by Maurice the cat. The animals, their intelligence accidentally magically enhanced, infest town after town, until the desperate inhabitants pay their human accomplice to pipe them out. But the rats have developed consciences; and when they agree grudgingly to just one more "plague," they run up against an evil combining the worst of human and rat natures—and that only human, rat, and cat together can defeat. Much of the charm here resides in the way the animals remain true to their natures—the rats, each with a distinct personality, still fight, steal, and stink, while Maurice is as self-centered as only a cat can be—yet still remain far more appealing than the foolish humans around them. Pratchett hasn't blunted his wickedly funny pen for younger readers; the only apparent concessions to a teen audience are the adolescent humans abetting the rats, and the story's relative brevity. He retains the lethal combination of laugh-out-loud farce, razor-sharp satire, and the underlying passionate idealism unique to the confirmed cynic that makes his adult Discworld series so popular. A lot is packed in amidst the humor: ruminations on good and evil, dreaming and doing, leadership and compromise. But this is at heart a story about stories, so necessary as consolations, inspirations, and guides, but also so dangerous when allowed to replace independent thought. Excruciatingly funny, ferociously intelligent. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
THIEF OF TIME by Terry Pratchett
Released: May 4, 2001

Another Discworld yarn (The Truth, 2000, etc.). The Auditors are beings who, on a cosmic scale, keep track of everything that happens; they love order, with everything in its place and all events predictable and unsurprising. Humans are therefore a source of great irritation. The Auditors, then, have developed a plan: they order one of their number to assume corporeality, whereupon Lady LeJean visits eccentric genius Jeremy Clockmaker and commissions him to build the ultimate clock, one that will bring time to a stop. Helpfully, she arranges an assistant for Jeremy—Igor, naturally ordered from "We R Igors." Fortunately, the Opposition's also getting organized: Death's granddaughter, Susan the schoolteacher; the rat-skeleton Death of Rats; the Monks of History; and the humble sweeper, Lu-Tze, and his eerily fast apprentice, Lobsang. Philosophical humor of the highest order. Read full book review >
THE TRUTH by Terry Pratchett
Released: Nov. 1, 2000

Pratchett's latest Discworld romp (The Fifth Elephant, p. 27, etc.) is a mystery-cum-satire. When the dwarfs invent a printing press with movable type, William de Worde, a reporter of rumors, decides—after warning the dwarfs how much trouble the device will cause—to establish a daily newsletter, The Ankh-Morpork Times. He enlists the city's beggars as vendors, an engraver's daughter as reporter, and a vampire who's renounced blood as photographer. Soon, however, a sleazy rival hits the streets, The Ankh-Morpork Inquirer. Then the city's ruling Patrician, Lord Vetinari, is discovered unconscious, apparently engaged in fleeing his home with $70,000 after stabbing his clerk. William, who always tells the truth—a curious and very rare quality hereabouts—examines the crime scene, assesses the peculiar evidence, and decides to investigate. An above-average entry in this durable, funny, and occasionally razor-edged series. Read full book review >
THE FIFTH ELEPHANT by Terry Pratchett
Released: April 1, 2000

More gloriously uproarious doings from Discworld (Carpe Jugulum, 1999, etc.). This time, dwarfs are rioting on the noisome streets of Ankh-Morpork. Why? Well, it's just politics as usual: they're about to choose a new Low King. So the city's Lord Vetinari must send a representative to the coronation ceremony at Uberwalde (where he might also nail down the rights to develop Uberwalde's vast, untouched natural resources). Reluctantly, City Watch Commissioner Vimes accepts the job; he has no talent for diplomacy whatsoever, and his assistants are a werewolf, a troll, and a dwarf. Among the complications Vimes must grapple with: the theft of the coronation Scone of Stone; vampires; werewolves; food ("noggi: buckwheat dumplings stuffed with stuff"); and Death ("'Are you Death?'" / IT'S THE SCYTHE, ISN'T IT. PEOPLE ALWAYS NOTICE THE SCYTHE'"). Pratchett's humor is international, satirical, devious, knowing, irreverent, unsparing and, above all, funny. Read full book review >
INTERESTING TIMES by Terry Pratchett
Released: April 1, 1997

More comic fantasy from Pratchett's Discworld (Men at Arms, 1996, etc.) featuring another aspect of the unending strife between humans, fates, and the god that "generally looked after thunder and lightning, so from his point of view the only purpose of humanity was to get wet or, in occasional cases, charred." This time, the incompetent "wizard" Rincewind, hero of several of the earliest Discworld wingdings, makes a reappearance, along with other favorite characters such as the demented tourist, Twoflower, the unpredictable, multilegged Luggage—apparently it's found a mate—and Cohen the Barbarian. Fun, especially for those susceptible to Pratchett-inspired nostalgia. Read full book review >
MEN AT ARMS by Terry Pratchett
Released: March 1, 1996

In Pratchett's latest Discworld fantasy romp (Lords and Ladies, p. 1068), Captain Vimes of Ankh-Morpork's City Watch is retiring in order to marry the city's richest lady and become a Gentleman. The Watch, you see, thanks to affirmative action, has been forced to hire both dwarfs and trolls—they loathe each other- -and even women (actually, a she-werewolf). But before he goes, Vimes, with Corporal Carrot—he's probably the lost heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork—and Gaspode the talking dog must solve a series of horrible murders involving a strange explosive device, meddling Assassins, and the doddering denizens of the Unseen University. An about average installment in this always entertaining, sometimes hysterically funny series. Read full book review >
LORDS AND LADIES by Terry Pratchett
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

So you think elves are handsome and high-minded, or cute, cuddly, and bring good luck? Nope. Elves are vicious and sadistic, and they stink, according to Pratchett's latest Discworld fantasy romp (Soul World, 1994, etc.), and only their magical glamour enables them to bamboozle humans into believing the opposite. So when the horrid elves threaten to invade, only the savvy witches Granny Weatherwax and Noann Ogg, somewhat assisted by the bumbling wizards of Unseen University, can save the Discworld. As always, Pratchett's brand of comedy has an agreeably wry, self-deprecating quality: "The chieftain had been turned into a pumpkin, although, in accordance with the rules of universal humor, he still had his hat on." A so-so addition to a mostly hilarious series. Read full book review >
SOUL MUSIC by Terry Pratchett
Released: Jan. 1, 1995

Perhaps best considered as parody, with strong infusions of farce and satire, Pratchett's Discworld fantasies (The Light Fantastic, 1987, etc.) consist of elliptical jokes and mad puns delivered in an unobtrusive English accent, and move to their own inimitable logic. This time, Death (you know, skeleton, scythe, and so forth) becomes burdened by his infallible memory — he can even remember things that haven't happened yet — and, in an effort to forget, decides to join the Foreign Legion, whose members forget things, no problem, but only in their own particular fashion (" know...thing...clothes, everybody wears them...sand-colored"). While Death's away, his granddaughter, Susan, presently attending a posh finishing school, must take over his function. Susan has a helper, a rat-skeleton called the Death of Rats ("Do you just do rats, or mice and hamsters and weasels and stuff like that as well?...Death of Gerbils too? Amazing how you can catch up with them on those treadmills"). Meanwhile, talented musician Imp (from a place so wet that "rain was the county's main export. It had rain mines") has somehow acquired a magic guitar that plays utterly compelling Music With Rocks In It. Susan, scheduled to terminate Imp forthwith, finds herself unable to wield her scythe, thus threatening the magical stability of the entire Discworld. None of the peerless Pratchett's Discworld yarns are dull, and some are comic masterpieces. This one, unfailingly amusing and sometimes hysterically funny, is recommended for anyone with the slightest trace of a sense of humor. Read full book review >
WINGS by Terry Pratchett
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

In book three of the "Bromeliad," the nomes recover their spaceship and leave Earth. At the end of Diggers (p. 109), Gemma and the other nomes, trapped in a quarry surrounded by hostile humans, were saved by the appearance of an enormous spaceship. Wings is a flashback in which Masklin, Grunder, and Angalo sneak aboard a Concorde bound from London to Miami and make their way to within hailing distance of the space shuttle so that Thing can subvert its communication ports to summon their spaceship, which has been stored on the moon for thousands of years. In the process, they meet a band of wild homes and are told that the world harbors thousands more. Gemma and Masklin leave for the stars; Grunder stays behind to communicate with humans and the other nomes. There is something a bit affected about naming a series after an orchid that harbors a colony of tiny frogs that leave their flower only when they outgrow it. Norton's Borrowers were entrancing, resourceful, and convincing; in comparison, nomes are naive, clumsy, and unlikely. Wings is resolutely earthbound, and while Pratchett can be wildly funny in his adult books, he seems tentative here. Still, young readers who liked the earlier volumes will want to read this one. (Fiction. 10+)Read full book review >
DIGGERS by Terry Pratchett
Released: Feb. 1, 1991

Second in the Bromeliad trilogy about the desperate quest of Nomes to outwit the enormous, ponderous humans and escape Earth. As the result of an interrupted space journey, Nomes have been stranded here for 15,000 years; still, for humans they are only legends, or models for garden statues. To Masklin, Grimma, Dorcas, and the other Nomes who have finally awakened their guidance computer, humans are only necessary evils who provide food, shelter, and electricity. In Duckers (1989), the Nomes contrived to drive a track away from The Store Arnold Bros (est. 1905) just before it was demolished, escaping to an abandoned quarry: here, they are entrenched and busy building in the quarry. Meanwhile, Masklin goes off with the computer, trying to find his way to Florida to contact their spaceship, which is still in orbit. Disaster strikes: humans reopen the quarry. The Nomes escape by tying up a watchman, then starting an old backhoe. Humans surround them, but just as all seems lost a spaceship suddenly hovers overhead, scattering the enemy. Pratchett's unquenchable good cheer carries this along as it did the first volume. Although Nomes are certainly literary cousins to Borrowers, they have neither their rigorous logic in interacting with the human world nor their ingenuity. But they do have a mission, and a drive to grow. They also have file zany, slightly off-center sensibility of Pratchett, who tells a rollicking good story. The imminent third volume will be eagerly awaited. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 29, 1990

This publisher's first novel is a gay, demented eschatological farce in which the Antichrist doesn't really have his heart in it.

Eleven years before the end of the world foretold by accurate but obscure Agnes Nutter's prophecies, Sister Mary Loquacious—the Satanist charged with switching the infant Antichrist with another infant—flubs the job when a third infant is introduced into the scenario, and the Lord of Darkness gets shunted aside in favor of Adam Young, who grows into boyhood with an uncomfortable sense of mission. Awaited with fear by angelic Aziraphale and demonic Crowley—friendly rivals who don't want their worldly tug-of-war to end—with zealous hatred by Witchfinder Sgt. Shadwell and harlot-masseuse-medium Madame Tracy, and with ecstatic anticipation by latter-day Nutterite Anathema Device and Newton Pulsifer, who bounces from Shadwell's employ into Anathema's bed, the apocalypse looms—dripping with throwaway allusions, giggly footnotes, and broad swipes at the decline of the West. It's the ultimate Saturday night bummer, fueled by a miraculous thousand-ton theft of nuclear fuel and the determination of Adam's gang Them to follow the trail of the Four Bikers of the Apocalypse. Hilariously naughty, and just what you'd expect from a collaboration between comics-veteran Gaiman and fantasist Pratchett (Strata, 1981; The Light Fantastic, 1983). A best-seller in England, and a book to watch here.

It could catch on with the Douglas Adams crowd. Read full book review >
TRUCKERS by Terry Pratchett
Released: Feb. 1, 1990

A four-inch Moses leads his people in the general direction of the Promised Land—in this funny satire from the author of The Colour of Magic (1985, published for adults but also enjoyed by young people). Thousands of years after being shipwrecked on Earth, the Borrower-like Nomes have forgotten their origins and are living happily under the floors of a department store full of goods and huge, stupid humans, all created for them by their god, Arnold Bros (est. 1905). Thanks to the labors of the Stationeri tribe, the demesnes of Haberdasheri, Ironmongeri and the rest are uneasily at peace; but there are Signs—"Final Reductions," for instance, and "Everything Must Go"—that all is not well in the "world." Then a group of strangers, led by an often-bewildered and always self-pitying antihero named Masklin, appears from the mythical Outside bearing the Thing, a small black box that suddenly lights up and announces that the store will be destroyed in less than a month. How to move several thousand Nomes and all their possessions in a hurry? Desperate, Masklin decides to steal a human truck. How to drive it? No problem: he asks the ingenious inventor Dorcas del Icatessen to form a steering committee! Nomes and readers are both in for a wild ride, as time is even shorter than Masklin thinks. Again, Pratchett gives his cast plenty of personality and fuels the plot with nonstop comedy; he also wields a satirist's blade against human politics, mores, and preconceptions. Though Masklin settles the Nomes in an old quarry, sequels are obviously planned. Read full book review >
THE LIGHT FANTASTIC by Terry Pratchett
Released: May 29, 1987

That rare event, a comedy sequel (to The Colour of Magic, 1983) that is twistier, plottier, and funnier than its predecessor. "The sun rose slowly, as if it wasn't sure it was worth all the effort." Sobegins Pratchett's latest yarn about Disc Earth, which rests on the backs of four huge elephants, who stand upon the shell of A'Tuin the Great Turtle; the latter is heading through space towards a huge, malevolent red star, but nobody knows why. Rincewind the failed wizard, his companion Twoflower the naive tourist, and Twoflower's aggressive luggage (a sapient pearwood box that trots around on hundreds of tiny legs), having fallen off the Disc at the end of Magic, now find themselves safe back on the Disc—thanks to the Octavo, the highly magical repository of the Eight Great Spells. One of the spells has taken up residence in Rincewind's head ("The spell wasn't a demanding lodger. It just sat there like an old toad at the bottom of a pond"), and so most of the Disc's wizards are chasing after Rincewind to try and get the spell back. The rest is riotously impossible to summarize but includes warrior princesses, Cohen the Barbarian, trolls, demons, Death, Druids, false teeth, argumentative spells, flying rocks, and talking trees. You won't stop grinning except to chuckle or sometimes roar with laughter. The most hilarious fantasy since—come to think of it, since Pratchett's previous outing. Read full book review >
THE COLOUR OF MAGIC by Terry Pratchett
Released: Oct. 21, 1983

Pratchett borrows from Babylonian cosmology for his second, wacky flat-Earth yarn—set on an Earth.disk that rests on the backs of four elephants, who themselves stand on the shell of an enormous turtle. (And only Pratchett's characters would think of lowering themselves over the edge of the disk-in order to determine the sex of the turtle!) This time failed wizard Rincewind runs into problems when he encounters rich, bumbling circum—disk tourist Twoflower—whose luggage consists of a sapient pearwood box that trots around after him on hundreds of tiny legs. . . and snaps its lid at anyone it doesn't like. The innocent Twoflower sells some fire insurance to a shifty innkeeper, who proceeds to burn down his inn and the entire city of Ankh-Morpork. And what follows is madcap travelogue, involving: the disk's zany, often magical inhabitants; the Gods (atheists are liable to get their windows broken); a watery being who splashed down in the ocean, having fallen off a different Earth-disk; and Death with his scythe (whose timing is so poor that Rincewind keeps evading him). Not quite the gleefully insane parody Strata (1981) was, but frothy, inventive, and fun. Read full book review >
STRATA by Terry Pratchett
Released: Oct. 1, 1981

A well-handled, inventive, gleefully madcap flat-Earth jaunt where things are never quite what they seem. Two-centuries-old Kin Arad, planet-builder from the real Earth (where Remus founded "Reme" and Europe was defeated by a Norse-American Indian coalition) is contacted by mad starship pilot Jago Jalo, who has discovered an astonishing object: a disk-shaped Earth replete with valuable artifacts of the Great Spindle Kings (a vanished alien race of superior accomplishments who, among other things, built the Earth). With alien companions Marco (a paranoid, four-armed warrior Kung), Silver (a cannibalistic Shand), and a stowaway raven who turns out to be a spy (Jalo himself soon succumbs to a heart attack), Kin travels to the disk Earth, which features a protective barrier, recycling oceans, and artificial planets describing epicycles in the sky. On arrival, their ship accidentally rams a "planet" and they crashland on the disk—just in time to save Leif Eriksson's longship, vainly searching for Vinland, from falling off the edge. And a wacky journey ensues, deftly parodying Ringworld. With everything from dragons to robots: bright, bubbly fun. Read full book review >