[LMB] OT: Pratchett's best -- and worst

Lois McMaster Bujold lbujold at myinfmail.com
Fri, 6 Aug 2004 21:32:49 -0500

Debbie lioness at bellsouth.net
Fri, 06 Aug 2004 20:48:47 -0500

So what are Pratchett's best novels?

LMB:  Well, one of my very favorites is _Thief of Time_, but it's not one
that you should read first.  (It contains, among other things, the most
audacious total series retcon ever invented, or invoked, or spawned, or
however he came up with it.)  The series in general builds on itself,
through several sub-units: the Witches books (_Equal Rites_ and _Wyrd
Sisters_), the Guards books (_Guards!  Guards!_, _Men at Arms_), the Death
books (_Mort_, _Reaper Man_, _Soul Music_), and so on.  And a few outliers.
A lot of the later books achieve their stength upon foundations that have
been laid in earlier, apparently lesser books, a problem I wot much of.  A
more useful question might be, "Which are the best starter Pratchetts?" to
which there will be several answers but, in general, they will not include
his first half-dozen or so titles by pub date.  _Small Gods_ is good as a
stand-alone, and I'm also very fond of _Pyramids_, that way.

I admire the way Pratchetts cheats with Death.  Because no one ever dies in
a Pratchett the way they do in more memetic fiction, he can get away with
twisting comedy and tragedy into the most peculiar pretzel shapes.  Good
cognitive torsion values.

    Ta, L.