Terry Pratchett, who died earlier today aged 66, will be greatly missed by the many fans of his work. His first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983, and the 40th in the series, Raising Steam, appeared in 2013. Readers were gradually introduced to the chaotic world of Ankh Morpork, its Machiavellian leader, Lord Vetinari, the wizards of Unseen University – never quite as interesting as the witches, Death (and his grand daughter Susan), various vampires, trolls, werewolves and elves, and the City Watch, tasked with keeping some kind of order.
For me, the most memorable novels were those where maverick policeman Sam Vimes took centre stage – in particular Night Watch. More subtle and complex than the first books in the series, they raise interesting questions about power, authority and morality. Terry Pratchett said of Vimes:
“Vimes is fundamentally a person. He fears he may be a bad person because he knows what he thinks rather than just what he says and does. He chokes off those little reactions and impulses, but he knows what they are. So he tries to act like a good person, often in situations where the map is unclear.
I’ve puzzled sometimes about the novels’ political outlook. The signals are contradictory – perhaps because Pratchett (when he wasn’t simply being funny) faced up to the messiness and complexities of life.
Which are your own favourite Discworld novels and characters?
Alec adds: Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooook.
~*sad Orangutan face*~