Floating through space on the the backs of four elephants, which in turn are standing on a giant turtle, the Discworld is Terry Pratchett's masterpiece. Its inhabitants are colourful characters who come from the white fields of the Chalk, the werewolf- and vampire-infested woods of Uberwald or from the smelly, busy and dirty city of Ankh Morpork. From the jovial, one-toothed Nanny Ogg to the bulk of orange ape that is the Librarian (the product of a not-so-unfortunate magical accident), the Discworld's characters amble from page to page in no particular haste, yet with a habit of causing a significant amount of destruction in their wake. The mention of Granny Weatherwax and the Ramtop witches causes even the most stupid of trolls to quake in its boots. Even the long suffering Death is an agreeable character, if a little tragic. Where else apart from on the Discworld would Death adopt a daughter and go AWOL? Or build a swing for his granddaughter and bounce her on his knee?
And haven't we heard this story somewhere before; a tale of three witches and ghosts and revenge? Something is afoot in the Ramtop Mountains and after a bit of cackling around the cauldron and a few cups of tea, Pratchett takes his witches on tour to a land of gumbo, voodoo and a dose of 'Once Upon a Time' and the magic of mirrors. Little blue men run around in not many clothes shouting 'crivens' and threatening to chop off toes and a wee bit more if a 'big job' gets too close for comfort. In the city of Ankh Morpork the older wizards of Unseen University eat their breakfasts at noon and try not to do any magic at all. The younger wizards eat their breakfasts at noon too, but as they are busy finding ways to enter different times and worlds, no one knows exactly when or where noon is.
The Discworld can be found in the thrity-nine Discworld novels that Terry Pratchett has written to date, plus in many extra books written as a guide to the series. The books have been translated into thirty-seven different languages and Pratchett has sold over sixty-five million books worldwide. This is not surprising; these novels are very funny and sometimes embarrassingly so, and may make you laugh out loud in a public place. They are also very real, even though the characters are so eccentric. The books are sometimes a little bit sad too, but never for long and soon you are whisked back into the middle of the party, and Nanny Ogg is stepping up to sing the Hedgehog Song. Take a deep breath, cover your ears and read on, dear reader, read on.