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Discworld is a comic fantasy book series by the British author Sir Terry Pratchett (1948 — 2015) set on the Discworld, a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which are in turn standing on the back of a giant turtle, the Great A'Tuin. The books frequently parody or at least borrow ideas from J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, and William Shakespeare, as well as myth, folklore and fairy tales, often using them for satirical parallels with current cultural, technological and scientific issues.

Since the first novel, The Colour of Magic (1983), the series has expanded, spawning several related books and maps, five short stories, cartoon and theatre adaptations and even music inspired by the series. The first live action screen adaptation for television (Hogfather) was broadcast over Christmas 2006. Another one for the cinema (The Wee Free Men) is currently in development.

Newly released Discworld books regularly top The Sunday Times bestsellers list, making Pratchett the UK's best-selling author in the 1990s. He has since been overtaken by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, but still holds the record for the most shoplifted books. Discworld novels have also won awards such as the Prometheus Award and the Carnegie Medal. In the BBC's Big Read, four Discworld books were in the top 100, and a total of fourteen in the top 200.

Character of the day

Cecil Wormsborough St. John "Nobby" Nobbs is a corporal in the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, first appearing in the novel Guards! Guards!.

Nobby Nobbs is the kind of person who joins the army to loot corpses. It is said that there's a field-marshal's baton in every footman's knapsack; Nobby's Army kit generally consists of two warehouses, complete with said batons, other armies' uniforms, golden teeth, other petty valuables and several kilos of boots, some of them still occupied. Despite his kleptomania, he is honest about the big things (at least, the ones too big to steal) and is described as someone that you can trust with your life, although you'd be daft to trust him with half a dollar. Sgt Colon also remarked in Jingo that he had heard of places where the generals looked at which side's uniform Nobby wore at the moment to learn the situation of the battle.

He is described as untidy, smelly, and despite being human, about the same height as a dwarf, and carrying a certificate signed by the Patrician to prove that he's a human being. The text of this note can states that on the balance of probability, he is a human being. A running joke is the inability of others to believe this, despite — or even because of — the evidence. In fact, in Hogfather, even Death himself was unable to discern Nobby's species. He always seems to have a cigarette butt about him, normally stowed behind his ear, which has been described as a nicotine graveyard. Cigarettes quickly become butts in his presence, and stay as such for an apparently infinite amount of time.


Article of the day

The Streets of Ankh-Morpork was the first of the Discworld Mapp series, and features an atlas of the city of Ankh-Morpork, the rich, powerful, and sprawling city in the Discworld series.

The map was devised by Stephen Briggs, who compiled references from the Discworld novels, and revised it many times with test readers' help. Terry Pratchett also checked the many revisions of the map, and was very surprised at how well the city fitted together. In the accompanying booklet he said that he thought Ankh-Morpork was unmappable, as he'd made it up as he went along, but that he then realised that real cities are also made up as people go along. Pratchett later revised his above opinion, saying that a fantasy world should not be mapped until it has become established in the creator's mind. He had expected a map to restrict future ideas, but found instead that it inspired them.

The final, artwork-grade map was drawn by Stephen Player, who also drew the artwork for a later publication, The Discworld Mapp. The Streets of Ankh-Morpork, an aerial-view map of the city of Ankh-Morpork, looks vaguely like a brown and green cut onion with a river bisecting it. An enclosed booklet includes Pratchett's and Briggs's words on how they devised this map, and a 6-page map legend listing the many famous and picturesque establishments in Ankh-Morpork.



Did you know...
  • She'd become a governess. It was one of the few jobs a known lady could do. And she'd taken to it well. She'd sworn that if she did indeed ever find herself dancing on rooftops with chimney sweeps she'd beat herself to death with her own umbrella.
    -- Hogfather
  • Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life.
    -- Jingo
  • Ridcully was to management what King Herod was to the Bethlehem Playgroup Association.
    -- The Last Continent
  • In Ghat they believe in vampire watermelons, although folklore is silent about what they believe about vampire watermelons. Possibly they suck back.
    -- Carpe Jugulum
  • He sagged to his knees. He ached all over. It wasn't just that his brain was writing cheques that his body couldn't cash. It had gone beyond that. Now his feet were borrowing money that his legs hadn't got, and his back muscles were looking for loose change under the sofa cushions.
    -- The Fifth Elephant


Showing 5 items out of 36 More Discworld quotes Wikiquote

Book of the day

Reaper Man is the eleventh Discworld novel, published in 1991, and the second novel to focus on Death. The title is a reference to Alex Cox's cult movie Repo Man (which, ironically, is in turn is a reference to the old expression "reaper man"). The The Auditors feel that Death is developing more of a personality the Auditors feel is right. They send him off with his own golden hourglass and his scythe to live like everyone else. Now called "Bill Door", he tries to work as a helper on a farm.

Preceded by
2nd Death Story
Published in 1991
Succeeded by
Soul Music
Discworld reading order Full article

Deity of the minute

Ikebana: The Goddess of Topiary

Did you know...

From the Discworld's craziest paragraphs:


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Terry PratchettStephen BriggsPaul KidbyJosh KirbyIan Stewart and Jack Cohen


Tiffany AchingAlbert (Discworld)|AlbertAngua • The Auditors of RealityThe BursarCarrot IronfounderssonCohen the BarbarianFred ColonDeathDetritusCut-Me-Own-Throat DibblerGaspodeGranny WeatherwaxGreeboHexIgorBloody Stupid JohnsonLeonard of QuirmThe LibrarianLu-TzeThe Luggage • Magpyr family • Mort and YsabellNanny OggC.W. St J. NobbsMoist von LipwigMr PinMr TulipMustrum RidcullyThe Great God OmRincewindSusan Sto HelitPonder StibbonsGeneral TacticusTwoflowerVerence II of LancreHavelock VetinariSam VimesLady Sybil VimesThe WitchesDiscworld godsmore...


Discworld (world)Ankh-MorporkAgatean EmpireDeath's DomainDjelibeybiDungeon DimensionsEphebeGenuaKlatchLancrePseudopolisQuirmSto LatÜberwaldUnseen Universitymore...


City WatchThieves' GuildAssassins' GuildBeggars' GuildFools' GuildClacksGuildsMagicPost OfficeStealth Chess


The Colour of MagicThe Light FantasticEqual Rites Mort Sourcery Wyrd Sisters Pyramids Guards! Guards! Eric Moving Pictures Reaper Man Witches Abroad Small Gods Lords and Ladies Men at Arms Soul Music Interesting Times Maskerade Feet of Clay Hogfather Jingo The Last Continent Carpe Jugulum The Fifth Elephant The Truth Thief of Time The Last Hero The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents Night Watch The Wee Free Men Monstrous Regiment A Hat Full of Sky Going Postal Thud! Wintersmith Making Money Unseen Academicals I Shall Wear Midnight Raising Taxes

Short Stories:

Troll BridgeTheatre of Cruelty The Sea and Little Fishes Death and What Comes Next

Other books:

The Discworld CompanionThe Science of Discworld The Science of Discworld II: The Globe The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch The Pratchett Portfolio The Art of Discworld The Unseen University Challenge The Wyrdest Link The Streets of Ankh-Morpork The Discworld Mapp A Tourist Guide to Lancre Death's Domain Nanny Ogg's Cookbook The Discworld Almanak Where's My Cow? The Unseen University Cut Out Book The Discworld Diaries Once More* With Footnotes A Blink of the Screen


The Colour of MagicCripple Mr Onion Discworld Discworld 2 Discworld MUD Discworld Noir GURPS Discworld Stealth Chess Thud

Films and TV series:

Welcome to the DiscworldSoul Music Wyrd Sisters Hogfather The Colour of Magic Going Postal Troll Bridge

Categories: DiscworldNovelsCharactersGamesLocationsPeoplesShort storiesFilms and TV series

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