One of the main “storytellers” of our time Terry Pratchett has been dead for several years, but his books continue to occupy high places in all sorts of ratings and win the hearts of new readers. The Flat World of Pratchett rightfully occupies roughly the same place on Olympus Fiction along with Tolkien’s Middle-earth or the world of wizards Joan Rowling. But unlike the last two writers, Pratchett was not so linear in his works; the universe created by him is really different from anything that fantasy lovers have ever met in his life.
Quite frankly, the chronology of novels dedicated to the Flat World is very confusing, and certainly one should not assume that the first written book will be an ideal starting point. The fact is that in 1983 Pratchett wrote the first novel about the Flat World “Color of Magic”. But then he did not even guess how large his work would be after 30 years. It was a strange, magical, flat world, populated by wizards, gnomes, trolls, dragons and warlike heroes. Like the ancient peoples’ ideas about the world around them, the Flat World comfortably settled on the backs of four elephants, which, in turn, fit on the armor of a huge turtle.
If you think that, having picked up the first in the chronology of writing a novel about the Flat World, you will go on a long journey of 41 books in length, you are deeply mistaken. The fact is that these books are not a series (cycle or saga, as it is currently fashionable to say), that is, the plot of books does not have a linear character.
Rincewind The Wizard and the Birth of the World
Despite the fact that the first book “The Color of Magic” and the “Mad Star” following it open the Flat World before the reader, these works serve, first of all, as a prologue to not one ten other novels.
In his first works, Terry Pratchett talks about the social and geographical characteristics of the World, introduces the first characters to the reader. All this he does in his exceptional and amazing style: without divisions into chapters, with a lot of unique expressions and sparkling humor. In books you can find references to ancient mythology, as well as classical works, so his work is more than just fantasy. Perhaps the word “family” more accurately describes all of his work!
The first two books were written in the style of a comic parody of the popular Tolkien trilogy and the enthusiasm of readers with stories about wizards, dragons and sword battles. Fans of the genre will probably see in the image of the magician Rincewind “antiprototype” Gandalf: Rincewind – terribly inept wizard and a real magnet for all kinds of failures. It moves in a measured way along its path through difficulties and other obstacles, which, to a large extent, to itself creates.
It is worth noting that these two books are the only ones that require a linear reading. In other novels there are new characters, and each work is quite self-sufficient. Thus, you can choose absolutely any book and read it separately from everyone else.
In its structure, novels about the Flat World can be grouped into separate sub-cycles: for example, the subcycles of individual characters (Rincewind, Death, Witches and so on). The chronological sequence of reading is also acceptable, but you will not notice the linearity of the storyline.
Magic and magic
The invisible University (an educational institution in the Flat World, which teaches the basics of magic and magic) plays a central role in almost half of the books. Chaotic in its structure, the university is inhabited by wizards of different colors, and to move up the ladder of the hierarchy it is necessary to kill their colleague. All this was before the wizards came to the conclusion that the whole essence and wisdom of magic is to know when it is not worth using. Nevertheless, you need to convince everyone around you that you own magic and you can apply it at any time you need. It is interesting that Terry Pratchett himself never visited universities, however, it is obvious that he had his own idea of how everything lives and works inside.
But the magic in the Flat World is not limited to the walls of the Invisible University alone! No less prominent character after Rincewind in the series of Pratchett’s books is Esmeralda Vetrovosk, the witch. Mother Windrow, as it is often called, embodies in its image the exact opposite of who Rincewind is: she is strong, fearless, stubborn, proud and extremely skillful in magical affairs person! Together with the third significant character – Magrat Garlick – they do what is best for real witches: they interfere in all their surroundings.
The image of witches is found in Pratchett in many works, including “Masquerade” (1995) and “Witches Abroad” (1991).
Death in a Flat World
Interestingly, at the time of writing the book “I’ll put on midnight” (2010) Terry Pratchett was sick much more seriously than all of this was exhibited in public. Fortunately, this was not his last book! Probably, the writer had a special attitude towards death, in fact, this character looks special in the Flat World.
It is noteworthy that a strange creature skeleton-like kind, wrapped in a hood on horseback on a white horse, was almost the most humanoid face. The works about Death mainly tell how he (yes, it is he, Death is a masculine being in the novels of Pratchett) tries to understand himself, in his experiences and his personification of himself as a living being, which often leads to catastrophic consequences.
“Mohr, the disciple of Death” (1987) tells us what mistake Death allows, deciding to take the student’s help. This is another example of a book from the series, when you can start reading about the Flat World with a randomly chosen work.
The fight for justice
Samuel Vimes is another character in this series of books that is dedicated to the city guard of Ankh-Morpork, the largest settlement in the Flat World. Samuel is a drunkard guard who appears in the book “Sentinel! The Guardian “(1989). I think it’s not difficult to guess that this character appears in different works and occupies a rather prominent position in the entire cycle of books.
In all, Pratchett devoted 10 books to the theme of city guards, which dealt with problems such as Nazism, racism, fanaticism and genocide. As is often the case with Terry Pratchett, he hides such serious topics in layers of irony and humor. However, the hidden meaning or subtext, if you want, is exactly what it is read all over the world.
Many of Pratchett’s works are devoted to questions of gods and religion, social and national problems, but at the same time one should not forget that many books, individually and as part of whole cycles, tell about the process of industrialization of the Flat World. Some books can be considered independent publications, in some of them there are already familiar characters for a long time. Pratchett as a man took place during a period of special influence of technology on society, and therefore he paid much attention to how technology came to the Flat World.
“Moving pictures” is a book of 1990, which again brings readers back to the walls of the Invisible University. But this time the story is completely focused on the invention of films. Of course, the creation of cinematography in the magical world clearly hints at the period of early Hollywood.
Much later, in 2000, a book entitled “Pravda” was published, in which the first newspapers in the Flat World are located, followed by the freedom of speech “governed” by the first dictator. In this work Pratchett relies on his own journalistic experience, and also mentions certain commandments of a real journalist.
A series of books devoted to the character Moist von Lipwig revolves around the postal theme. This character was literally saved from the hands of death thanks to Patricia, and then was promoted to post in the postal service – just at this time in the Flat World began to develop a modern telecommunications network. This is, in particular, referred to in the book “Keep Mark!” In 2004 publisher.
Moist second appears in the book “Make Money” (2007), where he was instructed to restore the banking system. His work in the work strangely coincides with the world crisis, but on this his adventures are not over. In 2013, another book was published – “Give in a couple!” – the period of development of the railway movement in the Flat World.
The flat world has long become something more than a fictional location for a series of books in the style of fiction. There are whole maps and guides to this world, in addition, even small films about this magical land have been shot. The most noteworthy in all these stories is that you can get to know them literally from the first book that came across. If you like humor, irony, sometimes growing into satire, and the original storyline, you are sure to become a big fan of the Flat World and the work of Terry Pratchett as a whole.