I’m embarrassed by how long it took me to discover Terry Pratchett. I avoided him during much of my early reading career—I’d read the works of fantastical humorists before, and while I’d always enjoyed the experience, it wasn’t something I intentionally sought out. I didn’t realize I was missing out on what are arguably the best books fantasy has to offer.
It’s hard to describe Pratchett to the uninitiated. His works mostly take place on a fictional world shaped like a disc, and the stories tend to be murder mysteries or thrillers mixed with a healthy dose of satire on the human condition. Like the best works of fantasy, a journey with his trolls, witches, and crusty night watchmen provokes inspection of our own world. But what other authors do with light allusions, Discworld does with a sledgehammer. And with light allusion too. Then it steals your wallet.
Discworld is story, humor, and philosophy all in one. Nowhere else have I been made to laugh so much while being forced to think so much, all while being given a wonderful plot. The closest thing to Pratchett out there is Shakespeare. Yes, really.