Pathways Through Discworld

Have you signed up for the Summer in Discworld reading challenge yet?  Still plenty of time to join in!  This week, I thought I’d post some thoughts on navigating Discworld, for people deciding where to start, or which book to pick up next.

The Discworld series has within it several sub-series, with sets of books that focus on the same groups of characters.  It seems to me that the most obvious thing in the world would be to provide a list breaking the books out into these sub-groups.  But…Google hasn’t been able to find me a good list!  There are a few out there, but either they’re hard to read, or they’re not matching my experience reading the books (I’ve seen Maskerade described as a City Guard book–it’s really not, despite some cameos).  So, naturally, I set about to make my own list.

Part of the complexity may be that characters often show up in supporting roles, even when they aren’t a primary focus.  I’ve tried to arrange books based on who the lead protagonists are–for example, Vimes shows up in The Truth, but only in a supporting role so I haven’t put it with the other Vimes/City Guard books.  A few books show up twice, as they cross sub-series.

I’ve starred the books I’ve read, and feel free to ask if you’d like to know more about any of them.   If you notice a book that seems mis-grouped, let me know.  I don’t claim perfect accuracy.  🙂  But, hopefully this will give you some good directions for whichever paths you want to pursue.

Rincewind
The Colour of Magic*
The Light Fantastic*
Sourcery
Eric
Interesting Times
The Lost Continent
The Last Hero

Wizards
Reaper Man*
Interesting Times
The Lost Continent
Unseen Academicals
Lords and Ladies*

Witches
Equal Rites*
Wyrd Sisters
Witches Abroad
Lords and Ladies*
Maskerade*
Carpe Jugulum

Death
Mort
Reaper Man*
Soul Music*
Hogfather*
Thief of Time

City Guard
Guards!  Guards!*
Men at Arms*
Feet of Clay*
Jingo*
The Fifth Elephant*
The Last Hero
Night Watch*
Thud!*
Where’s My Cow? (picture book)*
Snuff*

Wee Free Men/Tiffany Aching
The Wee Free Men*
A Hat Full of Sky
Wintersmith
The Wee Free Men: The Beginning
I Shall Wear Midnight

Independent
Pyramids
Moving Pictures
Small Gods
The Truth*
Monstrous Regiment
Going Postal*
Making Money

Obviously I have not been too systematic in my reading…merely proof that you can attempt Discworld by any route you like!

About cherylmahoney

I'm a book review blogger and Fantasy writer. I have published three novels, The Wanderers; The Storyteller and Her Sisters; and The People the Fairies Forget. All can be found on Amazon as an ebook and paperback. In my day job, I'm the Marketing Specialist for Yolo Hospice. Find me on Twitter (@MarvelousTales) and GoodReads (MarvelousTales).
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4 Responses to Pathways Through Discworld

  1. This is a really clever way to look at the discworld series, by character/s rather than publication order, thank you for sharing 🙂

    • It makes more sense to me! The series on a whole bounces all over the place, but if you pick a set of characters and follow their books, it functions a little more like a normal series–though most books are still largely stand-alone.

  2. Carl V. says:

    I finished Thud! last night and was very happy with my choice of my first foray into Discworld. So much so that I am heading to the library tonight to pick up Snuff. I’ll get a review up sometime this weekend. So glad this event happened and finally pushed me into exploring Discworld.

    • Looking forward to your review of Thud! Snuff was fun too (especially the unusual chickens–no connection to the Chicken in Thud! but quite funny). I highly recommend going back to the earlier City Guard books too–Jingo and Night Watch are particular favorites. They’re all independent plots but they do have continuing character arcs, especially for Vimes, who changes a lot from the first book to the last. Theoretically they probably should be read in order…but I didn’t, so I don’t really know how much it matters!

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