The Folklore of Discworld
Anchor Books 2014 – Paperback
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“The sensational core of the series are characters . . .”
What a treat for a book reviewer to receive a book in a genre not normally sought and embark on a literary journey. English author Terry Pratchett, who created the Discworld Series (40 volumes with sales up to 85 million copies) has just released, “The Folklore of Discworld,” co-written with British folklorist Jacqueline Simpson. It is a detailed reference book of legends, myths and customs from “planet earth” that Pratchett links to his fantasy world.
The “Great A’Tuin, a 10,000-mile-long star turtle, swims throughout space with four gigantic elephants “whose bones are living iron, and whose nerves are living gold.” The “Disc” hosts cities, occupied by most unusual and amusing characters. Pratchett says the “disc” concept is not an absurd idea, since most of his creations are similar to ancient earthly myths and stories that have evolved throughout the centuries. For example, in ancient poems from Hindu India, there is reference to a “disc world” and other stories about elephants and tortoises guarding the world.
The sensational core of the series are characters who live on Discworld—dwarfs, witches, vampires, gods and other creatures including a earthling. Pratchett breathes wit and charm into these characters like Nac Mac Feegle, a feared gnome, and the cowardly wizard Rincewind, who is “to magic what a bicycle is to a bumblebee.”
To gain additional insight into Pratchett’s works I checked out from the library the sole novel available, “Eric,” a quick-read paperback about an incompetent demon who only wants three wishes: “To live forever, to be master of the universe, and to have a stylin‘ hot babe.”
Another book I perused was Stephen Briggs’ compilation of favorite quotations from the “Discworld” series, “Terry Pratchett The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld.” Briggs, who claims to have read all the volumes, reveals Pratchett’s characters often mimic human emotion and desires in bizarre and comical ways. Indeed, I discovered Discworld can lead you along a path of laughter and a trip into a joyful magical mystical world.
Reviewer: Kate Padilla