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Old 01-14-2021, 12:48 PM   #61
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What do you think of others telling others to skip the first two books and give the series a read in a random order?
I think I don't care about it much at all. If asked, I would give my opinion on how I think a series I've read should be read (and the reasons I think that). Then I would shut up and let them do what they're going to do. Being a fan of a series (and publication order) does not grant me any special right to be the arbiter of how others should experience said series. I certainly wouldn't hound everyone about it. In every thread where it comes up. Until the end of time. But that's just me.
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Old 01-14-2021, 12:49 PM   #62
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You don't have a nose. At least your avatar doesn't.
You are correct. And seemingly no skin, to boot!
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Old 01-14-2021, 01:01 PM   #63
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The thing is, these people saying not to start at the beginning, did they start at the beginning or are they just parroting what other have said? I don't think you can say how good or not the the first few books are if you have not read them yourself.
I started with Lords and Ladies, which is in the middle of the Witches subseries, and had no problems understanding and enjoying the book. Sure, there were probably subtleties I didn't get then, which I got on later rereads when I knew Discworld better. I'm pretty sure there were also Shakespeare jokes I didn't get -- I had seen Macbeth, which is probably the most important one for that book ("When shall we... um, two meet again?" ), but it would have been better if I also had more than a superficial knowledge of A Midsummer Night's Tale. There are also references to a Norwegian fairy tale, Schrödinger's cat, and probably a lot more I haven't recognised.

I read the first books later, and they are OK, but not as good as the later ones.

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The problem of starting in a random place in the series is that you may be spoiling character arcs. Do you want to find out something you aren't supposed to know because you've not read some previous book or books?
Most of the time, I don't mind spoilers. There are some exceptions: I've read a handful of books where there was some twist or surprise which I'm glad I got to unspoiled. Those have never been about character arcs, though. One was a secret the narrator was hiding from the reader, in another the protagonist made some scientific discoveries (in an alternate world with alternate science) which literally had me gasping out loud!

I started Bujold's Vorkosigan series at probably the worst point both spoilerwise and being dropped into the action at a place where context matters (Memory). That's what happens when you run out of reading material while staying for a couple of weeks in a tiny town where the only bookshop is a shelf in the grocery store. I enjoyed the book, and inhaled the rest of the series as soon as I got hold of them.

To be painfully obvious, people's tastes differ. Someone who strongly dislikes spoilers should - obviously - choose a different reading order than someone who doesn't mind them.
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Old 01-14-2021, 01:24 PM   #64
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You are correct. And seemingly no skin, to boot!
You're spineless as well.
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Old 01-14-2021, 01:46 PM   #65
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Old 01-14-2021, 05:00 PM   #66
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I started with Lords and Ladies, which is in the middle of the Witches subseries, and had no problems understanding and enjoying the book. Sure, there were probably subtleties I didn't get then, which I got on later rereads when I knew Discworld better. I'm pretty sure there were also Shakespeare jokes I didn't get -- I had seen Macbeth, which is probably the most important one for that book ("When shall we... um, two meet again?" ), but it would have been better if I also had more than a superficial knowledge of A Midsummer Night's Tale. There are also references to a Norwegian fairy tale, Schrödinger's cat, and probably a lot more I haven't recognised.

I read the first books later, and they are OK, but not as good as the later ones.
I've read some series where it was the later books that were not as good as the earlier books.

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Most of the time, I don't mind spoilers. There are some exceptions: I've read a handful of books where there was some twist or surprise which I'm glad I got to unspoiled. Those have never been about character arcs, though. One was a secret the narrator was hiding from the reader, in another the protagonist made some scientific discoveries (in an alternate world with alternate science) which literally had me gasping out loud!

I started Bujold's Vorkosigan series at probably the worst point both spoilerwise and being dropped into the action at a place where context matters (Memory). That's what happens when you run out of reading material while staying for a couple of weeks in a tiny town where the only bookshop is a shelf in the grocery store. I enjoyed the book, and inhaled the rest of the series as soon as I got hold of them.

To be painfully obvious, people's tastes differ. Someone who strongly dislikes spoilers should - obviously - choose a different reading order than someone who doesn't mind them.
But one thing that I don't see being mentioned when others are mentioning starting from someplace in the middle is that there can and most likely will be spoilers and/or things they won't get without having read previous book(s).

Carpe Jugulum is a very good example of a book that there will be a number of spoilers and things you won't get because you've not read the previous books.
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Old 01-14-2021, 05:10 PM   #67
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Read them in any order you like but let me just stick up for Colour of Magic and Light Fantastic.
Yeah, me too. I thought they were quite enjoyable. I certainly wouldn't read them just "for completeness' sake".

With regard to the OP, if you're not starting with The Colour of Magic I think you should seriously consider starting with The Wee Free Men instead. I don't think Guards! Guards! is that great or anything; in that case you might just as well skip straight ahead to Men At Arms.
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Old 01-14-2021, 05:21 PM   #68
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Yeah, me too. I thought they were quite enjoyable. I certainly wouldn't read them just "for completeness' sake".

With regard to the OP, if you're not starting with The Colour of Magic I think you should seriously consider starting with The Wee Free Men instead. I don't think Guards! Guards! is that great or anything; in that case you might just as well skip straight ahead to Men At Arms.
I'll disagree about starting with Wee Free Men. You're better off reading Carpe Jugulum before and because of the spoilers (and there are quite a bit), you'll want to read other books before that. Also, the Tiffany Aching books should not be read until after you are familiar with Discworld.

That's the problem reading at random. You don't know what you are getting and what should have been read first.
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Old 01-14-2021, 05:47 PM   #69
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Yes, I guess I assumed that was the case (if not directly the disease then the constraints of needing an assistant so on). Still, I'm not complaining. For all that I might say some books are not as good as others, I re-read the lot at irregular intervals and enjoy myself all the way ... I just like hearing his voice.
By the end he could no longer type and had to rely on verbal dictation software, which really messed with his editing ability a lot. I believe the last two novels are the ones that were done totally by dictation.

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But we have to remember, there are those who think some books in a series are standalone because they have a beginning, middle, and end. That does not make a book standalone. Standalone is when there is nothing that connects it to any other book in the series. a book like Guards! Guards! does have a connection to other book(s).
Man, moving those goalposts all the time has got to to be tiring. Most readers that aren't trying to obessively argue for their viewpoint as the only legitimate viewpoint understand stand-alone novels to be novels that don't require you to read other novels to get the full story. This is true of every single Discworld novel except the first two which are two parts of one story. If we took your argument seriously it would create some bizarre situations in other series. For example you now need to read all of the Fleet of Worlds series of novels before you read the Ringworld novels, because they take place before them and make the Ringworld novels no longer stand-alone. Even though they were written decades after the first Ringworld novel and were co-written with a second author. It also means you have to read all the random Known Space novels and short stories before you can read the Worlds books, because they take place before them as well. For added lunacy, that includes all the Man-Kzin Wars collections, which aren't even canonical but are part of the Known Space series. (Note that GoodReads doesn't list the Known Space novels chronologically.)

If you want to continue to try to make the argument that they're not stand-alone, then reading them in sub-series order is more proper because each sub-series builds from book to book. That means each sub-series should properly be read in total before attacking another sub-series, otherwise you don't get the full story for that sub-series and will miss out on all the character development between each novel in the sub-series. (Vimes' development and Moist von Lipwig's particularly stand out.)

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That's the problem reading at random. You don't know what you are getting and what should have been read first.
No one is suggesting reading them at random.

Everyone that's not recommending reading in publication order is suggesting reading them by collections of sub-series. Stop moving the damn goalposts every time your previous points get totally debunked.
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Old 01-14-2021, 07:02 PM   #70
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I'll disagree about starting with Wee Free Men. You're better off reading Carpe Jugulum before and because of the spoilers (and there are quite a bit), you'll want to read other books before that. Also, the Tiffany Aching books should not be read until after you are familiar with Discworld.
I'm not quite sure which spoilers you're talking about really. The fact that certain characters and/or races exist? I suppose you could make an argument for Equal Rights/The Wee Free Men/A Hat Full of Sky/Wintersmith/I Shall Wear Midnight instead of just the latter four, with the understanding that Equal Rights can probably go anywhere except last.

In any case, while I definitely disagree that the first two books are to be avoided since I think they're quite good,[1] I also think The Wee Free Men is much better.

[1] Mort is quite forgettable if you ask me though. Moving Pictures, Soul Music and The Last Continent were also quite blah…
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Old 01-14-2021, 08:08 PM   #71
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In case anyone is interested, I put up a couple of quotes on the Notable quotes thread, here. The common theme spanning a career of writing was something that stood out for me on my recent revisiting of the Discworld.

The fact that the early quote come from a "disc-world" rather than the familiar "Discworld" highlights how Pratchett would sometimes keep working at ideas. You can see more examples of this in some of the pieces from his short story collection A Blink of the Screen.
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Old 01-14-2021, 09:21 PM   #72
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Huh!! On the other hand, I really enjoyed Mort and really didn't like Small Gods.

All I know about series order is that I had stopped reading them after book 1.5 (not sure I even finished book 2) in the 1980's. I'd have been off Pratchett for good if I hadn't picked up a later book. For me, it was Feet of Clay. But I do enjoy Mort's series and the witches series for light reading, and more deeply, the Guards series.

I wonder if, maybe, we're all different and like different things???

Nah, that can't be it.
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Old 01-15-2021, 02:54 AM   #73
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[...]
Nah, that can't be it.
I'm glad you came to your senses. Fancy thinking we might have different tastes. Ha! The cheek of it!

Mind you, I am still glad you eventually came to like Pratchett.

His books tend to be sold/advertised for the humour (just look at many of the covers), but humour can be so personal that it is no big surprise his books do not work for everyone. But, as I recently noted to someone else, it is the serious side of Pratchett that keeps me coming back to him. The humour is the spice. In many instances the absurdities are what make this fantasy world seem real, and so what make the serious themes really work.

Neil Gaiman, who worked with Terry Pratchett on Good Omens, makes the observation:
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[...]Some people have encountered an affable man with a beard and a hat. They believe they have met Sir Terry Pratchett. They have not. [...]

There is a fury to Terry Pratchett’s writing: it’s the fury that was the engine that powered Discworld. [...]

The anger is always there, an engine that drives.
And this reveals itself quite starkly in characters like Samuel Vimes or Granny Weatherwax. But I think it's there, too, albeit less blatant, in characters like The Patrician, Vetinari, who in one of the later books (Unseen Academicals, 2009) tells us this:
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‘I have told this to few people, gentlemen, and I suspect never will again, but one day when I was a young boy on holiday in Uberwald I was walking along the bank of a stream when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. A very endearing sight, I’m sure you will agree, and even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued and dragged on to a half-submerged log. As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and I remember to this day the sweet pinkness of its roes as they spilled out, much to the delight of the baby otters who scrambled over themselves to feed on the delicacy. One of nature’s wonders, gentlemen: mother and children dining upon mother and children. And that’s when I first learned about evil. It is built in to the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.’
But, having thrown various quotes out there, I think they demonstrate another reason why some readers might not enjoy his work. Some people don't much like Charles Dickens, because they find his work to be too preachy, that the themes and morals are too obvious in his work. I think the same might be said of Terry Pratchett; there is little doubt as to his values. Certainly there are things that he acknowledges as ambiguous, but there are things that obviously spark his emotions and these are often quite clear in the books.

Just sayin'.
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Old 01-15-2021, 03:06 AM   #74
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Some people don't much like Charles Dickens, because they find his work to be too preachy, that the themes and morals are too obvious in his work. I think the same might be said of Terry Pratchett; there is little doubt as to his values.

I agree with this, and I loved Gaiman's "engine that drives" quote. There are a handful of TP's books from the late 20s to mid 30s that I enjoyed somewhat less than others because it was clear that he was TOO angry about the subject matter to bother putting on a funny face. I don't necessarily disagree with many of his positions/values, but did prefer those books in which the presentation thereof was less polemical.
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Old 01-15-2021, 05:11 AM   #75
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Huh!! On the other hand, I really enjoyed Mort and really didn't like Small Gods.
Huh, that's funny. I find the trio of Small Gods/Lords and Ladies/Men at Arms to be some of the very best the series has to offer, definitely one of the peaks.
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