These books are funny!  It’s a clever kind of funny, too.

I’m always on the lookout for a solid book recommendation for a series with a unique, interesting and detailed magic system and a variety of characters and world-building to get lost in.  I finally got around to checking out these books after reading some other author-I-like’s Top 10 list.  I think one of my older brothers had a Discworld book on a shelf.  I have a vague memory of looking at the artwork on the cover repeatedly because it looked so interesting.  I was probably 5 at the time.  I was always 5 when I recall things from my childhood.  Everything that happened when I was a child happened when I was 5.  It was a big year for me.

Discworld Book 1: The Color of Magic

Anyway, I got hooked on book 1 – The Color of Magic.  There is so much charm and character and humor woven in these pages that it’s a real joy to read.  I’ve read some pretty dark stuff lately and this has been a real pick-me-up.  And there are 41 books in the series!  I’ll be at this for a good long while.  This is exactly the kind of series I want to get lost in.

I’m hesitant to even repeat some of the jokes because so much of the enjoyment comes from stumbling upon them unexpectedly, but how else am I going to convince you to give this series a try?  Here’s just two, out of context…

Discworld Book 3: Equal Rites

This is a story about magic and where it goes and perhaps more importantly where it comes from and why, although it doesn’t pretend to answer all or any of these questions.  It may, however, help to explain why Gandalf never got married and why Merlin was a man. Because this is also a story about sex, although probably not in the athletic, tumbling, count-the-legs-and-divide-by-two sense unless the characters get totally beyond the author’s control. They might.

Discworld Book 4: Mort

The only things known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Weedle. He reasoned like this: you can’t have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles — kingons, or possibly queons — that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed.

I don’t know how to describe the humor, but it’s the kind of witty banter that makes me giggle.  I dig it.  Many of the jokes poke fun at the standard fantasy tropes in a sort of breaking-the-fourth-wall kind of way.  And every so often it gets delightfully metaphysical.  I’m a short ways into Book 4 (Mort) at the moment and it’s jam packed with puns.  I can’t get enough.

The vermine is a small black and white relative of the lemming, found in the cold Hublandish regions. Its skin is rare and highly valued, especially by the vermine itself; the selfish little bastard will do anything rather than let go of it.

If you’re looking for a fun ride, a richly detailed world, characters with real personality, and cleverly written prose, check out The Color of Magic and see what you think.

[I should also mention that I’ve been listening to the audio books narrated by Nigel Planer.  Celia Imrie narrated Equal Rites.  Both narrators are fantastic.]