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Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series:

First, many years ago, I saw the covers to the first of Pratchett’s Discworld books: ‘The Colour of Magic’ and ‘The Light Fantastic’ and thought they were uber cool.  But stupidly I judged the books by their covers and thought they were just cool pictures and there was nothing inside.  So it took me a while before I actually read one.  I found them absolutely great and if anything each one was better than the last.

The best ones in my opinion were the books about the city watch.  Nobby Nobbs, Captain Carrot and Commander Vimes always got the job done – but not as you would or even they would think.  Detritus the troll ironically didn’t litter, but was always around to talk his idiotic twaddle.  Compared with the cleverness of Vimes, the Discworld Books show the whole range of magical characters and settings – both of man and made up mythical creations.

The mysteries involved were always cunningly written and the jokes about the slums and the various other parts of Ankh-Morpork (like the guild of assassins) were always new and interesting.  Given the nature of the books – that there were Igors whose hands would fall off on the slightest whim, the werewolves, wizards and all the rest – they might have become silly and awkward but there were never any moments where you would think: ‘that’s absurd!’  It all makes sense and the only miscomprehension comes with the unravelling of the storyline.

Involved in many of the Ankh-Morpork books was the fellow selling disgusting sausages always cunningly written so you don’t quite know what they were or what was in them.

There are places of course outside Ankh-Morpork, for the Discworld was an entire world, shaped in a reference to uneducated people of the past, as a disc which you could sail right off the edge.

Now he’s dead there will be no more Pratchetts.  This is a shame but I think I might buy them all over again and re-read them all just in homage.

There are 41 books in all in the Discworld series and he’s even written some Sci-Fi.  It has to end at some point though.  Shame.


Robert Rankin:

On his Amazon account he wears some strange robe and calls himself a wizard.  I don’t think he is one, but even if he is an oddball, he writes good books.  Some are rather strange, involving talking sprouts and Gold Lamé tracksuits but often humour is strange.

My first Rankin books I read were the Brentford Triangle Trilogy (in four parts.)  These were very nearly sane, and both clever and funny.  My overwhelming memories of the Trilogy were a barman called Neville, who picked his nose with his overly nicotine stained fingers, a sexaholic Irishman named Omally and his friend Pooley who very often liked to attain the ‘foetal position’ when scared in any way shape or fashion.

There are many Rankin books (some completely different ones by a bloke called Ian – not to be confused for disappointment will ensue) but the best are the more normal ones – the space trilogy and the aforementioned Brentford Trilogy.

His most recent of works have not been received as well, critics saying he has not put in the effort of his old tomes (as he would put it,) but coming up with characters like ‘Barry the Sprout,’ ‘Mr. Rune’ and the esoteric fighting system of Dimac (Dim Mak) cannot come up every day of the week.


Bill Bryson:

I‘ve only read one or two of them.  The things he picks up on you would probably miss if you went to exactly the same places as him.  He does his research and he walks the streets – mainly just to get a beer and a nice meal – but he makes travel seem thoroughly alluring, even those areas not in the red light districts.

I like the fact he doesn’t spend thousands of pounds on hotel rooms and as he looks for bargains he has a lot of fun.  A lot of the place he visits wouldn’t go into modern travel guides.  He also has short shrift with itineraries so ends up in strange places at strange times.  He survives though and even makes it home afterwards.

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