The Art of Discworld

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Overview

The Discworld floats through space on the backs of four elephants standing on a giant turtle (once there were five elephants, but that's another story). It's a world bursting with magic, a land of contrasts and extremes, from the bustling metropolis of Ankh-Morpork, the oldest city on the Disc (now ruled with an iron hand in a velvet glove by the Patrician, Lord Vetinari), to the ancient empire of Klatch, where there are fifteen words for assassination. There's the mysterious continent XXXX, or Foureks, about ...

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Overview

The Discworld floats through space on the backs of four elephants standing on a giant turtle (once there were five elephants, but that's another story). It's a world bursting with magic, a land of contrasts and extremes, from the bustling metropolis of Ankh-Morpork, the oldest city on the Disc (now ruled with an iron hand in a velvet glove by the Patrician, Lord Vetinari), to the ancient empire of Klatch, where there are fifteen words for assassination. There's the mysterious continent XXXX, or Foureks, about which nothing anyone has ever heard is really an exaggeration, the tiny kingdom of Lancre and the dark country of Uberwald, where things do go bump in the night.

And then there are the inhabitants: the witches Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Magrat Garlick (now a Queen, of course). There are wizards galore, Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully, the Librarian, Rincewind, the Bursar . . . there are the History Monks and the ancient Vampyre families. There are great heroes, like Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde, Sam Vimes, Captain Carrot and the men* of the City Watch . . . and there are the ordinary folk like Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, Foul Ole Ron, the Igors . . . and there's Death.

The Discworld might have started out in the imagination of its Creator, Terry Pratchett, but over the past 30 or more books, it has taken on a life of its own.

Here, gathered together for the first time, is artist Paul Kidby's own voyage through the Disc, in glorious color and intricate black and white: a cornucopia of characters that have won the hearts of millions of adoring readers the world over:

Here is The Art of Discworld.

  • werewolves, zombies, gargoyles, dwards – in fact, men of the Watch are actually few and far between these days.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060758271
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/2/2004
  • Series: Discworld Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 9.52 (w) x 11.14 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry Pratchett's many honors include the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Printz Honor, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Britain's Carnegie Medal, the American Library Association's Margaret A. Edwards Award for lasting contribution to young adult literature, and the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award. His books have sold more than 75 million copies worldwide. Knighted for his "services to literature," Sir Terry lives in England with his wife and many cats.

Paul Kidby became a freelance illustrator in 1986. Since then he has worked on projects ranging from computer game packaging to magazine covers. He began reading the Discworld novels in 1993 and was immediately inspired. He has produced, with Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs, numerous Discworld items, including Discworld Diaries, The Discworld Portfolio, cards, book covers, and calendars. He lives in England.

Biography

Welcome to a magical world populated by the usual fantasy fare: elves and ogres, wizards and witches, dwarves and trolls. But wait—is that witch wielding a frying pan rather than a broomstick? Has that wizard just clumsily tumbled off the edge of the world? And what is with the dwarf they call Carrot, who just so happens to stand six-foot six-inches tall? Why, this is not the usual fantasy fare at all—this is Terry Pratchett's delightfully twisted Discworld!

Beloved British writer Pratchett first jump-started his career while working as a journalist for Bucks Free Press during the '60s. As luck would have it, one of his assignments was an interview with Peter Bander van Duren, a representative of a small press called Colin Smythe Limited. Pratchett took advantage of his meeting with Bander van Duren to pitch a weird story about a battle set in the pile of a frayed carpet. Bander van Duren bit, and in 1971 Pratchett's very first novel, The Carpet People, was published, setting the tone for a career characterized by wacky flights of fancy and sly humor.

Pratchett's take on fantasy fiction is quite unlike that of anyone else working in the genre. The kinds of sword-and-dragon tales popularized by fellow Brits like J.R.R. Tolkein and C. S. Lewis have traditionally been characterized by their extreme self-seriousness. However, Pratchett has retooled Middle Earth and Narnia with gleeful goofiness, using his Discworld as a means to poke fun at fantasy. As Pratchett explained to Locus Magazine, "Discworld started as an antidote to bad fantasy, because there was a big explosion of fantasy in the late '70s, an awful lot of it was highly derivative, and people weren't bringing new things to it."

In 1983, Pratchett unveiled Discworld with The Color of Magic. Since then, he has added installments to the absurdly hilarious saga at the average rate of one book per year. Influenced by moderately current affairs, he has often used the series to subtly satirize aspects of the real world; the results have inspired critics to rapturous praise. ("The most breathtaking display of comic invention since PG Wodehouse," raved The Times of London.) He occasionally ventures outside the series with standalone novels like the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, a sci fi adventure sequence for young readers, or Good Omens, his bestselling collaboration with graphic novelist Neil Gaiman.

Sadly, in 2008 fans received the devastating news that Pratchett had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. He has described his own reaction as "fairly philosophical" and says he plans to continue writing so long as he is able.

Good To Know

Pratchett's bestselling young adult novel Only You Can Save Mankind was adapted for the British stage as a critically acclaimed musical in 2004.

Discworld is not just the subject of a bestselling series of novels. It has also inspired a series of computer games in which players play the role of the hapless wizard Rincewind.

A few fun outtakes from our interview with Pratchett:

"I became a journalist at 17. A few hours later I saw my first dead body, which was somewhat…colourful. That's when I learned you can go on throwing up after you run out of things to throw up."

"The only superstition I have is that I must start a new book on the same day that I finish the last one, even if it's just a few notes in a file. I dread not having work in progress.

"I grow as many of our vegetables as I can, because my granddad was a professional gardener and it's in the blood. Grew really good chilies this year.

"I'm not really good at fun-to-know, human interest stuff. We're not ‘celebrities', whose life itself is a performance. Good or bad or ugly, we are our words. They're what people meet.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Terence David John Pratchett
    2. Hometown:
      Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 28, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
    1. Education:
      Four honorary degrees in literature from the universities of Portsmouth, Bristol, Bath and Warwick

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2005

    Great illustrations

    I flipped through part of this the other day in a book store, and I was actually quite impressed with what I saw. I've always been disappointed with books like this because they fall short of how I envision the characters. This did nothing of the sort. Kidby's art is exceptional, and even when his vision of a character differed from my own I found that his interpretations were offered with such humor and style that I didn't even mind. Four stars because I didn't get to look at the book in-depth but was intrigued by what I did see.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2010

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