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A'tuin Your World

Why Discworld is by far the best Science Fiction World ever created.

By Guenneth SpeldrongPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
The Great A'Tuin

So many worlds, so little time! I thought I wouldn't be able to pick one as the best, but after a few days of reading over Piers Anthony, Mercedes Lackey, Ursula K. LeGuin, and so on I then laid my eyes on Terry Pratchett and it all clicked into place.

Of COURSE Discworld is the best of the best! It has humor, magic, interesting characters, intelligent plots, and completely embraces the main purpose of Science Fiction: holding a mirror up to our society.

For starters is an absolutely unique world; a disc on top of 4 elephants on top of a giant turtle floating through space. Most other worlds are normal spheres. BOOORRRIIINGGG! Side note: I believe it even inspired the making of the awesome 90's movie Dark City, though it is a much darker world. (My brain often connects the two, like Dark City is a prequel, and the origins of Discworld, but I digress.)

SOOOO Derivative!

Humor is present in SPADES. Hijinks run rampant throughout the pages of these 41 books (oh, if only Terry had lived to write 42...we would then have the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything...). Terry doesn't usually go for the easy 'low hanging fruit' jokes either; there is a cleverness to the humor. Stoic detectives and assassins equally balance severity and lightheartedness. Death himself is a joy to encounter. The villains are both terrifying and hilarious (Mr. Teatime...gets me laughing and cringing every time!)

It's pronounced Teh-ah-time-ey

Where else can you find personified luggage that you find yourself emotionally invested in, I ask you? Or the character growth of a Troll whose character development has you questioning your real world preconceived notions? Or well-rounded characters that have a serious impact on ever book without actually appearing one single time? Terry has you twisting and turning, questioning every presumption or prejudice you may have in a flurry of intellectual humor and clever wordplay.

Pratchett reminds us that not everyone is one thing (Except maybe 'Bloody Stupid', but he never shows up to defend himself). Everyone has their purpose, everyone creates both good and evil in their wake. It all depends on perspective. All you have to do is look at sweet, simple TwoFlower and bumbling Rincewind to get a better understanding of how your perceptions of the world color your experiences, and how others are affected by those perceptions in unexpected ways.

Death...The smartest and best character in the series, hands down. You should hear the dude discussing socioeconomic theory. It blew my young mind!

Boy, does this ever reflect our society. A'tuin and her infestation of humans may be quite fantastical, but they a direct reflection of our society. All of our flaws and virtues can be found in this brilliant, dichotomous world. The best science fiction is but a mirror, reflecting who we are at the depths of our souls. It has been such since it was introduced to this modern world by Mary Shelley (yes, I know she wasn't TECHNICALLY the first, but she is still the mother of modern science fiction, so no haters) Fantasy, too, holds a mirror up to our very essence, showing both the ugly and the beautiful all at once.

With this in mind, Discworld is the perfect representation of the real purpose of these dual genres. Other worlds may do the same, but Terry makes it the most ACCESSIBLE to the modern world. It is both brilliant and easy to understand. The rotating heroes and villains ensure there is something for everyone to connect with in this world. Maybe you identify with Cohen the Barbarian, or perhaps you are more of a Didactylos? Perhaps you once thought you were like Susan or Liessa, but now you realize you are Death. Most people I know believe themselves to be Vimes or Vetinari, but they are actually a Dibber or Hrun. I think everyone can identify with the Duck Man, unaware of the large issues closest to us and unsure of who we are and how we got where we are!

Colour of Magic- publicity still of Karen David as Liessa

Terry Pratchett just really understood both humanity and the true purpose of the Science Fiction genre!

It is a beautiful and haunting dance of humanity on top of the best turtle ever written, and the unfortunate elephants (or who I refer to as the 4 Atlas' of the elephant world).

Reading the books and watching the shows is much like the carefree drama of high school dances back in the day. It's 90% fun, 9% drama, and 1% anxiety (If you are doing them right, anyway). Or maybe you would prefer a day at an amusement park as a simile? Or maybe a dungeon raid on your favorite MMORPG? Either way, I hope you get my meaning. I'm no Terry Pratchett, after all...

Rest in Peace, you beautiful man... (Photograph by Brad Wakefield)

science fiction

About the Creator

Guenneth Speldrong

Hello there. I write things. Sometimes good things. Mostly, I write to find myself. If I can entertain you in the process, then that's just the derivative icing on the proverbial cake!

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