Thursday, March 12, 2015

R.I.P. Terry Pratchett: A Reading List

Today we lost one of the greats of contemporary literature; Sir Terry Pratchett has died at the age of 66. I have only read one of his books, but I know the mark he's made on the literary landscape will never be erased. Here are some books, some of his and some of his admirers' and some others that you might like if you want to dip your toe into his world.

Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett.  This book appears somewhere in the middle of Pratchett's Discworld story and it's both a perennial favorite and a great entry point. Or you could just start at the beginning with The Colour of Magic. Up to you, really.

Ragnarok, by AS Byatt. Byatt is a fan of Pratchett's work and wrote the foreword to Pratchett's A Blink of the Screen: Collected Shorter Fiction. This book is a retelling of the Norse myth.

In Other Worlds: SF And the Human Imagination, by Margaret Atwood. In this collection of essays, Atwood, herself a Pratchett admirer (and Hugo-winning author), examines fantasy and speculative fiction in literature.
Good Omens, by Pratchett an Neil Gaiman. This comic novel, a retelling of the The Omen (yes, that one) is a great collaboration between two giants of the fantasy genre, and two good friends.

The Islanders, by Christopher Priest.  A dark, twisty, Nabokovian tale of obsession, murder and love masquerading as a gazetteer of an otherworldly island archipelago, this book takes fantasy to a whole new level. Priest wrote Pratchett's obituary for The Guardian.

A comic fantasy that Pratchett might have enjoyed, Rebecca Miller's 2013 novel Jacob's Folly tells the story of a dead Frenchman returned to modern-day New York as a literal fly on the wall to two confused New Yorkers.
 Railsea. China Mieville retells Moby-Dick in this fun, imaginative book aimed at teens.

The Eyre Affair. Jasper Fforde's comic-fantasy-detective take on Jane Eyre (and its several sequels) will appeal to fantasy and literary readers alike.

The Secret History of Moscow, by Ekaterina Sedia, blends fantasy and folklore in a touching tale of a young woman searching for her missing sister among the mythology of Russia.

Isabel Greenberg's 2013 graphic novel The Encyclopedia of Early Earth weaves a beautiful tapestry of words and pictures over a mythic-cycle story of the beginning of time, how one man finds his true love, the love of mothers for a child, and more.

Any of these books would make a fine introduction or next step to the world of fantasy for the reader new to fantasy who'd like to get know Pratchett's work and that of his peers in the SFF world.

1 comment:

Rosenberg Library YA said...

This is a lovely list. I loved Good Omens and Fforde's series -- these others are definitely going in my TBR pile. I was so sad to hear the news about Pratchett. He was -- well, still is -- my favorite author.