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Book: Thud! by Terry Pratchett

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In increasing order of specificity: Thud! is a Discworld book. It is an Ankh-Morpark book. It is a Watch book. It is a Sam Vimes book.

There are probably ten or so Discworld books that share all these traits, and yet I found this one fairly refreshing. I always enjoy a Discworld novel, having now read about a third of the 30+ books in the series, but even though I have often used Discworld novels as light refreshers between more heavy books, they themselves can oversaturate you with Pratchett-like humor -- much like eating a pound of fudge. It is probably for that reason that I waited a full year to read this book after picking it up at a Pratchett talk in Mountain View.

Sam Vimes is a "father who suffers from Lego foot." That's how Pratchett started off describing Thud! at his talk and it's a good starting point as to why I think this book is a bit different -- there's more heart than satirical skewers. There's still plenty of humorous jabs at racism, Da Vinci Code, Blackberrys, fatherhood, fundamentalism, art, and more -- it really isn't possible to have a serious book set in a world carried on the backs of four elephants -- but the humor is scaled back a bit to give Sam Vimes, Young Sam, and Sybil room to breath.

This isn't the funniest of Pratchett's books and if you're looking for constant side-splitting satirical fantasy humor, this probably isn't the one to pick up. Luckily, there are 33+ other books of his that you can pick up that probably fit this bill. I happen to really like this one.

Before reading Thud!, I recommend reading Fifth Elephant. Of the many Discworld novels, it is the one I can think of with most appropriate background material.

Comments (3)


I read 21 books into the series before I OD'd on Pratchett. I read them almost all in a row which was crazy, but he's a great "light" writer and the world is so wonderful. About 3 years ago I started 22, the title of which I don't recall at the moment, and had to set it aside. I imagine I'll pick up again, probably after I try to digest something too heavy. I expect the OCD completionist in me will take hold and I'll catch up someday.


It's much easier to be OCD with dead authors...

There definitely is an addiction trying to use Pratchett as light reading. It often goes so quick that you feel compelled to read another, or in your case, 20 more. The one year break definitely helped for me. I'll probably pickup Going Postal next to stick with his more recent work.

i would like to buy a SYBIL book

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