The Discworld is the creation of Terry Pratchett. It is an imaginary location that appears in most of his books. (One of Pratchett's earlier novels, Strata, also features a disc-shaped world, but a different one.)
It consists of (as the name suggests) a flat disc (complete with edge-of-the-world drop-off and consequent waterfall) resting on the backs of four huge elephants (Great T'phon, Tubul, Berilia, and Jerakeen) which are in turn standing on the back of an enormous turtle (Great A'Tuin) as it slowly swims through space.
The gender of the Turtle is something of a mystery to the inhabitants of the disc, being not able to peer underneath the turtle themselves. This leads to some great debate and argument as to what position the turtle would assume should there be another cosmic big bang.
Directions within the discworld are not given as north south east and west, but rather as directions relating to the disc itself, eg hubward (towards the centre), rimward (away from the centre) and to a lesser extent, turnwise and widdershins (relation to the direction of the disc's spin). It relies on magic.
At the hub of the disc are some incredibly high mountains, the largest of which is Cori Celeste, upon the peak of which rests "Dunmanifestin", home of the Discworld's gods.
Chief among the Gods, by reason of having more worshippers than any of the others, is Blind Io. He is a thunder god: in fact, he is every thunder god worshipped on the disc, appearing under different guises and answering different names in various places, so as to ensure the largest possible number of worshippers. (He nevertheless comes by his position of leadership relatively fairly, since all his rivals use similar dodges.)
The world has been chronicled through at least 30 novels so far and several short stories. The novels prior to The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents (and almost all Pratchett books to date) had cover art done by Josh Kirby (who died in October 2001), but only in the original British editions. The American editions, published by HarperCollins, do not feature Kirby's cover art.
Almost all of the Discworld novels are notable for having no chapter divisions. Instead most of the time there are different storylines interwoven with each other. The biggest advantage of not having chapters is: you can stop reading on nearly every page... if you are able to. Or you can just go through it non-stop, as some do.
The novels can be grouped into five categories:
|The Colour of Magic||Rincewind||Paperback: ISBN 0552124753|
|The Light Fantastic||Rincewind||Paperback: ISBN 0552128481|
|Equal Rites||The Witches||Paperback: ISBN 0552131059|
|Mort||Death||Paperback: ISBN 0552131067|
|Sourcery||Rincewind||Paperback: ISBN 0552131075|
|Wyrd Sisters||The Witches||Paperback: ISBN 0552134600|
|Pyramids||Miscellaneous||Paperback: ISBN 0552134619|
|Guards! Guards||The City Watch||Paperback: ISBN 0552134627|
|Eric||Rincewind||Paperback: ISBN 0575600012||Originally published as a 'Discworld story': larger format and fully illustrated by Josh Kirby; more recently reissued as a normal paperback with no illustrations.|
|Moving Pictures||Miscellaneous||Paperback: ISBN 0552134635|
|Reaper Man||Death||Paperback: ISBN 0552134643|
|Witches Abroad||The Witches||Paperback: ISBN 0552134651|
|Small Gods||Miscellaneous||Paperback: ISBN 0552138908|
|Lords and Ladies||The Witches||Paperback: ISBN 0552138916|
|Men at Arms||The City Watch|
|Soul Music||Death||Paperback: ISBN 0552140295|
|Interesting Times||Rincewind||Paperback: ISBN 0552142352|
|Maskerade||The Witches||Paperback: ISBN 0552142360|
|Feet of Clay||The City Watch||Paperback: ISBN 0552142379|
|Hogfather||Death||Paperback: ISBN 0552145424|
|Jingo||The City Watch||Hardback: ISBN 0575065400|
|The Last Continent||Rincewind||Hardback: ISBN 0385409893|
|Carpe Jugulum||The Witches||Hardback: ISBN 0385409923|
|The Fifth Elephant||The City Watch||Hardback: ISBN 0385409958|
|The Truth||Miscellaneous||Hardback: ISBN 0385601026|
|Thief of Time||Death||Hardback: ISBN 0385601883|
|The Last Hero||Miscellaneous||Published in a larger format, fully illustrated by Paul Kidby.|
|The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents||Miscellaneous||A children's Discworld book.|
|Night Watch||The City Watch||Hardback: ISBN 0385602642|
|The Wee Free Men||Miscellaneous||Hardback: ISBN 0385605331||Another children's Discworld book.|
|A Hat Full of Sky||A second Tiffany Aching novel|
There are also three short stories by Pratchett based in the Discworld: Troll Bridge, Theatre of Cruelty, and The Sea and Little Fishes. All are available online.
Thus far, there are also two Discworld Quizbooks:
It is even possible to get a character in one of the future Discworld books named after yourself. Usually people appear in the books by bidding for the privilege in charity auctions.