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The Folklore of Discworld
Legends, Myths, and Customs from the Discworld, With Helpful Hints From Planet Earth

by Terry Pratchett and Jacqueline Simpson

      Terry Pratchett’s wonderful Discworld books have been entertaining people of all ages across the globe (our world being spherical, not flat) for twenty-five years.  They are filled with the vast panoply of fantasy: exotic deities, dwarves, trolls, elves, witches etc., but so is this world — or so people used to believe, and in some cases still do.  Discworld holds up a mirror to ourselves, albeit a distorting one, and shows us what, in our imaginations, we truly are—and now you can read all about why.

This is one more for the adults, a book about folklore from all over the world and how Terry Pratchett has changed it for his own creation.  Each chapter deals with a group of beings, or a place and its beliefs, or a festival, and the Discworld variation as compared with our equivalents.  This sounds simple enough and perhaps not terribly exciting but this is a highly readable book, and a great way to get into folklore if you are not already au fait with it.  Ms. Simpson is a folklorist and thus the book comes with a generous bibliography, although if you are hoping for websites and a list of tale types and motifs you will have to go on wanting.  Don’t be too despondent though if you think you know all about the subject and are looking for something truly exhaustive, as this book is a delight.  For one thing, it makes for entertaining reading as it ought to — it is a book about ourselves, and the tales we have told each other since we lived in caves.  I’ve read a great many books on folklore and this does not always get pointed out.  One for the keeper shelf for all Discworld fans (and that is a lot of people).

The Book

Doubleday (Transworld UK)
11 September 2008
0385611005 /9780385611008
Non-Fiction / Folklore [Earth and Discworld]
More at US || UK

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2008
© 2008