Help me read things like Discworld
August 6, 2012 7:51 AM   Subscribe

What light, humorous, and humanist genre fiction should I read after I finish the Discworld series?

I'm nearing the end of the Discworld series (including all assorted YA stuff, short stories, etc), and I'm looking for more books or series in that vein. I don't lack for other books to read, but I like to have something a bit lighter and more humorous in between the heavier stuff as a palate cleanser. I am aware of this thread, but it doesn't quite cover what I'm looking for. I'd like suggestions for books, or especially series that not quite as depressing as the stuff I normally read, funny even. And the other thing I really appreciate about Discworld is its incredible humanist (even if that human is a troll or dwarf) streak, and I'd like a bit more of that.

The only non-Discworld Pratchett I've read is Good Omens, which I enjoyed. Is it worth seeking out more of non-Discworld Pratchett? I've heard suggestions for the Dresden Files, but I was under the impression that was more snarky than humorous. And I've also had the Thursday Next stuff suggested to me. Can anyone help me?
posted by X-Himy to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
The only other modern, non-Discworld Pratchett is Nation which is excellent and well worth reading. His Omens collaborator, Neil Gaiman, has some good stuff out there too; I'd say Stardust and The Graveyard Book are good places to start if you want something lighter.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:59 AM on August 6, 2012

I'd suggest "The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making," which reads like a cross between Gaiman and a Victorian fairy tale. Not amusing, but clever; light, but serious, too.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:03 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (the recent BBC adaptation's not bad either FWIW)
If you like short stories and or terrible puns, this series was fun: Chicks 'N Chained Males | Did You Say Chicks | The Chick is in the Mail etc.
posted by reptile at 8:05 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

The only other modern, non-Discworld Pratchett is Nation which is excellent and well worth reading.

There's another non-Discworld one coming out in September that's Pratchett's take on Dickens.
posted by leesh at 8:07 AM on August 6, 2012

On the off-chance you haven't read it, Norton Juster's "The Phantom Tollbooth" is still wonderful, 50 years later.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:12 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Last suggestion, I swear (I cannot get organized today)... Have you read Pratchett's Johnny Maxwell novels? I've only read "Johnny and the Bomb," but enjoyed the time travel aspect of it, as well as the byplay between characters.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:18 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Brentford novels of Robert Rankin, like Sprout Mask Replica and East of Ealing.
posted by communicator at 8:21 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was going to recommend the Thursday next books, I'm a couple in myself, start with The Eyre Affair and move onwards.
posted by purplemonkeydishwasher at 8:31 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Dammit, purpleetc. beat me to the Thursday Nexts. But Jasper Fforde has a new series that started off pretty well, too, with Shades of Grey (no, not that one).
posted by Etrigan at 8:53 AM on August 6, 2012

More Jasper Fforde: the two(?) Nursery Crimes novels are great fun. I'd hit them up after reading all the Thursday Nexts, though.
posted by smirkette at 9:06 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

There's also Pratchett's The Long Earth (written with Stephen Baxter) which came out earlier this year. It's not really as funny as Discworld, although it's still good. (Problem: It's really incomplete without the rest of the series, and the next one won't be out for a while.)

There was a thread recently for fun/light science fiction, which might have some good suggestions for you.
posted by anaelith at 9:10 AM on August 6, 2012

Can't go wrong with some Christopher Moore.

Dresden Files are indeed more snarky than humorous.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:20 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: MonkeyToes - I am a big Valente fan, and Circumnavigated is sitting on my shelf.

reptile - I have read the Douglas Adams oeuvre a number of times. And the show was quite fun.

anaelith - Thanks for that thread, it seems to have escaped my notice.
posted by X-Himy at 10:40 AM on August 6, 2012

Seconding the Brentford novels. I only read the original trilogy many, many years ago but i remember chuckling a lot.
posted by Decani at 10:45 AM on August 6, 2012

Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel according to Bif, Christ's Childhood Pal

It will have you rolling in the floor.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:13 PM on August 6, 2012

You might enjoy Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books. (I haven't read any of the later ones but I enjoyed the first three, and I'm a fan of both Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams.)
posted by rjs at 1:12 PM on August 6, 2012

I've recently discovered Jim C. Hine's Princess Series and I've heard that his Jig the Goblin series is even funnier.
posted by porpoise at 2:11 PM on August 6, 2012

Apsirin's Myth series?
posted by sourwookie at 5:33 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
posted by Sparx at 5:37 PM on August 6, 2012

The Myth series and Phule's Company series by Robert Asprin are fun. I really like them both

Also a Christopher Moore fan but it really depends on the book.

Jody Lynn Nye co-writes or takes over series for different authors (Robert Asprin, Anne McCaffrey) now but before that she wrote a short series I liked. It's kind of fluff but it's still a fun, light read. The 1st one is called Mythology 101.

I'm not sure if this last one is still in print but Mel Gilden's Surfing Samurai Robots is detective novel with a goofy alien bonus.

Harry Harrison has Bill the Galactic Hero and the Stainless Steel Rat (kind of dated but fast paced and fun) series.
posted by stray thoughts at 7:21 PM on August 6, 2012

Try Sir Terry's 'Truckers', 'Diggers' and 'Wings' books. They're a non-Discworld series for the younger audience, but they are good fun!
posted by eloeth-starr at 1:47 AM on August 7, 2012

"Light, humorous, and humanist genre fiction" is a perfect description of the TV show Doctor Who, if you'd be interested in expanding your search beyond the written word. Start with the 2005 revival.
posted by Rinku at 6:41 AM on August 7, 2012

Have you read any A. Lee Martinez? A Nameless Witch is exactly what you're looking for. All of Martinez's books are worth reading. Like Pratchett, Martinez is on my 'buy on sight' list. Divine Misfortune is his most recent, and that's a good one too.

William Browning Spencer's Resume with Monsters is a dark look at what working for a faceless corporation is really all about. It's a bit old but still available on Amazon. His Irrational Fears is fun too.
posted by bonehead at 7:36 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Christopher Moore

The only thing about Moore is that his books are alternately awesome or painfully mediocre; to my taste, he has very little middle ground. Fool, Lamb, even A Dirty Job: awesome. The SF vampire books (Love Bites, etc.) not so much IMO. This is purely a matter of taste--I tend to like the ones he had to research and think a lot about.
posted by smirkette at 11:37 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

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