Where should I go once I leave Discworld?
January 7, 2013 8:26 PM   Subscribe

I'm almost done with the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. They've been perfect companions for the past nine months or so, and I need something to take their place. What series, with wit and a world to get lost in, should I read next?
posted by ocherdraco to Media & Arts (46 answers total) 85 users marked this as a favorite
The Vorkosigan saga?
posted by jeather at 8:28 PM on January 7, 2013 [14 favorites]

Temeraire? Farseer/Tawny Man trilogies?
posted by elizardbits at 8:32 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

It would surprise me if you haven't yet, but if Pratchett was fresh for you maybe you haven't read the collected works of Diana Wynne Jones either? She has a few longer series, particularly the Chrestomanci series is an interconnected world to lose yourself in, but my favorite is the trilogy that starts with Howl's Moving Castle and moves outward.
posted by Mizu at 8:36 PM on January 7, 2013 [5 favorites]

Wodehouse's Blandings Castle, or Bertie and Jeeves.
posted by pseudonick at 8:38 PM on January 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Glen Cook's Garret novels?
posted by blurker at 8:39 PM on January 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

Oh, and if you're not wed to fantasy, consider the Culture series by Iain M Banks.
posted by Mizu at 8:39 PM on January 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

Christopher Moore books. I just read Bloodsucking Fiends, the first part of a trilogy, and enjoyed it.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:41 PM on January 7, 2013

Kage Baker's Company novels, maybe?
posted by hades at 8:46 PM on January 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

The Vorkosigan novels are not comic in the same way but they're hilarious. If you can handle urban fantasy and a bloggy, ultra-casual tone, Cherie Priest's Bloodshot and Hellbent are fantastic, but alas, just the two books exist. Wodehouse is of course the template, and it's as foreign a world to me to read more or less like fantasy, but I found it a little too impenetrable to be perfect.

No one does humor like Pratchett in fantasy - no one. (Of course if you haven't read the Hitchhiker's Guide series, you ought to. Douglas Adams is in the same vein.) If you're also looking for light, long-series fantasy in general, there are lots more options - Lackey's Valdemar books are solidly middlebrow but awfully soothing - so clarifying which of those two is more important might help.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:50 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Peter F Hamiltons series:

Commonwealth Saga
Nights Dawn Trilogy
posted by iamabot at 8:53 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I recommend The Kingkiller Chronicles - The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, and the sequel, The Wise Man's Fear. (Book three is still in the works.)

The worldbuilding in these novels is incredibly detailed (complex currency systems, etc.) and amazingly descriptive. There's a fair amount of wit and humor, too - the main character has a mouth on him and isn't afraid to use it. The Four Corners world is definitely a place in which to get lost.

You might also like the Sabriel/Lirael/Abhorsen series - they don't really have the humorous/witty Discworld feel, but they're fantastic novels that have a clear sense of the environment in which they operate.
posted by meggan at 9:00 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh man, C. J. Cherryh's Foreigner series.
posted by Specklet at 9:06 PM on January 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

You may have considered this possibility already, but the Aubrey-Maturin series takes place in a world sort of like the world now, with some fundamentally different rules; it's vast in geographic scope; includes hundreds of names and descriptions of people, ships and places; and it's funny. There are 20 finished books. I was happy to find it after I finished the Discworld books. The Aubrey-Maturin series is sadder, though, what with all the dying sailors and a pervasive sense that everything on earth but one single friendship is doomed ultimately to fail.
posted by Francolin at 9:10 PM on January 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

Seconding not staying in fantasy/SF. You'll never regret reading Wodehouse.
posted by wdenton at 9:18 PM on January 7, 2013

The Thurdsday Next aeries by Jasper Fforde might interest you, especially the first books.
posted by Ms. Next at 9:35 PM on January 7, 2013 [6 favorites]

For lighter but still very intelligent reading, I would third Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga - they are not actively comedic (well, except for A Civil Campaign and the latest one about Ivan, which is a space caper), more adventure/intrigue - but often witty intrigue. They can be serious (sometimes dealing with war and trauma), but are never dark (there is hope and humanity, even in the darkest moments). The world (particularly Barrayar) is quite rich - my SO and I realised one day that we were having an indepth discussion on Barrayaran history; I've never found myself discussing so much fake history before. Also I was first turned onto Bujold by the most dedicated Pratchett fan I've ever met, and I suspect there is a lot of overlap in the fandoms.

Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar world (really several trilogies, some of which are more connected than others) is certainly very large -- if you enjoy her books, you'll have a long time before you run out. I quite liked her early stuff, but the later books felt more hackneyed.

For rich worlds - Robin Hobb has two worlds (the Farseer setting with about 12 books now, and the one for her Soldier Son trilogy) which are extremely well worked out and original fantasy settings. But, unlike Pratchett, they are very dark books -- characters seem to end up with bittersweet endings at best, having been put through wringer on the way there.

But for comedy: I have heard good things about Woodhouse. And my SO adores Connie Willis's To Say Nothing of the Dog, which is a Jerome K. Jerome pastiche.
posted by jb at 9:39 PM on January 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

Bill, the Galactic Hero
posted by XMLicious at 9:40 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

J. D. Robb's Eve Dallas books. There's a bunch of them, and they are consistently amusing, although it wasn't till the second or third one I read that I decided the humor was intentional. (Not as funny as Wodehouse or Pratchett, of course.)
posted by Bruce H. at 10:03 PM on January 7, 2013

The series Discworld was originally parodying is Fritz Leiber's Fahrd and the Grey Mouser, so try that. For better English weirdness, read Micheal Moorcock. For sadder English weirdness, read M John Harrison.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:39 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Tom Holt works fantasy elements into real-world settings. Usually mythic heros or gods and how they fit in the modern world. He's much more cynical than Pratchett, but still very entertaining.

This is probably a no-brainer, but Neil Gaiman is also fantastic. The Endless series of graphic novels is a fantastic, richly detailed world. I'm not usually someone who reads graphic novels or comic books but these are just tremendously engaging and deep.
posted by Jilder at 11:18 PM on January 7, 2013

They're usually published under the name 'Sandman', Jilder.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:31 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might enjoy Jack Vance's Dying Earth and Lyonesse series.

The Dying Earth books are collections of short stories that form a semi-continuous narrative in some places. I don't really like the term 'world-building', but the stories do indeed work together to create a detailed future-past world that later inspired Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun. There's plenty of fun (particularly in the stories featuring the character Cugel the Clever), although it's more a case of there being an amused tone rather than an intent to be overtly comedic.

The Lyonesse books are more conventional fantasy, and are novels rather than story collections. Drawing on Arthurian and other folk sources, the writing is perhaps more serious in overall tone than the Dying Earth books, although there's still plenty of evidence of Vance's appealing sense of humour. The story meanders from one set of characters to another over the three novels, but it always feels like you're on a journey to something interesting.
posted by pipeski at 2:18 AM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

Hmm, OP, I hope you realise a lot of these recommendations are pretty much just people's favourite fantasy novels, not anything like Pratchett in any way (Peter F Hamilton? Ye gods...).

Comic fantasy novels that are part of a long running world/series that I would recommend:

1. Garrett, P.I. Firstly, you can get lots of them as omnibuses so good value there. Secondly, they are reasonably funny (not Pratchett funny, but snigger funny). Thirdly, like Pratchett, they really do marry mature world building that's three-dimensional and creative, but is also trying to say something about our contemporary society (again, not as much as Pratchett, the contemporary stuff is more allusive/subtle, but it's there and it's intelligent, imho).

2. Tom Holt's books definitely fit the bill.

3. Martin Scott's Thraxas novels are reasonably entertaining, are funny, and take place in a cohesive world.

4. Robert Aspirin's Myth-ing series might also fit the bill.

5. Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds is a mefi favourite, and justly so. It's world is rich, comic, and interesting. I think you would like it, and the two sequels a lot.

6. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are great fun.

5. McMaster-Bujold is, obviously, science fiction, but most enjoyable.

Hmm, I'll think on this overnight, might dig up a few others. It's a tall order; Pratchett is a genre unto himself I feel.

Now, none of these are as good as Pratchett, imho (except maybe Garrett P.I, by slightly different metrics. Think of it like the Vimes books), but - unlike some other reccies up there, they are in my opinion like Pratchett.
posted by smoke at 2:45 AM on January 8, 2013 [8 favorites]

As someone who has delayed reading the last few Discworld books she hasn't finished yet because she doesn't want to be in the sad position of having no more Pratchett to read, I'm excited you asked this question and can't wait to check out these other books.

Meanwhile I nth Jasper Fforde and Barry Hughat.

China Mieville has the complex worlds that you can get lost in, but not so much wit..

Ursula le Guin and Madeline L'Engle might be worth a look, a bit lighter and primarily geared to YA.

In my experience Pratchett stands up to re-reading very well, though it may only be because my memory is so poor.

If you are willing to branch out of fantasy to mystery I thought Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death was middlebrow but satisfying. Haven't looked to see if there are more books from that author but I suspect it's part of a series.

Sparkle Hayter mysteries are pretty funny. I recommend the Chelsea Girl Murders if you go that route.
posted by bunderful at 3:53 AM on January 8, 2013

posted by Prof Iterole at 4:13 AM on January 8, 2013

Non fantasy, but surely fulfills every part of your 'series, with wit and a world to get lost in' criterium: The Aubrey/Maturin series of naval novels by Patrick O'Brian.
posted by pharm at 4:49 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Flashman - not fantasy, but set in the 19th century and featuring a rogue of a hero.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:50 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Gormenghast for the grotesques and the language.
posted by Leon at 4:57 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I agree, go to Blandings!
posted by OmieWise at 5:53 AM on January 8, 2013

Just for fun, Niven's _The Flight of the Horse_
posted by wrm at 6:02 AM on January 8, 2013

For the record, I am not tied to fantasy, though one of the things I really enjoy about Pratchett is his subversion of the reader's expectations of fantasy.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:08 AM on January 8, 2013

I'd recommend Christopher Moore and Carl Hiaasen. Both have numerous works (though not nearly as many as Pratchett, but who does?), almost all of which are loosely interconnected. Both are very funny.
posted by namewithoutwords at 6:30 AM on January 8, 2013

If you don't mind graphic novels, Ursula Vernon's Hugo-award-winning Digger not only resembles much of Pratchett's humor, but his humanity and moral sensibility as well. You can read it online for free or buy the collected paperbacks, which contain some bonus material.
posted by tdismukes at 7:33 AM on January 8, 2013

Nthing Wodehouse and seconding Flashman.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:03 AM on January 8, 2013

If you haven't read it yet, go read Good Omens by Pratchett.

It's not Discworld, but it's essential reading for any Pratchett fan. One of his best.
posted by schmod at 9:18 AM on January 8, 2013

Yes, if you're not limiting yourself to fantasy, then Aubrey-Maturin is glorious forever.
posted by elizardbits at 9:30 AM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

Fourthing Aubrey-Maturin. I have intentionally stopped in the middle of Book 20 because I can't bear it to be over. If you take it up, check out "A Sea of Words" to help you with the vocabulary, but be forewarned it can be a bit spoiler-y.
posted by ambrosia at 11:03 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's been literally a couple decades since I read them, but Piers Anthony's Xanth series might be worth investigating. I recall that punnery is a favorite tool of the author's and it's definitely not a fantasy series that takes it or fantasy very seriously. It was my enjoyment of Anthony, which resulted in part from me picking up and reading Discworld. Oh, and there's a bunch of 'em, too.
posted by Atreides at 1:48 PM on January 8, 2013

Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos novels. The earlier ones are collected in volumes. The first is The Book of Jhereg.
posted by bgrebs at 2:52 PM on January 8, 2013

Gail Carriger's Soulless series is hystericallly funny and similar to Pratchett; sadly, there are only five books in the series. Priceless.
posted by aryma at 7:13 PM on January 8, 2013

Seconding the Eve Dallas books. Lots of dark stuff intermixed with real humor. Eve is the ideal straight man.

Some older mysteries: Death by Sheer Torture by Robert Barnard, The Stately Home Murder by Catherine Aird, Charlotte MacLeod's Sarah Kelling books (bizarre old upper crust Boston family), her Peter Shandy series (quirky cast of characters at a private agricultural college in Maine), and, to a lesser extent, the two series she wrote under the name Alisa Craig. Most of her work has been released in Kindle format in the last couple of months.

Also, the Foglios are doing novelizations of Girl Genius, with Agatha H. and the Airship City and Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess available so far.
posted by worldswalker at 9:03 PM on January 8, 2013

The Magicians and The Magician King by Lev Grossman were so funny at points I would put them down for minutes and laugh. They are fantastic with serious and creepy bits too, and have strong characters and a huge Narnia-esque world mingled with some Harry Potter-ish elements mixed in with the real world.
posted by Nattie at 1:21 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Robert Rankin?
posted by doiheartwentyone at 3:28 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's been literally a couple decades since I read them, but Piers Anthony's Xanth series might be worth investigating.

If you want to retain your fond memories of Piers Anthony's books, for the love of all that is holy, do not re-read them as an adult. Yow.
posted by hades at 11:57 AM on January 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

If you want to retain your fond memories of Piers Anthony's books, for the love of all that is holy, do not re-read them as an adult. Yow.

In which case, I add a grain of salt to my suggestion above!
posted by Atreides at 2:21 PM on January 9, 2013

In fantasy, I enjoy the humor in David Eddings' Belgariad/Malloreon and Elenium/Tamuli series. And I didn't make clear that the Barnard and Aird books are each part of a series; I just remember those as being particularly funny, although it's been some years since I read either one.
posted by worldswalker at 6:26 PM on January 9, 2013

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