25 YEARS OF DISCWORLD - (A FAN'S PERSPECTIVE)
Editor's Notes: This article was originally written for Locus magazine in the US for their April 2008 issue - to celebrate 25 years of Discworld.
I somehow managed to miss the first 12 years of Discworld. I was looking for some-thing new to read and a friend mentioned that he enjoyed reading novels by someone called Terry Pratchett. Of course when I went to the bookshop I found that Terry had a whole section to himself and realised there must be something special about him.
Discworld fandom has allowed me to make some of the best friendships I've ever had
I purchased a copy of The Colour of Magic, started reading, and was soon happily travelling through an amazing world, having adventures with Rincewind and Twoflower. I became totally engrossed in the imagery that Terry had sketched in my brain. I quickly purchased everything I could find by Terry and within a few months I had caught up.
This was back in 1995 just after Maskerade was released. It was also around the time I got my first Internet connection. One of the first things I searched for was Discworld, and I soon found groups of other fans and became involved in Discworld fandom. In May 1997 I started producing a small monthly fan newsletter ingeniously called Discworld Monthly. Issue One was sent to just 250 people. The latest, Issue 131, went out to over 20,000.
Discworld fandom has allowed me to make some of the best friendships I've ever had, both on and offline. Little did I know 13 years ago when I picked up my first Discworld book where it would bring me.
Now here we are, 25 years after The Colour of Magic was released with a print run of only 506 copies. The Mob film company and Sky One have brought the novel to the small screen in their second live-action Discworld adaptation. For the first time, moving picture technology has developed to a point where the images on the screen are as good as those in my imagination. I was invited to the premiere of The Colour of Magic in London where fans, press, and stars flocked to see the first Discworld novel come to life - and, boy, did they. It was amazing to see those scenes coming to life in front of me.
Hopefully, like the Hogfather adaptation before it, The Colour of Magic will introduce a whole new group of people to the Discworld. With a bit of luck, some of them will become new readers, and will be able to enjoy the thrill of setting off for the first time with Rincewind and Twoflower. In a way I envy them - having such a wonderful set of books to discover. Maybe it's about time I started reading them all again.
I would like to say a huge "thank you" to Terry for making all this possible. His wonderful imagination has taken tens of thousands of readers around our world on a whirlwind tour of his. Sometimes it's the perfect place to escape to.
In real life, Jason is a mild mannered programmer. In his fantasy life, he is the editor of the long running Discworld newsletter Discworld Monthly.