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Discworld is a comic fantasy book series by the British author Sir Terry Pratchett set on the Discworld, a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which are in turn standing on the back of a giant turtle, the Great A'Tuin. The books frequently parody or at least borrow ideas from J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, and William Shakespeare, as well as myth, folklore and fairy tales, often using them for satirical parallels with current cultural, technological and scientific issues.
Since the first novel, The Colour of Magic (1983), the series has expanded, spawning several related books and maps, five short stories, cartoon and theatre adaptations and even music inspired by the series. The first live action screen adaptation for television (Hogfather) was broadcast over Christmas 2006. Another one for the cinema (The Wee Free Men) is currently in development.
Newly released Discworld books regularly top The Sunday Times bestsellers list, making Pratchett the UK's best-selling author in the 1990s. He has since been overtaken by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, but still holds the record for the most shoplifted books. Discworld novels have also won awards such as the Prometheus Award and the Carnegie Medal. In the BBC's Big Read, four Discworld books were in the top 100, and a total of fourteen in the top 200.
The Luggage appears in the Discworld novels involving Rincewind. It is a large iron bound chest made of sapient pearwood (a magical, intelligent plant which is nearly extinct, impervious to magic, and only grows in a few places outside the Agatean Empire, generally on sites of very old magic). It has hundreds of little legs protruding from its underside and can move very fast if the need arises. It has been described as "one part trunk, four parts homicidal maniac".
Its function is to act as both a luggage carrier and bodyguard for its owner, against whom no threatening motion should be made. The Luggage is fiercely defensive of its owner, and is generally homicidal in nature, killing or eating several people and monsters throughout the books (including dragging sharks ashore and jumping up and down on them). Its mouth, the feature often remarked upon by those it is about to consume, contains "lots of big square teeth, white as sycamore, and a pulsating tongue, red as mahogany." The inside area of The Luggage does not appear to be constrained by its external dimensions, and contains many conveniences: even when it has just devoured a monster, the next time it opens the owner will find his underwear, neatly pressed.
One of the greatest features of The Luggage is its ability to follow its current owner anywhere including such places as inside its owner's mind, off the edge of the Disc, and Death's Domain. Like all luggage, it's constantly getting lost and having to track its owner down.
The Discworld is the setting for all of Terry Pratchett's Discworld fantasy novels. It consists of a slightly convex disc, complete with edge-of-the-world drop-off and consequent waterfall. The disc rests on the backs of four huge elephants (named Berilia, Tubul, Great T'Phon, and Jerakeen), who are standing on the back of an enormous turtle, named Great A'Tuin, as it slowly swims through space. The Discworld is a fantasy land in the Tolkien and Brothers Grimm mould, complete with witches, wizards, dragons, trolls, and dwarfs; however, over time it has largely evolved into its own distinct culture, as its denizens find more sophisticated ways to outgrow their narrative conventions. The Disc is heavily influenced by magic and, while having similarities to (and in some cases, based on) planet Earth, it conforms to its own laws of physics.
The narration has described A'Tuin as "the only turtle ever to feature on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram." The substance it swims through is called aether, and may be identical to the ancient Greek mythical fifth element of the same name, or to the 19th century concept of luminiferous aether. The idea for a world supported by elephants on top of a giant turtle was first mentioned by British philosopher John Locke when questioning the source of knowledge. Great A'Tuin frequently rolls on its belly to avoid asteroid and comet collisions, or even to snatch these projectiles out of the sky. This doesn't affect the Disc's population, other than to induce severe seasickness on anyone who happens to be looking at the night sky at that time. Due to Great A'Tuin's traveling through the universe, the night sky of the Discworld changes markedly over the course of decades, as the turtle departs older constellations and enters new ones. This means that astrologers must constantly update and alter their horoscopes to incorporate all-new zodiacs.
- William barely had time to undress and lie down before it was time to get up again.
-- The Truth
- A chocolate you did not want to eat does not count as chocolate. This discovery is from the same branch of culinary physics that determined that food eaten while walking along contains no calories.
-- Thief of Time
- This man was so absent-mindedly clever that he could paint pictures that didn't just follow you around the room but went home with you and did the washing-up.
-- The Last Hero
- 'Listen, Peaches, trickery is what humans are all about,' said the voice of Maurice. 'They're so keen on tricking one another all the time that they elect governments to do it for them.'
-- 'The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents
- His movements could be called cat-like, except that he did not stop to spray urine up against things.
-- Night Watch
Making Money is the 36th Discworld book, published in the UK on 20 September, 2007. It is the second novel featuring Moist von Lipwig, and involves the Ankh-Morpork mint and specifically the introduction of paper money to the city. Ankh-Morpork has hitherto not used banknotes. The continuing work of Adora Belle Dearheart (Lipwig's fiancée by this novel) with the Golem Trust is also a feature of the novel.
Errata: The Goddess of Misunderstandings and Libertina
From the Discworld's craziest paragraphs: