The fact that Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series are only actually a series because they all happen on the same world seems to have escaped many. But by this definition anything written by John Grisham or Stephen King would be a series because they all happen on Earth.
Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels are as much fantasy as Monty Python’s Life of Brian is a biblical epic. Yes, a few are about regular, recurring characters but they aren’t ALL about the same set of characters. And although they can swim through novels in which they are not the primary character this just serves to demonstrate what a rich, complex universe Pratchett has created.
One example would be the city of Ankh-Morpork, a city-state that is as corrupt as its river is polluted. The river Ankh is so polluted you can walk on it and even slice it into sections; it’s a river that oozes rather than flows. Ankh-Morpork is the largest city and spiritual and economic capital of the Discworld as well as being the home of the Unseen University, the only magical university on the Disc. Ankh-Morpork has the feel of a working medieval city with flavours of the Flintstones, or Gilligan’s Island. With ingenious gadgets galore, frequently aided by magic of course, to make life that much sweeter.
It is also the scene of much, rather comedic violence as it is also one of the few cities on the Disc that is multi-cultural. And in this instance multi-cultural means Dwarf and Troll, Vampire and Werewolf living side by side, all natural mortal enemies of course – think cats and dogs with battle axes, clubs, blood-sucking fangs and nasty claws.
Luckily for the city they have the City Watch, local coppers led by Commander Vimes. A working-class born, man-of-the-people, with policing in his blood who has through marriage become, very reluctantly – not reluctant about the marriage just the titles — His Grace, The Duke of Ankh, Commander Sir Samuel Vimes and most recently His Excellency, Ambassador for Ankh-Morpork. Vimes is Dirty Harry with more dirty and less harry. Ffeeling the city in his feet, through his boots, Vimes seems to believe that the city lives and breathes and he can tell when it’s holding its breath.