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No escape from Wee Free Men; Discworld is 21, so what is the secret of the best-selling satires? By James Morgan
[1 Edition]
The Herald - Glasgow (UK)
Author: Morgan, James
Date: Oct 4, 2004
Start Page: 10
Abstract (Document Summary)

To celebrate the 21st anniversary of Discworld, [Terry Pratchett] is re- releasing the first six of his 33 novels in sleek, black, adult- friendly sleeves, to replace the bright cartoon covers. The ones which fuel the stereotype that Terry Pratchett novels are solely the domain of, as one journalist put it, "awkward, socially-challenged teenage boys".

"Oh, how we laughed," scoffs Pratchett. "A recent survey of my readership showed that 60% of my readers are, in fact, women over the age of 25." According to Pratchett, his oldest reader is 97 years old and his youngest is just seven years. This he judges from his bulging mailbag which, he insists, is almost completely bereft of crackpot letters.

Discworld is full of characters such as the Wee Free Men, a race of riotous Glaswegian smurfs, or the Monstrous Regiment, a band of cross-dressing women soldiers in a bizarre Balkan-esque conflict. These comedy legions and their otherworldly exploits double as outrageous parodies of real historical events, which Pratchett researches from the extensive library he keeps in his home, a 1000- year-old monastery.

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