Title: The Science of Discworld
Author: Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen
Page Count/Review Word Count: 368
The Science of Discworld is an interesting one, because it mixes both fiction and non-fiction, in the form of a series of short stories by Terry Pratchett, as well as a series of essays by Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen which explain some of the scientifc principles and concepts which Pratchett adapted for his own nefarious purposes. Because of that, it never gets too heavy – just when you’re starting to tire of the scientific explanations, Ponder Stibbons and the wizards of the Unseen University reappear.
Really, this is probably the closest that Pratchett ever got to writing a Discworld novella, but only if you read all of his shorts back to back. In fact, you can read it any way you want to – personally, I just read it in a linear fashion, because the non-fiction and the fiction do compliment each other if you do that, but you could also read just the fiction, just the science, or read first one and then the other. That gives you, as the reader, a lot of choice!
It is an interesting enough read, but personally, I would have preferred to have had another Discworld book. Still, if you’re keen to work through Pratchett’s back catalogue, the Science of the Discworld books are well worth reading, and this is the obvious one to begin with. The fact that it was the first to be released means that it covers some of the earlier books in the series, which will appeal to serious aficionados, and it’s also interesting just to see how Pratchett adapted his style to fit the new format.
But overall, though, I’d only really recommend this if you’re a serious fan of the Discworld series, because it goes in a little deep and you might not want to know about it if you’re only a casual visitor to the Discworld. Personally, I enjoyed it a lot, which is why I read the rest of the science books – but then, I have already devoured all of the novels in Pratchett’s incredible series.