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The First Discworld Novels: The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic Hardcover – October 18, 1999
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I don't usually like parody. Harvard Lampoon's "Bored of the Rings," for example, has never impressed me. But Pratchett has brought parody, and parody of the fantasy genre in particular, to a new level in the DiscWorld series.
Pratchett's writing in these early books, as you would expect, isn't nearly as good as it gets later, but his characters are just as wonderful and his sense of the absurd is working overtime. There are outright parodies (Cohen the Barbarian, a lifetime in his own legend), homages (Firtz Leiber's Ffahrd and the Grey Mouser) and horrible puns ("luters, I expect"). No fantasy novel emerges unscathed.
Like most parodists, the plotting here is weak, with Rincewind, the most incompetent wizard in literature, and Twoflowers, the quintessential tourist, careening from disaster to disaster. In later books, Pratchett's plotting is impeccable, but here it's just not that good. But you don't read these two books for the plot, you read them for the laughs, for the fun of recognizing characters and books, and for the sheer hysterical madness.
The books are a delight. I caution you against reading them in bed - your laughter will disturb your partner - but otherwise whole-heartedly recommend them.