RFC: Discworld

Some people have written to me that Terry Pratchett’s Discworld could also be considered Clockpunk. Since I have not read Discworld, I would like to ask the readers what their opinion on Discworld is and if it can indeed be categorized as Clockpunk then  can someone please provide us with a brief synopsis.

9 Responses to “RFC: Discworld”


  1. 1 evernevermore March 30, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Discworld is a rather huge body of work. Overall it has much the feel of a Monty Python skit, and some of the novels have some hugely clockwork/Leonardo da Vinci esque inventions in it. I’d have to say that Discworld has alot of clockpunk in itsunderpinnings and any novel set in the city of Ahnk Morpork is going to include something that can be considered clockpunk.

  2. 2 Zeo March 30, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    The last Discworld novel I read had a figure who was almost essentially da Vinci: Leonard of Quirm. He’s a lover of birds, spacecraft inventor and painter too (

  3. 3 Zeo March 30, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    Well, i messed up the href tag.. I just wanted to put a wiki address (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_of_Quirm).

  4. 4 Devin March 30, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Discworld does have some elements that seem Clockpunk to me- one in particular that springs to mind is the clacks, a series of semaphore towers that stretch the continent and started as a sort of telegram, but has evolved to become their low-tech equivalent of the internet.

  5. 5 Paul Donnelly March 30, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    I wouldn’t really say so. There are certainly elements in many of his books, but not enough to qualify them in my mind. Clockpunkiness is more tangential here.

  6. 6 Janice March 31, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    I’d say it’s become more and more “clockpunky” recently — if we can really define clockpunk that precisely — as Pratchett has become interested in showing us the effect of the development of technology on his world (sort of late Medieval/Renaissance Europe, but with magic and dwarves, trolls, etc.). We have the clacks, the postal service (and its rather interesting sorting machine), the printing technology leading to a newspaper…

    As someone else said, it’s huge. I usually suggest people start from the beginning of the series, but much of that would be of little interest to you. If you wikipedia “Leonard of Quirm” and “clacks,” that should give you enough info to see if you want to proceed further. Some titles would be The Fifth Elephant, The Truth, and Going Postal.

  7. 7 Someone April 2, 2007 at 4:53 am

    Discworld has everything, including but not limited to clockpunk elements. It’s a fantasy world on acid where everything can and will happen, and usually in a hilarious fashion. It started off as a parody of the fantasy genre. But like some people have stated Discworld is huge, so while the setting itself is not clockpunk some individual books might be.

  8. 8 Da Vinci Automata April 5, 2007 at 12:51 am

    Thanks to everyone for contributing. We really appreciate it. We will look around and ask a few people also and get a post on this subject soon.

  9. 9 Dr Gabriel Kogvright July 25, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    Most all the clockpunk elements tend to be limited to the books set in Ankh Morpork. With the recent addition of the printing press (The Truth), the limited deployment of film (Moving Pictures), and the Clack towers (Fifth Elephant) a semaphore based telegraph style system. Of course any book that features Leonard de Quirm or the HEX will have clockpunky aspects. Books like Feet of Clay, Men at Arms, Jingo, and The Last Hero have anachronistic technology/steampunk themes.

    If you are going to begin the series I would suggest beginning in The City Watch Series. It provides a goos starting point and touches on many of the characters from the other books. Also, the stand alone books can be read in pretty much whatever order. My personal favorite is Small Gods.

    Avoid starting with the Rincewind Series. The first two books are the first published and the author hasn’t caught his stride yet.

    Hope that helps and is not too overwhelming.


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