"It’s tough at the top. It’s tough at the bottom. But in between you could use them for horse-shoes."

"This is space. It's sometimes called the final frontier. (Except that of course you can't have a *final* frontier, because there'd be nothing for it to be a frontier *to*, but as frontiers go, it's pretty penultimate...)"

"Pratchett is the missing link between Douglas Adams and JK Rowling."
        - FT Magazine

"Terry Pratchett is one of the great makers of what Auden called 'secondary worlds'. His inventiveness — with people, with plots, with things — is seemingly inexhaustible. He can make you giggle helplessly and then grin grimly at the sharpness of his wit. Twelve-year-old boys love him, but he himself is grown up. He knows that terrible things exist and can happen, and he invents a benign otherworld in which we can face them, and laugh."
        - AS Byatt, "The Daily Mail"

"I know it's a very human thing to say 'Is there anything I can do,' but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry."
        - Terry Pratchett, revealing he is suffering from early onset Alzheimer's in Dec'07


Note: This is the first book in the Discworld series.

The plain fact of the matter was that the Disc was manifestly traversing space on the back of a giant turtle, and the gods had a habit of going round to atheists houses and smashing their windows.

When I think I might die without seeing a 100th of all there is to see, it makes me feel well, humble I suppose, and very angry of course.

Your affected air of cowardice does not fool me

"Let's just say that if complete and utter chaos was lightning, he'd be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting 'All gods are bastards'." ( Rincewind on Twoflower )

Tourist, Rincewind decided, meant "idiot".

"Reflected-sound-of-underground-spirits?" ( Economics explained )
I prefer reflected sound of underground little people...

I believe I have a couple of guards just outside...
And some others in the doorway across the street...

Why are you so scared?
Because I just saw the whole of my future life, and it didn't take very long.

I'm going out of my mind,
( mind speaks ) Good idea, its getting pretty crowded in here...


There is an ancient curse, it goes "May you live in interesting times"...

Around it are those countries which, according to History, constitute the civilised world ie, a world that can support historians

Many things went on at Unseen University and, regrettably, teaching had to be one of them. The faculty had long ago confronted this fact and had perfected various devices for avoiding it. But this was perfectly all right because, to be fair, so had the students.

Ridcully assumed that anything people had time to write down couldn't be that important.

Whats so surprising about bacon? I dunno, I suppose it comes as something a a shock to the pig.

The 4 Horsemen of The Common Cold are Sniffles, Chesty, Nostril & Lack Of Tissues.

What sound does yellow make?

Rincewind could scream for mercy in nineteen languages, and just scream in another forty-four.

"Luck is my middle name," said Rincewind, indistinctly. "Mind you, my first name is Bad."

Natural selection saw to it that professional heroes who at a crucial moment tended to ask themselves questions like "What is my purpose in life?" very quickly lacked both.

"Why don't we just invite them to dinner and massacare them when they're drunk?"
"You heard the man, there's 7000 of them"
"Ah...so it would have to be something simple with pasta then?"

Whatever happens, they say afterwards, it must have been Fate. People are always a little confused about this, as they are in the case of miracles. When someone is saved from certain death by a strange concatenation of circumstances, they say that's a miracle. But of course if someone is killed by a freak chain of events : the oil just spilled there, the safety fence just broke there : that must also be a miracle. Just because its not nice doesnt mean its not miraculous.

"It seems that I am favouring myself today," said Fate. "Anyone fancy something else?"
The gods shrugged.
"Mad Kings?" said Fate pleasantly. "Star-Crossed Lovers?"
"I think we've lost the rules to that one," said Blind Io, chief of the gods.
"How about Mighty Empires?"
Fate nodded at The Lady, and in much the same voice as professional gamblers say "Aces high?" said, "The Fall Of Great Powers? Destinies of Nations hanging by a thread?".

According to the philosopher, Ly Tin Wheedle, chaos is found in greatest abundance wherever order is being sought. It always defeats order, because it is better organised.

The Quantum Weather Butterfly ( Papilio Tempestae ) is an undistinguished yellow colour, its outstanding feature is its ability to create weather. This presumably began as a survival trait, since even an extremely hungry bird would find itself inconvenienced by a nasty localized tornado ( usually about 6 inches across ). From there it possibly became a secondary sexual characteristic, like the plumage of birds. Look at *me*, the male says, flapping his wings lazily in the canopy of the rain forest. I may be an undistinguished yellow colour but in a fortnight's time, a thousand miles away, Freak Gales Cause Road Chaos. This is the butterfly of the storm.

This is the Discworld, which goes through space on the back of a Giant Turtle. Most worlds do, at some time in their perception. Its a cosmological view the human brain seems pre-programmed to take. Variations on the following take place at a crucial early point in the development of tribal mythology...
"You see dat?"
"It just went plop off dat log."
"Yeah? Well?"
"I reckon... I reckon... like I reckon der world is carried on der back of one of dem."
A moment of silence while this astrophysical hypothesis is considered, and then...
"The whole world?"
"Of course, when I say one of dem, I mean a *big* one of dem."
"It'd have to be yeah."
" 'S funny, but... I see what you mean."
"Makes sense right?"
"Makes sense, thing is, I just hope it never goes plop."


All dwarfs have beards and wear up to twelve layers of clothing. Gender is more or less optional.

Splatters are a bit like bouncers really, except that they use more force.

All dwarfs are by nature dutiful, serious, literate, obedient and thoughtful people whose only minor failing is a tendency, after one drink, to rush at enemies screaming "Arrrrrrgh!" and axing their legs off at the knee.

He couldn't help remembering how much he'd wanted a puppy when he was a little boy, mind you, they's been starving, anything with meat on it would have done.

The truth is that even big collections of ordinary books distort space, as can readily be proved by anyone who has been around a really old-fashioned secondhand bookshop, one of those that look as though they were designed by M. Escher on a bad day and has more staircases than storeys and those rows of shelves which end in little doors that are surely too small for a full-sized human to enter. The relevant equation is: Knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass; a good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.

You could end up being totally, oddly sad and full of compassion which would lead you to believe that it might be a good idea to wipe out the whole human race and start again with amoebas.

Thick though the palace guard were, they were as aware as everybody else of the conventions, and when guards are summoned to deal with one man in overheated circumstances, its not a good time for them. The buggers bound to be heroic, is what they're thinking.

It must be something about high office.The high altitude sends people mad.

In her own special category, she was quite beautiful. This was the category of all all the women, in his entire life, who had ever thought he was worth smiling at.

Never build a dungeon YOU can't get out of.

People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else." ( Carrot travels to Ankh-Morpok )

The three rules of the Librarians of Time and Space are: 1) Silence; 2) Books must be returned no later than the date last shown; and 3) Do not interfere with the nature of causality.

It was possibly the most circumspect advance in the history of military manoeuvres, right down at the bottom end of the scale that things like the Charge of the Light Brigade are at the top of. ( The City Watch advance )

In return for an agreed level of crime per annum the thieves themselves saw to it that unauthorized crime was met with the full force of Injustice, which was generally a stick with nails in it.

"Corporal Nobbs, why are kicking people when they are down?"
"Safest way, sir."


He saw his life stretching out in front of him like a nasty black tunnel with no light at the end of it, he'd been wrong, there was a light at the end of it, and it was a flamethrower.

I serve to anybody who can stand up best out of three.

He was determined to discover the underlying logic behind the universe- which was going to be hard, because there wasn't one.

"It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever," he said. "Have you thought of going into teaching?"

Only one creature could have duplicated the expressions on their faces, and that would be a pigeon who has heard not only that Lord Nelson has got down off his column but has also been seen buying a 12-bore repeater and a box of cartridges.

The only things known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Weedle. He reasoned like this: you can't have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir *instantaneously*. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles -- kingons, or possibly queons -- that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed.

"You're dead," he said. Keli waited. She couldn't think of any suitable reply. "I'm not" lacked a certain style, while "Is it serious?" seemed somehow too frivolous. ( Princess Keli in trouble )

Anyone who could get hat amount of bewilderment into their voice was either genuine or such a good actor that they wouldn't have to bither with assassination for a living.

Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote.

Women's clothes were not a subject that preoccupied Cutwell much -- in fact, usually when he thought about women his mental pictures seldom included any clothes at all -- but the vision in front of him really did take his breath away.

"You won't get away with this," said Cutwell. He thought for a bit and added, "Well, you will probably get away with it, but you'll feel bad about it on your deathbed and you'll wish..." He stopped talking.

( Mort tastes scrumble for the first time )
"You like it?" he said to Mort, in pretty much the same tone of voice people used when they said to St George, "You killed a *what*?"

"Sodomy non sapiens," said Albert under his breath.
"What does that mean?"
"Means I'm buggered if I know."


Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind.

"You didn't have to go and kick me?"
"You're quite right, it was an entirely vouluntary action on my part"

No enemies had ever taken Ankh-Morpock. Well *technically* they had, quite often; the city welcomed free-spending barbarian invaders, but somehow the puzzled raiders found, after a few days, that they didn't own their horses any more, and within a couple of months they were just another minority group with its own graffiti and food shops.

The sergeant put on the poker face which had been handed down fom NCO to NCO ever since one proto-amphibian told another, lower-ranking proto-amphibian, to muster a squad of newts, and Take That Beach!

The consensus seemed to be that if really large numbers of men were sent to storm the mountain, then enough might survive the rocks to take the citadel. This is essentially the basis of all military thinking.

Throughout the history of the multiverse, people have said nice things about every cauliflower eared, sword swinger, at least in their vicinity, on the basis that its a lot safer that way. Cowards make far better strategists

Now that their long war was over, they could get on with the proper concern of all civilised nations, which is to prepare for the next one.

The Gods Of The Disc have never bothered much about judging the souls of the dead, and so people only go to hell if thats where they believe, in their deepest hearts, that they deserve to go. Which they can't do if they don't know about it. This explains why it is important to shoot missionaries on sight.

It was true about the time measurement as well. The Tezumen had realized long ago that everything was steadily getting worse and, having a terrible little-mindedness, had developed a complex system to keep track of how much worse each succeeding day was.

{ why summoning demons is a Bad Idea [tm] }
Any wizard bright enough to survive for five minutes was also bright enough to realise that if there was any power in demonology, then it lay with the demons. Using it for your own purposes would be like trying to beat mice to death with a rattlesnake.

"What shall I do?"
"Well, if you see anything crawl out of the sea and try to breathe, you could try telling it not to bother."
        - Rincewind and Eric at the Beginning of Time

        - Death is tired of insults

"There's a door."
"Where does it go?"
"It stays where it is, I think."

"What're quantum mechanics?"
"I don't know. People who repair quantums, I suppose."


In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded.
        - the origins of the multiverse

It's not enough to be able to pick up a sword. You have to know which end to poke into the enemy.

Most people who have found that they are more intelligent than most around them, have yet to learn that one of the most intelligent things they can do is prevent said people ever finding this out.

The Monks of Cool, whose tiny and exclusive monastery is hidden in a really cool and laid-back valley in the lower Ramtops, have a passing-out test for a novice. He is taken into a room full of all types of clothing and asked: Yo, my son, which of these is the most stylish thing to wear? And the correct answer is: Hey, whatever I select.

The Librarian looked out at the jolting scenery. He was sulking. This had a lot to do with the new bright collar around his neck with the word "PONGO" on it. Someone was going to suffer for this. (The Librarian travels incognito )


Verence would rather cut his own leg off than put a witch in prison, since it'd save trouble in the long run and probably be less painful.

"Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, especially simian ones. They are not all that subtle."

Mustrum Ridcully did a lot for rare species. For one thing, he kept them rare.

Using a metaphor in front of a man as unimaginative as Ridcully was like a red flag to a bu-- was like putting something very annoying in front of someone who was annoyed by it.

The shortest unit of time in the multiverse is the New York Second, defined as the period of time between the traffic lights turning green and the cab behind you honking.


Reja Vu: The feeling that I will be here again

All assassins had a full-length mirror in their rooms, because it would be a terrible insult to anyone to kill them when you were badly dressed.

What our ancestors would really be thinking, if they were alive today, is: "Why is it so dark in here?"

Camels have a very democratic approach to the human race, they hate everyone of us, without making distinctions for rank or creed.

The most prudent thing any intelligent animal can do, if it would prefer its descendents not to spend a lot of time on a slab with electrodes clamped to their brains or sticking mines on the bottom of ships, or being patronised by zoologists, is to make bloody certain humans don't find out about it.

Nature abhors dimensional abnormalities, and seals them neatly away so that they don't upset people. Nature, in fact, abhors a lot of things, including vacuums, ships called the "Marie Celeste", and the chuck keys for electric drills.

Teppic had learned how not to move stealthily. fMillions of years of being eaten by creatures that know how to move stealthily has made mankind very good at spotting stealthy movement. Nor was it enough to make no noise, because little moving patches of silence always attract suspicion.

A dolphin's ability to save drowning swimmers is dependent upon the chance that biting them in half might be observed and commented upon adversely by other humans.

The only dissenting opinion was that of Dios himself, who, if he had had any friends, would probably have confided in them certain conditions that would need to apply first, viz, blue moons, aerial pigs, and he, Dios, being seen in Hell.

"In layman's terms he's as dead as a doornail."
"What are the complications?"
"He's still breathing..."


When you hit your thumb with an 8 pound hammer, its nice to be able to blaspheme. It takes a very strong, special minded atheist to jump up and down, With their their hand clasped under their other armpit and shout "Oh random fluctuations in the space time continuum."

"It could be a torture chamber or a dungeon or a hideous pit or anything!"
"It's just a student's bedroom, sergeant."
"You see?"

The Librarian of Unseen University had unilaterally decided to aid comprehension by producing an Orang-utan/Human Dictionary. He'd been working on it for three months. It wasn't easy. He'd got as far as "Oook".

He was said to have the body of a twenty-five year old, although no one knew where he kept it. -- The Life and Times of Corporal Nobbs

The Alchemist's Guild is opposite the Gambler's Guild. Usually. Sometimes it's above it, or below it, or falling in bits around it.

Sham Harga had run a succesful eatery for many years by always smiling, never extending credit, and realizing that most of his customers wanted meals properly balanced between the four food groups: sugar, starch, grease and burnt crunchy bits.

The door was still ajar, but there was a tentative tap on it which said, in a kind of metaphorical morse code, that the tapper could see very well that Carrot was in his room with a scantily clad woman and was trying to knock without actually being heard.

He could think it italics. Such men need watching, preferably from a safe distance.

The Battle of Koom Valley is the only one known to history where both sides ambushed each other.

 I've got so many diseases I'm only alive cos the little buggers are too busy fighting among themselves. I've even got Lucky end, and you only get that if you're a female sheep.

So many crimes are solved by a happy accident, by someone of the right nationality happening to be within 5 miles of the scene of the crime without an alibi.

Sometimes its better to light a flamethower than curse the darkness.

Lord Vetinari won't stop at sarcasm, he might use...irony.

Mad's when you froth at the mouth.He's insane, thats when you froth at the brain.

He wasn't exactly an atheist, as atheism was a non-survival trait on a world with several thousand gods.

He'd been given a drink, a remedy for something he'd been unspecific about. Verticality apparently.

Werewolves were instictively good at avoiding pursuit, after all, the surviving ones were descendents of those who could outrun an angry mob.

Murder was in fact, a fairly uncommon event in Ankh-Morpok, but there were a lot of suicides. Waliking in the night time alleyways of The Shades was suicide, asking for a short in a dwarf bar was suicide, you could commit suicide very easily if you weren't careful.

They can be fearsome when they're angry, those little buggers ( dwarves ). Everyone nodded gloomily in agreement, including the little bugger and the bigger little bugger by adoption.


Note: In my very humble opinion, the best book of the lot.

Humans! They lived in a world where the grass continued to be green and the sun rose very day and flowers regularly turned into fruit, and what impresses them?

Weeping statues, and wine made out of water, a mere quantum-mechanistic-tunnel effect that'd happen anyway if you were prepared to wait zillions of years. As if the turning of sunlight into wine, by means of vines and grapes and time and enzymes wasn't a thousand times more impressive and happened all the time.

The Omnians were a God-fearing people. They had a great deal to fear.

The problem with being a god is that you've no one to pray to.

He says gods like to see an atheist around. Gives them something to aim at.

Sheep are stupid, and have to be driven. But goats are intelligent, and need to be led.

Tortoises are cynics, they always expect the worst.
I dunno, cos it often happens to them I suppose.

Whats a philosopher? Someone who's bright enough to find a job with no heavy lifting.

Its a popular fact that 90% of the brain is not used and, like most popular facts, it is wrong. Not even the most stupi Creator would go to the trouble of making the human head carry around several pounds of unnecessary grey goo if its only real purpose was, eg, to serve as a delicacy for certain remote tribesmen in unexplored valleys, it is used. One of its functions is to make the miraculous seem ordinary, and turn the unusual into the usual. Otherwise, human beings, forced with the daily wondrousness of everything, would go around wearing a stupid grin, saying "WOW" a lot. Part of the brain exists to stop this happening. It is very efficient, and can make people experience boredom in the middle of marvels.

What have I always believed? That, on the whole, and by and large, if a person lived properly, not according to what any priests said, but according to what seemed decent and honest inside, then it would, at the end, more or less, turn out ok.

The followers of Om had lit their campfire in the crumbled halls of Gilash, just as the Prophet had said, and that counted, even though he'd only said it 5 minutes earlier, when they were looking for the firewood.

Thats why its always worth having a few philosophers around, one minute its all is Truth Beauty, and is Beauty Truth?, and then, just when you think they're gonna start dribbling, one of em says, incidentally, putting a 30ft parabolic reflector on a high place to shoot the rays of the sun at an enemy ship would be a very interesting demonstration of optical principles.

(On Barfights)
Its a scene repeated a million times a day in the multiverse. Both would be fighters growled & grimaced at each other and fought to escape the restraint of their friends, only not too hard, because there is nothing worse than actually succeeding in breaking free and finding yourself all alone in the middle of the ring with a madman who is about to hit you between the eyes with a rock.

Winners never talk about glorious victories. Thats because they're the ones who see what the battle field looks like afterwards. Its only the losers who have glorious victories

Truth is like the light, there is a kind of light, a light that fills even the darkest of places. This has to be, for if this meta-light does not exist, how can the darkness be seen?

The people who really run organistions are usually to be found several levels down, where its still possible to get some wotk done.

Vorbis had a terrible memory for names - he remembered every one.

"You can't trample infidels when you're a tortoise. I mean, all you could do is give them a meaningful look."

"Pets are always a great help in times of stress. And in times of starvation too, o'course."

Words are the litmus paper of the minds. If you find yourself in the power of someone who will use the word "commence" in cold blood, go somewhere else very quickly. But if they say "Enter", don't stop to pack.

REMIND ME AGAIN, he said, HOW THE LITTLE HORSE-SHAPED ONES MOVE. ( Death on symbolic last games )

Om began to feel the acute depression that steals over every realist in the presence of an optimist.

Simony's eyes gleamed with the gleam of a man who had seen the future and found it covered with armour plating.

"Oh, a very useful philosophical animal, your average tortoise. Outrunning metaphorical arrows, beating hares in races... very handy."

Death nodded. IN TIME, he said, YOU WILL LEARN THAT IT IS WRONG.

"You're not one of us."
"I don't think I'm one of them, either," said Brutha. "I'm one of mine."

"Slave is an Ephebian word. In Om we have no word for slave," said Vorbis.
"So I understand," said the Tyrant. "I imagine that fish have no word for water."


He always held that panic was the best means of survival. Back in the old days, his theory went, people faced with hungry sabre-toothed tigers could be divided into those who panicked and those who stood there saying, "What a magnificient brute!" or "Here pussy".

The druid stiffened. "*Nice?*" he said. "A triumph of the silicon chunk, a miracle of modern masonic technology -- *nice*?" "Oh, yes," said Twoflower, to whom sarcasm was merely a seven letter word beginning with S.

"If you're going to suggest I try dropping twenty feet down a pitch dark tower in the hope of hitting a couple of greasy little steps which might not even still be there, you can forget it," said Rincewind sharply.
"There is an alternative, then."
"Out with it, man."
"You could drop five hundred feet down a pitch black tower and hit stones which certainly are there," said Twoflower. Dead silence from below him.
Then Rincewind said, accusingly, "That was sarcasm."

The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.

The Thaum is the basic unit of magical strength. It has been universally established as the amount of magic needed to create one small white pigeon or three normal sized billiard balls.

He moved in a way that suggested he was attempting the world speed record for the nonchalant walk.

The horse people had a lot to learn about air conditioning, starting with what it meant.

Drinking that glass of water would mean genocide for thousands of innocent germs.

Of course I'm sane, when trees start talking to me, I don't talk back.

If the gods had wanted man to fly they'd have given him an airline ticket.

Inside every sane person, there's a madman struggling to get out.

Most people on The Disc were currently in a stae of mind normally achievable only by a lifetime of dedicated meditation or about 30 seconds of illegal herbage.

"Dead?" said Rincewind. In the debating chamber of his mind a dozen emotions got to their feet and started shouting. Relief was in full spate when Shock cut in on a point of order and then Bewilderment

The point is that descriptive writing is very rarely entirely accurate and during the reign of Olaf Quimby II as Patrician of Ankh some legislation was passed in a determined attempt to put a stop to this sort of thing and introduce some honesty into reporting. Thus, if a legend said of a notable here that "all men spoke of his prowess" any bard who valued his life would add hastily "except for a couple of people in his home village who thought he was a liar, and quite a lot of other people who had never really heard of him.

"Some of them get to be very good at it, yes. I'm only an amateur, I'm afraid"
        - Death discusses the difficulties of bridge


        - all hail the librarian

It wasn't blood in general he couldn't stand the sight of, it was just his blood in particular that was so upsetting.

"I'm not going to ride on a magic carpet!" he hissed. "I'm afraid of grounds."
"You mean heights," said Conina. "And stop being silly."
"I know what I mean! It's the grounds that kill you!"

It became apparent that one reason why the Ice Giants were known as the Ice Giants was because they were, well, giants. The other was that they were made of ice.

Of course, Ankh-Morpork's citizens had always claimed that the river water was incredibly pure. Any water that had passed through so many kidneys, they reasoned, had to be very pure indeed.

He did of course sometimes have people horribly tortured to death, but this was considered to be perfectly acceptable behaviour for a civic ruler and generally approved of by the overhelming majority of citizens. [Footnote: The overhelming majority of citizens being defined in this case as everyone not currently hanging upside down over a scorpion pit]

There were a few seconds of total silence as everyone waited to see what would happen next. And then Nijel uttered the battle cry that Rincewind would never quite forget to the end of his life. "Erm," he said, "excuse me..."

My father alwasy said that it was pointless to undertake a direct attack against an enemy extensively armed with efficient projectile weapons.

It sounded as though he had had laughter explained to him, probably slowly and repeatedly, but had never heard anyone actually do it.

He looked so high you could bounce inter-continental TV off him.

He normally felt he needed all his pity for himself.

He thought he'd never stop thinking about it, especially around 3am on windy nights.

With 50 years ahead of him, he thought, he could elevate tedium to the status of an art form.There would be no end to the things he wouldn't do.

What do you call those things you find at the bottom of rivers?
Frogs? Stones? Unsuccessful Gangsters?

The world is going to end!
What. Again?

The vermine is a small black and white relative of the lemming, found in the cold Hublandish regions.Its skin is very rare and highly valued, especially by the vermine himself, the selfish little bugger will do anything rather than let it go.

In some parts of the city, curiosity didn't just kill the cat, it threw it in the river with lead weights tied to its feet.

Down these mean streets a man must walk, he thought, and down some of them he will break into a run.

Is it dangerous?
There's 2 schools of thought about that. Some people say its dangerous, and others say its very dangerous.

He looked sideways into the leering faces of men who would kill him sooner than think, and in fact, find it a good deal easier.

Danger has stared me in the back of the head, oh, hundreds of times

Knurdness is...
The opposite of being drunk, its as sober as you can ever be.It strips away all the illusion, all the comforting pink fog in which people normally spend their lives, and lets them see and think clearly for the first time ever. Then, after they've screamed a bit, they make sure they never get knurd again

I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worth while?" Death thought about it "Cats," he said eventually, "Cats are Nice."


Until an unfortunate axe incident, Gloria had been captain of the school basketball team.

The man gave a shrug which indicated that, although the world did indeed have many problems, this was one of them that was not his.

"Of course, just because we've heard a spine-chilling, blood-curdling scream of the sort to make your very marrow freeze in your bones doesn't automatically mean there's anything wrong."

It is said that whosoever the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad. In fact, whosoever the gods wish to destroy, they first hand the equivalent of a stick with a fizzing fuse and Acme Dynamite Company written on the side. It's more interesting, and doesn't take so long.

People came to Ankh-Morpork to seek their fortune. Unfortunately, other people sought it too.

The class was learning about some revolt in which some peasants had wanted to stop being peasants and, since the nobles had won, had stopped being peasants *really quickly*.

They looked at one another in incomprehension, two minds driving opposite ways up a narrow street and waiting for the other man to reverse first.

The students were staring at her in the manner of those who have heard of the species 'female' but have never expected to get this close to one.

The Patrician was a pragmatist. He never tried to fix things that worked. Things that didn't work, however, got broken.

"What duck?"


The calender of the Theocracy of Muntab counts down, not up. No-one knows why, but it might not be a good idea to hang around and find out.

"There must be a hundred silver dollars in here," moaned Boggis, waving a purse. "I mean, that's not my league. That's not my class. I can't handle that sort of money. You've got to be in the Guild of Lawyers or something to steal that much."


But then... it used to be so simple, once upon a time. Because the universe was full of ignorance all around and the scientist panned through it like a prospector crouched over a mountain stream, looking for the gold of knowledge among the gravel of unreason, the sand of uncertainty and the little whiskery eight-legged swimming things of superstition.

Occasionally he would straighten up and say things like "Hurrah, I've discovered Boyle's Third Law." And everyone knew where they stood. But the trouble was that ignorance became more interesting, especially big fascinating ignorance about huge and important things like matter and creation, and people stopped patiently building their little houses of rational sticks in the chaos of the universe and started getting interested in the chaos itself : partly because it was a lot easier to be an expert on chaos, but mostly because it made really good patterns that you could put on a t-shirt.

Bad spelling can be lethal. For example, the greedy Seriph of Al-Ybi was once cursed by a badly-educated deity and for some days everything he touched turned to Glod, which happened to be the name of a small dwarf from a mountain community hundreds of miles away who found himself magically dragged to the kingdom and relentlessly duplicated.

The Yen Buddhists are the richest religious sect in the universe. They hold that the accumulation of money is a great evil and a burden to the soul. They therefore, regardless of personal hazard, see it as their unpleasant duty to acquire as much as possible in order to reduce the risk to innocent people.

Racism was not a problem on the Discworld, because--what with trolls and dwarfs and so on : speciesism was more interesting. Black and white lived in perfect harmony and ganged up on green.

Asking someone to repeat a phrase you'd not only heard very clearly but were also exceedingly angry about was around Defcon II in the lexicon of squabble.

"We've got a lot of experience of not having any experience"
"But the point is... the point is... the point is we've not been experienced for a lot longer than you."

"'S called the Vieux River."
"Know what that means?"
"The Old (Masculine) River," said Nanny.
"Words have sex in foreign parts," said Nanny hopefully.


The Librarian had seen many weird things in his time, but that had to be the 57th strangest. [footnote: he had a tidy mind]

People who used magic without knowing what they were doing usually came to a sticky end. All over the entire room, sometimes.

The Archchancellor's most important job, as the Bursar saw it, was to sign things, preferably, from the Bursar's point of view, without reading them first. ( Middle management explained )

And then you bit onto them, and learned once again that Cut-me-own-Throat Dibbler could find a use for bits of an animal that the animal didn't know it had got. Dibbler had worked out that with enough fried onions and mustard people would eat *anything*.

"The thing is that Mr. Dibbler can even sell sausages to people who have bought them off him *before*." ( Now thats marketing...)

Of course, it is very important to be sober when you take an exam. Many worthwhile careers in the street-cleansing, fruit-picking and subway-guitar-playing industries have been founded on a lack of understanding of this simple fact.

"One minute I'm just another rabbit and happy about it, next minute *whazaam*, I'm thinking. That's a major drawback if you're looking for happiness as a rabbit, let me tell you. You want grass and sex, not thoughts like 'What's it all about, when you get right down to it?'"

"Why's it called Ming?" said the Archchancellor, on cue. The Bursar tapped the pot. It went *ming*.

"Did I hear things, or can that little dog speak?" said Dibbler.
"He says he can't," said Victor.
Dibbler hesitated. "Well," he said, "I suppose he should know."
        - Dibbler meets Gaspode the Wonder Dog

"It looks worse than you can imagine!"
"I can imagine some pretty bad things!"
"That's why I said *worse*!"

"You pay for it before you eat it? What happens if it's dreadful?"
"That's why."

"Students?" barked the Archchancellor. "
Yes, Master. You know? They're the thinner ones with the pale faces? Because we're a *university*? They come with the whole thing, like rats --"


Everything starts somehwere, although many physicists disagree. But people have always been dimly aware of the problems with the start of things. They wonder aloud how the snowplough driver gets to work, or how the makers of dictionaries look up the spellings of words.

This is very similar to the suggestion put forward by the Quirmian philosopher Ventre, who said, "Possibly the gods exist, and possibly they do not. So why not believe in them in any case? If its all true you'll go to a lovely place when you die, and if it isnt then you've lost nothing right?" When he died he woke up in a circle of gods holding nasty-looking sticks and one of them said, "We're going to show you what we think of Mr Clever Dick in these parts...".

Hogswatch was traditionally supposed to be a time for families, but the people who drank in Biers didnt have families; some of them looked as though they might have had litters, or clutches.

The universe clearly operates for the benefit of humanity. This can be readily seen from the convenient way that the sun comes up in the morning, when people are ready to start the day.

Ignorant: A state of not knowing what a pronoun is, or how to find the square root of 27.4, and merely knowing childish and useless things like which of the 70 almost identical looking species of the purple sea snake are the deadly ones, how to navigate across a 1000 miles of featureless ocean by means of a piece of string and a small clay model of your grandfather, and other such trivial matters.
Credulous: Having views about the world, the universe, and humanity's place in it that are shared only by very unsophisticated people and the most intelligent and advanced mathematicians and physicists.

Its amazing how good governments are, given their track record in almost every other field, at hushing up things like alien encounters. One reason may be that the aliens themselves are too embarrassed to talk about it.
Representatives of several hundred space-going races have taken to hanging out, unsuspected by one another, in rural corners of the planet and, as a result of this, keep on abducting other would-be abductees.
The planet Earth is now banned to all alien races until they can compare notes and find out how many, if any, real humans they gave actually got. It is gloomily suspected that there is only one — who is big, hairy, and has very large feet.
The truth is out there, but lies are in your head.

He gave Susan the stern look of one who, if it was not for the fact that the world needed him, would even now by tiring of painting naked young ladies on some tropical island somewhere.

It was not technically audible, but nevertheless Susan could hear the wizard's mind back-pedalling. Up ahead was the conclusion that Teatime had no time for people he didnt need.

"Well, yes, but - "

"I dont actually think," Ponder Stibbons said gloomily, "that I want to tell the Archchancellor that this machine stops working if we take its fluffy teddy bear away. I just dont think I want to live in that kind of world."
"Er, you could always, you know, sort of say it needs to work with the FTB enabled."

        - Death

"Here's a tip, though. Just 'Ho, Ho, Ho' will do. Dont say 'Cower, brief mortals'."
        - Albert advises Death on how to be the Hogfather

"You're saying humans need ... fantasies to make life bearable."
"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers?"
"So we can believe the big ones?"
"They're not the same at all!"
        - Susan and Death


No matter how fast light travels it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.

"Chap with a whip got as far as the big sharp spikes last week," said the low priest.
(Life in the Temple of Offler )

"What is this thing, anyway?" said the Dean, inspecting the implement in his hands.
"It's called a shovel," said the Senior Wrangler. "I've seen the gardeners use them. You stick the sharp end in the ground. Then it gets a bit technical."


"Do you really think all this deters crime, Mr Trooper?" he said.
"Well, in the generality of things I'd say it's hard to tell, given that it's hard to find evidence of crimes not committed," said the hangman, giving the trapdoor a final rattle. "But in the specificality, sir, I'd say it's very efficacious."
"Meaning what?" said Moist.
"Meaning I've never seen someone up here more'n once, sir, shall we go?"

"I commend my soul to any god that can find it."
        - Moist, on the scaffold

"There is always a choice."
"You mean I could choose certain death?"
"A choice nevertheless, or perhaps an alternative. You see I believe in freedom. Not many people do, although they will of course protest otherwise. And no practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the other are based."
        - Lord Vetinari and Moist

If you did fool an honest man, he tended to complain to the Watch, and these days they were a lot harder to buy off. Fooling dishonest men was a lot safer and, somehow, more sporting. And, of course, there were so many more of them. You hardly had to aim.

So, Moist thought, inside the Post Office normality clearly does not have a one-to-one relationship with the outside world.

"Do you call this a life?"
"Much better than a death sir."
        - Moist and Groat

"Well, now that we have been appropriately human towards one another, what exactly was it you wanted?"
        - Miss Dearheart, cutting to the chase

"It's just like the Campaign for Equal Heights and all that patronizing stuff they spout about dwarfs and why we shouldn't use terms like 'small talk' and 'feeling small'."
        - Miss Dearheart

Gilt and Vetinari sahred a look. It said: while I loathe you and every aspect of your personal philosophy to a depth unplummable by any line, I'll credit you at least with not being Crispin Horsefry.

The noise echoed through the empty streets, but no one came to the window. No one in this select street would come to the window even if a murder was going on. At least in the poorer districts people would come out to watch, or join in.

Vetinari was clever. You didn't stay ruler of a fermenting mess of a city like this one by being silly. If you saw his spy, it was a spy he wanted you to see. The way you'd know that Vetinari was keeping an eye on you would be by turning around very quickly and seeing no one at all.

"Did I do anything last night that suggested I was sane?"
        - Moist, after too many drinks

There was a silence. In that silence, Moist tried out a variety of responses, from "Pull the other one, it's got bells on" to "That's impossible", and decided they all sounded stupid. Groat looked deadly serious, so instead he said: "How?"

You could do it all by magic. You could wave a wand and get twinkly stars and a fresh-baked loaf. You could make fish jump out of the sea ready cooked. And then, somewhere, somehow, magic would present its bill, which was always more than you could afford. That's why it was left to wizards, who knew how to handle it safely. Not doing any magic at all was the chief task of wizards — not "not doing magic" because they couldn't, but not doing magic when they could do and didn't.

"Would you like to have dinner tonight?"
"I like to have dinner every night. With you? No."
        - Moist and Miss Dearheart

"Doesn't this place give you the creeps? You could do something with some floral wallpaper and a firebomb?"
        - Miss Dearheart, with some decorating tips

"Get yourself a little bit closer to heaven. And then get down on your kness and pray. You know how to pray, don't you? You just put your hands together — and hope."
        - Miss Dearheart, to Moist

That was an important part of any game: always make it easy for people to give you money.

The Post Office was the underdog, and an underdog can always find somewhere soft to bite.

The headlines screamed at him as soon as he saw the paper. He almost screamed back.
        - Moist, as his interview makes the front page

"Cup of tea, Mr Lipwig? And a bun, sir."
"You're an angel in heavy disguise Stanley."
        - Stanley and Moist

The suit was black that if it had been sprinkled with stars the owls would have collided with it.

People kept telling him that Ankh-Morpok was a lot more civilized these days, that between them the Watch and the Guilds had settled things down enough to ensure that actually being attacked while going about your lawful business in Ankh-Morpok was now merely a possibility instead of, as it once was, a matter of course. And the streets were so clean now you could sometimes even see the street.

"It's wisest not to argue with the nursing staff. I find the wisest course of action is to throw some chocolates in one direction and hurry off in the other while their attention is distracted."
        - Dr Lawn

"Do you want it fast or cheap or good, gentlemen? The way things have gone, I can only give you one out of three."
        - Mr Pony

Like an apprentice staring at the work of a master, Moist read Reacher Gilt's words on the still-damp newspaper. It was garbage, but it had been cooked by an expert. You had to admire the way perfectly innocent words were mugged, ravished, stripped of all true meaning and decency and then sent to walk the gutter for Reacher Gilt, although 'synergistically' had probably been a whore from the start.

Moist missed the rest of the sentence. Innocent words swirled in it like debris caught in a flood, occasionally bobbing to the surface and waving desperately before being pulled under again.

Archchancellor Ridcully practised the First Available Surface method of filing.

Headquarters had even started an Employee of the Month scheme to show how much they cared. That was how much they didn't care.

Moist always raised the stakes. Never promise to do the possible. Anyone could do the possible. You should promise to do the impossible because sometimes the impossible was possible. And if you failed, well, it had been impossible.

"This is about words, and how you can twist them, and how you can spin them in people's heads so that they think the way you want them to. We'll send a message of our own, and do you know that? The boys in the towers will want to send it, and when people know what it says they'll want to believe it, because they'll want to live in a world where it's true."
        - Moist

"Mad Al and the boys told me what you did. It wasn't a nice thing to do."
"There wasn't a nice thing that would work."
        - Miss Dearheart and Moist

Sometimes the truth is arrived at by adding all the little lies together and deducting them from the totality of what is known.


He was always at a loss when people acted like this. When machines went funny you just oiled them or prodded them or, if nothing else worked, hit them with a hammer. Nomes didn't respond well to this treatment.
        - Diggers

The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.
        - Diggers

"Do you know, humans think the world was made by a sort of big human?"
"Get away?"
"It took a week."
"I expect it had some help, then,' said Dorcas.
        - The Nomes discuss religion in Diggers

Granny's remedies, made from simple, honest, and generally nearly poisonous herbs and roots, were amazing things. After one dose of stomache-ache jollop, you made sure you never complained of stomach ache ever again. In its way, it was a sort of cure.
        - No, not that Granny. The other one ( Truckers )

"We got a talk about it at school. There's lots of stuff most girls can't do, but you've got to pretend they can, so that more of them will."
        - Sexism explained (Terry Pratchett, Only You Can Save Mankind)

Wobbler had written an actual computer game like this once. It was called "Journey to Alpha Centauri". It was a screen with some dots on it. Because, he said, it happened in real time, which no-one had ever heard of until computers. He'd seen on TV that it took three thousand years to get to Alpha Centauri. He had written it so that if anyone kept their computer on for three thousand years, they'd be rewarded by a little dot appearing in the middle of the screen, and then a message saying, "Welcome to Alpha Centauri. Now go home."
        - Terry Pratchett, Only You Can Save Mankind

"Very clever idea, though."
"What is?"
"Asking the questions when people arrive. If anyone was coming here to do some subversive overthrowing, everyone'd be down on him like a pound of bricks as soon as he answered 'Yes'."
"It's a sneaky trick, isn't it," said Angalo, in an admiring tone of voice.
        - The nomes encounter American customs regulations in Wings

"You get more air close to the ground," said Angalo. "I read that in a book. You get lots of air low down, and not much when you go up." "Why not?" said Gurder. "Dunno. It's frightened of heights, I guess."
        - The nomes discuss science in 'Wings'

HOTELS: A place where TRAVELLING HUMANS are parked at night. Other humans bring them food, including the famous BACON, LETTUCE AND TOMATO SANDWICH. There are beds and towels and special things that rain on people to get them clean.

SCIENCE: A way of finding things out and then making them work. Science explains what is happening around us the whole time. So does RELIGION, but science is better because it comes up with more understandable excuses when it is wrong. There is a lot more Science than you think.

Consider the situation. There you are, forehead like a set of balconies, worrying about the long-term effects of all this new 'fire' stuff on the environment, you're being chased and eaten by most of the planet's large animals, and suddenly tiny versions of one of the worst of them wanders into the cave and starts to purr.
        - Why humans like cats, "The Unadulterated Cat"

On the fifth day the Governor of the town called all the tribal chieftains to an audience in the market square, to hear their grievances. He didn't always do anything about them, but at least they got *heard*, and he nodded a lot, and everyone felt better about it at least until they got home. This is politics.
        - Carpet politics are very similar to Discworld politics, "The Carpet People"

"America?" said Mrs Liberty.
"Won't we get scalped?"
"Good grief, no!" said William Stickers, who was a bit more up to date about the world.
"*Probably* not," said Mr Fletcher, who had been watching the news lately and was even more up to date than William Stickers.
        - Johnny and the Dead

Mrs. Nugent was the Johnson's next door neighbour, and known to be unreasonable on subjects like Madonna played at full volume at 3 a.m.
        - Johnny and the Dead

Granddad was superstitious about books. He thought that if you had enough of them around, education leaked out, like radioactivity.
        - Johnny and the Dead

For animals, the entire universe has been neatly divided into things to (a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from, and (d) rocks.
        - Equal Rites

# Quotes by Terry Pratchett

Rincewind is one of those people who gets in the way of his own happiness. If it was raining kisses he'd be the only person with an umbrella.

This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in the oncoming traffic.

In reply to: think that sick people in Ankh-Morpork generally go to a vet. It's generally a better bet. There's more pressure on a vet to get it right. People say "it was god's will" when granny dies, but they get *angry* when they lose a cow.

That seems to point up a significant difference between Europeans and Americans. A European says: "I can't understand this, what's wrong with me?" An American says: "I can't understand this, what's wrong with him?"

I do note with interest that old women in my books become young women on the covers... this is discrimination against the chronologically gifted.

It's not Brits who think American readers are a bunch of whinging morons with the geo-social understanding of a wire coathanger, it's *American* editors.

I've always liked the idea of a special Hugo to be awarded (by force, perhaps) to literary authors who write books dripping with themes filleted from mainstream SF and then deny that it's science fiction 'because it's not about robots and spaceships'.


Good Omens, with Neil Gaiman


Many people, meeting Aziraphale for the first time, formed three impressions: that he was English, that he was intelligent, and that he was gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide.

God does not play dice with the universe: He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who *smiles all the time*.

Crowley had been extremely impressed with the warranties offered by the computer industry, and had in fact sent a bundle Below to the department that drew up the Immortal Soul agreements, with a yellow memo form attached just saying: "Learn, guys." ( Crowley is a demon, in case you don't know )

Many phenomena - wars, plagues, sudden audits - have been advanced as evidence for the hidden hand of Satan in the affairs of Man, but whenever students of demonology get together the M25 London orbital motorway is generally agreed to be among the top contenders for exhibit A.

Voodoo is a very interesting religion for the whole family, even those members of it who are dead.

A man threw himself through the window, a knife between his teeth, a Kalashnikov automatic rifle in one hand, a grenade in the other. "I glaim gis oteg in der gaing og der --" he paused. He tooke the knife out of his teeth and began again.

Sister Mary headed through the night-time hospital with the Adversary, Destroyer of Kings, Angel of the Bottomless Pit, Great Beast that is called Dragon, Prince of This World, Father of Lies, Spawn of Satan and Lord of Darkness safely in her arms. She found a bassinet and laid him down in it. He gurgled. She gave him a tickle. (The antichrist is born )

"It wasn't a dark and stormy night. It should have been, but there's the weather for you. For every mad scientist who's had a convenient thunderstorm just on the night his Great Work is complete and lying on the slab, there have been dozens who've sat around aimlessly under the peaceful stars while Igor clocks up the overtime. "


"I DON'T CARE WHAT IT SAYS, said the tall biker in the helmet,


"The Kappamaki, a whaling research ship, was currently researching the question: How many whales can you catch in one week?"

"English Burger Lords managed to take any American fast food virtues (the speed with which your food was delivered, for example) and carefully remove them; your food arrived after half an hour, at room temperature, and it was only because of the strip of warm lettuce between them that you could distinguish the burger from the bun. The Burger Lord pathfinder salesmen had been shot 25 minutes after setting foot in France."

"Surely you have considered terrorist activity?"
There was another pause. Then the spokesman said, in the quiet tones of someone who has had enough and who is going to quit after this and raise chickens somewhere, "Yes, I suppose we must. All we need to do is find some terrorists who are capable of taking an entire nuclear reactor out of its can while it's running and without anyone noticing. It weighs about a thousand tons and is forty feet high. So they'll be quite *strong* terrorists. Perhaps you'd like to ring them up, sir, and ask them questions in that supercilious, accusatory way of yours."

- The BBC interview a nuclear plant spokesman #

This is but an introduction to the wonderful discworld...

If you like this sort of thing
1. Get a Pratchett book, preferably Small Gods, Sourcery, or The Colour Of Magic
2. Watch Monty Python & The Holy Grail
3. Check out Douglas Adams "Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy"

Check Out Terry Pratchet online @ The L-Space Web

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