The Discworld audiobooks have been re-recorded, and you can listen to all of Terry Pratchett’s fantastic stories in a most excellent new way! In a huge undertaking, each of the Discworld books has been brought to life by outstanding voice actors.
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Listen to the Discworld Books: The New Terry Pratchett Audiobooks
The Discworld has had a special place in my heart ever since I discovered Fantasy books. That turtle with the disc on its back, with the many special people, feels like my literary home.
Since I am, obviously, a huge audiobook fan, I was absolutely delighted when I first heard that Penguin Audio was giving the entire Discworld series a loving and elaborate new audio treatment.
And, of course, I binge-listened to the Witches as soon as they were released!
Re-recording all of Terry Pratchett’s audiobooks from the Disc was a huge project, so it took a while until all Discworld books have become available in the newest version.
But the good news is that, indeed, the entire Discworld series, including the Tiffany Aching books, have new recordings!
Throughout the entire series, Peter Serafinowicz voices Death, and Bill Nighy reads the famous footnotes as well as any author notes. Their voices tie the entire series together.
Each sub-series has a carefully chosen voice actor that fits the main characters perfectly.
An Introduction to the Disc
If you are entirely new to the Discworld by Terry Pratchett, let me give you a quick run-down.
First published in 1983, the Discworld series has since become a cultural phenomenon, beloved by fans around the world. As the name implies, the Discworld is a flat, disc-shaped world that rides through space on the back of four elephants standing on the back of a giant turtle.
At the heart of the series are the inhabitants of the city of Ankh-Morpork, a sprawling metropolis that is home to all manner of creatures, from dwarfs and trolls to vampires and werewolves. Here, you’ll meet the bumbling wizard Rincewind, the streetwise con artist Moist von Lipwig, and grumpy Commander Vimes of the City Watch.
One of the things that make the Discworld series so special is its unique blend of humor and satire. Terry Pratchett had an uncanny ability to skewer the absurdities of our own world through his fantastical creations.
Whether he was poking fun at bureaucracy, politics, or religion, Terry Pratchett always did it with a light touch and a healthy dose of wit.
Through his books shines a kindness and love for people on an individual level and a burning anger for society.
Because it’s not all laughs in the Discworld books. As you journey through the series, you’ll encounter deep themes and powerful messages about life, death, and the human condition.
Terry Pratchett had a talent for exploring complex ideas in a way that is both accessible and entertaining, and many of his books have been praised for their emotional depth and philosophical insights.
So, if you’re looking for a series that will make you laugh, make you think, and transport you to a world unlike any other, then you will probably find some of your new favorite books here!
With 41 books in the series, there’s plenty to explore, and I’m sure that you’ll find yourself falling in love with the weird and wonderful characters that call this world home.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to start at book 1 and make your way through all 41. The Discworld series has many short, individual subseries and stand-alone novels. I will tell you more about these below and give you my recommendation of which Discworld book to read first!
Why you should listen to the Discworld Audiobooks
Discworld audiobooks are a great way to experience the unique stories that Terry Pratchett created.
Of course, reading the books with your eyes is enjoyable. But going on a journey through the Discworld while listening to the audiobooks allows listeners to feel a deeper connection by hearing accents and emotions and getting fully immersed. (By the way, did you know that audiobooks are more captivating than movies?)
With incredibly talented voice actors bringing the characters to life, you’ll find yourself laughing out loud at the clever jokes and zany antics that abound in this world. The new audiobooks by Penguin Audio are such a wonderful way to experience the humor and wit of Sir Terry’s writing.
One of the great things about the Discworld audiobooks is the way they bring out the distinct voices and personalities of the characters. With the carefully selected actors, all of the main characters get a unique voice, and these skilled narrators can bring them to life in a way that makes you feel like you’re right there in the streets of Ankh-Morpork or in the woods of Lancre.
And, of course, there is always the convenience factor when we talk about audiobooks!
Whether you’re commuting to work, working out at the gym, or just lounging around the house, you can easily plug in your headphones and let yourself be transported to the Discworld. And because the audiobooks are unabridged, you won’t miss a single moment of the action!
Related article: The Best Things to do while Listening to Audiobooks
Unabridged means that the audiobook is word for word the same as the print and ebook versions. If you listen to the new Terry Pratchett audiobooks, you can say you have “read the book”.
For those who struggle with reading text on a page or have visual impairments, audiobooks can be a fantastic way to enjoy the Discworld series. They offer a way to experience the stories without having to strain your eyes or struggle with written words.
And because the Discworld books are so rich in detail and nuance, listening to them can actually enhance your understanding and appreciation of the series.
Since the Terry Pratchett audiobooks are so beloved, not every fan will be ecstatic about the new recordings though. Many appreciate and love the older versions read by Nigel Planer and Stephen Briggs. But these recordings are very old and were originally published on tape. They can’t be brought to the standard of clean, crisp recordings audiobook fans expect today.
The new recordings will hold up for many, many years to come and will introduce the Discworld to a new generation of Fantasy fans!
Audible is phasing out the old recordings and replacing them with the new ones. But you can still find them on Audio CD** and on Libro.fm.
Currently, the new Discworld audiobooks are only available in these two stores, Audible and Libro.fm, as well as in select libraries in the UK.
The Discworld Books by Subseries
As I said earlier, the Discworld books are not actually one long, continuous series. You don’t have to start at book 1 to get to book 41!
Many books stand quite well on their own. But there are also several subseries that follow the same characters or theme.
- The Colour of Magic
- The Light Fantastic
- Interesting Times
- The Last Continent
- The Last Hero
- Unseen Academicals
Like many others, I started my journey through the Discworld with the actual first Discworld book, The Colour of Magic, starring the rather unfortunate wizard Rincewind.
Colin Morgan did a wonderful job bringing him to life in the new audiobooks!
The earlier books in the series are generally considered to be weaker than the later ones by Discworld fans. But they are still very charming and fun and, of course, still a good introduction to the Discworld.
The Wizards from the Unseen University can be relied on whenever you need a book you can get a good chuckle out of.
And I adored the movie version** as well!
My recommendation would be to watch the very enjoyable Discworld movies and then continue with the subseries in audio format that interests you the most.
- Equal Rites
- Wyrd Sisters
- Witches Abroad
- Lords and Ladies
- Carpe Jugulum
Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg are two of the most beloved characters of the Discworld!
Walking through Lancre, meeting Magrat and Agnes, is absolutely delightful. And for my fairytale-loving heart, Witches Abroad shall forever be one of my favorite books!
I particularly love the writing style of Sir Terry Pratchett in the Witches books. He had this uncanny ability to say so much with so little. Often, there are several possible interpretations of the words on the page. But that in itself shows us the human condition.
People are complex! And there often isn’t just one reason why someone does something or one correct interpretation of someone’s behavior. We all contain multitudes, and so do the witches and – sometimes – the people they help.
Indira Varma found wonderful, distinct voices for each of the four witches and truly brought out their personalities.
It is possible to skip Equal Rites as the actual subseries with Granny and Nanny starts with Wyrd Sisters. And this series is definitely a good starting point for people who are new to the Disc!
The Ankh-Morpork City Watch
- Guards! Guards!
- Men At Arms
- Feet of Clay
- The Fifth Elephant
- Night Watch
Captain Sam Vimes of the Night Watch has also always been one of my favorite characters from the flat planet. He’s unexpectedly complex and, more so than any other Discworld inhabitant, goes through an amazing character development over the course of the City Watch books.
It has given me very soft feelings for this man who has come so far. And Jon Culshaw found the perfect voice for this gruff copper with the gooey center.
Jon Culshaw was an excellent casting choice for this series because the watch grows quickly, and there are many central characters that this actor managed to find wonderful, easily distinguishable voices for.
This subseries should be read in order.
- Reaper Man
- Soul Music
- Thief of Time
One of the most unique characters in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is Death himself. This skeletal figure with a fondness for cats and an inability to understand human emotions has been a fixture in the series since the very beginning.
In the fourth book of the Discworld, “Mort”, Death became a main character in his own right. From there, he went on to star in several more books, in which we see Death grappling with the challenges of being “an anthropomorphic personification of one of life’s greatest mysteries”, as well as exploring the complexities of the human experience from a unique perspective.
Sian Clifford reads this subseries that also features Death’s granddaughter Susan.
- Moving Pictures
- The Truth
- Monstrous Regiment
- Going Postal
- Making Money
- Raising Steam
I found this particular subseries to be the strongest in their commentary on Western societies. While The Truth and Moving Pictures still have a somewhat excited tone in regard to new inventions and developments on the Disc, it becomes pretty clear in Going Postal and Making Money that Terry Pratchett wanted to work through quite a bit of anger.
If I had to pick the best Discworld books, I’d probably end up somewhere in the Industrial Revolution series because I feel it reaches the pinnacle in combining lovable characters and whimsical fun with scathing critique on Western politics and capitalism.
These books are truly brilliant!
And it doesn’t hurt that Lord Vetinari is frequently featured in them.
It’s truly breathtaking how these books haven’t actually aged at all! When I listened to them now, they felt just as current as they did when I read them the first time around.
Monstrous Regiment also stands out here in the way it portrays the hopelessness of war, the way rich countries make money off of war in poor countries, and how it explores gender identity far beyond the trope of “girl put on boys’ clothes to go to war”.
Moving Pictures, Monstrous Regiment, and The Truth work quite well as stand-alones. Going Postal, Making Money, and Raising Steam have Moist van Lipwig as the main character and work better when read in order.
I adored listening to these books and revisiting this storyline!
The Truth is read by Mathew Baynton, who makes for a wonderful William de Worde.
And I’m looking forward to listening to Monstrous Regiment, which is narrated by Katherine Parkinson, and Moving Pictures read by Jason Isaacs!
Release date: 09-05-23
- The Wee Free Men
- A Hat Full of Sky
- I Shall Wear Midnight
- The Shepherd’s Crown
The middle-grade / Young Adult novels starring a young witch are a particularly special subseries of the Discworld books. Not only are they truly genius, but The Shepherd’s Crown was also the last book Terry Pratchett wrote.
It is a bitter-sweet ending!
The Wee Free Men’r original release date was pushed back and is now set for September 5 this year. Indira Varma will be back to give this young witch her voice!
I’m very much looking forward to finding out how the infamous Nac Mac Feegle will be voiced! I could imagine an additional narrator similar to how it’s done with the footnotes and Death in the rest of the series. But I believe Indira Varma would also shine reading them.
Stand-Alone Discworld Books
- Small Gods
- The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents is a Discworld book for children.
Small Gods is very popular and considered by many to be the best Discworld book for people looking to get into the series. We’ll talk more about that in the next section, though. The new audiobook version is read by THE Andy Serkis!
Pyramids is another stand-alone book but has fewer fans as it’s considered one of those titles that did not age so well. This was only the 7th book in the series, and many fans of the series believe that it was not the author’s best decision to try and write about other cultures in the same way he wrote about his own.
However, Penguin made an excellent casting decision with Alfred Enoch!
The Best Discworld Books to start with
If you look at each Discworld novel by itself, Going Postal is probably the best Discworld book.
Why? Because it’s fantastic even when it stands entirely on its own. Going Postal is, in my opinion, one of the best Discworld books for people wanting to get into the series. It does a great job of introducing the world and some of its more colorful characters while also providing enough room for Moist van Lipwig to go through character development.
You see, I absolutely adore the witches and Commander Vimes and his people. But both of these series shine most when you look at them in their entirety. Especially Vimes gets to have such wonderful character growth over the course of his books. So, while Guards! Guards! on its own is great, the City Watch series as a whole is absolutely brilliant!
Many people consider Small Gods as the best Discworld novel. But I always found that it is quite a bit darker than most other Discworld books. I don’t think that it makes a good introduction into the world. But it could be a good choice for someone who is not all that interested in Fantasy and/or humorous books but would still like to read a Terry Pratchett book.
Plus, I’m just a huge fan of Ankh-Morpork as a setting. And in Going Postal, the city is pretty much one of the protagonists!
If you are looking for a beautiful and helpful reminder of the reading order, check out this fantastic Discworld graphic!
Eline Blackman (pronouns: she/they) fell in love with books as a child – with being read to and reading herself. 10 years ago, she bought her first Audible book. It was love at first listen! An average of 250 audiobooks per year has become the new normal and you will rarely see Eline without a wireless earbud. Romance and Fantasy are the go-to genres for this audiobook fan.