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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 September, 2004, 08:27 GMT 09:27 UK
Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett in 1999
''Discworld' has acquired Terry Pratchett a cult following, and this year the series of books comes of age.

Pratchett has now written 33 novels, and the latest addition to his repertoire, called 'Going Postal' has just been published.

The former journalist had his first story published when he was only thirteen and his debut novel appeared in 1971.

  • Terry Pratchett was live on Breakfast, this morning.

    'The Carpet People' is described as a humorous fantasy, but the first 'Discworld' book - The Color of Magic - didn't arrive until 1983 by which time his cult following was continuing to grow.

    Series or serial?

    The uninitiated might struggle to get their heads around the 'Discworld' concept. On his website, Pratchett helpfully explains:

    "It's a series not a serial. If you started watching Star Trek halfway through the series, you probably wondered why one guy had pointy ears.

    "But since you liked what you saw, you probably let the question ride for now and just get on with enjoying the show".

    Discworld is very much like that and contains 'mini series' within the collection of books. Pratchett says he hopes the books are generally written to be accessible at any point.

    Going postal

    The new book sees main character Moist Van Lipwig finding himself with a noose around his neck dropping through a trapdoor but it's not his maker he meets but Lord Vetinari.

    He doesn't fall to his death but into a new job as a postmaster. The lord, incidentally is also the supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork.

    The bizarre plots and colourful characters ensure that Pratchett's books appeal to a broad readership but the bulk of his fans, are surprisingly not teenage boys obsessed with computer games, but university educated women over the age of 25.

    He thinks they love the humour and is always swamped at his signings including one occasion where he was asked to sign thirteen books for a group of nuns.

    Until the whirlwind arrival of JK Rowling, Pratchett was the UK's best selling author, but he's resisted the urge to exploit the books by selling the film or merchandising rights.

    In a recent newspaper interview he says: 'I have quite a lot of control over it. It could make me a lot of money but after you have been a millionaire for quite a long time how many more millions does a person need.

    'There is and old Arabic saying which goes 'a man can only eat one dinner, sleep in one bed and have four wives.'

    He sticks to that philosophy, except he only has one wife (Lyn), and fans will no doubt be pleased by the fact that he prefers to keep the magic of the stories in readers heads, rather than play them out as films.

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