From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Discworld is a comedic fantasy book series by the British author Terry Pratchett, set on the Discworld, a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle, Great A'Tuin. The books frequently parody, or at least take inspiration from, J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft and William Shakespeare, as well as mythology, folklore and fairy tales, often using them for satirical parallels with current cultural, political and scientific issues.
Since the first novel, The Colour of Magic (1983), 37 Discworld novels have been published, four of which are marketed as children's or "young-adult" (YA) books. The original British editions of the first 26 novels, up to Thief of Time (2001), had distinctive cover art by Josh Kirby; the American editions, published by HarperCollins, used their own cover art. Since Kirby's death in October 2001, the covers have been designed by Paul Kidby. Recent British editions of Pratchett's older novels no longer reuse Kirby's art. There have also been six short stories (some only loosely related to the Discworld), three popular science books, and a number of supplementary books and reference guides. In addition, the series has been adapted for the theatre, as computer games, and as music inspired by the series. The first live-action screen adaptation for television (Terry Pratchett's Hogfather) was broadcast over Christmas 2006. A second, two-part TV adaptation of The Colour of Magic was broadcast in March 2008 in the UK.
Newly released Discworld books regularly top The Sunday Times best-sellers list, making Pratchett the UK's best-selling author in the 1990s, although he has since been overtaken by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. Discworld novels have also won awards such as the Prometheus Award and the Carnegie Medal. In the BBC's Big Read, five Discworld books were in the top 100, and a total of fifteen in the top 200.