Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club

The Truth US cover The Truth (2000)
A Novel of Discworld

US HarperTorch paperback
348 pages (left)

Doubleday UK hardcover
cover by Josh Kirby
319 pages (right)
The Truth UK cover

From the US paperback:
       The denizens of Ankh-Morpork fancy they've seen just about everything.  But then comes the Ankh-Morpork Times, struggling scribe William de Worde's upper-crust newsletter turned Discworld's first paper of record.
       An ethical journalist, de Worde has a proclivity for investigating stories -- a nasty habit that soon creates powerful enemies eager to stop his presses.  And what better way than to start the Inquirer, a titillating (well, what else could it be?) tabloid that conveniently interchanges what's real for what sells.
       But de Worde's got an inside line on the hot story concerning Ankh-Morpork's leading patrician, Lord Vetinari.  The facts say Vetinari is guilty.  But as William de Worde learns, facts don't always tell the whole story.  There's that pesky little thing called the truth . . .

From the UK hardback:
       William de Worde is the accidental editor of the Discworld's first newspaper.  Now he must cope with the traditional perils of a journalist's life -- people who want him dead, a recovering vampire with a suicidal fascination for flash photography, some more people who want him dead in a different way and, worst of all, the man who keeps begging him to publish pictures of his humorously shaped potatoes.  William just wants to get at THE TRUTH.  Unfortunately, everyone else wants to get at William.  And it's only the third edition . . .

Read for group discussion on June 9, 2004

How we each rated this book
Dan 8 Amy 8 stack of books 10   Wow! Don't miss it
8-9  Highly recommended
7    Recommended
5-6  Mild recommendation
3-4  Take your chances
1-2  Below average; skip it
0    Get out the flamethrower!
U    Unfinishable or unreadable
-    Skipped or no rating given
Cheri 8 Barb 9.5
Aaron 8 Cynthia 8
Jackie - Ron 9
Christine 8 Deb 9
Mike 8 Stephanie -

Aaron's Commentary  Terry Pratchett - The Truth

Terry Pratchett has to be on the short list of contenders for the funniest man alive.  The Truth demonstrates all his different ways of making us laugh.  He does puns better than anyone I know, as when the motto of the The Ankh-Morpork Times changes from "The Truth Shall Make Ye Free" to "The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret" and "The Truth Shall Make Ye Fere."  He does great slapstick, for instance the newspaper's vampire photographer screaming in pain every time he takes a flash photo.  He does memorable one-liners, like the throw-away description of the partitions in a laundry "to segregate the clerks and the person whose job it was to explain to customers where their socks had gone."  He does hilarious situational humor, for example the criminal thug Mr. Tulip's incongruous knowledge of art.  He does very good satire, such as the readers' obvious preference to get their news from the Ankh-Morpork Inquirer, with stories invented by the same guy who makes sausages of suspect origins, rather than the factual Ankh-Morpork Times.  What I'm getting at is, this is a very funny book.

Even stripped of all the humor, this novel would be well worth reading for its examination of journalism.  The protagonist William de Worde is dedicated to reporting the news factually, but soon learns that factual statements may be the most misleading of all.  It is quite interesting to see him shake off a degree of his idealism, with Pratchett leaving it an open question whether this is a good thing.  I also liked the tension between William and the Night's Watch, both well intentioned but with differing agenda.

The only level of the book I did not find very successful was William's cloak-and-dagger investigation of the plot against the ruler of Ankh-Morpork and his father's role in the plot.  Never having met the father until late in the book, I was not much interested in the build-up to a showdown between father and son, and I found the whole subplot a distraction from the more interesting and humorous story of the creation of The Ankh-Morpork Times.

What do you think? Your comments are welcome. Please send them to

Our book group has also read the following books by Terry Pratchett:
-- Guards! Guards! in July 1995
-- Good Omens (written with Neil Gaiman), in May 1996
-- Small Gods   in March 1999
-- Hogfather   in July 2000
-- The Fifth Elephant   in January 2002
-- The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents   in July 2003
-- The Wee Free Men   in March 2007

Terry Pratchett (1948-    ) is a English writer. His humorous, loosely-connected Discworld fantasy books are bestsellers in the UK.

1990 British Science Fiction Association Award for Pyramids
Carnegie Medal for The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents

Pratchett's Discworld books include characters such as the inept wizard Rincewind, witch Granny Weatherwax, the City Guard or Night Watch, and Death.

Discworld series books
The Colour of Magic (1983)
The Light Fantastic (1986)
Equal Rites (1987)
Mort (1987)
Sourcery (1988)
Wyrd Sisters (1988)
Pyramids (1989)
Guards! Guards! (1989)
Eric (with illustrator Josh Kirby) (1990)
Moving Pictures (1990)
Reaper Man (1991)
Witches Abroad (1991)
Small Gods (1992)
Lords and Ladies (1992)
Men at Arms (1993)
Soul Music (1994)
Interesting Times (1994)
Maskerade (1995)
Feet of Clay (1996)
Hogfather (1998)
Jingo (1998)
Last Continent (1999)
Carpe Jugulum (1999)
The Fifth Elephant (2000)
The Truth (2000)
The Thief of Time (2001)
Night Watch (2002)
Monstrous Regiment (2003)
Going Postal (2004)
Thud! (2005)
Making Money (2007)
Nation (2008)

Discworld young adult books
The Tiffany Aching Adventures
The Wee Free Men (2003)
A Hat Full of Sky (2004)
Wintersmith (2006)

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents (2001)

Discworld related books Illustrated by Paul Kidby
The Pratchett Portfolio (1996)
Nanny Ogg's Cookbook (1999, with Stephen Briggs and Tina Hannan)
Gurps Discworld: Adventures on the Back of the Turtle (1998, by Phil Masters for Steve Jackson Games)
Death's Domain : A Discworld Mapp (1999)
Discworld's Unseen University Diary 1998 (with Stephen Briggs, 1997)
Discworld's Ankh-Morpork City Watch Diary 1999 (with Stephen Briggs, 1998)
Discworld Assassin's Guild Yearbook and Diary 2000 (with Stephen Briggs, 1999)
Discworld Fools' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2001 (with Stephen Briggs, 2000)
Discworld Thieves' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2002 (with Stephen Briggs, 2001)
The Last Hero: A Discworld Fable (2001).

Discworld related books with Stephen Briggs
The Streets of Ankh Morpork (1993)
The Discworld Companion (1994, 1997)
The Discworld Mapp (1995)
A Tourist Guide to Lancre (1998)
The New Discworld Companion (2003)

Discworld science books with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen
The Science of Discworld (1999)
The Science of Discworld II: The Globe (2002)
The Science of Discworld II: Darwin's Watch (2005)

Other Discworld spinoff books
Mort: A Discworld Big Comic (with Graham Higgins, 1994)
The Unseen University Challenge by David Langford (1996)
A Discworld Quizbook - The Wyrdest Link by David Langford (2002)
Where's My Cow? (illustrated by Melvyn Grant, children's picture book (2005)
The Unseen University Cut Out Book (with Alan Batley and Bernard Pearson, 2006)

Other books
Good Omens (written with Neil Gaiman, 1990) is subtitled The Nice and Accurate Prophesies of Agnes Nutter. It's a fantasy about the end of the world.

The YA Johnny Maxwell tilogy is Only You Can Save Mankind (1992), Johnny and the Dead (1993), and Johnny and the Bomb (1996)

The Nomes trliogy or the Bromeliad children's SF series is Truckers (1989), Diggers (1990), and Wings (1990).

Standalone works are his first novel The Carpet People (1971) a children's fantasy; The Dark Side of the Sun (1976) which is SF; Strata (1981) a SF parody; and The Unadulterated Cat (with Gray Jolliffe, 1990).

Our book club's page for Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
Our book club's page for Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
Our book club's page for The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett
Our book club's page for The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Pratchett
Our book club's page for The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
Fantastic Reviews: Aaron's book review of The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett - Wikipedia
Discworld - Wikipedia
L-Space Web: About Terry Pratchett
Discworld Monthly - Online newsletter about Terry Pratchett & his works
Terry Pratchett and the Discworld
Discworld MUD - multi-user game based on the Discworld books
January magazine - Profile | Terry Pratchett
GURPS Discworld - RolePlaying Game
The Discworld Emporium

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This page was last updated October 22, 2008