Most would say, yes.
Upon the back of four elephants who themselves stand atop the shell of the Great space turtle A’Tuin, Discworld is a land of fantastical scale and imagination that’s sacred to readers.
Over 41 novels have helped bring Discworld to life by exploring its wizards, its witches, its various races, its ever-changing society, and its guardians.
Author Terry Pratchett masterfully created a land that also evolved over time. Citizens that once relied on horse and carriage, now have steam-powered trains to carry them around. Goblins have rights, and the cultures of Dwarves and Trolls have been expanded upon and accepted by the majority of humans who simply can’t ignore how important diversity is to the world. It is the Century of the Anchovy, after all.
With Terry Pratchett’s death in March this year and his final book arriving in the hands of readers this month, it seems like the Great A’Tuin has finally swam off into the dark seas of space.
The series is at an end.
Rhianna Pratchett, Terry Pratchett’s daughter, has said that no one will be taking over Discworld or publishing stories after the final book’s release. While most would consider 41 novels a pretty good run, I haven’t quite had enough.
I’d even welcome someone to take over, but would it be the same? No, it would be very different.
But who could do it? Rhianna would be the obvious person to take over, but should someone even consider continuing to write about it as most would consider someone taking over Discworld to be almost sacrilegious.
The reasoning is usually that no one knows the place as well as Terry Pratchett did, so no one could do it justice; however, the disc has changed a lot over time.
One of the main examples I can think of a series continuing after its creator died was Star Trek: The Next Generation. Usually considered the best of the series, TNG started in 1987 almost 18 years after the television first show ended.
There were a number of movies in between the two shows, but TNG really started to pick up in the third season. The reason as many discovered while watching documentary Chaos on the Bridge is largely due to Roddenberry distancing himself from the show.
Roddenberry wanted to make a perfect utopia, but in doing so alienated the series from what made the original show so great: Conflict. Writers Brannon Braga and Rick Berman saved the show after Roddenberry passed away showing that is possible for someone to continue a creator’s vision while still changing it.
The big difference between Discworld and a series like Star Trek: Next Generation is that Terry Pratchett has consistently improved the series as he continued writing and it certainly didn’t seem to be a struggling effort.
Discworld has been great and always will be great, but some want to stow it in a capsule and not let a new writer muddy the waters.
So, should Discworld continue? I’m still a little divided.
While a new author could shake things up, a new author could also change too much and make the world into something altogether worse. And there are countless examples of series continuing with new authors and not doing so great when under scrutiny.
I’m not a firm believer that once an author puts his or her book out to print that it no longer belongs to them. I think an author like Terry Pratchett had a vision for his world and stuck to it throughout his books. Discworld is Terry Pratchett and continuing on with it would be difficult.
But I’d be willing to give a read to at least one new book with an author giving an honest try, so long that it is sanctioned by Rhianna Pratchett. Who knows, maybe we’ll see a nuanced take on the series that will blow our socks off.
The Discworld we know won’t truly end so long as we still keep the books close to our hearts, but the problem is I don’t think the world was done with us quite yet.