The Colour of Magic (1983) is the first Discworld book, and since I had jumped into the Discworld fantasies at the most current end, the first thing I noticed about this first story was a slight difference in writing style. In this first story, Terry Pratchett explains that the Discworld is flat, and supported by four elephants (astropsychology has been, as yet, unable to establish what they think about), which are in turn supported by Great A'Tuin the turtle.
Like all the later Discworld novels, this tale takes place in the city of Ankh-Morpork, which is generally described as a crowded, dangerous place with a putrid smell. Enter Rincewind the Wizard (his hat is labeled Wizzard because he can't spell), who is a totally inept wizard, a self-proclaimed coward who yearns for boredom in his life, and an adventure-magnet. Woe is Rincewind, because here comes Twoflower, Discworld's first and only tourist, who needs a translator and guide. Rincewind actually has a talent for languages, and Ankh-Morpork's leader, or the patrician, has ordered him to stick with Twoflower.
Pratchett had lots of fun making fun of tourists in this novel. I particularly love Twoflower's Luggage--and that's capitalized because that's its name. The Luggage is made of sapient pearwood, which is magical, and will follow its owner everywhere, at least eventually. The Luggage has a bit of a life of its own, with it's hundred legs, scary and dangerous snapping lid, and it's complete loyalty to its owner. The Luggage isn't going to let anyone hurt Twoflower, so watch out--the Luggage can really hurt someone.
The Luggage's talent for bodyguarding and Rincewind's talent for escaping DEATH (who always speaks in capital letters), are the winning combination that enable Rincewind and Twoflower to survive their dangerous adventures.
The Light Fantastic (1986) continues the adventures of Rincewind and Twoflower, but this time, the world is in danger of ending--specifically, it's in danger of colliding with a big red star, and the most unmagical wizard of all is the only one who can save the day. Why? Well, while Rincewind was a student at the Unseen University (that's where wizards go to school), he opened the most important book, the Octavio, on a dare, and one of the eight most important spells in the world got lodged in his brain. To save the world, all eight spells had to be said together again, and Rincewind was the only person who could do that. Of course, this wasn't as easy as picking up a book.
It's in this story that we meet the librarian at the Unseen University, who is an orangutan because of a magical accident. After experiencing a simpler life with less angst, he refuses to be returned to his human state. Rincewind is his assistant, and loves the job of reading all day and fetching bananas. Sounds like a great job to me, too.
After this adventure, Twoflower leaves for home, and gifts Rincewind with the Luggage, so that we can enjoy it some more.
There was an eighth son of an eighth son. He was, quite naturally, a wizard. And there it should have ended. However (for reasons we'd better not go into), he had seven sons. And then he had an eighth son ... a wizard squared ... a source of magic ... a Sourcerer.
This is why wizards aren't even supposed to have sex, let alone get married and pump out little wizards. Ah, but that's what Ipslore (the eighth son of an eighth son), did, and then he tricks DEATH by entering his own staff before DEATH can claim him, and it is through this staff that he controls his son, Coin. The plan is world dominance, and once again, Rincewind is called upon to save the day.Rincewind's character is very much expanded in this story, showing off his sarcastic style and the fact that he may be an inept wizard, but he's no idiot. Also, the Librarian becomes very interesting, and there are a lot more minor characters in the plot, too.
Eric (1990) is a novella-length story about a boy named Eric, the Discworld's only demonologist. Well, not a good demonologist. Eric is trying to summon a demon to grant him his three wishes: to live forever, meet the most beautiful woman, and rule the world. Unfortunately, he calls up Rincewind. Oh, and eventually, the Luggage follows. Eric is in for an adventure that will serve him right and teach him a lesson. (Experience is a very hard school.)
Pratchett gives organized religion an especially big kick in the butt in this last tale, and in all four stories, the gods are a very disinterested group with no work ethic at all, usually playing games and drinking. DEATH is the exception, being particularly organized and dependable.
I wasn't going to read all of these at one time, since I did have other plans, but they were so much fun to read that I found myself continuing to turn the pages. The first two beg to be read together, while Sourcery is definitely a book apart from the tourist's adventures, and also the longest. Eric is a short bit of fun. I highly recommend all of these.