If you like Pratchett, try...
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I was wondering if there were any authors you'd heard of that had been likened to Pratchett that actually DID live up to the reputation (even if Pratchett still remains your favourite)? Anyone got any recommendations?
Jasper fforde - not quite so much a parady of life, but another very fuuny sideways take on the world. Particuarly good if you are very widely read - there are a lot (really a very large lot) of obscure references. The books are still good even if like me you miss most of the references.
Also, Ben Elton has written a few genre-ish humour books.
I enjoyed Tom Holt's books, but then I wasn't expecting them to be Pratchett knock-offs. They are a different style, more about ordinary people in ordinary settings, but with extraordinary events turning their lives upside down. TP's books start with whacky and just get stranger from there.
Keep an eye out for Splashdance Silver and Liquid Gold, both by Aussie author Tansy Rayner Roberts. I don't think you can get them in the UK, but they were fantasy/humour.
Simon Haynes, author of Hal Spacejock
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BTW, you may already know this but half an hour ago I managed to put the first five chapters of Hal Spacejock on my website, so if you want to read something more along the lines of HHG than Pratchett, feel free: http://www.spacejock.com.au/Hal1Sample.html
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One book I really liked, even though it was not as outrageously funny as Terry's work, was Blue Moon Rising by Simon R. Green, I first noticed this book because the German edition (Das Regenbogenschwert) features a cover very similar to the Discworld books.
If you're looking for a few giggles in a fantasy background, then go for Robert Aspirin. He's got some fabulous puns, and it's just fun stuff to read. Popcorn Literature, really, but for worth at least a library rental for a try.
Sadly, there are very few folks out there on par with Pratchett. Nothing is anything close to his Discworld.
Also I adore Jim Butcher, his series (Harry Dresden have not read the other yet have two of the Codex books on shelf as we speak) is more action/fantasy but has enough comedy for some good laugh out loud moments.
A young adults trilogy by Jonathan Stroud called the Bartimaeus Trilogy is also quiet good as an alternate fantasy world with dry British humor. Same with Eoin Colfer and the Artemus series.
Of course there is also Simon Haynes space jock series good laughs!
However I agree with the above comment that there is nothing else really on Terry Pratchett's level. That I think is one of the things that makes his books so special. You really have to adjust your expectations when reading other authors and enjoy their books for what they are which is something different.
On a different tack, changing genre, two of my favourites are Alan Coren for his flights of fancy in short pieces and PG Wodehouse for convoluted plots and the comic inevitability of situations (Rincewind/Bertie Wooster, anyone?)
If we're changing genres, definitely pick up A Confederacy of Dunces. The first two chapters are a little choppy but the book is a modern classic. Also Michael Malone's Handling Sin and his academic literary hoax novel, Foolscap, for you Sir Walter Raleigh fans. His other books are pretty straightforward but these are quite funny.
I've just finished Zwerg und Überzwerg by Christian von Aster and liked it a lot. It contains a lot of humour (including footnotes ^^) and an enthralling story. So far it is only available in German.
Take the J.W. Wells & Co. series for example. I would say it is corporate humour because I find the idea of a firm of sorcerers (with junior clerks and a typing pool) to be funny. And because it has wizards in it, I would assume it to be similar to Unseen University. But it isn't. So Discworld fans might be disappointed if they expect J.W. Wells to like U.U.
If you want the funny ones, I can suggest some titles for you.
Grailblazers, Faust Among Equals, Paint Your Dragon and Snow White and the Seven Samurai.
I'd definitely enth (we're way past second) the recommendations for Jasper Fforde though. Like Pratchett, there's more than one style of Fforde. The new one, Shades of Grey feels like later Pratchett to me – Small Gods level of anger, and Thud darkness. The Thursday Next books start well, go a bit soft in the middle and then get really interesting again for the most recent couple. The Nursery Crimes series is more lighthearted, more silly. (Well done silliness is a good thing, and he does it well.) One thing that's worth being aware of if you start with the Nursery Crimes books is that they are books-within-books – they spin out of the events of Lost in a Good Book. You don't need to read the Thursdays to understand them, but it does give an interesting bit of context.
Away from fantasy, a writer I really enjoy and who strikes me as having a Pratchettish streak is Malcolm Pryce – his Aberystwyth books are the most amazingly looney detective-noir. (I think the technical term is “screwball harboiled noir”?) Aberystwyth Mon Amour is the first.
eta because I can't spell
I also enjoy Douglas Adams, but I feel his characterization is not well done.
I think you're a bit harsh on Stroud - I loved the narrative voice of the demon Bartemaeus in the eponymous trilogy. But not as profound as Pratchett, I agree.
I like Fforde, Adams, Wodehouse, Gaiman and Moore a lot as well. But not sure I've ever uniformly loved all the characters to this extent with any other author.
I too like Jasper Fforde and Eoin Colfer, though I find their later books (especially Colfer's) are becoming tiresome.
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