Maskerade

The eighteenth novel in the Discworld Series

UK hbk: Victor Gollancz, 55,000 copies on 2 November 1995 (0-575-05808-0)
Book proof: 189 copies
Discworld Collector’s Library: The Witches Collection (hbk, cover engraving by Joe McLaren): Gollancz, 3 July 2014 (978-1-473-20028-9)

Pbk: Corgi, 295,000 copies on 7 November 1996 (0-552-14236-0)
New issue, with black/gold photographic design cover, on sale at same time as Kirby edition, 26 September 2005 (0-552-15323-0)
B-format, with modified Kirby design, Corgi, 6 June 2013 (978-0-552-16756-7)

Book club: BCA, 1996 (CN 8862)
BCA’s Unseen Library: c.3,000 copies in December 2007 (CN 154250) Copies were initially sent out with the title Maskarade, but these were withdrawn, and replaced by copies with the correct title. It is unknown how many there are in circulation with the incorrect title.

Large print: Isis, 500 copies in September 1996 (0-7531-5156-1)

USA hbk: HarperPrism (jacket illus. Carl D. Galian), 3 October 1997 (0-06-105251-5)
Book proof: quantity unknown

Pbk: HarperPrism (cover design as for hbk), November 1998 (0-06-105691-X) 11th printing repackaged with HarperTorch imprint, with same ISBN 25 May 2004
Premium pbk: Harper, 28 January 2014 (978-0-06-227552-3)
Library hbk of pbk: Turtleback, September 2008 or earlier (0-613-23742-0)

US book club: Science Fiction Book Club Selection, November 1997 (cover design as hbk) 17 October 1997 (ref. 18173)

Bulgarian: Маскаарад, trs. Vladimir Zarkov, Vuzev/Arhont-V, 2002 (954-422-071-2)

Czech: Maškaráda, trs. Jan Kantůrek, Talpress, 10,000 copies in September 1998 (80-7197-076-X)
Double volume, with Interesting Times, pencil drawings by Paul Kidby, Talpress, 2012 (978-80-7197-464-2)

Dutch: Maskerade, trs. Joris Drakensteyn, Het Spectrum, October 1999 (90-274-6176-7)
Reissue: Mynx, 2009 (978-90-8968-108-9)

Estonian: Maskeraad, trs. Triinu Pakk-Allmann, jacket illus. Hillar Mets, Varrak, 1,100 copies on 24 May 2005 (9985-3-1011-X)

Finnish: Naamiohuvit, trs. Mika Kivimäki, Karisto, September 2006 (951-23-4781-4)

French: Masquarade, trs. Patrick Couton, L’Atalante, October 2001 (2-84172-188-4)
Reissue, with new introduction by Terry Pratchett (dated September 2014), 14 October 2016 (978-2-84172-785-8)

Mass market: Pocket, August 2005 (2-266-14804-4)
Pbk with Marc Simonetti cover: Pocket, December 2010 (978-2-266-21198-7)

German trade pbk: Mummenschanz, trs. Andreas Brandhorst, Goldmann, 25,000 copies on  1 October 1997 (3-442-41593-4)
mass market pbk: Goldmann, June 2002 (3-442-45260-0)
Pocket book edition: Goldmann, March 2017 (978-3-442-48391-4)

Double volume, with Feet of Clay/Hohle Köpfe, Goldmann, October 2009 (978-3-442-13447-2)

Hungarian: Maszkabál, trs. Veronika Farkas, Delta Vision, 2 July 2010 (978-963-9890-62-6)

Polish: Maskarada, trs. Piotr W. Cholewa, Prószyński i S-ka, c. October 2003 (83-7337-428-0)

Russian: Маскарад, trs. S. Uvbarkh, A. Zhikarentsev , Moscow: Eksmo/St Petersburg: Domuho, 16 July 2004 (5-699-07041-9)

Serbian/Yugoslav: Maskarada, trs. Aleksandar Milajić, Laguna, 2006 (86-7436-603-1)

Spanish: Mascarada, trs. Javier Calvo Perales, Plaza Janés, January 2006 (84-01-33574-4)
Massmarket pbk: Debols!llo, July 2007 (978-94-8346-386-4)
Kiosk edition: Altaya, 2008 (978-84-487-2623-2)

Swedish: Masker, trs. Peter Lindforss, Wahlströms, September 2001 (91-32-32625-4)
Laminated paper covered boards: ?November 2002 (91-32-32803-6)
Mass market paperback: January 2004 (91-32-43438-3)

 

Background illustration © and by courtesy of Marc Simonetti

 

 

Reviews

This eighteenth Discworld novel … deals slyly and subversively with the rarefied world of opera via a bizarre spin on the Phantom of the Opera concept. Perdita X, aka Agnes, encounters an opera ghost far more quirky than anything Gaston Le Roux could dream up. The ghost’s line in badinage is every bit as sharp as anything Pratchett’s provided in the past. The passing observations on singing and the theatre should be required reading at Covent Garden and the Met. The welcome presence of the familiar Discworld witches, helping to solve the mystery of the opera ghost, ensure that the erudite humour will not frighten off the less ambitious reader. The profits from this should enable Pratchett to open at least two orang-utan sanctuaries.   Publishing News

Pratchett’s work is by now a literary institution. His books have a regularity and familiarity that is rivalled only by the late great Bet Gilroy. Maskerade, his latest, sees the return of the Discworld’s favourite witches dabbling in the black arts of grand opera. A tale of love, deception and murder unfolds while mocking opera’s obsessions with love, deception and murder. Divas, punters, class and culture all have their petards hoisted well above their pantyline by the author’s well defined humour muscle. Once again, the ability of Pratchett to trivialise the serious, pinch the bottom of the pretensious and still remain a writer of considerable tenderness proves a winning mix. Night and Day

Given that  most  serious literary  critics are more two-faced than a Picasso portrait, the one thing that is guaranteed to get up both of their noses is the suggestion that science fiction and fantasy novels could be art. They dismiss sci-fi because it is cheap, popular and trashy, which, of course, is precisely why it is so great. I should add that I don’t dismiss something because it is expensive, elite and tasteful, but those were the values that gave us nouvelle cuisine, cocaine and BBC2 period drama. It is also notable that any one of my three favourite books this year has received more celebration and critique from the world than a skipful of Booker prize-winners …. The final tip-top Tote-recommended read is Maskerade by Terry Pratchett. For those who have not heard of Terry Pratchett may I extend a hearty welcome to planet Earth. Pratchett  is  fantasy  fiction’s  favourite  naughty  uncle.  His novels are extremely funny, silly and, more often than not, irreverently poignant…. As usual the main setting for Pratchett’s story, in this case the opera, has immense amounts of wit, mockery and gentle scorn heaped upon it. It doesn’t matter if you have not read any of the preceding novels. With equal doses of charm and stinging wit Maskerade is one of his best yet. This is simply an absolute must for fans and merely a must for non-fans.  Mark Thomas in Night & Day

It’s a measure of Terry Pratchett’s skill as a writer that a book like Maskerade, which from any other author would elicit a review of justified hyperbole, can be dismissed as merely ‘well up to his usual standard’ …. The book is dedicated to ‘The people who showed me that opera was stranger than I could imagine’, so it’s fairly obvious how it came about. What is remarkable is that while it lampoons opera for the ridiculous, elitist, over-priced, over-hyped and pretentious rubbish that it is, it also simultaneously celebrates opera for the glorious elitist, over-priced, over-hyped, pretentious splendour that it is!  SFX

For those of us who grew up transfixed by the odyssey across the centuries of H.G.Wells’s time machine, humour in science fiction was largely absent. Many later SF writers developed a nice line in social satire, but the complex humour that Terry Pratchett brought to the genre was a revelation. It was particularly surprising because Pratchett specialised in a (then) largely despised offshoot of the genre: the sub-Tolkien fantasy. Thanks, of course, to Pratchett and other less tongue-in-cheek practitioners, that brand of whimsy now has hard SF on the ropes.
His latest, Maskerade shows again why he’s our best comic novelist – the bizarre offspring of Charles Dickens’s comic grotesques populate his hilarious Discworld. Although Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg may seem a touch over-familiar, Pratchett can still ring the changes in this riff on the pretensions of opera, with the obese aspiring diva, Agnes, acting as a linchpin for a timely satire on The Phantom of the Opera.   Barry Forshaw in New Scientist

The plot of the eighteenth Discworld novel is gaudy and transparent – but then this is a story about opera. And phantoms. And cats, to say nothing of witches, orang-utans and the city of Ankh-Morpork – ‘Thronged as a rookery, fragrant as a cess-pit, and vice versa’. The great strengths of Pratchett are his inexhaustible wit and his delightful Craig Raine-like imagery, but this novel also contains apt observation (‘Opera happens because a large number of things amazingly fail to go wrong’). Tobias Hill in The Observer

Background illustration © and by courtesy of Marc Simonetti