The twelfth novel in the Discworld Series
UK hbk: Victor Gollancz, 25,000 copies on 7 November 1991 (0-575-04980-4) reprinted three times (twice in November 1991), then reissued, 3,500 copies (of which 2,500 for BCA had gloss laminated jackets and had no foil) 6 August 1998 (0-575-06580-X)
Book proof: c.100 copies
Discworld Collector’s Library: The Witches Collection (hbk, cover engraving by Joe McLaren): Gollancz, 3 July 2014 (978-1-473-20026-5)
Pbk: Corgi, 190,000 copies on 12/11/92 (0-552-13465-1), reprinted 1992 (thrice), 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, and many times since
New issue, with black/gold photographic design cover, on sale at same time as Kirby edition, July 2005 (0-552-15296-X)
Reissued B-format with modified Kirby cover: Corgi, 2013 (978-0-552-16750-5)
Book club: BCA, 11,500 copies, 1991 (CN 4076)
BCA’s Unseen Library: c.4,000 copies in 2004 (CN134001)
USA pbk: 1) Roc (NAL) (cover illus. Darrell K.Sweet), 49,000 copies in February 1993 (0-451-45225-9)
2) Harper Torch, August 2002 (0-06-102061-3) Contains an extract from Night Watch at the end.
Premium pbk: Harper Premium, 30 July 2013 (978-0-06-223736-1)
US book club: Science Fiction Book Club Selection, Summer 1993 (Jacket art by Peter Scanlan), 13 May 1993 (ref.00911)
Brazilian: Quando as Bruxas Viajam, trs. Ludimila Hashimoto, Conrad, 2008 (978-85-7616-281-0)
Bulgarian: Вещици в Чужбина, trs. Kat# Ancheva, Vuzev/Akhont-V, 5,000 copies on 22 May 2001 (954-422-066-6)
Czech: Čarodąjky na Cestách, trs. Jan Kantůrek, Talpress, 10,000 copies in November 1996 (80-7197-006-9)
Double volume with Moving Pictures: ills by Paul Kidby, Talpress, 2011 (978-80-7197-423-9)
Dutch: Heksen in de Lucht, trs. Venugopalan Ittekot (pseud. of Ruurd Groot), Het Spectrum, 6,000 copies in 1995 (90-274-4466-8)
Reissue: Mynx, 2008 (978-90-225-5124-0)
Schijfwereldomnibus nr.4 (omnibus edition with Moving Pictures and Reaper Man), Het Spectrum, ?5,000 copies ?August 2000 (90-274-6995-4)
Estonian: Nõiad Võõrsil, trs. Avo Reinvald, jacket illus. Hillar Mets,Varrak, January 2003 (9985-3-0653-8)
Finnish: Noitia Maisemissa, trs. Marja Sinkkonen, Karisto, 1997 (951-23-3751-7)
Pbk: Karisto, December 2001 (951-23-4113-1)
French: Mécomptes de Fées, trans. Patrick Couton, L’Atalante, November 1998 (2-84172-094-2)
Reissue, with new introduction by Terry Pratchett (dated September 2014), 22 October 2015 (978-2-84172-7)
Pbk: Pocket, December 2002 (2-266-12136-7)
Pbk with Marc Simonetti cover: Pocket, February 2011 (978-2-266-21192-5)
Georgian: Palitra [contracted but not yet published]
German trade pbk: 1. Total Verhext, trs. Andreas Brandhorst, Goldmann, 20,000 copies on 1 October 1994 (3-442-41557-8)
mass market pbk: Goldmann, June 1999 (3-442-42131-4)
Reissue: cbt [C. Bertelsmann Taschenbuch], December 2006 (3-570-30356-X)
Double volume: Total verhext. Einfach göttlich, Goldmann, December 2003 (3-442-13334-3)
Reissue: 15,000 copies for special marketing campaign July 2004 (3-442-13411-0)
Reissue: June 2008 (978-3-442-13434-2)
2. New translation: trs. Regina Rawlinson, Manhattan, 15 June 2012 (978-3-442-54704-3)
Mass-market edition: Goldmann, May 2016 (978-3-442-48434-8)
Kindle edition 30 October 2012(ASIN B009WCLL1O)
Hebrew: בחוע׳לאדע מבשפוח, trs. Hagi Bareket, Kinneret, 2001 (965-509-195-3)
Hungarian: 1. Vége a mesének!, trs. Anikó Sohár, Cherubion Könyvkiadó, c.4,000 copies in 2003 (963-9346-92-6)
2. Vége a mesének, trs. Veronika Farkas, Delta Vision, 27 July 2011 (978-615-5161-08-7)
Italian: Streche all’Estero, trs. Valentina Daniele, Salani, March 2009 (978-88-8451-976-4)
Reissue: TEA Due, April 2011 (978-88-502-2470-8
Norwegian: Hekser på Tur, trs. Torleif Sjøgren-Erichsen, Tiden Norsk, 2004 (82-10-04934-8)
Polish: Wyprawa Czarownic, trs. Piotr W.Cholewa, Prószyński i S-ka ?May 2001(83-7255-915-5)
Romanian: Prin Cele Străinătăt, trs. Alice Popescu, Rao, October 2009 (978-973-54-0008-8)
Russian: Ведьмы за границей, trs. P. Kurakozova, Eksmo June 2001 (5-04-007693-2)
Double volume with Lords and Ladies: Eksmo, 15 April 2003 (5-699-03624-5)
Serbian/Yugoslav: Veštice na putu, trs. Goran Kapetanović, Laguna in their Octarin series, 1,000 copies in 2001 (86-7436-023-8)
Spanish: Brujas de Viaje, trs. Cristina Macía, Martínez Roca, 1994 (84-270-1852-5)
Pocket book: Debols!llo/Plaza y Janés, March 2004 (84-9793-213-7; vol.342/13)
5th edition March 2010 (978-84-9793-213-4)
Kiosk edition: Altaya, 2008 (978-84-487-2610-2)
Swedish: Häxor I Faggorna, trs. Olle Sahlin, Wahlströms, 1994 (91-32-31834-0)
Pbk: BW-Pocket/Wahlströms, 1996 (91-92-43017-5)
Turkish: Cadilar Dişarida!, trs. Niran Elçi, Ithaki, 2009 (978-975-273-438-8)
It’s bloody good. Read it and laissez faire les bon temps rouler. Ken Brown in Interzone
Witches Abroad is also on a par with his previous best novel Guards! Guards! This is the twelfth Discworld novel, but Pratchett does not seem to be in any danger of running out of material….As with Guards! Guards!, what is so attractive about Witches Abroad is not just the humour but the humanity with which it is delivered. Brendan Wignall in The Oxford Times
Terry Pratchett has done it again – sent another cascade of sparkling puns and cannily crafted wordplay scattering across the universe – or rather the ‘multiverse’. This is the 11th Discworld novel and his fans won’t be disappointed. It sees the return of the witches Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick, who are en route to Genua where the hope to find a Happy Ending. Pratchett’s indefatigable imagination is a delight and the comic writing as good as ever. Books
Twelve Discworld novels down the line, and Terry Pratchett shows no signs of puncturing his bubblegum fantasyland which drifts through space atop four elephants and Great A’Tuin, an unfeasably large turtle…. Pratchett has carved out an individualistic, post-Douglas Adams niche on the bookshelves like a sex-starved Samurai warrior on the warpath for rumpy-style activities, and judging by Witches Abroad the niche is destined to become a gorge.
Following on from Wyrd Sisters, Discworld overseer Pratchett again zooms in on the witchcraft fraternity comprised of Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat. Over the other side of the Disc a kindred spirit (who turns out to be Granny’s sister) is playing silly buggers with a load of mirrors and a fairytale town called Genua, so the wart-addled threesome zip off on their broomsticks to disrupt the evil plans.
There follows a series of bizarre events whereby Gran, Nan and Magrat stumble into fairytale plots which their enemy is callously scripting, foiling the big bad wolf and inadvertently ridding terrorised towns of vampires before attempting to save Emberella (Cinder, Ember – geddit?) from a disastrous ball and marriage to a frog.
All of which is ridiculous, preposterous, deliciously described, riddled with exquisitely subtle jokes and written at a breakneck pace which hasn’t been seen since, erm, Pratchett parodied the Devilish Damien in Good Omens. But in true fairytale spirit, is there a happy ending? Find out for your bloody selves.
Simon Williams in New Musical Express
The Stories are central to this story. Stories that coerce various inhabitants of the Discworld to follow the well worn paths of Rural Myth thus ensuring that The Story can live. Aided by the fairy godmother Lilith they become a very disruptive force, in fact a bloody nuisance.
The fun really begins when Magrat Garlick, the New Age witch from Wyrd Sisters, inherits some fairy godmothering obligations and has to travel to foreign parts, accompanied by Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, to attempt to prevent a very unpleasant happy ending befalling her newly acquired goddaughter. She must stop Emberella from marrying the Frog Prince.
What follows is an hilarious pastiche of stereotypical English person abroad behaviour and the aforementioned Rural Myths reworked, all done to the very highest standards of humour that we have come to expect from Terry Pratchett.
If you have read any of his other Discworld novels you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t then you have missed out on one of the funniest authors in the entire Multiverse and reading Witches Abroad is as good a way as any to rectify that. I can’t recommend it too highly (well it made me laugh anyway). Jez in Pagan Voice
Pratchett’s latest spin to his Discworld, Witches Abroad, rushes headlong at the fairy ethos, with those weird sisters, Grannies Weatherwax, Ogg and Garlick, trying to stop a happy ending before it climaxes in disaster for all, but delight for the good/wicked godmother, Lady Lilith.
This is all a bit more self-conscious than we’re used to from Pratchett and, while his jokes are still the best thing since Wodehouse, his intent has a very definite serious undertow. Tom Hutchinson in The Times
Terry Pratchett, throughout the Discworld series, has continuously challenged all the things we believe in. In this latest volume, he challenges our views on foreign travel, fairy godmothers, cats and old ladies on holiday. Especially old ladies who gamble. … I say this every time I read a Discworld book, but it’s the funniest thing I’ve read this year and when the next one arrives in March/April next year I’ll fight anyone to read it first. Ian Murphy in Imagination
The voyage allows Pratchett plenty of opportunity for sight gags and tongue-in-cheek descriptive passages (much of the atmosphere of Genua was no doubt suggested by his wanderings in New Orleans during the 1988 world sf convention) whilst the well-natured bickering between Weatherwax and her spell-binding sisters provides some of the best dialogue to grace the series for several years.
The central thrust of Witches Abroad however, has parallels with Robert Holdstock’s Mythago Wood which posited that certain mythic tales have such strength that they can literally take on a physical form: Genua, on the other hand, is plagued by three-dimensional manifestations of childhood fables, staged at the whim of a dictatorial sorceress. Fans of Angela Carter’s work will be well versed in the sordid underbelly of such tales, and Pratchett offers a few twists of his own (the death of Red Riding Hood’s intended nemesis is especially touching).
…. Witches Abroad proves there’s still a little mileage left in the ‘Discworld’ mythos. Steve Green in Critical Wave
Background illustration © and by courtesy of Marc Simonetti