Is Ankh-Morpork based on London?


When I first starting reading the Discworld books, I was convinced that it was meant to be Tel-Aviv (or an dystopian, distant future version of it). The evidence was compelling:

  • A sprawling, crowded, essentially unplanned, but vital city that never sleeps (or sleeps with one eye open)
  • Inhabitants of all sorts in a desperate struggle for survival—but who wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else
  • A river runs through it—that you really don’t want to fall into
  • Social dynamics straight out of Life of Brian

and the biggest hint of all:

  • Ankh Morpork is a corruption of “Ach—no pork!”

Over time, however, and much to my dismay, it became apparent that it is based on London, after all.


(Originally written in reply to a question at

2 thoughts on “Is Ankh-Morpork based on London?

  1. I struggle to think of a writer with whom I instantly fell in love as precipitously as Pratchett z”l. Had to fight the feeling that he was imitating my own style . Two facts stood in the way of that conjecture: 1) he was awesomely better at it than I, and 2) he had been writing years before I discovered a fictional muse of any ilk.
    Ok, your answer is logically defensible, although the wry social comment betrays an ‘agenda’ of sorts. Loved the list of ‘strange coincidences. I blithely gave no thought to the inspiration for the locale, thinking, if at all, China?
    n.b. I do wish I had the perseverance to access quoro (sp) but any public site which needs a birth-certificate and 3 DNA samples just to gawk at is, by my executive order, banned from entry to my computer.


  2. Thanks Jonathan. I just came across this mention of Discworld and have been meaning to reread the series si this will inspire me to to so. I like Pratchett’s SF a lot so it will be a pleasure.


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