->''You who stand before us\\
We have held the stars in the hollow\\
Of our hands, and the stars\\
Burn. Pray be careful now\\
As to how you handle them.\\
We have gone to wait on our new world\\
There is but one\\
It lies at [[TitleDrop the dark side of the sun]].''

One of Creator/TerryPratchett's earliest novels, ''The Dark Side of the Sun'' explores a science fiction setting, although astute readers will note the appearance of several concepts later to appear in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}''.

Dom Sabalos is the heir to the throne of the planet Widdershins, a human colony in a galaxy where there are 52 intelligent races - but oddly all of them inside a sphere 200 light-years in diameter, centred on Wolf 429. Besides this, there are also bizarre stellar phenomena and mysterious towers strewn across the region that speak of {{Precursors}}, known as the Jokers. The mystery underlying the setting is where the Jokers went, the only clue being the poem shown above, which was found on one of the towers.

A secret arm of the human government, using 'probability math' to predict the future, tries repeatedly to assassinate Dom but the universe always conspires to save him for some purpose: which, of course, is to find the truth behind the Jokers' disappearance...

!!Contains examples of:
* ActuallyThatsMyAssistant: Early in the novel, Dom has two people (a man and [[spoiler: a battered antique Class One robot]]) pointed out to him as [[spoiler: Charles Sub-Lunar, the greatest genius of the age,]] and his manservant. It's not until much later that he finds out that [[spoiler: Charles Sub-Lunar was the robot]].
* AnthropomorphicPersonification: Interesting variation--the Creapii are many-tentacled and "galaxy-shaped", and so their mythology viewed the galaxy as being a giant Creap.
* AssassinOutclassin: An important element of the plot. Due to probability mathematics (see the ExpendableAlternateUniverse example below) Dom can do this. His meetings with Ways are often borderline [[CrowningMomentOfFunny CMOFs]] as a result of this, as Ways is pretty much unstoppable, but ''can't quite kill him''
* BizarreAlienBiology: explored quite a bit.
* BizarreSexualDimorphism: Sort of. The phnobes have three sexes, so they're presumably sexually trimorphic -- this is mentioned but not explored further. The swamp igs are hermaphrodites, while the drosks are born male but become female 1/3 of the way into their life.
* BornLucky: Not exactly; here it is a learned ability. Extreme luck is a side effect of learning probability mathematics. More straight example is the robot assassin Ways: he was made with built-in knowledge of probability math, or, in other words, "Ways had been designed to be lucky".
* ChekhovsGunman: subverted. [[spoiler: Charles Sub-Lunar and his assistant are lurking in the background of a number of scenes, but do very little.]]
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: Dom's coronation breakfast is supposed to be the same as the simple, austere one that the puritan, anti-waste religious figure Arte Sadhim ate before he became Lord of Earth.[[labelnote:menu]]A quarter-loaf of brown bread, a strip of salted fish, an apple and a glass of water.[[/labelnote]] However, inevitably each simple item is acquired by some enormously expensive means as he's royal (for example, the glass of water was melted off a comet).
* EncyclopediaExposita: Several, mostly the works of Charles Sub-Lunar.
* ExpendableAlternateUniverse: After studying probability-math (which is like [[Literature/{{Foundation}} psychohistory]] but less so), Dom acquires an ability to sense the {{Alternate Universe}}s where he dies, and take steps not to be in them.
* ExpospeakGag: Several involving the robots. Particularly neat is the scene where Isaac defeats a gang of other robots, which outnumber him but have less sophisticated electronic brains, by informing them that they're not robots, they're "recumbent waterfowl of the genus ''Anatidae''", and then knocking them out while they're trying to work out what he just said. ("I repeat, you are all [[spoiler:sitting ducks]].")
* FantasticRacism:
** Referred to as "shape hatred." Despite being a SuperiorSpecies, the Creapii are divided by caste depending on their living temperature and their size.
** Some humans refer to phnobes as "gecky frogs". This is not a good thing to say.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: The Whole Erse are rather [[{{Oireland}} negative]] Irish sterotypes. 'Erse' itself is an old fashioned term for Irish Gaelige, a fight is compared to "Whole Erse on Slain Patrick's Eve", they apparently are constantly at war with each other and are backwards rurals who are noted for their dancers and potatoes.
* FromASingleCell: The Widdershins googoo (the name is a reference to [[GeniusBonus googols]]) can regenerate someone's entire body working from just a fragment of brain, which is what happens to Dom after an assassination attempt ''[[NoKillLikeOverkill with a black hole]]''.
* GeniusLoci: The First Sirian Bank is a sentient planet, Chatogaster is a sentient sea, and there's a brief mention of a sentient sun having been found elsewhere. "We are now looking for an intelligent gas cloud to complete the elemental quartet".
* HumansAreSpecial: Dom's grandmother is convinced the Jokers' World was Earth and they bred with humans to uplift them. Others pointedly mention that identical theories are believed by just about every other race about their own homeworld.
* HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace: Interspace contains infinite possibilities, meaning unless your ship is shielded you get constant glimpses of distant universes and timelines.
* ImAHumanitarian: Cannibalism is common practice among the Drosks; the other races tend to avert their eyes when seated at the same table with them.
* IncrediblyLamePun: Noted in-universe. The planet Band is so-called not only because it consists of horizontal bands of different kinds of terrain, but also because landing there is banned.
* MadeOfIndestructium: The Joker towers are completely unmarked by any weapon, even Creapii superweapons which take out several nearby star systems.
* MillionToOneChance: Fairly often, thanks to the incredible luck of some characters. For example, in order to prove his identity, robot assassin Ways has to throw three six-sided dice and get three sixes - twice in a row. (That's only a 1 to 46656 chance, of course, but the principle stands.)
* MorphWeapon: The memory sword.
* NeverBringAKnifeToAGunfight: Never bring a single-shot stun gun into a place where every [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy alpha male]] is armed with a two-foot long knife. See also: TooDumbToLive.
* NeverMessWithGranny: Don't cross Joan Sabalos.
* PlayingCardMotifs: The sentient races of the setting. 52 plus the Jokers.
* ProductionForeshadowing: The First Sirian Bank speaks in the same block capitals as Death from the later ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' series.
* TheReptilians: The phnobes, complete with hisssing sspeech.
* RidiculouslyHumanRobots: Ways, the Class Five assassin robot designed to resemble a human.
* SdrawkcabName:
** A star called 'Rats' with a planet called 'Tenalp' is briefly mentioned - aside from being very strange ([[NoodleIncident and not the sort of thing you mention in mixed company]]), we don't hear exactly why they're so called. There's a brief mention of them having "negative entropy", which could suggest that natural processes work in reverse, hence the names.
* SharpenedToASingleAtom: Until the blade shatters when used against a villain gifted in luck manipulation.
* ShoutOut:
** Dom's robot sidekick is named [[Creator/IsaacAsimov Isaac]].
** There are several references to Creator/LarryNiven's work, though more subtle than in ''Literature/{{Strata}}''. For example, a brief description of drosk society sounds like a comically exaggerated version of the Moties from ''Literature/TheMoteInGodsEye''.[[note]]The drosks are born male and later become female as part of their life cycle, which the Moties do the other way around; the Moties' rapid population growth means their civilization moves in cycles of growth and collapse back to the stone age, which they prepare for, while the drosks are said to 'periodically build up an advanced civilization, and then for reasons known only to themselves, carefully dismantle it and revert to barbarism'.[[/note]]
** After an assassination attempt, Dom has a dream where Isaac tries to explain the situation using what appear to be the plot outlines of several well-known series (all of which are shot down by Dom), including {{Literature/Dune}} and [[Literature/TheLordoftheRings The Lord of the Rings]].
* SinglePreceptReligion: The religion of Arte Sadhim has the One Commandment, which is eventually stated to be "You Will Not Waste".
* SpaceWhale: The Sundogs, huge intelligent life-forms native to space who can travel naturally through Interspace and will carry non-matrix engine-equipped ships with them for a fee. They lay their eggs on the planet Band and their young grow up on the surface, being only man-sized when born.
* {{Sssssnaketalk}}: The phnobes.
* StarfishAliens: Dom says most of the alien races are incomprehensible to humans, mentioning the Jovians and the Spooners specifically. The Creapii ''are'' comprehensible but are a more literal example, being many-tentacled in their native form.
* SuperiorSpecies: The Creapii are said to be 'Superhuman', which humans (a term which now includes two other sentient species with similar cultures, and some particularly advanced robots) do not appear to object to.
* SwissArmyGun: The Memory Sword.
* ThreeLawsCompliant: Parodied. Mention is made of the "Eleventh Law of Robotics, Clause C, As Amended", which states that a robot may use necessary force if explicitly instructed to do so by its authorised user.
* TooDumbToLive: "Intelligence is humanity's prime survival trait. Therefore it is well that those who do not possess it do not procreate."
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: The robot assassin Ways, who was an antagonist for almost all the book, is forgotten near the end, and his fate is unknown.
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: Invoked when it's mentioned that "Human" is a legally defined term for a limited subset of intelligent species, including some robots and a planet-sized computer known as the First Sirian Bank. Essentially it's a clear measure of what a Non-Human is. A large number of nom-human beings are still considered ''people'', though.