In my last entry, I told you I was going to be on hiatus for the next two weeks while I was on vacation. This would have been the case, had the literary world not received such grim news.
Sir Terry Pratchett, author of the massive Discworld series as well as many other books, has passed away at the age of 66.
I got this news a few days ago, from friends who either posted the article on my personal Facebook wall or sent me a private message. It took a few days for me to figure out what to say. I have decided to share with you my memories of Sir Terry’s books.
I think I bought my first Discworld book when I was sixteen. I had heard the series was very funny, and the sheer number of books bearing the author’s name must have meant he had something going for him, right? The book was called Moving Pictures—one of the more stand alone books in the series—and I was underwhelmed by it.
Perhaps not the best way to start a tribute, but it is the truth. I blame my sense of humour at the time. Sixteen-year-old me simply did not understand British humour or clever references, so I really did not see what everyone thought was so funny.
I came back to Sir Terry a few years later, through Neil Gaiman.
Spurred by a piece of art I’d seen online depicting several characters from Good Omens alongside some of the best quotes in the book, I decided I ought to check it out. I was older now, and found the combined work of Pratchett and Gaiman to be thoroughly enjoyable. It eventually became one of my favourite books. Though the book led me to read more of Gaiman’s fiction, I was eventually steered back into Discworld.
The first Discworld novel I picked up after all those years was Hogfather. My sister, in her infinite love of British television, had downloaded the Sky One mini-series for us to watch at Christmas. It was an enjoyable production, and I made the decision to buy the book to see how different it might have been from the series.
And it was just a downward spiral from there.
My Discworld collection is not yet complete. I have a tendency to buy the books in character-driven chunks. I started with Moist von Lipwig (after seeing Sky One’s Going Postal), going on to Death before stopping mid-way to gather every book with the Lancre Witches. More recently, I began looking into the Watch and the few stand-alone novels. The last book, Raising Steam, brought much excitement and frustration as its release date got moved back a few times for me. It’s tragic to think that it was the last book.
Discworld has inspired me as a writer in many ways. It is what spawned my desire to show the lives of many people in the same world. It encouraged me that, even in dark stories, humour is a great tool to have. It taught me that grammar rules can be broken in the strangest ways for the sake of style and effect.
It created a kinder view of Death.
I’d heard rumours that Sir Terry’s daughter, Rhianna Pratchett, might take over the Discworld series. These rumours started a while ago, with concern to his Alzheimer’s. Would I still read the series if it were penned by someone else, even someone who was so close to the original author? Were these merely rumours, or is there still truth to them? I guess only time will tell.
For now, I thank you, Sir Terry, for the adventures and the laughs and the lessons. May Death have been as affable as you wrote him, and may your words entertain generations for many years to come.