Sir Terry Pratchett, world renowned author of the Discworld Fantasy series as well as many award-winning children’s books, has passed away, a statement from his publishers said that Terry passed away in his home, with his cat sleeping on his bed surrounded by his family on 12th March 2015.
I literally don’t know anyone in my circle of friends whose life hasn’t been touched by Sir Pratchett’s work, directly or indirectly. Admittedly, I am surrounded by people who Americans would say are “in his demographic”.
But that’s not accurate as I believe everyone is in his demographic; personally, I credit his books for keeping me out of proper trouble when I was growing up as it subtly encouraged a desire to think things out before I did something stupid. I still usually did it but at least I thought about it first…
His novels were great reads, his dislike of chapters, his fondness of footnotes, and little nuggets of a deeper philosophy that took shape over the course of his books merged to form a distinctive and pleasant style. The characters in his book were never flat, even a person who was going to die three sentences after appearing would be given some semblance of character. They were also various shades of clever which made them all the more engaging as you followed various chains of thoughts, from a street thug reasoning himself into an earlier grave to a certain Patrician reasoning someone else into one.
Those characters also have an uncanny way of resembling people you know; I know at least three Granny Weatherwaxs (the fun part of this is each of them will think I’m talking about one of the other two), most male fans will generally lay claim to being Sam Vimes or Lord Vetinari, when in fact most of us are Corporal Colon and Private Nobby Nobbs in reality.
That’s the real treasure Terry Pratchett has left behind, he has created a common frame of reference that spans continents and generations. there are conventions held by fans of his books and I sincerely hope they will continue on. His books will still bring smiles to the faces of new and returning readers alike, films based on his work, like The Hogfather, based on a novel of the same name, have become a mandatory entry on most people’s Christmas movies lists. There are also animated films, plays, music acts and games all based on the world his singular mind created.
When he developed a rare form of Alzheimer’s (PCA1) in 2007, he faced it head on, making massive donations to research laboratories and fighting for his right to decide how he left this mortal coil. Shortly after that he was made a knight, an event which led to him forging his own sword out of meteorite rock he gathered himself.
His works, both written and in life, have made the world a much better place for a lot of people and that’s more than most can claim too.
“Light died in the west. Night and tears took the Nation. The star of Water drifted among the clouds like a murderer softly leaving the scene of the crime.”
― Terry Pratchett, Nation
(This was his favourite piece of music)