Today I woke up to the incredibly sad news that author Sir Terry Pratchett had passed away. Pratchett has brought so much to the world through his books and I think the world is truly a lesser place without him.
I am not going to claim to have read all of his books yet, but I don’t think that excludes me from adoring him as an author and immersing myself in his Discworld creation through quotes and references or from having an intense adoration of him as a person.
Pratchett was a man adored by many people and there are many people who knew him a lot better than most. Neil Gaiman wrote a great piece in his introduction to A Slip of the Keyboard, a collection of nonfiction works by Terry Pratchett. In it he spoke about the man Pratchett was, but also how others seem to know him when they actually didn’t, not the true man anyway. What Gaiman writes is true for many celebrities and famous people. The person on television or seen in interviews, the person you meet at conventions is not who the person really is, and is not the same person that they are to people who really know them. Gaiman’s article reveals a lot about who Terry Pratchett was to him, but it is still just touching the surface to who he was.
The way I appreciate Terry Pratchett is admiring the immense world he has created and the skill and creativity he had to bring Discworld to life in the first place. Not only that, but reading and seeing his thoughts on Alzheimer’s and dying with dignity, and the fact he could make the serious issues funny without taking away its importance, both in real life and in his books. That is why I love him.
I’ll admit I was a late comer to his work. After having seen his books on our bookshelves for years growing up I was never old enough to appreciate who he was or what they were. My first Pratchett book was The Hogfather and I was 19 and at university. Having come into his career so late didn’t worry me and still doesn’t really, what saddens me is not being able to look forward to any more of his works. Though it must be said of him, at over 70 published works he had not left a meagre pile behind.
The world is going to miss the mind and creativity that is Terry Pratchett. There are hundreds of quotes from his books that are profound and beautiful, that talk about the simple things in life, the humorous, and those that question the makeup of the real world. What I noticed about Pratchett was his ability to look at life through the eyes of fiction and fantasy and through quirkiness and peculiar characters use them as a way to discuss the world.
At only 66 years old it is a shame to lose him so early but as Pratchett himself wrote in Reaper Man, “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away” and I do not see that happening anytime soon.