Day 13 – Your favorite writer
Sir Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett is probably more famous in the UK than he is everywhere else in the world. For most of the world, he can be regarded as a more obscure writer that you only know about if you are an avid fantasy fan. With the internet, this is not as true as it was ten years ago, but from what I’ve seen while traveling, his books aren’t showcased in shop windows, nor are they usually in the front with the best sellers.
However, in England, Terry Pratchett’s latest book (there is a new one usually by the time the last goes into paperback) is always at the front of the store. Any bookshop will have at least a dozen different titles, though practically no book shop has all of them. Believe me, I’ve looked.
Even if you haven’t read his books, you’ve most likely heard his name. Author of the Discworld series, Terry Pratchett is the author of a whopping 70+ books, 50 of them relating to the Discworld series.
He has received a knighthood for his services for Literature, has won multiple (and I do mean MULTIPLE) awards for his books, and his Discworld novel ‘Snuff’ is the UKs 3rd fastest selling new release at 55,000 copies in three days.
For an author just starting out, like myself, Pratchett’s achievements are astounding. He currently releases at least a book a year in a series that any fan will tell you is chocked full of wonderful descriptions, amazing and interesting characters, and side splittingly hilarious jokes.
From the beginning of ‘The Colour of Magic’, the first book in the Discworld Series.
The Great Turtle was a mere hypothesis until the day the small and secretive kingdom of Krull, whose rim-most mountains project out over the Rimfall, built a gantry ‘and pulley arrangement at the tip of the most precipitous crag and lowered several oBservers over the Edge in a quartz windowed brass vessel to peer through the mist veils.
The early astrozoologists, hauled back from their long dangle by enormous teams of slaves, were able to bring back much information about the shape and nature of A’Tuin and the elephants but this did not resolve fundamental questions about the nature and purpose of the universe.
For example, what was Atuin’s actual sex? This vital question, said the Astrozoologists with mounting authority, would not be answered until a larger and more powerful gantry was constructed for a deep-space vessel. In the meantime they could only speculate about the revealed cosmos.
There was, for example, the theory that A’Tuin had come from nowhere and would continue at a uniform crawl, or steady gait, into nowhere, for all time. This theory was popular among academics.
An alternative, favoured by those of a religious persuasion, was that A’Tuin was crawling from the Birthplace to the Time of Mating, as were all the stars in the sky which were, obviously, also carried by giant turtles. When they arrived they would briefly and passionately mate, for the first and only time, and from that fiery union new turtles would be born to carry a new pattern of worlds. This was known as the Big Bang hypothesis.
Now, if all this wasn’t enough to make you bow down in honour, if it wasn’t quite epic enough to make you tremble like a love struck fan girl in his presence, because we are surely in the presence of a literary God, the truly astounding and awe inspiring fact is that Terry Pratchett, for the last 9 years (publicly announced in 2007,) has been suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s. His disease, previously thought to have been a stroke in 2004/2005, has not slowed Pratchett down. Instead, it seemed to have sped up his desire to get out as much as possible while he still can.
Since the believed onset of his disease, Pratchett has released multiple books, has closely overseen creation of 3 movies adapted from his books (most made for TV, or released straight to DVD instead of cinema release) and has continued work on foundations and other interests. He has taken part in TV features about Alzheimers and the right to physician assisted death.
He’s been known to say it’s because he wants to do as much as he can before his disease takes it from him, before it takes it from his fans.
In short, this man is one of my inspirations. I have other inspirations, and there are other authors I admire a great deal, but Terry Pratchett… I just can’t find enough words to say how much I admire him. As an author, he has created one of the most detailed and rich worlds I have ever seen, and after 20 years and 40+ books, is still going strong with intricate plots and fascinating characters.
As a man, he is astounding. He is intelligent, witty, courageous, and just… I can’t find more words.
He is my inspiration.