Thursday, March 12, 2015

terry's all cold

This is by way of a brief RIP tribute to Terry Pratchett, who died today aged 66. I had a bit of a splurge of reading Pratchett's books 25 or so years ago which basically took in the first seven Discworld novels, which still occupy a small area of shelf space in my bookshelves, as you can see below.

Like Douglas Adams, Pratchett was first and foremost a comic writer, the weird fantasy universe he chose to set the books in merely being the one which most readily allowed him to explore whatever real-world topic he felt like satirising without having to laboriously conjure a different world into being for each book. I have to say that in my view the books weren't as funny or as interesting as Adams' books, but that's probably partly because Adams didn't write very many and Pratchett was ridiculously prolific, so there's the (probably irrational) sense of the ideas being spread more thinly.

Anyway, my recollection, which may be wrong, was that I bought the last two or three of my Pratchetts roughly as they were published in paperback (Pyramids was published in 1989), and, having read the last one, decided that that was all great, thanks very much, and they'd all been very enjoyable, but that I'd got the idea and didn't really have the urge to read any more.

As it happens my withdrawal from Pratchett-reading was well-timed, as having (up to that point) produced seven books in about the same number of years, Pratchett ratcheted up his productivity to the extent of cranking out another 26 Discworld books in the next 15 years, and eventually 41 overall, so that's an awful lot of reading I'd have been signing up for.

Pratchett is also famous for his advocacy for Alzheimer's sufferers, having been diagnosed with a rare form of the disease at an unusually young age, and also for the right to die (assisted dying, assisted suicide, call it what you will). He was also a vocal atheist and had links to both the British Humanist Association (their excellent tribute is here) and the National Secular Society. All of which makes him a good bloke in my book.

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