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Of Small Gods and Great Men

I remember reading Pratchett for the first time, back in my early twenties. I went to Dreamhaven in Minneapolis, where they had the UK imports with the Kirby covers, and I would buy one every few weeks when I could afford them.

I enjoyed the first few--they were fun enough to keep reading--and then I got to Small Gods and I remember actually yelling at the book "Where were you when I was sixteen and needed you?"

Then I found the guards and Granny Weatherwax and...well, yeah.

Eventually I found people who also understood these things. I am not saying that you have to love Pratchett to be cool, but a great many cool people do love Pratchett. (I also remember the point where I completely wrote off a job when I tried to explain Hogfather to the boss and he told me that it sounded really stupid.)

Reviewers compare my writing to Pratchett's occasionally. It is enormously flattering and also a bit frightening. That is a terrifyingly high bar to set a book up to clear, and very few books can actually stick the landing. I suspect that by now the readers have learned to be a little skeptical of such reviews, because no one did it like he did.

It's easy to be funny. It's hard to be humane. To put both on the same page and not give the reader whiplash is a rare and extraordinary talent.

I'm glad he finished the Aching books before he left.

I was sad to hear of the death of Terry Pratchett. He was a wonderful writer, and as far as I know, he was a lovely man.

I said to my husband one day, "You know, Terry Pratchett reminds me of another famous writer."

Husband: Who?

Me: Well, he has deep insight into human nature and writes fabulous prose; some lines are so well phrased that they beg to be read aloud, just to savor their perfection. His books are silly little comedies on the surface, and one can enjoy them on that level if one wishes. But there's also a deeper meaning, and he tells us quite a lot about the human condition, for people who want to listen.

Husband: You can't possibly mean ...

Me: Shakespeare!

Yes, I think Mr. Pratchett was a Shakespeare for our time.

I think the thing I like best about Terry Pratchett's books -- even better than the glorious prose -- is that he thoroughly understands human nature and loves humanity anyway. That's so astonishingly rare and so salutary.

Thanks for all the fun and all the lessons, Mr. Pratchett. I think you probably had a good time while you were here, and I'm glad of that, because you certainly gave a good time to so many others.

Edited at 2015-03-12 07:42 pm (UTC)

I met Sir Pterry once, at the first North American Discworld Symposium; he told me a terribly funny story about the weirdest autograph he had ever signed (while his editor hid her face in her hands) and we discussed tattoos. I wanted to meet him again someday; I hope I can. There are a few authors who've quite literally shaped how I think and how I live: Robert Heinlein, Diane Duane, Andre Norton..... Terry Pratchet. There are others too, and artists as well (looking at *you*, yup, Miz Ursula), and friends and family and even enemies; Sir Pterry's one of the Big Ones.

May he walk freely on, unencumbered by grief or pain, celebrating what he leaves behind and ready to explore what lies ahead. We won't forget him.

Not in a million years. Here's to the Century of the Fruitbat!

Been heartbroken since i heard the news. goddamnit so much.

I'm glad he finished the Aching books before he left.


the Aching books...

I was so sad to hear he's gone.

Regarding the Aching books, does anyone know if he had done much on the fifth book - the one that was due out later this year? I've been looking around the internet, but haven't found any info...

Really kind of hoping it was in some kind of nearly-finished form...just to have One More Book...


He was awesome.

I Am Not A Publisher... but I heard he had finished it last summer.

Oh, lord yes on the Tiffany Aching books! Those were the ones that made *me* go 'where were you when I was younger!?!?"

I am not sure my brain is properly processing this.

Good Omens was actually the first thing I read by either Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman. I found it in the high school library in 10th grade so what... 15?

And I loved it to pieces, but somehow didn't read anything else until probably ten years later? Maybe eight. Far longer than it should have been. I don't even remember how I found it, probably somebody on IRC had suggested it to me. But it was Small Gods, and then Soul Music, and then everything, though I must admit I have not yet read Raising Steam or the latest Tiffany Aching book. I think in part I may have been waiting, not wanting to read the last one.

And Vimes would definitely have appreciated Digger, and so would Granny Weatherwax, so don't you dare sell yourself short.

I will never see a lilac without thinking of him.

By the sound of the comments he hasn't left, it was only his body that had stopped working. His words however will continue to speak to us all.

There are too many too-appropriate lines I could pull from his books. We have all lost someone who has been our friend, in that particular way that is peculiar to being a truly good author. We all hurt.

It's funny you say that about Small Gods, because I did find that one at age 16, and now I'm a hospital chaplain.

Pratchett book was "The Colour of Magic" as a hard cover from the library with a non-Kirby cover. It was the only Pratchett book on the shelf. This was probably in 1983 or so, and I was 15 years old. It was amazing, and I tried to find more of his novels, but between moving away and starting a new school in a big city (to me) I lost track up until I finished university. I have most of his books now, and I am so glad to have found him. I was deeply saddened to hear of his passing. RIP Sir Terry.

Ok. Just did a google search and found that the cover I was thinking of was 1985. So close. Anyway, loved the book.

Edited at 2015-03-13 02:33 am (UTC)

Say not in grief 'he is no more'

But live in thankfulness that he was.

I'd be a worse person without his influence.