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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.

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I was introduced to Pratchett in middle school, by the manager of the local Waldenbooks where mom used to drop me off while she shopped. It was a good arrangement - I'd sit there and read quietly, and she'd buy me a book when she got back. Cheaper than a babysitter, and the manager was a brilliant man who introduced me to a lot of good books, Pratchett's works and Gaiman's works chiefly among them. I honestly think he was some sort of wizard in disguise, because those books were exactly what I needed right then. They were my light in a very dark place, and as I devoured them (either by saving pocket money or getting them from the library), the cornerstones of my personal morality were being built. He was one of the authors that formed the trellis that helped me grow into who I am today, and I am forever grateful for that. He really understood the essence of humanity, in all its goodness and badness, and distilled it into such poetry that the words echo around the world. He will be missed.

(Also the comparison to Pratchett is certainly apt - Digger's sensibility and attitude is something that would have made him smile, I think)

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