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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 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!

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