I think I wrote about this before, but I’m not sure where I stashed it. It was some months ago, & I said something along the lines of, that although we’ve had plenty of warning, that when Sir Terry Pratchett finally shuffles off this mortal coil how bereft I would be. I wrote that this lovely old chap, who as Neil Gaiman says, burns & seethes with barely contained righteous anger & who isn’t really that avuncular old chap many perceived him as, this amazing fellow had been so much a part of my life since as far back as I can reliably remember, that his passing would leave me like the passing of a dear family friend. His books have made me laugh & cry, & above all made me think. And he wrote SO MUCH, and SO WELL. 40 Discworld novels, 70 books all told. I think I probably said that I was glad he was handing off to his daughter Rhianna, that she was a pretty darned excellent writer in her own right, and that anyone whose first & favourite old school game was MAZOGS on the ZX81 couldn’t be bad or wrong.
Well, it’s happened. I expected it, but yeah, that. It’s fucked up that he was ripped away from us at 66, that the disease that took him was one that attacked the very things that his identity was built upon – his imagination & his way with words. This gets me more than losing Leonard Nimoy. Leonard was special of course, but I never met Leonard. I did meet Sir Terry, and he was great – he signed not just my book but also a couple I’d got for friends who couldn’t make it, and he dedicated each one with a personal message to that person. A lot of people would be just *bosh* *scribble* there you go, generic squiggle, that’ll be a tenner, but no Sir Terry asked about my friend’s unusual name & when I told him its meaning nodded approvingly – it was a girl’s name, and it meant “rage”. Being the awkward aspie I am I got nervous & took my books & hastened out but I’m glad he took the time.
I first read “The Colour of Magic” in the early 80s after reading a review by Dave Langford in the old-school White Dwarf magazine before Games Workshop went all “in house games only”, back when they had Thrud the Barbarian & Gobbledigook as their regular comic strips, and published scenarios for all kinds of round the table RPGs like traveller & D&D, Call of Cthulhu and so on. Dave was spot on of course, and so from about 13-14yo I was hooked. My wife will tell you similar, and my brother in law’s shelves are festooned with not only Discworld books but also DW memorabilia – a resin sculpture of The Luggage for example, and Death.
Since his passing earlier today, it seems from Twitter that he was indeed universally loved. It’s not just me & my geeky family. It’s hundreds of thousands of us. We all lost someone significant today. My thoughts in particular are with those who knew him better, and especially his family & close friends. If I, a mere reader & fairly lazy collector of his books, can feel this bad that he’s gone, you guys… We all knew he was going, we knew for ages, but…
So anyway, before I start sobbing, I’ll raise another glass of wine & say “Here’s to you, Pterry!” – if you want to honour his memory, there’s a justgiving page here: