Tag Archives: Discworld

Terry Pratchett—”bystanders to byrunners to bystampeders”

I will miss the writer Terry Pratchett.

He was a master.

I came to the Pratchett game late. I don’t know what rock I lived under, but I did eventually see the light and find his work. The Discworld novels, the Tiffany Aching books, DEATH, Hogfather, the collaboration with Neil Gaiman, GOOD OMENS. It makes my head spin to consider the volume of outstanding art he produced.

He was a master.

There’s been this vision in my mind of a huge two story wall existing in some secret location which served as a Discworld storyboard. I imagine illustrations of characters, storylines, locations, and a sapient pearwood trunk—all on an octarine background floating on the back of the Great A’Tuin. Truly a piece of wall art one could spent a decade studying. Maybe someday…

Terry Pratchett died March 12, 2015 from his Alzheimer’s. His speech on his Alzheimer’s is magnificent and can be read in a past post. It is a bit depressing to think of the stories he did not get to paper. The volumes of ideas nature kept for itself and we will never see. I think a good life goal will be to read every Terry Pratchett book published. I will give it a try, I believe.

Here’s an example of Terry Pratchett’s genius. It is from his latest (and 40th) Discworld book, RAISING STEAM.

“Most of them arrived in time to see something heading out toward them, panting and steaming, with fast-spinning wheels and oscillating rods eerily appearing and disappearing in the smoke and the haze, and on top of it all, like a sort of king of smoke and fire, Dick Simnel, his face contorted with the effort of concentration. It was faintly reassuring that this something was apparently under the control of somebody human—although the more thoughtful of the onlookers might have added “So what? So’s a spoon,” and got ready to run away as the steaming, dancing, spinning, reciprocating engine cleared the barn and plunged on down the tracks laid in the field. And the bystanders, most of whom were now byrunners, and in certain instances bystampeders, fled and complained, except, of course, for every little boy of any age who followed it with eyes open wide, vowing there and then that one day he would be the captain of the terrible noxious engine, oh yes indeed. A prince of the steam! A master of the sparks! A coachman of the Thunderbolts!”

RaisingSteamCover

Bystanders to byrunners to bystampeders…

Nobody can do it like Terry Pratchett did.

Rest in peace, Sir.

You will be missed.

MidnightCover GoingPostalCoverWeeFreeMenCover

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Reads

Terry Pratchett’s Alzheimer’s Speech

Terry Pratchett’s Alzheimer’s Speech in Full

“Soon after I told the world (about his Alzheimer’s diagnosis) my website fell over and my PA had to spend the evening negotiating more bandwidth.

I had more than 60,000 messages within the first few hours.

Most of them were readers and well-wishers.

Some of them wanted to sell me snake oil and I’m not necessarily going to dismiss all of these, as I have never found a rusty snake.”

Terry Pratchett is one of the most talented writers of our time.  A satirist known for his Discworld series and for GOOD OMENS, co-written with Neil Gaiman, the creations he crafts are extremely entertaining and humorous.  Personally, I just discovered his work not long ago.  I don’t know what rock I have been living under, but I am glad I’ve finally seen the light.

Neil Gaiman may have given Mr. Pratchett the ultimate writer compliment in his comments on working with Terry Prachett on GOOD OMENS.

“Terry is that rarity, the kind of author who likes Writing, not Having Written, or Being a Writer, but the actual sitting there and making things up in front of a screen. At the time we met, he was still working as a press officer for the South Western Electricity board.  He wrote four hundred words a night, every night: it was the only way for him to keep a real job and still write books.  One night, a year later, he finished a novel, with a hundred words still to go, so he put a piece of paper into his typewriter, and wrote a hundred words of the next novel.”

It is a cruel fate with his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.  No matter how prolific Mr. Pratchett can be, there will still be a wonderful tale trapped in his brain without synaptic release for all of us to enjoy.

Thank you, Sir Terry Pratchett, for all you have done and all you will do.  Keep pushing forward.

Humor in the face of tragic news. Hope over despair.  Courage over fear.  And (which would make Hemingway proud), grace under pressure.  Class.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reads, Writes