With the announcement today that Sir Terry Pratchett has been forced to cancel his appearance at the upcoming Discworld convention, it reminds me that we are on track to lose one of the best writers of the last 120 years.
Every fan of the Discworld and all the other wonderful stories of Terry Pratchett has their own memories of him.
Mine is over 20 years old. He was doing a book-tour and came to New Zealand. He even came to Christchurch, the city where I lived.
I took a copy of Mort to be signed. I told Terry about my son, Ash (then 2 years old) and how one day Ash would be his biggest fan.
He signed the copy of Mort to Ash, with the note, “Learn to read kid.”
Later I attended his talk and during the Q&A I asked what his inspiration for the character of Death was. He gave me the oddest look – and then proceeded to talk about it for 20 minutes.
Ash is now 23, and has read every book that Pratchett has written. He did become a huge fan of Sir Terry and I’m a huge fan of Ash.
Death is something Sir Terry has never been afraid to talk about. Even anthropomorphised, death has always been a grave (sorry) figure. Immutable, immortal and while not always welcome, certainly accepted with a calm graciousness that could just be shock on the part of the recently deceased.
This is not a eulogy, for Sir Terry is not dead.
When he is, he will still be a creative force to be celebrated and revered. A great story-teller who embraced life in all it’s phases from beginning to end and through his many books he will be immortal.