In Praise of Pratchett: Introduction

Terry Pratchett by Josh Kirby

It’s only a couple of months since we lost Sir Terrance David John Pratchett, to the grief of all. After the public outpourings, people seem to have settled into their own, private thoughts at the loss of Terry, and Discworld, and all those wonderful people within it, though the wound will once again become public in August when the last ever Discworld book, Tiffany Aching’s The Shepherd’s Crown, will be published.
A few days after the news, I sat down to re-read my favourite Discworld book of all, the 2002 Sam Vimes novel, Night Watch. I meant no more than a reaction to a book, to the loss of those characters who had come to be the most important of Pratchett’s creation, who would never develop further, never grow older than they were when last Pratchett had written about them.
A commenter, ‘G’, asked if I was going to blog about more of Pratchett’s books.
I’d never really thought about doing that before. Unlike many of the things I’ve blogged about on here, Pratchett and Discworld have a massive, world-wide, knowledgeable and, in places, near fanatic audience. Who am I to start interpreting Terry’s work to others who know the subject at least as well, if not better, than I do myself? What insight have I that has not been shared by millions of others? What can I say that hasn’t been said, to better effect, by others?
On the other hand, I was there from almost the start. I bought The Colour of Magic in paperback (I have, in fact, bought it three times to date, which, given that I happen to think it a long way inferior to every other Discworld novel, carries a tale in itself).
But the John Crowley re-read/review is complete, and a complete reading of Discworld is mandated, and I’ve discovered to my pleasure that there are lots of things in even familiar books that don’t get seen until you go looking for them, so for the next few months I’m going to re-read the entire works of one of the funniest, most thoughtful, and serious authors to have enlivened and enlightened the times in which I’ve lived.
And you’re all invited to start arguments with me in the space below if you don’t like what I might say. Or even if you do.


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