Terry Pratchett: 1948 – 2015

Several days ago, the literary world lost a beloved man. However, like most people with titles (which is a great many of us), he was not merely a man. He was an author, a dreamer, a myth maker, a builder of entire worlds. Builders of world are usually a serious lot: creating trees and dirt and people and entire nations only to fiercely judge them and cast lightning on the poor man who makes the mistake of forsaking them. However, Sir Terry Pratchet showed us that it’s not all serious business. He liked to have fun when building his worlds, adding humor to a literary genre that tried to stay true to the tragedies of life no matter how many made-up creatures or unlikely scenarios there are.

I first came upon the Disc World series when I was taking a summer course at the University of Brighton. There was a book sale going on outside of their library and I bought a copy of “The Colour of Magic” (and you could tell that it was the British edition since color was spelled with a “U”) for about five pounds. I knew I would enjoy the book when I read the humorous “About the Author” blurb. When I read the book, I was introduced to Rincewind the flawed wizard and his magical sentient chest with working legs. I was also introduced to the people and odd happenings of Ankh-Morpork. Of course, I was no different than anyone else who read the book since they were ALL introduced to this. It was the first in a very long series after all.

Pratchett may not have lived quite to the old age that we wanted him to, but he was privileged to be given many years to hone his skill and create his characters. He has inspired beginning authors far and wide even before the age of the internet. Like Walt Disney and Charles Schultz, his creations have stuck with him and have embedded themselves in popular culture to the point where they mind as well be real to us. This is especially telling in the beautiful posthumous tweets that were posted on his Twitter:

And so, Terry now lives in the same place where his fictional characters reside: in our hearts and minds. Thank you, Sir Terry Pratchett. You may be gone but you have left definitely left your mark. I have only read one book in the Disc World series but I will make it a goal to read more and uncover your world of absurdities and impossibilities, one that will continue on for as long as we’d like it to.