Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Ankh-Morpork! Ankh-Morpork! So Good They Named it Ankh-Morpork

This news makes me very sad. It seems particularly cruel for a writer, a man so known and loved for his mind, to be diagnosed with Alzheimers.

I'd always kind of visualised him marching on through time, rolled up in an ever-growing cloud of Headology experience with all sorts of odd facts and observations getting trapped and absorbed, and it's desperately sad that, high-end experts in brain chemistry notwithstanding, that suddenly seems a lot less likely.

When I was fifteen, I wrote my GCSE English Literature coursework(1) comparing the first three Discworld novels with the first three of Robert Asprin's Myth novels - back when Pratchett was more firmly relegated to the corner marked 'fantasy genre' (and, in fairness, back when his books were closer to straight genre-satire than they have been for a long while). Sorry, Mr Asprin, I stand by my conclusion at the time - Terry kind of wins on all counts. (at the time, I also wrote him a fan letter, to which he replied. This impressed me a very great deal.)

Everytime since, when we've crossed paths at signings and such, he's blown me away with how unfailingly lovely he is to his fans - he was my first ever book signing, and many authors have suffered by comparison to that early experience. The thing I most remember about the interview for my first job is enthusing about Pratchett with the head of the Central Library - I like to think that he got me the job. The annual exchange of his books is a family tradition with my mother in law. (I still remember being really thrown the first Christmas it wasn't a Josh Kirby cover, in fact.) I can't count the hours I've spent in the company of this characters.

But, as he says, he Aten't Dead, and if the man says there's time for a few more books, well - that's something to hope on.

(1) - if there are non-Brit's reading who need a translation of this, drop me a comment and I'll try and explain.

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