Terry Pratchett passed away today. I’ve known about his Alzheimer’s for years but despite everything I was always hoping he’d be with us for a while longer, certainly longer than 66 which is no age to die at all. And while Alzheimer’s is a tragedy for anyone, how much more cruel it is to happen to one of the sharpest, brightest minds in writing.
I’ve been a huge fan of Discworld for ages – I think read Carpe Jugulum first and then worked my way through the rest of the novels in a rather haphazard manner. It was and remains one of my most-loved fictional universes. I loved the inventiveness, the silliness mixed with the seriousness, the wit, the ear for dialogue, the social commentary and satire, but I think that what drew me in most of all was the sheer love Pratchett had for his characters. So, so many memorable characters – Sam Vimes, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Vetinari, Cohen the Barbarian, the Librarian, Death, Susan, the wizards, the witches, the Watch, the gods. To be totally honest, I haven’t truly loved a Discworld novel since Wintersmith; the later books had their moments but Terry’s illness undoubtedly took a toll. Still, I feel so sad at the thought that all those characters’ stories have come to an end and there will never be a new Discworld novel to look forward to again. Unless someone continues them of course, but it will never be the same.
I don’t believe in afterlife but sometimes when a person like Terry Pratchett leaves this world I’d really really like for one to exist. I’d like to think that right now Terry is walking the black desert while having a deep conversation with Death on what a puzzling species humans are. And that whatever awaits him at the end of the desert is awesome.