The world has lost one of its most brilliant minds today. Sir Terry Pratchett has lost his 8 year battle with Alzheimer’s disease at the young age of 66. For those of you who do not know him, he is the writer of the Discworld books, as well as several other novels, totaling about 70 books. His vision of a world that mirrored our own in so many ways is a huge part of my reading rotation, of my nightly sleeping habits, and is responsible for so many moments of pure joy in my life. To say that this is a sad day is an understatement. Today we have lost a man and his unparalleled ability to bring happiness into a world that is filled with heartbreak and evil.
I discovered Discworld about 8 years ago, after hearing from a friend that if I didn’t read these books my life would be empty. I can’t recall which book I read first, but I do remember that as soon as I finished the first book I went right back to the bookstore and bought 3 more. There was no turning back. I had become an addict that quickly.
Sir Terry is the master of satire. His stories weave memorable characters with tales ripped from our own headlines. He made Death seem harmless and showed it leads to greater adventure, he proved to us that one man can change the course of politics and war, he challenged stereotypes and racism, and he gave us the ability to laugh at the silliness of it all. He empowered every reader to challenge the world as it is, and that is a gift that is truly priceless. But he also built a strong fantasy world that we could believe in. He gave us fairy tales with a modern twist, and he allowed all people to discover the child inside of them. My inner child has thrived and been inspired many times while reading and rereading his works.
I would have had many nights lost to insomnia if it weren’t for you, Sir Terry. Your books lie strewn across my library, my room, my heart, and within reach of all of my favorite reading spots in the house. The bindings look a little ragged due to reading them all multiple times, but they have never sat on the shelf long enough to gather dust. You are a true master of the written word, and your understanding of human nature and how ridiculous we really are is truly fantastic.
If Death is as you wrote It, I imagine he came for you, smiled, and said, “So, what are you going to do THIS time?”
If you haven’t read any of his books, I urge you to now. There is a whole world out there waiting for you, a flat, round one, resting on top of four gargantuan elephants, riding across the Universe on the back of an even larger turtle. This world will quickly pull you in, and you will feel like you are home.