"If it wasn't for the fun and money, I really don't know why I'd bother."
—Terry Pratchett, alt.fan.pratchett
Fantasy author (April 28, 1948—March 12, 2015). A Knight Bachelor
(i.e. Sir Terry Pratchett OBE), he was described as the most shoplifted author in Britain (belying an American critic who once claimed that he hadn't found his audience).
Most famous for the Discworld
series, but this was not his only work. Some of the other stuff he's written:
Pratchett's trademark was his sense of humor — relying on wordplay, spoofing mythology and popular culture (though he usually doesn't include current events in his work lest the books become dated), and publishing in genres ranging from fantasy to detective fiction to political thriller (often combining all three
), rarely has there been found a phrase that he cannot turn, and there are few subjects that Pterry (as his fans have affectionately dubbed him
) won't make at least a passing
attempt to skewer on the end of a sharp metaphor. What Douglas Adams
was to science fiction, Pratchett was to fantasy.
Outside of fiction, Pratchett was well-known for his sharp wit and keen awareness of human nature (and the innumerable failings thereof); one of his more popular quotes claims that the fundamental problem of the human race is that we're trying to achieve world peace and understand the very structure of the universe "using a language which was designed to tell one another where the best fruit was."
He was a trustee of the Orangutan Foundation
, by virtue of a liking for the animal and featuring it in the Discworld
series as the Librarian.
Known to have been One of Us
, for example, was originally created for a game of Dungeons & Dragons
he played) and enjoyed a few computer games like Half-Life2
and fan missions of Thief
. His daughter Rhianna
is a writer for video games, notably the Overlord
series, Mirror's Edge
, Heavenly Sword
and the reboot of Tomb Raider
- he has stated that he is happy for her to take over running Discworld (although she won't be writing new books: "They’re sacred, they’re Dad’s legacy and Im the protector of Discworld and that means protecting it from myself as well.")
In 2007, he announced that he had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, which he typically referred to as an "embuggerance". He didn't let it get him down, though his condition advanced to the point where he couldn't write or type. Not that that stopped him releasing a book or two a year through dictation
. Also in typical fashion, he said while he appreciated the sentiment, he asked that only those fans of his with a background in the study of brain chemistry ask him questions like, "Is there anything I can do?"
Pratchett had said that the Discworld
series would probably never end; what will
end Discworld, he said, is sheer overcrowding — the City Watch books were already problematic in that regard, as it's hard to write a story set in Ankh-Morpork that doesn't somehow involve the Watch (at which point it becomes
a Watch book, regardless of his original plot outline
), which presumably explains the creation of protagonist Moist Von Lipwig, who by virtue of his past profession was able to be both a powerful and influential city figure while wishing to have nothing to do with the Watch.
He became Sir Terry, after being included in the 2008 Christmas Honours list, and was reportedly "flabbergasted". In celebration, he had a sword forged
from Thunderbolt Iron
. In 2010 he received his coat of arms
. As of 2010 he also became Professor at Trinity College, Dublin
. As of 2012 he ran Narrativia Productions, which is in charge of all future adaptations of his work, including the Good Omens
movie and Terry Pratchett's The Watch
. (Narrativia is the Goddess of Narrative, who manifests whenever aspects of a story neatly fit together in a way the writer hadn't expected.)
At a Con in 2009, he announced "I will not die of Alzheimer's. I shall make other arrangements; I'm going to take the disease with me.
" Sure enough, in 2011 he began the process that would lead to his eventual assisted death
. (Ultimately, though, he never got the opportunity to go through with it - complications from his Alzheimer's took him first.)
In 2014, he withdrew from public appearances due to the development of his Alzheimer's, and tragically succumbed to the disease on March 12, 2015. There is debate over whether this was assisted suicide but, having written his Autobiography and released several short stories that he had written earlier in his life, most agree he had made all preparations for his death.
Also the TV Tropes god
of Trope Identification1
1. and footnotes