I have been back and forth on this blog for a number of reasons. Firstly this weeks subject does not technically fit into the criteria I set myself, secondly I really don’t think I can do the man the justice he deserves. However on further deliberation I have decided it would be a bigger crime not to try, so here goes…..
Sir Terry Prachett is by far the best fantasy author working in Britain today. Even if you factor in a certain JK Rowling I would without question still give him that title. Prachett has, over the last few decades cranked out a staggering number of books of consistently great standard. He has created a living, breathing world with fleshed out characters who are instantly recognizable and continue to have interesting and unique adventures. There is more thought and care put into his work than by other more “serious” fiction writers, in short he is a genius.
Part of Prachett’s
problem has always been people can’t pigeon hole his work. He is not a
“Straight” fantasy writer, he injects far to much satire and humor into
his books for that, and on the flip-side his books are far to serious to
be comedy. Instead he sits sort of in the middle being not one or the
other, and getting less than half the praise he deserves.
In 2007 he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, but rather than resting on his laurels and being proud of his legacy he actually increased his output, something I suspect he will do until he simply cannot write any more. He has also donated a huge amount of money to Alzheimer’s research and become an avid campaigner of the disease* speaking at numerous functions and tirelessly banging the drum for how little funding this disease gets**
But I don’t want to dwell on that, I want to talk about his legacy, the wonderful Discworld.
The charm of the Discworld, as I have mentioned before is it’s characters. From a trio of witches who are more midwives than murderers to city watch that is far from cannon fodder and more useful than any army. Sir Terry takes the standard troupes of fantasy and turns them neatly on their heads. In doing so he has created a wealth of memorable characters such as Commander Vimes, Granny Weatherwax, Mustrum Ridicully and of course Rincewind. Each character is unique and always ripe fodder for any story Prachett has to offer.
The truth is I could go on all day about how much I love this man’s work and about how much I respect him and all he has achieved. But I won’t, instead I will urge you to seek out his work (if you haven’t already done so) and understand why those of us that have, cherish him so.
*The more cynical among you might say this is because he is now affected by it, perhaps that is true but I suspect you or I would be no different.
** 3% shamefully.
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