The death of the wonderful Sir Terry Pratchett was announced on Thursday of a series of tweets from his daughter:
AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.
"Terry took Death's arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.
Anyone who has read his Discworld novels will know that Death always talks in capitals. Now he has met his creation in the non-flesh.
His death led the news on all channels, and the reports lasted for up to half the newscast. O Friday it was front-page news.
This must have been a mystery to anyone not familiar with the world he created. If that's you, it really is your loss.
The books started out as a gentle nudge at fantasy books, but turned into a view of our own world, from a skewed and very funny angle. Endlessly witty and inventive, Sir Terry created a world simultaneously like and unlike our own, which helped us to see the comedy in everyday life.
I read the first, The Colour of Magic, when it first came out, and after that never missed one. If you have never read any of the books, I suggest starting at the beginning and working your way through. I am jealous of the fascinating journey you will have before you reach the 40th and last.
Because of the popularity of the character of the Librarian at Unseen University (the wizards' university, where magic was constantly escaping from the books, and an errant spell turned the Librarian into a conveniently agile and long-armed orang utan) Terry took an interest in the fate of these creatures and visited a rescue centre in Borneo to make a TV programme. His fortune (he sold over 70 million books) helped him to support the Trust for their conservation financially.
Two other causes entered his life of necessity. Several years ago he was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers. He made contributions to research, and took part in a film about his quest for a cure for what he called an "embuggerance". He was also passionate about assisted death, determined not to hang on beyond where his life was tolerable.
He died aged just 66, naturally, with his cat on his bed and his family around him. He was writing until relatively recently - he could only dictate his words, having lost the ability to type.
I can only repeat, if you have not read any of the Discworld novels, please give yourselves a treat. They are not his only works, but they are truly inspiring and amusing to the nth degree.
I will finish with my own favourite moment. Some Trolls who are fully accepted members of Discworld society form a group. Being rock, they are pretty thick. But when they form a (sorry) rock group, they can only manage to count themselves in by saying, "One, two, one, two, many, lots."
A modest but great man has left the planet.
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