The world is a smaller place with the death of Terry Pratchett, whose Discworld books entertained and delighted us for so many years. If you look at comments on his death, you hear over and over again from young men who say that his books were the only ones that got them reading, the only ones they enjoyed, that they were the magic portal to the world of reading. Even if he had achieved only that, what a recommendation that would be. But his books were so much more than that.
In an entry on Men at Arms in May 2013 I said this:
We cannot be the only readers who assumed for a long time that Terry Pratchett books were not for us – some combination of sci-fi and Young Adult, aimed at a teenage boy’s sense of humour. Fortunately for some of us, we were forced to read them by the teenage boy, and found them to be funny, clever, endlessly inventive, satirical and often quite affecting.That entry was about the Clowns’ Funeral and I was particularly proud of this picture:
‘Have you got any special low terms for witches?’And in return we made Granny and Nanny look fabulous for their night at the opera.
‘Yeah, how about “meddling, interfering old baggages”?’
Monstrous Regiment is another favourite, and one that made CiB come over all political. The blogpost on it starts like this:
There’s a one-star review of this book on amazon which includes this:
anti patriotic, anti monarchist and very left wing. I don't think that the author should be attempting to indoctrinate the youth of today with such a clearly biased, left wing book.One can only hope to buy a copy for every member of the youth of today: it's a political, satirical and quite stern book – very funny, but when it’s not being funny it’s sad, and it is indeed a brilliant anti-war document.
Ambrose Bierce in The Devil’s Dictionary says that an army is
a class of non-producers who defend the nation by devouring everything likely to tempt an enemy to invade.Pratchett’s army is, on the whole, something like that.
Leimomi Oakes of the Dreamstress website spent five years years recreating Polly Oliver’s uniform, as seen above.
All Pratchett fans know that DEATH is a recurring character in his books, and he always talks in capital letters. His family gave the news of Terry Pratchett’s death in two Tweets:
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.Personally I think he’s dancing the Double Entry Polka, with that band of travelling accountants, round a campfire somewhere in the mountains.