Inspirations – Terry Pratchett

30 Jan

When considering what has shaped me as a writer, I always start at Terry Pratchett (see little fact sheet at the end).

When I was a kid, my older brothers used to read Terry Pratchett nonstop. I picked up Hogfather when I was about ten, read a couple of chapters and stopped as it was all a bit over my head (my head standing not that high from the ground at the time. I decided that Terry Pratchett was boring, which just goes to show how wrong a snooty ten-year-old can be.

A couple of years later, I unwrapped Jingo on Christmas morning. After I dutifully thanked my grandmother she said ‘Oh. That was for Mattie.’ This did not stop me from keeping it. Or reading it. It was still partly over my head, but I loved it. From that point I read most of the Watch books in a completely random order – Men at Arms, Guards! Guards!, Feet of Clay and so on before breaking into the Witches – Wyrd Sisters, Maskerade, Witches Abroad and to date have read nearly all his books. I will confess that some, such as Moving Pictures, I started but never finished.

Pratchett’s combination of humour and depth has always intrigued me. As he has developed as a writer his books have become more serious but his characters, I feel, have become more compelling. His development of Commander Vimes from a drunkard to a loving father and political figure has been beautifully done, turning a small, broken man into something spectacular.  I also particularly love Granny Weatherwax the witch and Angua, the werewolf serving in the Ankh Morpork City Watch.

I do not expect there to be many more Terry Pratchett novels, and this is an enormous loss to the science fiction genre and to the world. I really recommend everybody reads at least one Discworld book in their lifetime – a standalone like Monstrous Regiment perhaps, or Men at Arms – I think that one is a good place to start.

 

Sir Terry Pratchett was born in 1948 and is a prominent fantasy writer and humanist. He has written in the region of 56 novels, lives in England, and really likes fedora hats. He was diagnosed with a rare form of Early Onset Alzheimer’s in 2007, and has since been an enormous supporter of Alzheimer’s research, and has also expressed support for assisted suicide/euthanasia.

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4 Responses to “Inspirations – Terry Pratchett”

  1. Kirsty January 30, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

    I can not agree more, everyone should read at least one Discworld novel or the Wee Free Men/Tiffant Aching series. Brilliant author, can not believe the trouble he is facing through illness x

    • Tapdancing Lexicon January 31, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

      I know, it really depresses me to think about his illness. You just know that he has so much more to give.

  2. Jenni January 30, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    This is a deep and thought-provoking comment designed to inpsire discussion about your post, turning this static piece of writing in to a dynamic and social event.

    😛

    • Tapdancing Lexicon January 31, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

      This comment agrees with you in principal but feels that you are somewhat lacking in understanding of the finer points and suggests that you, sir, are a buffoon.

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