‘No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away…’
—Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man.
Sir Terry Pratchett passed away today. He was 66 years old. It wasn’t really a surprise, he announced he was afflicted with Alzheimer’s in 2007.
The surprise has been just how prolific he has been since that grim announcement (his embuggerance, as he called it). He did not go gently into that good night, publishing over a dozen works since his diagnosis.
I admit, my reading knowledge of his work is woefully limited – the Discworld series is somewhere near 40 titles, and that’s pretty intimidating to dive into. But the ½ dozen titles I have read I’ve loved. I may not be intimately familiar with the world of Ankh-Mopork but I always enjoyed my visits and was looking forward to returning. And he co-wrote, with Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite novels of all-time, Good Omens.
I loved his wit, his willingness to challenge the status quo, the way he turned tropes on their head, his lengthy footnotes, his cynicism, streaked with hope for mankind and love for the beauty and wonder it produced.
I loved hearing one of my favorite bands, Steeleye Span, record Wintersmith, an album based on Discworld, with lyrics by Terry.
I loved listening to the recent radio play of Good Omens, and hearing his voice in a brief cameo, it was nice knowing he was still involved with the production.
I loved the way he fought Alzheimer’s to the bitter end, continuing to write and advocate for others with his condition.
But most of all I love seeing the outpouring of love and respect that has overwhelmed Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, seeing how much his life touched my friends and those whose work I admire.
I honestly don’t know how much I can add to the flood of remembrances and eulogies, so I will leave with Terry’s last story, published on his Twitter feed this morning…
” ‘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.
Rest In Peace.