On the morning of Friday, 13th of March, the following messages appeared on Terry Pratchett’s twitter feed.
Terry Pratchett’s books have a special place in the hearts of his readers and in the hearts of the Owls Well crew. My personal favourites are Reaper Man and the books in the Tiffany Aching series. Debs favours The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents and Men at Arms. The Boobook’s favourite books are Hogfather and Thief of Time. Even the Barn Owl has his favourites, The Colour of Magic and The Bromeliad Trilogy.
It is difficult to put into words how much the Discworld series, and Terry Pratchett’s other work mean to me. Even now, as I type these words, I cannot help but feel tears streaming down my face as I recall how very alive he was as an author. His books always brimmed with energy. In his work, we could see our own world through a fantasy lens, realising the beauty in it while still recognising the terrible and awful things that needed changing. Back in University, I was able to attend a talk that he held in a small meeting room just off Darling Harbour.
Though the room was packed, he still somehow managed to make his speech feel intimate and friendly. He spoke about having open heart surgery, about cosplayers at Discworld conventions and even chatted to a few of the cosplayers at the talk. After the talk, he sat down to sign everyone’s books and I remember asking him if he had any books about Chinese people. He said he did and handed me a copy of Interesting Times, which he signed with a flourish. A present from him to me, he said. I still treasure that book.
Three days later, the announcement came that he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and yet he kept writing. Even after he could no longer read, he continued to write through dictation. Even now, after his death, there are still a number of books that will be published posthumously. Even though Sir Pratchett has gone, his books and characters will live on. And for that, we are grateful.