Books

Goodbye, Terry Pratchett

Oh, bugger. Bugger, bugger bleepin’ SHITE BUGGER.

I took Leonard Nimoy’s death in stride. He was an icon in so many things that I loved, but I could deal.

I feel like Robin Williams is still hiding somewhere. That he’s going to come out from somewhere, honk our nose, say an off-color joke in some accent (probably Irish). We’ll laugh, and it’ll all be fine again. After all, he’s our genie, isn’t he?

But Terry Pratchett is gone, and it has hit me hard.

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Terry Pratchett. I remember discovering Discworld in my school library. Somewhat ironic, having a book taking the piss at gods in general hiding in plain sight in the middle of a Methodist school library. Here was a series, that while fantastical, took everything a little bit tongue in cheek. Yes, there was Death, but there was also Death of Rats. I fell in love instantly. I borrowed all the books I could there, and I think I finished those in the school pretty quick. It soon became my one of my life’s mission to read every Discworld book, in order (I haven’t gotten to the spin-offs like the Science of Discworld and the like). I am glad that in my trip to London last year, I decided to buy a hardcover of Raising Steam, which is I guess now the last book he finished.

Discworld was (is) the cornerstone of my reading habit. While I discovered him together with other authors like Neil Gaiman, I have fallen in and out of love with them now and then. Pratchett, I have always and will always love. Since I discovered him, I do not believe that I have gone a year without reading (or rereading) a book of his. That is about eighteen to twenty years of my life that Terry Pratchett and his characters have traveled with me. I grew up with Mort and Death, and matured with Vimes and the guards.

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But that travel is over. No more will we read about their adventures aboard the Great A’Tuin as he swims across the cosmic sea.

A few years back, I found out that Terry Pratchett was battling Alzheimers. Because of that, I always knew this day was an eventuality. I think the urgency I rushed to get each of his later books stemmed from some sort of unconscious acknowledgement of the possibility, even though I refused to say so.

Terry Pratchett always hated his illness, with a white hot seething rage that I was very surprised lurked in him. He always looked like the Nanny Ogg of the witches, not the Weatherwax. But I could understand. After all, it was so UNFAIR. To have all those stories inside you, and not knowing when it would close shut. And he wanted to go on his own terms, even going so far as to talk to the press, or give a speech about assisted death.

I also intend, before the endgame looms, to die sitting in a chair in my own garden with a glass of brandy in my hand and Thomas Tallis on the iPod, the latter because Thomas’s music could lift even an atheist a little bit closer to Heaven, and perhaps a second brandy if there is time.

I hope he got to accomplish that.

A chapter of my life is forever, and irrevocably closed.

kakita

Singapore’s resident Press Ganger, that is, the man to go to for Privateer Press’ WARMACHINE, and HORDES. Kakita also dabbles in Games Workshop’s WARHAMMER FANTASY and WARHAMMER 40K lines.

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