A sad day for Fantasy and Comedy fans… last night it was reported that the author Terry Pratchett had died, at the age of 66. That’s far too young, of course, but he wrote enough brilliant books for several lifetimes, and left an invaluable legacy of enlightening laughter for future generations to discover (and love).
I don’t want to bore you with too many rambling anecdotes, but his Discworld novels played a very important part in my formative years, inspiring me to join a fanclub dedicated to humorous Science-Fiction and Fantasy (named “Octarine” in honour of the eponymous Colour of Magic), and contribute my own silly stories, reviews, and cartoons to their zine (titled Tales From The Broken Drum… another Pratchett homage). Aside from the intoxicating rush of seeing my name in print for the first time, I also made a lot of friends through the zine… and even chose to study at a university halfway up the country, partly so that I could attend editorial meetings and hangout sessions. I was lucky enough to meet the man himself at a signing/Q&A back in the day, and can attest to the fact that he was just as charming, engaging, and amusing in real life, as he was on the page.
To tie this post into the supposed theme of this blog, it’s worth noting that the Discworld series contains numerous empowered female protagonists and/or supporting characters… and that several books (such as 1987’s Equal Rites) deal directly with institutional sexism and feminism… besides being bloody funny, of course.
[Illustration from the cover of Equal Rites by Josh Kirby… also sadly deceased (1928 – 2001)]