Tag Archives: discworld

At Last, Sir Terry, We Must Walk Together Book Notes 03 APR 2015

I read ferociously as a child, going through whatever my local library could throw at me at incredible pace. As a teenager I continued to read, though not quite at the same pace, and by my twenties this frequency had dropped even further. In my thirties, I read even less, maybe one book every year and a half – if that.

However, without fail, you can be guaranteed that that one book is without a doubt something written by Sir Terry Pratchett, a lifelong favourite of mine – indeed a man whose books I read at every twist and turn of my life, and whose books I’ll probably continue to read until the day that I die. (His is also the only author whose books I could actually be bothered to own!)

Sadly though, going forward there won’t be much more of that.

On the 12th of March 2015, at the young age of 66, following a long and drawn out battle against a particularly vicious early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Sir Terry Pratchett passed away.

terry pratchett inside every old person quote

His passing was announced on his official Twitter account in the most apt way possible (in his books, Death always speaks in capitals):

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.

The End.

Taken from the official press release: “Terry passed away in his home, with his cat sleeping on his bed surrounded by his family on 12th March 2015. Diagnosed with PCA1 in 2007, he battled the progressive disease with his trademark determination and creativity, and continued to write. He completed his last book, a new Discworld novel, in the summer of 2014, before succumbing to the final stages of the disease.”

For those of you who are perhaps not so familiar with the name, a quick grab off Wikipedia yields the following:

“Sir Terence David John “Terry” Pratchett, Kt, OBE (28 April 1948 – 12 March 2015) was an English author of fantasy novels, especially comical works. He is best known for his Discworld series of about 40 volumes. Pratchett’s first novel, The Carpet People, was published in 1971, and since his first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983, he wrote two books a year on average. His 2011 Discworld novel Snuff was at the time of its release the third-fastest-selling hardback adult-audience novel since records began in the UK, selling 55,000 copies in the first three days.

Pratchett, who has sold more than 85 million books worldwide in 37 languages, was the UK’s best-selling author of the 1990s.

Pratchett was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1998 and was knighted for services to literature in the 2009 New Year Honours. In 2001 he won the annual Carnegie Medal for The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, the first Discworld book marketed for children. He received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 2010.”

josh kirby rincewind terry pratchett illustration

A comical literary legend indeed.

So that’s that then. I’m pleased that I can say that I actually met the man in real life, way back when I was still in school (i.e. sometime back in the 90’s), when good friend Terrance Brown dragged me off with him to Middle Campus at the University of Cape Town for a seminar (where I remember Terry spoke quite a bit on the topic of orangutans) and book signing stint (I remember taking a picture of Terrance and Terry together).

In fact, it was that very meeting that got me started on Pratchett’s books in the first place!

I’ll miss the the clever wit, excellent storytelling, fantastic settings, and colourful characters that Terry dreamed up over the years, but that said, thanks to his prolific writing nature, there will always be such a big backlog to devour over and over again that I doubt he and his contribution to the literary world will ever quite be forgotten!

Well certainly not by me, that’s for sure. Rest in peace Sir Terry Pratchett.

sir terry pratchett walking with deathRelated Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Pratchett

The Wee Free Men My Life | My Reviews 26 SEP 2008

Wee Free MenI used to be a prodigious reader in my youth. I used to devour books, so much so that as a child, the kiddy section in the library simply was not enough to contain my hunger for literary knowledge and I soon moved on to the adult section of the library, polishing off everything in sight. I conquered Lord of the Rings in standard 2 if I remember correctly.

And this would probably explain why I no longer read. At all.

Well, that is not entirely true. I do read once every two years or so (I’m not counting comics and manga because whether you argue with me or not, they really don’t count as real books – Entertainment yes. Literary masterpieces, no) and it is all thanks to one man, the only author who has ever managed to entertain me on a level that no one else seems to be able to match… Mr Terry Pratchett.

I’ve been a fan of his Discworld series since day one and seeing as this master tends to write at least a book or two a year, there’s always an unread title or two laying around for me to pick up whenever the reading bug actually decides to bite me for a change, like now for instance.

The last time I read was back in December 2006 and so it feels fitting that in September 2008 it becomes time to read again – particularly if you consider I picked up three possible book choices already during the year, namely Wintersmith in January and both The Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky for my Birthday in May.

Now what I didn’t realize is that all three these books happen to be related and form part of the Tiffany Aching saga, making it all the more delectable because now I’m going to clear up this reading drought by devouring all three at once!

And so it has begun. As I’ve discovered, The Wee Free Free Men is in fact a Discworld novel aimed at aimed at the teen market and as such it has been made ever so slightly more accessible to them, though that said I would never have noticed it unless someone told me (which the Internet duly did).

The story plays out in the Chalklands, where a 9-year-old, precocious thinker, Tiffany Aching discovers that her now diseased grandmother was in fact a witch. A very good and beloved (or should that be feared) witch. Eager to continue in her footsteps (not that she can help it anyway), Tiffany slowly but surely gets acquainted with the land of the fairies as the magical doorways between our two worlds begin to slowly come apart at their seams.

Of course, if by fairies you are thinking of small little children in tutus and with paper wings attached behind, then you would be sorely wrong. No, these fairyland creatures bite.

Things come to a head when the Queen of the Elves snatches away Tiffany’s baby brother and before she knows it, she’s going in after him, surrounded by Nac Mac Feegle, small blue men who been thrown out of fairyland for being drunk and disorderly, and armed with her trusty iron frying pan. Truly things can’t get much stranger for poor old Tiffany than what they are!

(Oh, and she’s being accompanied by a talking toad. Who doesn’t like the cold by the way).

As always Pratchett’s delightful way of playing with words and turning normal conventions and wisdom upside down and inside out is an absolute treat to read and you’ll quickly find yourself glued to the pages as you flick through what can only be described as a thoroughly entertaining book. The drama, the action and above all else, the heartfelt wit, charm and just plain silliness that makes a Discworld book a Discworld book is there and so you’d be an absolute fool if you don’t pick it up.

Scottish little men who constantly exclaim ‘Crivens!’ and ‘Waily, waily, waily’ while trying kick you in the shin, steal your drink and loot your pockets at the same time makes this one a must read! :)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wee_Free_Men