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Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

Unhappy

Sad

And I'm not ashamed to say that I may have shed a tear for Terry when I read the news.

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Re: Sad

Which soulless wretch downvoted this post?

There are some really nice people on el reg lately.

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Re: Sad

To my mind, the votes here have become meaningless due to abuse; for instance, why downvote a joke post?

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I can hear it now

"I THINK YOU FORGOT TO CANCEL THE MILK."

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Re: I can hear it now

YOU CAN STOP WRITING I DON'T WANT TO APPEAR IN ANY MORE BOOKS

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Sadly missed

I will miss waiting on this next instalment of his books. However, he appears to have completed a Discworld novel in 2014....

He completed his last book, a new Discworld novel, in the summer of 2014, before succumbing to the final stages of the disease. http://www.pjsmprints.com/

So it looks like we have one final book to come from him, just think, a Discoworld novel that will not be signed by the great man.

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Re: Sadly missed

From Wikipedia and other sources, it appears that the book completed last year is called The Shepherd's Crown and is part (the last) of the Tiffany Aching arc of books. (Publication date seems to be July, or autumn, 2015.) These books are set in the Discworld and were intended for a 'young adult' audience. Personally, as a quite old adult, I found 'I Shall Wear Midnight' to be a very mature story, wonderfully told.

I'll be buying it as soon as it becomes available.

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Re: Sadly missed

Same, I love the TA arc, would have been lovely to see her grow up to be a witch like Granny, but it will be rather unsettling to read the last words of that book knowing there will be no more.

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Re: Sadly missed

The Long Utopia, co-authored with Stephen Baxter, is due for release in the middle of June.

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Re: Sadly missed

TA is a wonderful series and I have, as a 40 something year old, enjoyed them immensely. As has my ten year old daughter.

I will shed a tear if I finish the book as I did when I heard the news but I'm mulling over the idea of buying it and keeping it, unread, on a shelf, so there's always one more book

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Re: Sadly missed

"I will shed a tear if I finish the book as I did when I heard the news but I'm mulling over the idea of buying it and keeping it, unread, on a shelf, so there's always one more book"

How wonderfully put, thank you.

I have also shed tears today. I am hurting.

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Re: Sadly missed

"I will shed a tear if I finish the book as I did when I heard the news but I'm mulling over the idea of buying it and keeping it, unread, on a shelf, so there's always one more book"

Such a wonderful thought. Something I shall also consider.

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Pint

Many a pint will be hoisted in Sir Terry's memory, for all the brilliant writing he's given us over the years.

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Indeed

https://www.facebook.com/events/923034381060640/

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He was also an early Internet and social media adoptee, back when it was called Usenet, and spent a lot of time chatting with fans on alt.fan.pratchett.

Also, don't forget his rather more obscure science fiction: _The Dark Side of the Sky_ and _Strata_. I like them both a great deal and they're a lot more thoughtful than they first appear. (The latter features the first appearance of a science-fictional proto-discworld; alas, it also features a ubiquitous typo throughout where it uses 'altitude jets' instead of 'attitude jets'.)

Also, fun fact: _The Colour of Magic_ is a straight Fritz Leiber parody, right down to the structure. Watch for Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser's cameo in the first chapter!

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I assume you meant 'Dark side of the Sun'.

Tonight, I will brew a pot of Yorkshire Gold tea, and re-read Strata.

The Colour of Magic is a good book, and a great spoof of Fritz Leiber's work, but sadly, less of a Discworld book than Strata. (In my not so humble opinion)

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Colour of Magic introduced me to Fritz Leiber when I saw learnt what characters he was referencing, I'll always have to thank him for that.

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It was through afp that I got to know him personally, he was always willing to chat with his fans. I have a signed photo of him from the convention in '96 holding the Podling (aged 3 months) which he duly signed "I don't sign small children". This was an in joke as the saying went that he'd sign "anything except a blank cheque, but even that was arguable" and behind me was another fellow afper with a pen for him to sign my daughter with. My only regret in life is turning down the offer to go for a curry with him when I had the chance.

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Wasn't there an old afp joke...

"For sale: Terry Pratchett novel --- rare, unsigned edition!"

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You're quite right. Dark Side of the Sun. Bad fingers, they don't know how to type.

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IT Angle

IT angle? Who cares! I suppose there were the tweets though.

He annoyed other authors with his writing style but succeeded at being a greater author than most of his detractors because what he wrote was fun to read, often clever and insightful on many levels.

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I remember Tom Paulin reviewing Terry Pratchett on The Review Show many years ago:

A complete amateur... doesn't even write in chapters.

which has since appeared on many Discworld covers :)

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Who the hell is Tom Paulin......

<rummages on Wikipedia>

Oh yes, a complete dick head.

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Anonymous Coward

I remember them discussing a book (Interesting Times, I think). Mark Lawson and Mark Kermode or Tony Parsons (I can't remember which) thought it was funny, and Tom Paulin and Allison Pearson didn't. No surprise on the split of the panel. (However, when Mark Lawson referred to Truckle the Uncivil's walking sticks that said LOVE and HATE, Allison Pearson laughed and Kermode/Parsons called her out on it, implying that she just wouldn't admit that she found it funny.). I remember Allison Pearson complaining about the cliched language structure Pratchett used, missing the whole point that he was writing about a bunch of old heroes so would have been parodying fantasy prose.

Anyway, I enjoyed Discworld as a teenager and young adult, and the reason I stopped reading them was because I stopped reading fiction.

Woof.

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Anonymous Coward

"He annoyed other authors with his writing style"

He annoyed English teachers because they wanted pupils to learn through the "established" canon of authors and he gleefully adopted and adapted all the canons. It must be no fun to try to explain postmodernism or magical realism to a class when a couple of boys at the back are muttering "Terry Pratchett".

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Allison Pearson complaining about the cliched language structure Pratchett used, missing the whole point that he was writing about a bunch of old heroes so would have been parodying fantasy prose...

To be fair the junction in the Venn diagram of Interesting Times and I Don't Know How She Does It readers is probably fairly slim.

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Anonymous Coward

The IT angle is simple. Hex.

That man knew what he was talking about.

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Re: "He annoyed other authors with his writing style"

> He annoyed English teachers

He both annoyed and delighted English teachers because after years of their efforts boys (perhaps more than girls) would discover Pratchett and suddenly start to read.

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Anonymous Coward

@Spiracle

Also, Oxfam bookshops are full of old Booker prize winners that look as if they have never been opened: Terry Pratchett, Jacqueline Wilson, not so much.

Sadly, authors who don't actually have anything to say seem to spend the most time praising themselves and their friends for the way they say it.

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Re: "He annoyed English teachers"

I was put onto Pratchett by an English Teacher, not my own, a friend who just happened to to go on to become one, and I am glad that I was.

Now, where did I leave my frog pills.....

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TRT
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Re: "He annoyed English teachers"

To understand half of his jokes you had to deconstruct words and understand the etymology of the components. Sheer genius. For example, the thaumometer.

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Happy

"Anthill inside"

Ah Hex... full of ants and still faster than my mother-in-law's old Vista box...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Anthill inside"

...Reminds me of the discworld character who was going around selling some mysterious thing called 'in-sewer-ants'. As a teenager in the '80s it took a while for the meaning of this to dawn on me ...

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Re: "Anthill inside"

and don't forget Twoflower's introduction of the concept of "reflected sound of underground spirits" :)

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Lol that review always made me laugh.

If I remember correctly, that review excerpt was on some of the hardback covers.

Brilliant use of Tom Paulin's moronic book review.

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Re: "Anthill inside"

Got that t-shirt, will wear it with more pride. It generally takes my CS students a little while to realise I am not wearing a T-shirt with an Intel ad.

What I will miss most about Terry Pratchett is the warmth and love of humanity with all its shortcomings that oozes from all his work. The one thing that really offended him is "treating people like things". He was a wonderful man with an unparallelled talent

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Re: "Anthill inside"

I liked the practicality of his mind. The ninja getting tooled up in Pyramids - weighted himself up so badly with so much gear that he fell over backwards. Never seems to be a problem in the fantasy genre, that you carry so much gear you can't move.

And then there's the communications Clacks.

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RIP Terry

I'll be hoisting a pint of Turbot's Really Odd in your memory

Have been a fan since university days when I was lucky enough you meet you at a book signing at the Uni bookshop..

Say Hi to Albert, Death, Susan and the death of Rats for us :-)

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I'm 54 year old man who has never met Sir Terry but feels like he knew him. I've had a couple of tears in my eyes today. Daft really, but I'll miss him.

I shall wear the Lilac in remembrance

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I've heard the names of Terry Pratchett and Discworld before, but I've never read any of the books...

After reading the dozens of loving comments left by commenters it the notes published by El Reg, I really want to get in the Discworld... er... world.

I'd really appreciate tips or comments on what would be the best approach to Sir Terry's work

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Start at the beginning, the colour of Magic :-) it sets the tone for the rest of his books really. you don't have to read them in order, each book is a good read in isolation.. but you get to know the characters and the history if you do go in order though

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Welcome.

All of the below is IMHO, and I'm sure everyone here will have their own thoughts...

I'd probably start with one of his Discworld books. Although they feature recurring characters and in-jokes, this doesn't mean you have to start with the very first. His style of writing and humour changed slightly over the years, meaning that some of the later books are much funnier than the very earliest ones.

Two "best book to read first" suggestions would be "Guards, Guards!" (introduces the hard-bitten, cynical misanthrope night watchman Sam Vimes) or "Witches Abroad" (which (ahaha) introduces the witches Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick).

My favourite of all time is the non-Discworld "Good Omens", which as TFA mentions was a collaboration with Neil Gaiman. An angel and a demon collaborate to prevent the Apocalypse, involving the M25, black nuns, paintballing, a Satanic Hellhound who likes to chase cats, and various "Americans and other aliens".

RIP Sir Pterry. We met only once, at a book-signing in Chester, and my pimply 20-something self was so over-awed to meet one of my literary heroes that I stuttered incoherently and made a fool of myself.

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I probably *wouldn't* start with _Colour of Magic_. It's rather different from the rest of the series, being a Fritz Leiber parody, and his style only starts to gel a few books later on.

My recommendations? _Small Gods_, which a minister once described to me as the best book about religion he'd ever read. _Pyramids_, which is about fate, belief (not the same as religion!) and camels. _Mort_, about growing up, death, and Death.

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Hiya!

The Discworld novels can be grouped into different story sequences, more or less - as helpfully illustrated by this diagram:

http://www.lspace.org/books/reading-order-guides/the-discworld-reading-order-guide-20.jpg

EDIT: Go with what Dave 132 (no relation) has said.

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Anonymous Coward

Up vote for Small Gods

First book I'd read for a good while, and had been in a grey state; I actually laughed out loud at the tortoise's persuasion technique with the eagle. Read his work avidly ever since.

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Wyrd Sisters first introduces us to the coven and is best read before Witches Abroad. Equal Rites (probably) precedes both, but is "only" Granny Weatherwax

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^^ You're right. I hang my head in boundless shame. My comment above was typed in a hurry amid many distractions.

I will hand in my Pratchett fan-club card as I leave.

Still think "Witches Abroad" is a good book with which to start, though.

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Ahem. Equal Rites was written in 1987. Wyrd Sisters was written in 1988.

Equal Rites, in fact, features only a proto-Granny Weatherwax; her character and the way witching works changes considerably in the later books. (One of Pratchett's strengths, I think, is that he's willing to discard continuity in favour of a good book, although he did fall into the Canon Welding trap in the very later books.)

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Another vote for Guards Guards as the best newbie Discworld book to start with. It is a great introduction to the world and humour without really needing to know anything about the disc. I have lent copies to friends in order to get them hooked and it never fails.

As to the man himself, I met him once after queuing for hours in Kingston to get the new book signed, he will be greatly missed.

... the turtle moves ...

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Small Gods is the best literature

Pyramids is my personal favourite

Colour of Magic/Light fantastic - good, but you probably have to be a fantasy fan to get all the jokes

The guards books (Guards Guards / Feet of Clay / Men at Arms ) and the Von Lipwig (Going Postal / Making Money / Raising Steam) are probably most readable stories

The only dissapointing book is Monstrous Regiment.

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