For as long as I can remember having a favourite author, it’s been Terry Pratchett; even if everything else changes, that one thing is going to remain the same. Some of the first books I can remember reading were the Bromeliad Trilogy – Truckers, Diggers, and Wings – and then as soon as I read The Colour of Magic, it was turtles all the way for me. Ever since Jingo in 1997 (when I was 14) I’ve bought each new Discworld book in hardback as soon as it’s been released, and I’ve devoured everything he has written the minute I’ve got my hands on it.
The news that Terry died yesterday, aged 66…well, like most people I suspect, I can’t really put into words how I feel. I have to at least try though, so here are a few words that go a little way to explaining…
Nobody writes like Terry Pratchett, and nobody ever will. He was unique, he saw the world differently to anyone else, and always had something to say about it. His work transcends genres and styles, reached audiences across continents, languages, age groups and lifestyles, and resonates in a way that no other author quite achieves. Now he’s gone, there’s a hole in my life (and I imagine the lives of every one of his readers) that simply will not ever be filled. However much I love other authors and their books, it’s not the same. Much like genius, irreplaceable is a word that’s used far too often, but in this case (as with genius, actually) it’s appropriate. We will never, ever have another author quite like Terry, and to lose him so young is an awful, heartbreaking loss.
Despite the sadness, the sense of loss and the hole that can never be filled, I think the most important thing is to remember how lucky we all are that we have Terry’s books. He leaves behind an incredible body of work that has given us, his fans and readers, so much joy for so long, and for that we should be grateful. When I pick up one of his books I know that it’s going to brighten up my day and give me great pleasure to read, especially if I’ve already read it. Unlike most authors, his books continue to give more and more each time they’re read, and picking one up is like spending time with an old friend. I’m sure I’m not the only one to have read many of his books several times, and I know I’m going to continue to re-read them over and over again. The great sadness I feel at his loss is tempered by the knowledge of how much joy his books have given me, and will continue to give me.
This doesn’t even scratch the surface, either of the man himself or the impact he had on me and so many other people. I’m still reeling a little though, so it’s the best I can do at the moment.
Thanks Terry, for all the happiness you’ve brought me and so many others.