Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sir Terry

I just read an interview with Terry Pratchett by Neil Gaiman.  This is like Nerdvanna for me-- two of my favorite writers, having a meaningful conversation!

I tried reading Mr. Pratchett's first book, The Color of Magic, and had a hard time getting into it, so I put it aside.  Then I took Small Gods on a camping trip with me, and it was a revelation!  It was a savvy, thoughtful critique of organized religion, religious fanatics and the power behind the structure of the church, along with a celebration of true faith, wrapped up in some of the cleverest wordplay and most hilarious scenes I have ever read, anywhere!  After that I couldn't get enough!  I went back and read all of the Discworld novels and have never been disappointed.

If you haven't had the pleasure of experiencing any of Sir Terry's oeuvre, I can't recommend them enough.  He manages to tackle some of the most serious and thoughtful issues, providing stinging critiques of modern foibles and fallacies all while making you laugh out loud, groan at puns and delight in the sheer joy of words!  A brief sampling:

Stupid men are often capable of things the clever would not dare to contemplate...
(Feet of Clay) 

A good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.
(Guards! Guards!)
An education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.
Of course, it is very important to be sober when you take an exam. Many worthwhile careers in the street- cleansing, fruit-picking and subway-guitar-playing industries have been founded on a lack of understanding of this simple fact.
(Moving Pictures)
Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It's where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more.
It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.
A few years ago, Sir Terry announced that he had been diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer's. Those of us who have long been fans of his writing were devastated by this news, not only, selfishly, because we understood that this might be the end of his wonderful words, but also because after 20+ years of reading his words and wisdom, it was a little like hearing this about your favorite uncle. Fortunately for all of us, he has not slowed down! He had just released his latest book Snuff, which is a rollicking send up of the English Cozy Murder Mystery genre, but also a commentary on slavery and the Holocaust. The fact that he can successfully mix those things is a testament to his ability.

I find the fact that anyone can write like him both inspiring and paralyzingly intimidating.

Here's hoping he will continue for years to come.

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