After a long battle with Alzheimer’s, the life of internationally renowned author and OBE recipient Sir Terry Pratchett came to a quiet end yesterday afternoon. His long and successful writing career has secured a place in the hearts of many generations through his enchantingly surreal Discworld novels, serving as an inspiration for many.
The thing about Pratchett’s novels, which is undoubtedly the reason behind their extensive popularity, is their ability to transport the reader into another dimension, that of The Librarian, Maurice and his Educated Rodents, Tiffany Aching, Death’s daughter Susan and Masklin and his Nomes. This alternate reality, this universe beyond our comprehension, was an important escape for young and old alike, introducing the reader to a new world where imagination ran riot and the laws that encase the realms of the possible and the supernatural are blurred beyond comprehension, all with such masterful wit and intelligence. You would expect nothing less of a collection predominantly set upon the back of four elephants riding on a turtle, really.
Since December 2007, Pratchett had been openly suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s disease, and in the years hence has made startling contributions to charities both funding research and raising awareness for the disease that tragically stole his sharp mind from him over time. Even in death has he been continuing to do so; over the day since his passing over £28,000 has been raised for his family’s chosen Alzheimer’s charity by fans’ wishing to pay homage to the late author.
As the heartbreaking news was made public, his daughter (the writer Rihanna Pratchett) tweeted from his official twitter account three tweets: “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.”, and finally a poignant “The End”. This of course, is a reference to the recurring character of Death in his novels, who consistently speaks in capitals, and provides an emotional burst of nostalgia for all those who loved his books. Twitter and Facebook, amongst other social networks, have been flooded with people young and old expressing their mourning for his death and paying their respects, demonstrating the effect that his career has had on all sorts of people.
Whom I amongst many consider to be a national treasure, Pratchett must be remembered for his astounding contribution to the fantasy genre, with over 40 unique Discworld novels in circulation and having sold over 85 million copies in 37 languages worldwide. It is certainly clear that his alternate universe can appeal to those from all walks of life, and should continue to be read even after his premature death. If you have never read any novel of Pratchett’s it is an absolute must, as his comical and fantastical world is one which must be explored in order to allow your imagination to roam and soak in the rich utopia of the Discworld.
Words by Paula Lacey