On Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry Pratchett (1948-2015)

Last night, in a flurry of book talking, I recommended Good Omens to a reader. I didn’t know that this morning I would learn that Sir Terry Pratchett had passed away. I’ve never felt this affected by an author’s death before. When a major writer dies, I feel a bit of sorrow that there won’t be any more masterpieces to savor. But I’ve been reading Sir Terry’s work for years. His quirky, highly humorous and deadly accurate satires are an integral part of my reading experience.

It’s not just that there will never be another new Discworld novel. One fan on tumblr remarked:

A great many died today.

Just for a second, it feels as if many others died with him: a cowardly wizard and a perfectly imperfect watch commander, a shrewd politician and a pink-wearing ancient vampire, an angel and a demon, a witch and a witchfinder, a teen boy and his friends, a mother and a crone, Death’s granddaughter and Death’s almost grandson-in-law, even the grand ole scythe man himself.

And many, many others. So many.

When a truly beloved author passes, it feels like a gigantic book cover has just been slammed shut before you were done reading the story.

The tumblr fan continued, “But you know what? Tomorrow someone will turn the page, and all of them will rise again, and live on, forever.” Perhaps that’s the best way to mourn a writer like Sir Terry, a writer I can quote verbatim. There won’t be any more new books about Sam Vimes or Death or Tiffany Aching, but we still have the ones that have already been written. As long as we keep reading, they will keep living. 

The most fitting parting words for Sir Terry appeared on his twitter account:

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