Thursday, March 26, 2015

A PMGM TRIBUTE TO TERRY PRATCHETT (Eden Unger Bowditch, et al)

 “It is often said that before you die your life passes before your eyes. It is in fact true. It's called living.”
-Terry Pratchett

The world is simply that much lighter now. Losing Terry Pratchett is no small thing, in this world- the world of words. There are many writers whom we love, but few are as universal (literally, creating a universe or ‘multiverse’, I should say) as Terry Pratchett. We at PMGM have each had an experience with Pratchett, either loving his work, firsthand, finding his influence in our work, or seeing its influence in other authors we read. A few of us would like to share our thoughts of Terry Pratchett.

“If you trust in yourself…. and believe in your dreams…. and follow your star… you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.

Dianne K. Salerni:
My first introduction to Terry Pratchett's books was NIGHT WATCH -- which was the wrong place to start, what with a character going back in time and referencing the back stories of numerous characters I'd never met. But Pratchett's comic genius was such that I loved it anyway and had to then dive into GUARDS, GUARDS to understand what I'd just read in NIGHT WATCH

My husband and daughters and I all love fantasy, but don't often agree on actual books and movies. But all four of us are united on the brilliance of GOING POSTAL, and at least half of us are in love with Carrot. 

 “It’s still magic even if you know how it’s done.”

Kelly Andrews:
I first read the Wee Free Men a few years ago when I immersed myself in reading middle grade fantasy after spending most of my adulthood on "grownup" books. I liked it a lot, but I was intimidated by the sheer size of Terry Pratchett's body of work. Now finding myself with far too many "grownup" problems, I turned back to Pratchett and Tiffany Aching. It's just what I need -- immersive, subversive, and complex, dealing with the big problems of life with good humor. Now I only wish Pratchett's world would grow still larger -- I'm relieved that there will be another book in the Tiffany Aching series, but the end will come too soon.

“There are times in life when people must know when not to let go. Balloons are designed to teach small children this.”

Michael Gettel-Gilmartin:

I am embarrassed to admit that I have read only one book by Terry Pratchett. I know, I know: he was one of England's greatest contemporary writers, and a Sir, and hugely prolific. I'm not quite sure what I was doing in the 80s, when the Discworld series began in earnest, except living a roisterous life in Asia and singing way too much karaoke. After the 80s were but an ill-remembered blur, I was aware that Terry Pratchett was doing good work and becoming very popular, and I told myself sporadically that I should read him, just as I should read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. (Still on the TBR pile.)

I did end up reading Good Omens, the novel Terry Pratchett co-authored with his good friend, Neil Gaiman. It is a rip-roaring production, with two wildly comic minds going at it. (If you doubt me, look up all the quotes on Goodreads.)

In fact, let me end with a quotation, now that Terry Pratchett has begun his journey beyond the stars: “DON'T THINK OF IT AS DYING," said Death. "JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH.”

It has been said that Death has all the good lines--but don't think for a moment that Terry Pratchett won't be at his side now, making them even funnier!
The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.”

Marissa Burt

Alas! I haven't read any Terry Pratchett. I did see GOING POSTAL while doing some steampunk research and enjoyed it very much. In fact, watching that made me realize I needed to add his work to my to-read pile immediately! I loved the humor and world-building - very masterfully done. 

“Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.”

Eden Unger Bowditch:

My eldest son, my youngest son, my sister, my friends, my last publicist (who once accidentally spilled a pitcher of water in Mr. Pratchett’s lap) were fans of Terry Pratchett when I was newly discovering his magic. My husband and I had our mystery-loving hearts at the bursting with Going Postal. It felt like every aspect of everyday life was introduced through a convex mirror. Utter silliness, raised eyebrows, a wink, a nod, an affect of the natural among the completely ridiculous, and characters you simply adore …this could be found on every page. Once you start, it is hard to stop. THUD!, Reaper Man, The Color of impossible list. The thought that the furiously prolific Pratchett pen is now still and the ink pot is dry must give us pause. In the magical world of the word, however, Terry Pratchett will be alive and offering to fill our brains with magic.

The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”

Terry Pratchett lovers, share your favorite books and stories with us.



  1. Lovely tribute, Eden, et al.! Especially love your beautiful sentiments, Eden. Would someone mind commenting on what they think is the best first book introduction to the Pratchett world for the uninitiated? I think he needs to be on my TBR list as well.

  2. Also, what's that fabulous image of the people marveling at the sky from?

    1. That's Tycho Brahe's discovery of the supernova in 1572. I don't know the artist.

  3. Great tributes, and totally agree with the wink and nod on every page. That sense that he's there chuckling with you.

    I came to him just a few years ago, thanks to friends online always mentioning his works, and I'm glad I have so many books of his yet to explore.

    Joanna - when I asked the same question, friends said the best place to start is with either "Mort" or "Guards! Guards!" You can check out this helpful chart, too.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions, Steve! And The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents is Terry Pratchett take on the pied piper!

  4. This is such a wonderful tribute! And I love all of the quotes gathered. He had quite a simple, witty way of expressing his views on our world. He will be long remembered and his influence will reach far.

  5. Nobody combines laughter and depth quite like Terry Pratchett! But I have found myself thinking of an amazing week some years ago, when a friend and I took our four kids--ages 9, 9, 9, and 11--backpacking in the Sierras. Let's pass over the seven-mile hike uphill that first day, which almost ended with one of the kids lying flat on her back(pack), mid-trail, and announcing she was not moving another INCH. No, we fast-forward to dusk, when it turned out one of us moms had brought along a copy of Terry Pratchett's THE AMAZING MAURICE AND HIS EDUCATED RODENTS. We sat on the great slabs of granite and while first birds and then bats flitted above our heads--and while the cliffs above the lake went from tawny-colored to alpenglow pink to moonshine pale--and while high ridge across the way became a silhouette of towers and mysteries against the starry sky--we read about rats. And magic. "The trouble with thinking was that, once you started, you went on doing it." True about reading Pratchett as well! We read until the stars were bright--then the next evening picked up where we left off. None of our headlamp batteries survived ("SQUEAK!"--the battery equivalent), but it was the most magical backpacking trip any of us could have hoped for. Thank you, Mr. Pratchett!

  6. Great story, Anne. Sounds like a wonderful trip -- and I'll put that on my to-read list too.


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!