Waltz Laughingly with Death: A Short Tribute to My Favourite Guilty Pleasure, Terry Pratchett

on Friday, March 13, 2015
Fuck you, Death. I mean, we were all expecting it. His decline was front page news, his fight against early-onset alzheimer's an inspiration. But still...

I remember picking up Small Gods in an airport umpteen years ago. I needed something light, something entertaining. I'd heard good things about this Pratchett fellow and had a bit of a soft spot for fantasy in my younger days. So I thought sure, why not. Oh man, what a flight that was. I laughed the entire way. Other passengers complained. I might have slapped the guy beside me's thigh. Most importantly, I thought. Hard. That book was not some slight throw-away laugh up. It was serious philosophy. Thoughtful anti-teleological critique. Brilliant satire. A work of imaginative genius and razor sharp wit. From that day on, for many years, I would not board a plane without a book by Terry Pratchett. Sure, my taste evolved to wanky high-brow literature but Terry remained a constant. A reminder that something silly, something hilarious, something batshit crazy could hold its own against the Kafkas, Musils, Walsers and Steinbecks.

Then there was that one time I was walking through Barnes and Noble in Union Square, New York and he brushed past me. Whisper quiet, slight, unassuming. Signature black hat, black shirt, black jeans. Him, not me. I was giddy. Like a little kid. I could not have been a more gelatinous mess had Coetzee walked by. Then this:

No doubt more detailed eulogies will be blogged, more erudite analyses of this master's fine work. But I just felt I'd take up my little corner of this ever-expanding universe to say this: In my world, Terry Pratchett was one heck of a turtle.


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