Remembering the author of the Discworld series

Saturday, 14 March 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Hindustan Times: Author Terry Pratchett, who is best known for his Discworld series of 41 novels, breathed his last on 12 March 2015. 

The author, whose first novel ‘The Carpet People’ was published in 1971, was interested in astronomy early in his life and even owned a telescope, along with a collection of Brooke Bond tea cards.

Pratchett, who initially wanted to be an astronomer, lacked the mathematical skills necessary for it, and went on to have a career in journalism. During this time he wrote over 80 stories for the Children’s Circle section under the pen name Uncle Jim. Two of the episodic stories had characters who found their way into his debut novel The Carpet People.

However, to honour Terry Pratchett’s love for astronomy, NASA named a small asteroid after him. It’s called 127005 Pratchett. Terry Pratchett’s books have sold more than 85 million copies worldwide and his stories have been translated to 37 languages.

The author, who had his writing breakthrough in 1968, when he interviewed Peter Bander van Duren, the co-director of the publishing company Colin Smythe Ltd. (publisher of ‘The Carpet People’), went on to marry Lyn Purves in October 1968. Their daughter Rhianna Pratchett too is a writer.

Pratchett was well known for his penchant for wearing large, black fedora hats, and the image of one is seen on the inside back covers of most of his books.

Terry Pratchett was knighted on February 2009 and later that year, made himself a sword that had pieces of meteoric iron because of his penchant for magic and fantasy.

Interestingly, one of Pratchett’s most memorable character in the Discworld series is Death. The author showed the character having a fondness for humans, something, that was in sharp contrast to his job description.  Death appears in all the books in the Discworld series except ‘The Wee Free Men’. Such is the popularity of the character that it was Death who announced Pratchett’s passing to the world on his Twitter account, writing, “AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.”

His Twitter account further posted, “Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.”

The author of a number of stellar pieces of literature, there have been innumerable thought provoking lines penned by him. Here are some of them:

“It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it’s called Life.”

“Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.”

“In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.”

“Time is a drug. Too much of it kills you.”

“Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often a result of lack of wisdom.”

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”

“And what would humans be without love? RARE, said Death.”

In August 2007, Pratchett was misdiagnosed as having a minor stroke and in December of the same year, he revealed he was diagnosed with early-onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Pratchett died at his home on 12 March 2015 from Alzheimer’s.