Thursday, March 12, 2015

Terry Pratchett

There’s no question that I don’t feel as personally connected to Sir Terry as a lot of people do—round about the turn of the century I more or less stopped reading Discworld novels, for various reasons—but you should’ve seen me for a few years in high school.  I first discovered the series through—true fact—a review of the first Discworld videogame in Dragon magazine (and all these years later, it still amazes how totally impenetrable that game was).  Comic fantasy seemed like it would be my thing, so I sought out the books.  The first one I read was Soul Music, and no doubt for that reason I still consider it my favorite (though I’d have to do an extensive rereading project to really judge).  Naturally, I read as many as I could find, but the thing was, the US publications of Discworld novels back in the mid-nineties and before were really spotty and inconsistent, and this, for me, was a pre-internet age, so that was out.  I bought the ones that were available, found a few in the local library, and I got one from some service which would comb used book stores for out-of-print books people were looking for (that sounds really bizarre in an internet age, but apparently it was a real thing).  But there were a few I just COULDN’T, and you would not BELIEVE how frustrated I was.  I literally had dreams where I walked into used book stores and, wow! here’s the entire series (while other kids were having wet dreams, I suppose…)!  ‘Course, you know how one tends to exaggerate these things in one's head; it probably wasn’t more than a few months until I was indeed able to get the missing books, from a bookstore specializing in genre stuff.  But in any case, it illustrates how fixated I was.  I know the last few books got fairly alarming reviews, but I enjoyed Unseen Academicals, which I read a few years ago, and his back catalogue remains a treasure trove.

Goddamn, man, first Mervyn Peake from Parkinson’s, and now Terry Pratchett from Alzheimers—what needs to happen is, someone needs to find where these degenerative diseases live and fuck their shit up.  


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