“We live and learn. I always thought that was the best time”

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imageHello everyone! I’m pleased to present this guest article by ‘Pete (again)’, who you may know from a few of our podcasts. He’s written a piece about the late Sir Terry Pratchett and what his novels meant to him. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

I can’t pretend that I was his biggest fan. I can’t pretend that I even know much about him, but one thing that I know is that Sir Terry Pratchett was the author of two books that will forever form a part of blissful childhood nostalgia to me.

I was only eight years old when he published “The Wee Free Men”, one year younger than his protagonist, Tiffany. I remember fondly the first time I ever experienced Discworld, my father reading this book to my sister and me, and at our constant request, “doing the voices”. Although now, ten years later, the details elude me, I will never forget the silly little Glaswegian men- Rob Anybody (a name he certainly lives up to), William the Gonagall, and the best named character in any book ever-
Not-as-big-as-medium-sized-jock-but-bigger-than-wee-jock jock. The book had an unmatched mixture of profundity and humour that endures to this day. Not only were the Nic Nac Feegles brilliant in their own right, but they managed to bring my whole family together, and create something that to this day we can share as one. As Pratchett himself wrote, “there’s no harm in the occasional cackle”.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember when I first read “The Carpet People”, but as with the Wee Free Men, I still remember being engrossed in the story, even more so than with the Wee Free Men, and being unable to put it down until I had read every last word. I loved how the world he created was simultaneously incredibly normal and boring but alien and wonderful at the same time. Even with this, the first book Pratchett ever wrote, his trademark humour and silliness radiates, such as with the giant “onepenny”- literally a dropped penny. Almost the all of the book is quotable, from Pratchett’s satirical look at the world, to Brocando’s claims about his numerous enemies.

When I grew older, however, I somewhat drifted away from the worlds of the Feegles and the Munrungs, but their legacies remain. Even now I occasionally find myself chuckling at these strange creatures- which often gets me strange looks on buses-and remembering the odd little spark of genius that he accompanied with every page. Sir Terry had what few men do- a perfect blend of genius, wit and complete and utter madness.

It is some cruel trick of fate that such a brilliant man was destined to leave this earth at 66, but with the time Terry Pratchett had, he created so many fond memories, to my family, and I’m sure to many, many others as well. Thank you, Sir Terry.

-Pete

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