Sad news today, as you have probably already heard. The world has lost another great nerdy mind, Sir Terry Pratchett, the author of the popular Discworld novels.
With the recent, and still painful loss of Leonard Nimoy, it is almost as if we have lost the two grandfathers of the Sci/Fi Fantasy world.
A lot has been said in the news about Pratchett’s own struggles with his Alzheimer’s and his pro-assisted suicide stance, a logical approach for someone who’s Coat-of-arms motto translated into “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” Though he died naturally, Sir Terry planned to take his own life at a time when his illness became too unbearable.
But that’s enough about his death. Let’s talk about Terry Pratchett’s creations, (including DEATH).
In 66 years, Pratchett wrote 70 books, even after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Pratchett will best be remembered for the book series “Discworld,” a world of stories that takes place in a flat world on the back of four Elephants who are standing on the back of the great A’Tuin, a giant turtle.
Discworld is a world with Magic, and some technology. It has trolls, dwaves, werewolves, vampires, wizards (and wizzards), witches, “wee Free men” (Kinda like Scottish Pixies), and even… DEATH.
As years passed in our boring round world, years would pass in Discworld. (If a character was revisited after not being seen in the books for twenty years, the character would be twenty years older).
In a way, Discworld is the home world of several shorter series. The series overlap one another, some characters appear in other stories, and they all influence each other. The series are like their own unofficial story arcs: Wizards, Witches, Night’s Watch, DEATH, Tiffany Aching, and Moist Von Lipwig are just some of these story samples.
DEATH was probably Pratchett’s most memorable character. DEATH is like Star Trek’s Data: on a quest to understand humanity. He’s a compassionate DEATH and understands his DUTY, and even takes up the mantle of the Hogfather when he is ‘no more.’
I hesitate to tell too much of the stories of Discworld, because I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read them yet, and those who have already know the references.
The tweets announcing Terry’s passing to his fans include a short narrative including DEATH:
Unless someone tells me otherwise, I will pretend that Pratchett himself wrote these tweets out for his family to share upon his passing, writing this beautifully scripted scene to let us know he will be okay.