Pharyngula

Good News in the Year of the Pensive Hare

When last I mentioned Terry Pratchett, it was unfortunate news: he’s been afflicted with embuggerance. Now, though, there is cause for some jubilation, since a certain godless humorist and fantasy author has been awarded a knighthood for his services to literature. Three cheers for an honor well deserved!

He also has a new book, which I’ll have to pick up. He must not be too deeply embuggered.

Comments

  1. #1 Ranson
    December 31, 2008

    Cool! I wonder if he ever managed to get his “only available to advanced cases” brain drugs.

  2. #2 clinteas
    December 31, 2008

    Maybe Albert Camus wasnt so unlucky after all,dying way ahead of his time in a car accident,when the alternative is to go stupid before everyone’s eyes from dementia.
    I have actually never read any of his books,but they are on my list.

    I will pick up some now.

  3. #3 Ranson
    December 31, 2008

    I recommend reading them out of order. Only after a healthy dose of Death, Granny Weatherwax, and Vimes can one stand much Rincewind.

  4. #4 MikeInLondon
    December 31, 2008

    I’ve always found it strange that americans a) are aware of these type of honors and b) use them i.e Dame Judi Dench or Sir Ian McKellen in the press. I assume other countries have awards of similar stature but these are never mentioned.

  5. #5 Cappy
    December 31, 2008

    “Regrettably, no sword is included in the box :)”

    Recognizing, of course, that the pen is mightier than the sword.

  6. #6 Andrs Diplotti
    December 31, 2008

    Three hoorays for Sir Pterry!

  7. #7 dead yeti
    December 31, 2008

    Finally a new year honour that i agree with.

    when i worked in a bookstore Mr Pratchett was nice enough to sign 6 different books for me, this after spending hours and hours signing his new boook for customers.

    Now that i think of it he and Michael Palin were pretty much the only two nice authors we ever had in the store (despite having a signing every 2-3 weeks)

    Stephen King being the most unpleasent by a long way

  8. #8 VronVron
    December 31, 2008

    MikeInLondon

    Canadians have the Order of Canada which generates, as far as I can tell, a mild amount of interest. The recipients do not have a title.

    http://www.gg.ca/honours/nat-ord/oc/index_e.asp

    I do agree that Americans, and Canadians as well, “are aware of these type of honors and b) use them.” However, Canadians were not terribly impressed when Conrad Black was knighted. Selected Americans were even less impressed: The American justice system tried and convicted him.

  9. #9 Cruithne
    December 31, 2008

    Never much of a fan of his books but Pratchett always did come across as an all round good egg.
    Likewise being a Brit with a republican streak, I never did have much time for the Queen’s honours but if anyone’s going to get one, I’d rather it was someone like him.

  10. #10 cmotdibbler
    December 31, 2008

    From my handle, I’m obviously a big Pratchett fan. Got Nation for x-mas and am waiting for the right time to curl up for a great read.

  11. #11 Emmet Caulfield
    December 31, 2008

    “Regrettably, no sword is included in the box :)”
    Recognizing, of course, that the pen is mightier than the sword.

    There’s no pen included in the box either.

  12. #12 Marek14
    December 31, 2008

    Nation is one of his best books, in my humble opinion, and it tackles the questions of religion and science in a way you would most likely agree with, Mr. PZ :) Check the mention of Richard Dawkins at the end of the book :)

  13. #13 ddr
    December 31, 2008

    Good news indeed. A much deserved honor. He has certainly given me many hours of enjoyment.

  14. #14 Jules
    December 31, 2008

    Early onset Alzheimer’s has been a horrible experience for my husband’s family. My husband’s grandfather was dead at 60 from it. His mother is now in a vegetative state with the condition, on a feeding tube, waiting to die at age 60 as well. She just stares at the ceiling and doesn’t move. It hit them both hard, from diagnosis and forgetfulness to death within about five years. Although I’m sure for many it’s a gentler and longer path.

    My husband will no doubt die at 60 as well, like his mother and grandfather, unless medical advances come about quickly – new stem cell treatments, perhaps?

    We are both prepared, however, and have living wills in place so he will not be placed on a feeding tube, like his relatives, to drag his death out for two or three miserable years. We also plan to undergo an “elder divorce” at the onset of his diagnosis – legally divorcing, yet staying together in practice. Prior to that I will separately get legal conservatorship, power of attorney over his medical care and financial affairs. This way I can still take care of him, but the cost of treatments not covered by health insurance will not bankrupt our family, cause me to lose our house, or use our child’s college savings. We saw this happen to his family, and don’t want it to happen to us. Our attorney said this is one of the best ways of protecting ourselves.

    Early onset Alzheimer’s devastates families. But I’m sure Pratchett has the financial resources and loving family to make his final years comfortable and loved. With good medical care and early treatment with new drugs, he may be able to delay symptoms and live out a good remainder of his days.

    I wish him and his family the best, and give the following advice to anyone experiencing this disease – hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Get legal help as well as medical and psychological. Enjoy the remaining years with passion – do everything you’ve always wanted to do NOW before the condition hinders your ability to travel or understand your surroundings. And most of all, make sure your children and your spouse know how much you love them. Tell them everything you’ve always wanted to say now, don’t wait until the disease robs you of your ability to communicate. Live your life now.

  15. #15 Twin Ion Engines
    December 31, 2008

    Congratulations Pterry!

    I could not be more pleased – Pratchett’s fiction is great satire as well as an excellent introduction to the foundations of humanist ethics.

    Pharyngula regulars who want an introduction to Pratchett might check out “The Last Continent” – it’s not his best, but you will probably get a real kick out of the god of evolution.

  16. #16 Stibbons
    December 31, 2008

    A load of us fans signed the petition to get him considered for a knighthood, although I don’t think he’s really needed any help. It’s for literature, not the charity work he’s been doing, but that probably helped.

    Heh, you’ll like Nation. The final chapter mentions Carl Sagan and, well, here’s a quote-

    “Helene’s been a bit naughty lately. She had that nice Professor Dawkins by the leg last month – we had to lure her away with a bucket of crabs. He was very gracious about it, I’m pleased to say.”

    Helene is, of course, a large tree-climbing octopus.

  17. #17 Ted Dahlberg
    December 31, 2008

    Hooray! And I was just talking with a friend, whom I gave Hogfather for Christmas, about him today.

  18. #18 Quidam
    December 31, 2008

    I read Nation a couple of months ago. It’s not a Discworld book and is more like the Nomes series in outlook.

    It’s more thoughtful than witty and is written for teens. Sort of like Blue lagoon but without the sex and a lot of PThilosophy.

    I liked it, but then I have every one of his books and I don’t think he’s written anything that wasn’t excellent.

  19. #19 Alex Besogonov
    December 31, 2008

    “Regrettably, no sword is included in the box :)”
    Recognizing, of course, that the pen is mightier than the sword.

    Only if pen is very sharp and sword is very short.

  20. #20 Mr. Hong
    December 31, 2008

    Nation is good, and it’s sound on gods, but fans should be aware it isn’t a Discworld(TM) novel.

  21. #21 Tim
    December 31, 2008

    The Diskworld books I’ve read have been a delight, discarding any pretense of plausibility.

  22. #22 Una
    December 31, 2008

    Ranson, I believe he has. There has been a change in the law allowing people to buy drugs the NHS won’t fund but still get treatment on the NHS. Previously anyone buying drugs privately could not get further treatment on the NHS. I believe Mr Pratchett is one of those we have to thank for the change.

  23. #23 Scarybug
    December 31, 2008

    Hooray! I wonder if the Queen’s been influenced by the law of narrative causality. If so, she should make him a Duke after he writes a few more books.

  24. #24 D
    December 31, 2008

    Nation really is fantastic, please consider it even if you’re not a Discworld/Pratchett fan.

  25. #25 Andy
    December 31, 2008

    Jolly good, in no short time. Bloody brilliant. Not too sure of this monarchy business but any honour for good ol’ Terry is deserved.

  26. #26 Shoshana
    December 31, 2008

    I know! Congratulations to PTerry! (By the way I run a fansite for the Discworld series, in case anyone wants to check it out try the link at my name.)

    After this post by PZ, I feel like I’ve found my place in life right here on Pharyngula. The science love, the xkcd love, the atheism love, the Pratchett love (of course), the liberalism love, etc. Everything just jibes wonderfully with everything else in my life. Thank you, PZ, and thanks to all the commenters!

  27. #27 James W
    December 31, 2008

    I must second Marek14 @ 12. Nation is truly excellent.

    It is written for younger readers, but was still damn entertaining for this 29 year old. More than that, though, it was a simply beautiful “morality” tale of faith and science, and accepting things vs finding them out.

    Brilliant.

    And yes, some nice name drops including Dawkins in the coda.

    James W

  28. #28 gazza
    December 31, 2008

    PTerry is an excellent author (every read ‘Small Gods’? – summarises religion pretty well!), a fine human being by all accounts, a rationalist with an excellent imagination, an interesting public speaker and an amateur astronomer as it happens.

    Shame when its the young ones (relatively) who go early. But clearly he’s not down yet.

    I just hope he appreciates what pleasure (and food for thought ) he has given to so many people. That’s got to be a rewarding thought for anyone in their final years.

  29. #29 bladesman
    December 31, 2008

    I have all of Dame Pterry’s books, six of them personally signed. Every time I’ve met him at a signing he’s been a jovial, good-humoured and an all-round nice fella, despite signing numbers of autographs that would have lesser mortal’s wrists cramping hours before. And of course his books are brilliant. And then there’s The Hat. Can’t think of a nicer fella to get a whack on the shoulder with a sword from an old biddy. :o)

  30. #30 scooter
    December 31, 2008

    I’m half way through Thief of Time, my first Prachett read.

    I like it, despite the fact I’m being constantly interrupted by real world events.

  31. #31 Quiet_Desperation
    December 31, 2008

    I’ve been rereading the whole Discworld series this year. I have the complete set, including the two from a different publisher that I had to order used from a bookstore in England (thank you amazon.com) because they were out of print in the US at the time.

    His illness is the sort of thing that makes me *wish* there was purpose and order to the world. Pratchett get Alzheimer’s, but Bush will probably live dumb and happy and lucid (well, as lucid as he can get) until age 102.

    Meh. I need a drink. Is this stupid year over yet?

  32. #32 American Godless
    December 31, 2008

    From Small Gods:
    Humans! They lived in a world where the grass continued to be green and the sun rose every day and flowers regularly turned into fruit, and what impressed them? Weeping statues. And wine made out of water! A mere quantum-mechanistic tunnel effect that’d happen anyway if you were prepared to wait zillions of years. As if the turning of sunlight into wine by means of vines and grapes and time and enzymes wasn’t a thousand times more impressive and happened all the time.
    And:
    If you spend your whole time thinking about the universe, you tend to forget the less important bits of it, like your pants.

    Huzzah for Sir Terry! Time to start reading the whole set again!

  33. #33 Kitty
    December 31, 2008

    Only one thing to say really.

    OOK! :)

  34. #34 Brad D
    December 31, 2008

    I have only read Good Omens, so I suppose I have only read around half of a Pratchett book, the other half being Neil Gaiman. What’s a good starting place for a 100% pure Pratchett read?

  35. #35 Diagoras
    December 31, 2008

    Soul Music, Reaperman, Small Gods.

  36. #36 Nick Gotts
    December 31, 2008

    I’m always slightly disappointed when someone I admire accepts a gong. Still, if that’s what he wants… but I’m sure he’d rather have a more effective treatment for the embuggerance! I keep seeing reports of promising possibilities, but all probably at least a few years away from clinical use.

    Jules@14, very sorry to hear about your husband’s family and likely future – how awful that you’ll have to divorce to avoid bankruptcy if your fears for him are realised.

  37. #37 Hank Fox
    December 31, 2008

    Those of you NOT familiar with Pratchett’s work, and still doubtful after the glowing comments here, here’s my recommendation:

    Ever read a novel that has such good parts — great turns of phrase, or freshly illuminating ideas about familiar things — that you find yourself dog-earing some of the pages so you can find them again? That’s what Pratchett’s writing is like.

    Random dog-earings from my Discworld collection:

    “If cats looked like frogs we’d realize what nasty cruel little bastards they are.” – Lords and Ladies

    “Their listening was like a huge pit waiting for his words to fill it. The trouble was that he was talking in philosophy, but they were listening in gibberish.” – Small Gods

    “Just for a moment there was an unusual feeling of bliss. Strange word, he thought. It’s one of those words that describe something that does not make a noise, but, if it did make a noise, would sound just like that. Bliss. It’s like the sound of a meringue melting gently on a warm plate.” – The Truth

  38. #38 Chris Swanson
    December 31, 2008

    Small Gods is very much the best place to start. It features a great deal of good philosophical stuff in there, though Reaper Man is quite good as well.

    As a side note, Nation, the newest of the books, and not a Discworld novel, is quite good and, as I’m sure PZ will be amused to hear, features a reference to tree-dwelling, tool-using squid.

  39. #39 Chris Swanson
    December 31, 2008

    BTW: For those of you in Phoenix, or nearby, or able to get here, there will be, later in 2009, the first ever Discworld convention held in North America. Sir Terry himself will be there! I’m lucky enough to live in Phoenix already, so I’ll certainly be going (my third time meeting the fellow. The other two being in Seattle, courtesy of the University Bookstore). I hope some of you can come as well!

    Here’s their website: http://www.nadwcon.org/

  40. #40 Ken Cope
    December 31, 2008

    #34, This Discworld reading order (pdf format) is a good guide, offering more than a few places to start your tour. It’s biggest categories are Wizards, Witches, the Watch, and Death, with subcategories and crossover. The first stories to be published turned out to be about Rincewind, whom even Sir Pterry is tired of, although they do feature the Wizards, but the beginning is not necessarily the best place to start. It would be interesting to read whether pharyngula readers prefer stories about Granny Weatherwax or Vimes of the Watch (after Small Gods, of course).

  41. #41 Ken Cope
    December 31, 2008

    Its

  42. #42 Sarcastro
    December 31, 2008

    While I’m glad for Mr. Pratchett, as an American I must say I find such anachronistic silliness to be laughable… at best. Free men bend knee to no one. Frango regna.

  43. #43 Owlmirror
    December 31, 2008

    As a side note, Nation, the newest of the books, and not a Discworld novel, is quite good and, as I’m sure PZ will be amused to hear, features a reference to tree-dwelling, tool-using squid octopus.

    Fixed that for you…

    The low forest was always hot, damp, and salty, with the sticky, itchy, steamy atmosphere of a place that never sees much new air. Mau had forced his way in a few times, but there wasn’t much of interest, at least not at groung level. Everything happened high above, up in the canopy. There were wild figs up there. Only the birds could get at them, and they fought over the little morsels, which meant there was a staedy rain of bird poo and half-eaten figs onto the forest floor, which in turn was a permanent frast for the little red crabs that scutled around and cleared up anything that dropped in. Sometimes pigs came down to feed on the crabs, so the low forest was worth an occasional look. You had to be careful, though, because you often got a tree-climbing octopus or ttwo in there, after baby birds and anything else they could find, and they were hard to pull off if they landed on your head. Mau new that you must never let them think you are a coconut. You learned that fast, because they had sharp beaks. *

    ________________________
    * The tree-climbing octopus (Octopus arbori) is found on the Island Where the Sun Is Born, in the Mothering Sunday Islands. They are extremely intelligent, and cunning thieves.

    The quote @#16 continues with:

    “Charles Darwin spent hours in the low forest when he came here, as you might expect, and was the first to notice that the octopi used primitive tools. They fascinated him.”

    (Which implies that Darwin actually went to sea again in this universe, after writing the Origin of Species. Of course, the science on the island was far more compellingly interesting than anything in our universe. And perhaps he was less seasick…)

  44. #44 Chris Swanson
    December 31, 2008

    Thanks for the fix! I noticed the mistake myself and was going to fix it, but didn’t know how.

  45. #45 'Tis Himself
    December 31, 2008

    Sir Terrance Pratchett Kt, OBE is still Pterry to his loyal fans.

    One word of warning about the Discworld books. Most series start well and then go downhill when the author runs out of ideas and/or gets tired of the series. Discworld works the opposite way. The first two books, The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic are two of the weaker Discworld books. My favorite books are the Watch series, particularly Feet of Clay (with an atheist golem) and Thud! (Sam Vimes subduing a cavern full of armed dwarves by shrieking “That is not my cow!” is a crowning moment of awesome).

    Pterry is a good story teller, is both funny and witty, and can turn a phrase beautifully. His major characters are three dimensional and many of his minor but recurring characters are memorable. Anyone who can invent The Luggage (when personal furnishings go bad) and Havelock Vetinari (a tyrant’s tyrant who works on the premise “one man, one vote.” Vetinari is the man and he has the vote) is an author worth reading.

  46. #46 G. Tingey
    December 31, 2008

    Sir Pterry – otherwise known as “uncle Tel” ……
    Do you realise that several of his characters are based on REAL PEOPLE?
    Including Greebo, apparently – who used to be the cat (with another name) who owned Gytha North (sadly now deceased) the model for Gytha Ogg.
    Then there’s Queen Ynci the short-tempered – personally known to me ……
    And “Soul Music” the only book that’s made me laugh & cry within the space of a single page-length.

    There’s hope, though.
    Pterry may not succumb to the dreaded Alzheimers’ – there was breakthrough R&D this year on pluripotent Stem Cells.
    This will undoubtedly save many people from dying in misery, and we can hope that he is one of them …..

  47. #47 Jadehawk
    December 31, 2008

    my library has no Terry Pratchett books. I truly live in a wasteland *sigh*

  48. #48 Richbank
    December 31, 2008

    I just want to throw my hat in the ring for PTerry and especially for Nation. I was getting worried after the mess that was Making Money, but Nation proved that he’s still got it. To any first time readers out there, I also wanted to reccomend either Lords and Ladies or Mort as good starting points. And ditto to number 3 – stay away from Rincewind, at least for a little while.

  49. #49 Wowbagger
    December 31, 2008

    I’ve been a Pratchett fan for many years – love the Discworld series, but rate Good Omens amongst my all-time favourites. Plus I’m also involved in community theatre and a few years ago managed to get myself cast in a production of Lords & Ladies where I played Ponder Stibbons.

    My show t-shirt has ‘High Energy Magic Department’ embroidered on the back…

  50. #50 Orson Zedd
    December 31, 2008

    I read Nation last month, and it’s an enchanting story. I’d recommend it.

    Just finished The Last Continent, featuring a god of evolution, so, good on yer, Sir Terry.

  51. #51 Owlmirror
    December 31, 2008

    @#43: I am bitten by the Bierce-Hartmann-McKean-Skitt Law of Prescriptivist Retaliation.

    “not at groung ground level”

    “a staedy steady rain ”

    Oh, bah. Take ttwo two:

    The low forest was always hot, damp, and salty, with the sticky, itchy, steamy atmosphere of a place that never sees much new air. Mau had forced his way in a few times, but there wasn’t much of interest, at least not at ground level. Everything happened high above, up in the canopy. There were wild figs up there. Only the birds could get at them, and they fought over the little morsels, which meant there was a steady rain of bird poo and half-eaten figs onto the forest floor, which in turn was a permanent feast for the little red crabs that scuttled around and cleared up anything that dropped in. Sometimes pigs came down to feed on the crabs, so the low forest was worth an occasional look. You had to be careful, though, because you often got a tree-climbing octopus or two in there, after baby birds and anything else they could find, and they were hard to pull off if they landed on your head. Mau knew that you must never let them think you are a coconut. You learned that fast, because they had sharp beaks. *

    ________________________
    * The tree-climbing octopus (Octopus arbori) is found on the Island Where the Sun Is Born, in the Mothering Sunday Islands. They are extremely intelligent, and cunning thieves.

  52. #52 Cath the Canberra Cook
    December 31, 2008

    One thing I like about the British honours system is that you get to be so familiar. It’s not “Sir Pratchett”, it’s “Sir Terry”. In Australia you just get letters to stick after your name. Getting the Order of Australia just makes you Jo Bloe OA.

    Of course it must be “Sir Pterry” to fans – that’s an injoke that started after Pyramids, which is also not a bad read to start. I will echo all the previous advice about not starting too early in the series. He got into his stride later on.

    The three popular science ones, Science of Discworld series, should appeal to the Pharyngula crowd. It mixes story with real science, lots of fun.

  53. #53 Chris Swanson
    December 31, 2008

    You know, one last comment from me on this. Sir Terry, as I shall now always refer to him, has a wonderful way of describing humanity. In the book Hogfather, he has Death talking about humanity and he says:

    “All right,” said Susan, “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need … fantasies to make life bearable.”

    NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

    “Tooth fairies? Hogfathers?”

    YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

    “So we can believe the big ones?”

    YES. JUSTICE. DUTY. MERCY. THAT SORT OF THING.

    “They’re not the same at all!”

    REALLY? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSRE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER, AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE, AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLOCULE OF MERCY. AND YET YOU ACT LIKE THERE WAS SOME SORT OF RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MIGHT BE JUDGED.

    “Yes. But people have got to believe that or what’s the point?”

    MY POINT EXACTLY.

  54. #54 Epinephrine
    December 31, 2008

    Jules@14

    You have my deepest sympathies. I can’t imagine being in a country in which such things happen – that the tragedy of an illness is amplified by the legal/economic issues associated wih the lack of public health care.

  55. #55 MPG
    December 31, 2008

    It would be interesting to read whether pharyngula readers prefer stories about Granny Weatherwax or Vimes of the Watch (after Small Gods, of course).

    In my youth it was the Wizards and Death all the way, but these days, and after the sublime brilliance of Nightwatch and Thud!, The Watch books have become my favourites. I’m also pretty partial to the escapades of Moist Von Lipwig, so here’s hoping we do still get to find out how he gets on as Ankh-Morpork’s tax collector…

  56. #56 Ken Cope
    December 31, 2008

    I’m partial to the Witches, and I don’t know whether to expect him to write any more; like the Watch, they’re showing up only in cameos these days. Moist is a fine creation, if only because his stories are so full of the Patrician.

  57. #57 John Morales
    December 31, 2008

    I think Pterry is eminently worthy of all the praise shown here, and I’m mightily impressed with his openness about and attitude towards his affliction.

    But I want to say that my favorite work of his was an early SF novel, The Dark Side of the Sun. I kinda wish he’d’ve done (may do?) more in that genre.

  58. #58 Romana Twelve
    January 1, 2009

    Sometime lurker, first-time poster ^_^ .

    Also, what about Monstrous Regiment? This, The Truth and Night Watch are probably some of my favorite books–not just by Sir Pterry, ever.

  59. #59 Notkieran
    January 1, 2009

    For me, the favourite is _Thud_. Before _Thud_, I would have plumped for the non-wizard half of _Reaper Man_.

  60. #60 Sili
    January 1, 2009

    I liked the BBC quote about his coming decline

    I’m a humanist, which means I’m an atheist, the trouble with being an atheist is that it lets God off the hook. You really want someone to blame.

    (I have never actually read Pratchett …)

  61. #61 Knock Goats
    January 1, 2009

    I think Pterry is eminently worthy of all the praise shown here, and I’m mightily impressed with his openness about and attitude towards his affliction. – John Morales

    Indeed. The only time I ever admired Ronald Reagan was when he “came out” as having Alzheimer’s disease. (Although I admit my first thought when it was announced was of Dorothy Parker’s “How can they tell?”.)

  62. #62 Bergholt Johnson
    January 1, 2009

    “It would be interesting to read whether pharyngula readers prefer stories about Granny Weatherwax or Vimes of the Watch”

    Weatherwax for sure. That includes the Tiffany Aching kids’ books, which I think were the best written of an uneven bunch. I quite liked the Death books too (I have a bit of a crush on Susan Sto Helit, she’s such a hot little rationalist). The Watch books take the magic out of Discworld and that’s kind of dull, attractive werewolves notwithstanding.

    @34: Anywhwere but the first two books, which I think were downright bad. If you liked “Good Omens” you should also read Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods”. I think he’s the better writer of the two.

  63. #63 Menyambal
    January 1, 2009

    Gave and got Pratchett books for Christmas. Or should I say Hogswatch? I hadn’t heard of _Nation_ so thanks for the heads-up.

    Sir Terry deserves all the honours that the round world can give him. Lots of folks say he writes satires of life, I often think he writes celebrations of life. He scoffs at silliness, but he also shows how good people can be.

    I just re-read _Equal_Rites_ and admire the way he kept the good things of his early Discworld books, and worked them into the later universe without worrying about perfect consistency. May Granny Weatherwax’s shadow never grow less.

  64. #64 S E E Quine
    January 1, 2009

    Why does ‘embuggerance’ sound too fun to be a disease?

  65. #65 Quiet_Desperation
    January 1, 2009

    My goodness, folks, you don’t need a flow chart. Just start at the beginning- “The Colour Of Magic” – and continue forward. You will never be disappointed. The young adult books are also very readable and entertaining for all ages.

    And Rincewind *rules*.

  66. #66 Owlmirror
    January 1, 2009

    And Rincewind *rules*.

    Except he doesn’t. That’s kinda his whole thing, him not ruling.

  67. #67 may
    January 1, 2009

    start at the beginning.
    that way the references to previous books and depth-charge jokes make sense.

    wold without end.

  68. #68 Samantha Vimes
    January 1, 2009

    I liked reading above that they just passed a law that will allow experimental meds to be used in conjunction with NHS care.

    Sam Vimes, who Pterry said was (along with Granny Weatherwax), the character he most identifies with, always needed a bribe to accept a title. Perhaps Pterry just enjoys the irony, but I will savor the idea the law was his bribe– like the ones Sam was offered, which were not to his benefit, but the benefit of those under his command. Pterry could afford care without the NHS, I expect, but he would care that people who can’t afford it get sick, too.

  69. #69 Ken Cope
    January 1, 2009

    #63, It’s tempting, but not quite fair, to compare Sir Pterry and Gaiman. Gaiman was loaded with comics chores during Good Omens so, much less of that book is his. Gaiman often goes more E.C. Comics just for the cheap Kensington Gore of it all. His comic book writing is great, and just about any of his short stories are worth reading. His Stardust is as valuable for the Charles Vess illustrations as for its story, but tell me it wasn’t improved as a film adaptation, something that just wouldn’t happen with anything by Sir Pterry. While both incorporate gods and goddesses, you’ll see they write from opposite positions on theism. Gaiman is great for re-imaginings and retcons, but there have been few world-builders who can imagine with the sophistication and scope of Discworld. They have nothing but praise for each other, but it’s Sir Pterry whose desert island books I’ll happily re-read more often.

  70. #70 John Morales
    January 1, 2009

    Ken @69, the obvious comparison to me is with Piers Anthony.

    I still read Pratchett, though; I’ve given up on Anthony. (I guess that says more about me than about them.)

  71. #71 Ken Cope
    January 1, 2009

    To quote the lovely wife, “Ew. Anthony is a sexist bastard and Pratchett is a feminist.” Anthony is a punster, but Pratchett is genuinely laugh-out-loud funny.

  72. #72 Owlmirror
    January 1, 2009

    the obvious comparison to me is with Piers Anthony.

    *jaw dropped from shock over egregious wrongness*

  73. #73 Stewart
    January 2, 2009

    Another vote for Good Omens.

    Although a nice little aside is The Unadulterated Cat – mine is signed from 1993 with the comment “To Stewart, a real cat person”. Strange thing was at the time I had no inclination towards cats, but now am a slave to a pair of them.

  74. #74 John Morales
    January 3, 2009

    Sorry, Owlmirror, I was a little too terse. The comment is in response to the (not quite) comparison to Gaiman.

    I meant only in that they both started out in SF then moved on to serial fantasy (much of it in a shared fantasy world), published almost contemporaneously, and have large popularity.

    I should’ve made myself clearer.

    I think Macroscope is pretty good, though.

  75. #75 hery
    January 25, 2010

    Bloody brilliant. Not too sure of this monarchy business but any honour for good.

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