Kage Baker would be very sad today. If she were alive … as she is not, she may be at the wrap party undoubtedly now being held for Sir Terry Pratchett in the Otherworld. I’d be surprised if she were not.
Sir Terry died today – in England, at home, in his own bed, surrounded by his family. His publisher was at pains to state that he did not take the final measure into his own hands (despite an often-stated intention to do so rather than let Alzheimer’s get him) but died naturally. Because, you know, making your own quietus is, no matter what the Bard says, frowned upon in Britain …
People all over the world will be mourning Sir Terry today. I am. Probably most of you are too, Dear Readers. If anyone takes my advice, they’ve read his amazing work. If you haven’t, I conjure and abjure you to do so. It will be good for your soul, and your vocabulary. It will make you feel real things. It will get you preferred seating in the next life.
He was a good man and a good writer. He worked hard at his craft, achieving art: there’s no higher praise for a maker. His books were strong and truthful, and based on a solid foundation of morals and ethics. They were also fall-off-your-chair funny, which combination of virtues is one of the rarest gifts in the world. He’s one of the few writers Kage read for pleasure, and one of the few I keep to hand and re-read again and again. His books were my companions after Kage’s death. I guess they will be now, after his own death, too.
When Sir Terry was knighted, he decided he needed a sword. So he commissioned one – containing, reputedly, meteorite iron. He assisted the smith in its making, christened it in brandy, and then hid it carefully away. Because, you know, wandering around wielding a bare blade is frowned upon in Britain …
I hope they bury him with his sword in his hand.
There really isn’t much else to say, although everyone who loved him will be moved to try. The pain of loss and survival will make us cry out. None of us will be able to say it as well as he would – but, fittingly, his daughter Rhiannon came closest. Her announcement of his death was a work of grace and dignity:
Like his life, really; although to be absolutely word-perfect faithful to his voice, it should probably have included some mild British cursing. Buggrit! Millenium hand and shrimp!
Sleep well, Sir.
I was just quoting him this morning, not knowing he had died. It felt very strange when I found out. The quote: “Truth is out there, somewhere. The lies are in your head.”
Much loved author, and man, who will be sorely missed.
One of his many, many brilliant comments. And one of my favourites, too.
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Buggerit. The word ‘sad’ doesn’t even cover it.
One of my favorite quotes is from Lord Vetinari: “Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.”
I found out this morning when my Terry-Bug sent me a link to the BBC News article. It reminded me that I suggested to a 9 or 10 year old Terry that she might enjoy a book I had just finished. She wouldn’t read a series. Hated them principal. So I left Wee Free Men out on my bed. Being Terry, she picked it up and read a page. And disappeared. With the book. Chortling ensued. She’s been addicted since. We talk about them often. And quote the work even more.
Thank you, Sir Terry, for another link to my daughters.
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Lynn – yep, I’ve got the same story with my nephew Michael. Except it was one of the Night Watch novels, him being a boy and all … and I’m not being sexist, but you have to consider the tastes of the young person until you get them properly hooked. Then they’ll read anything.
Sir Terry is also part of my family script, and has been for years. Before she died, Kage was planning Halloween costumes for us as Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. It would have been great!
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Lies! Defamation! Untruths! I was 8.
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The announcement was the very first thing I saw when I opened Facebook this morning. You’ve made it so much more personal, which is saying something experience I was never the huge fan and faithful reader so many of my friends are. (I ran into one ages and ages ago that kind of put me to sleep, and didn’t find my way back). I mostly have admired him for his impact and his charm, and only lately picked up a book here or there -0 enough to have understood those final tweets, anyway, and appreciated them. Thanks for this, Kate.
I seem to have a small talent for writing eulogies. I wish I didn’t. Even more, I wish I never had to do it. But since people who matter to me will insist on dying, I feel I should do my best in commentary.
Thank you Kate for this thoughtful posting about Terry Pratchett. It was a sad day to read of his death — it was a major item on all our news channels (web, TV, and newspapers) here in the UK. I’ve been re-reading some of his books since hearing of his death — though I often re-read them anyway.
And in a nice bit of synchronicity there was another news item on the day he died — http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02lt5h9
all about an island that emerges overnight (in the South Pacific) and will probably disappear again.
(I can’t remember which book it was that featured such an island though.)
It was “Jingo”, Janet. The Island of the Curious Squids, as well as (implied) Great Old Ones. It’s a grand book, with some very serious commentary about war, and what it is good for … absolutely nothing, as it turns out, but Sir Terry explained why in his own special way.
Sad news. And yes, I’m sure Kage Baker would have been the first to raise a glass to the amazing writer. I *loved* the fangirl wave she gave Sir Terry when the Discworld Opera was played at the End of the World (as we know it) Dinner. And of course Death would be an oboe!
I loved that scene, too. And so did Kage – she had a great time writing it. Sir Terry was one of her favourite writers, and Death was her favourite character.
Terry forwarded an article to me explaining how Sir Terry will continue on the clacks of the web and thought you’d enjoy the respect given:
He’s in the Overhead; his name will run as long as the clacks do. And if you look at the source code in this page, you’ll see his name there – GNU Terry Pratchett. Thanks to Neassa, who figured out how to code it in there for me! He’s alive in my clacks, too.
Reading this belatedly, I’m touched by your tribute. There are only three authors who always have a book on my bedside table: Kage Baker, Terry Pratchett, P. G. Wodehouse. I can say no more heartfelt “I love you” than that.