This week's sad news of the death of reknowned author Sir Terry Pratchett has created a far-reaching ripple of mournful and respectful salutes to his beloved work. As a bestselling author of adult satirical fantasy and children's books, his writing has reached around the globe for years, selling over 85 million books and being translated into more than 37 languages. He was even knighted in 2009 for his services to literature.
But enough about numbers and accolades; it's truly his fans' responses to his passing that say the most about how cherished he became. For example, this petition, now with over 7,000 signatures, requests that Death "reinstate Terry Pratchett". Death is a particularly excellent character from his Discworld novels, who he portrayed as a sweet, witty, unpopularly employed fellow, rather than the stereotypical frightening, evil, creepy sort. And that's typical Pratchett—making social commentary something both smart and funny; witty and thought-provoking yet still lighthearted and fun.
Or, in fellow fantasy author Brandon Sanderson's words: "Unlike most comedians—who use their humor like a weapon, always out for blood—Terry didn’t cut or bludgeon. He was far too clever for that. Instead, he’d slide down onto the bar stool beside us, drape his arm around us, and say something ridiculous, brilliant, and hilarious. Suddenly, the world would be a brighter place.
"It wasn’t that he held back, or wasn’t—at times—biting. It’s just that he seemed to elevate every topic he touched, even when attacking it. He’d knock the pride and selfishness right out from underneath us, then—remarkably—we’d find ourselves able to stand without such things."
And it's never too late to join the millions-strong fanbase and discover for yourself why we all loved Terry Pratchett so much—and will always love his work, as it well outlives the man who thankfully kept putting fingers to keyboard for so long.
Feeling inspired, but not sure where to start? Check out just a few recommendations below.
For quintessential Pratchett, start with one of his Discworld novels. They can be read in any order, so we recommned just picking up one that sounds appealing to you (For example: interested in journalism and the media? Try The Truth). Different characters recur throughout the books, so you can choose to follow your favorite characters in their chronological order once you get into them.
Got kids? Terry's sweet and smart humor is also found in his children's books:
If you're already a Pratchett fan, it's definitely worth checking out his nonfiction, as well as books he's coauthored with some of our other favorite authors, like Neil Gaiman and Stephen Baxter:
And keep an eye out for more publications coming out this year; we thankfully have a couple more to go before we have to say goodbye to new Pratchett books!