The genius in all his glory. With a cool-ass cane.
Full name: Terence David John Pratchett. Add a ‘Sir’ onto the front there as well, thanks to an OBE. Born in 28th April 1948. Frequently works in the comical fantasy genre, and is most famous for his long-running series, Discworld. Published his first novel, The Carpet People, in 1971, and his first Discworld novel in 1983 (namely, The Colour Of Magic). Was the UK’s best-selling author of the 1990’s and as of August 2010 has sold 65 million books worldwide (in 37 languages, no less). Awarded an OBE in 1998 and knighted in 2009. In December 2007, Pratchett announced that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease at an early stage, and donated heavily to charities based around that disease.
As it stands, Terry Pratchett is, and probably always will be, my favourite author of all time (topping JK Rowling and JRR Tolkien by a long way.). His masterful use of wit during serious situations; his comical weaving of jokes and clever satire into his works at all times; his creations of fantastical settings and stories that continuously show off this man’s huge imagination (ranging from the colossal Discworld itself, set on the back of four giant elephants who stand on the back of a huge turtle all the way down to the Luggage, a sentient travel case with a violent attitude and hundreds of legs to travel along on); show off exactly why this man is a brilliant author.
I’m not saying he’s perfect. He has his faults, just like everyone else. Not all of his story is gripping, and some of it could be omitted. A lot of his jokes could, if you don’t read them twice or know about what he is twisting to satire, pass right over your head. But those ones you understand are brilliant. I’ve been told before that his books are not for children, that they are meant for a mature audience. On the contrary, I believe these books can be read by (even if they are not intend for) all audiences. There are some sections of Discworld that children would love, and obviously we have books like Truckers or The Carpet People that really are intended for children (and were a fantastic read as a child). Hell, growing up on this man’s works have made my imagination what it is today.
Cover of Pratchett’s Night Watch. Spot the satire if you can!
He has a subtle way of weaving a carefully constructed plot containing comedy, a little suspense and some drama in there as well, with a few action scenes (particularly in the Discworld stories of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, my personal favourite sub-series) that complete the series and each successive plot with a delicate touch; while I still say that some sections could bear with omission, nothing he puts into a story is out-of-place. Characters are developed brilliantly, each one having multiple levels and a depth of mystery and personality about them other writers just can’t convey (Rowling, for one, doesn’t seem to me to be able to construct a good secondary characters, often leaving out any development with them. I never feel that with Pratchett.)
To be honest, I would recommend Terry Pratchett to everyone I come across. He has a superb writing style, his characters are extremely well constructed, the plot of every sub-series within his works run together beautifully, and he’s never let me down in keeping me gripped to both a singular story and the series as a whole (with the total number of times I’ve read a single book maxing at around eight). It is a real sadness that such a fantastic man has the condition that he does, but despite this he still puts out brilliant works of fictional genius. He’ll be sorely missed when he’s gone, and I’ll covet my complete collection of the Discworld Series as a testament to his great achievements. Achievements, in my eyes, without equal.