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malaidas
2015-Mar-12, 04:52 PM
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-31858156

2 great formative people in one month have died for me now.... First Leonard Nimoy and now Terry Pratchett. Its a month I never want to remember.

RIP Terry, your brilliant humour will never be forgotten.

Noclevername
2015-Mar-12, 04:54 PM
Knowing what's coming doesn't make it any easier.

Rest well, Sir Terry.

Trebuchet
2015-Mar-12, 05:51 PM
I may be the only nerd in the world who has never read Pratchett. What would be a good place to start?

profloater
2015-Mar-12, 06:00 PM
I may be the only nerd in the world who has never read Pratchett. What would be a good place to start?

I would start with "Disc World" which IIRC is the title of the first book. It's funny and thought provoking.

malaidas
2015-Mar-12, 06:12 PM
The start was 'The Colour of Magic' but this probably isn't the best introduction. Without knowing you it's hard to suggest which to start with though.

Buttercup
2015-Mar-12, 06:13 PM
Have never read him, but "Good Omens" with Neil Gaiman has interested me. But I've go so much reading already...plus working on my own stuff.

malaidas
2015-Mar-12, 06:19 PM
I personally started with soul music, by recommendation. But I am a guitaris so it suited. What Pratchett did is take something from our world and satirize it in fantasy context. So in general whilst they are good stories in themselves the more you know about the topic the funnier they are

grant hutchison
2015-Mar-12, 06:25 PM
I'm not a Pratchett fan, and don't know how his Twitter feed normally worked. I do understand the reference to Discworld Death in the last three tweets, and I do assume he hasn't been personally typing the text of his tweets for quite a long time.
Am I right in guessing that there was some sort of preamble to that "announcement", in which his followers were made aware that he was dangerously ill?

Grant Hutchison

schlaugh
2015-Mar-12, 06:48 PM
Am I right in guessing that there was some sort of preamble to that "announcement", in which his followers were made aware that he was dangerously ill?


Sir Terry was very public regarding his own form of Alzheimer's and also was very active in Alzheimer awareness, as well as assisted suicide (and to be clear, his family says he died naturally). But if you mean, were there announcements recently that implied or stated imminent death? Not that I am aware of, but others may have seen such. I do believe he was simply finding it harder to venture from his home.

From Wikipedia: "In July 2014 Pratchett cancelled his appearance at the biennial International Discworld Convention due to the disease, stating that he had never been forced to miss a UK convention before this point."

SeanF
2015-Mar-12, 07:05 PM
I may be the only nerd in the world who has never read Pratchett. What would be a good place to start?
You're not the only one.

grant hutchison
2015-Mar-12, 07:09 PM
Sir Terry was very public regarding his own form of Alzheimer's and also was very active in Alzheimer awareness, as well as assisted suicide (and to be clear, his family says he died naturally). But if you mean, were there announcements recently that implied or stated imminent death? Not that I am aware of, but others may have seen such. I do believe he was simply finding it harder to venture from his home.The Twitter announcement just strikes me as deeply odd, if there hadn't been a "warning shot".
It has Pratchett's trademark humour, for sure. But if I received those tweets out of the blue, I think I would be left wondering if I was missing a joke, or whether he had actually died. And then I'd wonder if he had dictated those tweets himself, in real time (perfectly plausible, given his interest in assisted suicide), or if he had prepared them to be sent after his death (as seems to be the case).
So I was struck by the potential for confusion and distress among Sir Terry's followers. But that may well just reflect a shortcoming in my own understanding.

Grant Hutchison

schlaugh
2015-Mar-12, 08:15 PM
I think his fan base was long expecting this. Pratchett knew an end was coming, just not sure when. I can easily envision him writing those tweets to be sent when the day arrived. Probably his own obituary as well.

redshifter
2015-Mar-12, 08:26 PM
You're not the only one.

Definitely not the only one, and there are now at least three of us...Still RIP Mr. Pratchett

JohnD
2015-Mar-12, 11:10 PM
Sir Terry was very public regarding his own form of Alzheimer's and also was very active in Alzheimer awareness, as well as assisted suicide (and to be clear, his family says he died naturally). But if you mean, were there announcements recently that implied or stated imminent death? Not that I am aware of, but others may have seen such. I do believe he was simply finding it harder to venture from his home.

From Wikipedia: "In July 2014 Pratchett cancelled his appearance at the biennial International Discworld Convention due to the disease, stating that he had never been forced to miss a UK convention before this point."

Sure he did.
I hope that I shall be as brave and enterprising in encompassing my own death when the time comes.
John

Trebuchet
2015-Mar-12, 11:33 PM
I now have The Color of Magic on my phone, via Kindle. Haven't started reading yet.

jokergirl
2015-Mar-12, 11:34 PM
I miss him already. :( Apparently there's a last book, not published yet. I was just wondering this morning whether he'd have the time/lucidity to finish another one. Turns out the answer was yes, but just so.

:(

Gillianren
2015-Mar-12, 11:41 PM
I may be the only nerd in the world who has never read Pratchett. What would be a good place to start?

Start no earlier in the series than Mort. From a piece Terry Pratchett himself wrote--"And so I've been learning as I go, and I find it now rather embarrassing that people beginning the Discworld series start with The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic, which I don't think are some of the best books to start with. This is the author saying this, folks. Do not start at the beginning with Discworld." You might actually be interested in the newest one, which is about the Disc's first railroad. The witch ones have some fun plays on Shakespeare, and the Watch ones have some fun plays on police tropes. I'm rereading Monstrous Regiment, which is about the military. If you've ever done journalism, you will find a lot to sympathize with in The Truth.


The Twitter announcement just strikes me as deeply odd, if there hadn't been a "warning shot".
It has Pratchett's trademark humour, for sure. But if I received those tweets out of the blue, I think I would be left wondering if I was missing a joke, or whether he had actually died. And then I'd wonder if he had dictated those tweets himself, in real time (perfectly plausible, given his interest in assisted suicide), or if he had prepared them to be sent after his death (as seems to be the case).
So I was struck by the potential for confusion and distress among Sir Terry's followers. But that may well just reflect a shortcoming in my own understanding.

Terminally ill people have been telling him for decades now that they hope that, when Death comes for him, it's his version of Death. So I would have known, had I seen them without any other context, what they meant.

CJSF
2015-Mar-12, 11:48 PM
Soul Music was my introduction to Sir Terry and Discworld, but I went "back" and read The Colour of Magic and sort of read a bunch in sequence from there. I actually really liked Rincewind and that era of characters and miss them. I haven't made time to read the more recent books, something I'll really work to correct now. I also loved the TV miniseries rendition of Hogfather, and the Sean Astin/David Jason The Colour of Magic was fun. I have a work-mate who has listened to every Discworld novel on audiobook at least 4 times.

I thought the final Tweets from his account were perfect.

CJSF

grapes
2015-Mar-13, 12:49 AM
The start was 'The Colour of Magic' but this probably isn't the best introduction. Without knowing you it's hard to suggest which to start with though.
I'd always meant to get around to it, and started with Feet of Clay. Enjoyed it a lot. But I was a fan of alt.fan.pratchett before that.

ETA: O yeah, I've been reading The Long War, halfway through it, and I've never touched The Long Earth

jokergirl
2015-Mar-13, 06:22 AM
I think I've started with Guards! Guards!. I was put off by the Kirby covers for a long time, and actually only started reading the book in the autograph line, where I went to get the book autographed for my dad. :)

It's a very good book to start with. I know a lot of people who connect very strongly with Vimes. Personally I'm more of a Witches fan (might be gender related?), but there's really no book in the Vimes series that isn't good.

;)

malaidas
2015-Mar-13, 10:42 AM
Guards Guards is an excellent book, although more about Carrot than Vimes on balance if truth be told, Its not till you get past Men an Arms that you start seeing Vimes being the main character, Feet of Clay is likewise a truly excellent book in the Watch series.

My favourite seies though is still the Death 'Trilogy'. Perhaps because I started there, but I love the concept of death becoming humanised by contact with us, whilst still being fundamentally unable to understand humanity.

ETA: and then the converse of Susan a human who has to learn to be more like Death. Obviously a taster for this came in Mort, where you learn that death adopted a human girl and then takes on an apprentice. But Susan having inherited and been shaped by Death's abilities is the real deal because she was never entirely human, but on the other hand she is more human than not.

JohnD
2015-Mar-13, 11:27 AM
Final Tweet on behalf of Sir Terry:
AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.
Terry took Death's arm and followed him through the doors and onto the black desert under the endless night.
The End.

malaidas
2015-Mar-13, 11:50 AM
“The universe danced towards life. Life was a remarkably common commodity. Anything sufficiently complicated seemed to get cut in for some, in the same way that anything massive enough got a generous helping of gravity. The universe had a definite tendency towards awareness. This suggested a certain subtle cruelty woven into the very fabric of space-time.” Soul Music

Lifted from

http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/1107935-soul-music

Just one of many, but I thought this one particularly appropriate for this forum.

malaidas
2015-Mar-13, 12:07 PM
and finally in didication to the Discworld its Introduction, from the 'Colour of Magic'..

"In a distant and second-hand set of dimensions, in an astral plane that was never meant to fly, the curling star-mists waver and part...

See...

Great A'Tuin the turtle comes, swimming slowly through the interstellar gulf, hydrogen frost on his ponderous limbs, his huge and ancient shell pocked with meteor craters. Through sea-sized eyes that are crusted with rheum and asteroid dust He stares fixedly at the Destination.

In a brain bigger than a city, with geological slowness, He thinks only of the Weight.

Most of the weight is of course accounted for by Berilia, Tubul, Great T'Phon and Jerakeen, the four giant elephants upon whose broad and startanned shoulders the disc of the World rests, garlanded by the long waterfall at its vast circumference and domed by the baby-blue vault of Heaven.

Astropsychology has been, as yet, unable to establish what they think about.

The Great Turtle was a mere hypothesis until the day the small and secretive kingdom of Krull, whose rim-most mountains project out over the Rimfall, built a gantry and pulley arrangement at the tip of the most precipitous crag and lowered several observers over the Edge in a quartzwindowed brass vessel to peer through the mist veils.

The early astrozoologists, hauled back from their long dangle by enormous teams of slaves, were able to bring back much information about the shape and nature of A'Tuin and the elephants but this did not resolve fundamental questions about the nature and purpose of the universe.[1]

For example, what was Atuin's actual sex? This vital question, said the Astrozoologists with mounting authority, would not be answered until a larger and more powerful gantry was constructed for a deep-space vessel. In the meantime they could only speculate about the revealed cosmos.

There was, for example, the theory that A'Tuin had come from nowhere and would continue at a uniform crawl, or steady gait, into nowhere, for all time. This theory was popular among academics. An alternative, favoured by those of a religious persuasion, was that A'Tuin was crawling from the Birthplace to the Time of Mating, as were all the stars in the sky which were, obviously, also carried by giant turtles. When they arrived they would briefly and passionately mate, for the first and only time, and from that fiery union new turtles would be born to carry a new pattern of worlds. This was known as the Big Bang hypothesis.

Thus it was that a young cosmochelonian of the Steady Gait faction, testing a new telescope with which he hoped to make measurements of the precise albedo of Great A'Tuin's right eye, was on this eventful evening the first outsider to see the smoke rise hubward from the burning of the oldest city in the world.

Later that night he became so engrossed in his studies he completely forgot about it. Nevertheless, he was the first. There were others...

. . .

[1] The shape and cosmology of the disc system are perhaps worthy of note at this point. There are, of course, two major directions on the disc: Hubward and Rimward. But since the disc itself revolves at the rate of once every eight hundred days (in order to distribute the weight fairly upon its supportive pachyderms, according to Reforgule of Krull) there are also two lesser directions, which are Turnwise and Widdershins. Since the disc's tiny orbiting sunlet maintains a fixed orbit while the majestic disc turns slowly beneath it, it will be readily deduced that a disc year consists of not four but eight seasons. The summers are those times when the sun rises or sets at the nearest point on the Rim, the winters those occasions when it rises or sets at a point around ninety degrees along the circumference. Thus, in the lands around the Circle Sea, the year begins on Hogs' Watch Night, progresses through a Spring Prime to its first midsummer (Small Gods' Eve) which is followed by Autumn Prime and, straddling the half-year point of Crueltide, Winter Secundus (also known as the Spindlewinter, since at this time the sun rises in the direction of spin). Then comes Secundus Spring with Summer Two on its heels, the three quarter mark of the year being the night of Alls Fallow - the one night of the year, according to legend, when witches and warlocks stay in bed. Then drifting leaves and frosty nights drag on towards Backspindlewinter and a new Hogs' Watch Night nestling like a frozen jewel at its heart.

Since the Hub is never closely warmed by the weak sun the lands there are locked in permafrost. The Rim, on the other hand, is a region of sunny islands and balmy days. There are, of course, eight days in a disc week and eight colours in its light spectrum. Eight is a number of some considerable occult significance on the disc and must never, ever, be spoken by a wizard.

Precisely why all the above should be so is not clear, but goes some way to explain why, on the disc, the Gods are not so much worshipped as blamed."

parallaxicality
2015-Mar-13, 02:33 PM
I'm not qualified to post a eulogy, so I'll let the great man speak for himself:

“It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.”

TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—"

MY POINT EXACTLY.


Death isn't cruel – merely terribly, terribly good at his job.

“Sometimes I get nice letters from people who know they're due to meet [Death] soon, and hope I've got him right.
Those are the kind of letters that cause me to stare at the wall for some time.”
― Terry Pratchett

parallaxicality
2015-Mar-13, 02:47 PM
As for navigating Discworld, well it's difficult to say for sure, but you definitely want to start somewhere in the middle; earlier stories are a bit sketchy and silly; later stories tend to get bogged down in too much plot.

Discworld stories are written in "strands", each focusing on a specific set of characters. Which strand you start with depends on what kind of stories interest you most.

The Rincewind strand: Cowardly, utterly unsympathetic wizard named Rincewind travels the Discworld encountering various parodies of Earthly countries. These tend to be the broadest and simplest stories.

The Witches strand: A trio of crotchety witches protect the tiny mountain nation of Lancre and its environs from supernatural threats. Focuses on a good-but-not-nice witch named Granny Weatherwax. Draws inspiration from Shakespeare, folklore, fairy tales and children's fantasy literature.

The City Watch strand: Urban police procedurals involving an expanding cast of police in a steampunk fantasy city called Ankh-Morpork. Focuses on bitter, misanthropic police commander Sam Vimes.

The Death strand: Death is, arguably, the main character in the Discworld series. He fits the standard depiction, ie, a robed skeleton with a scythe. Because there can be no death without life, he finds he has to protect his flock from various otherworldly threats. These stories tend to focus on more cosmic, philosophical themes.

There are many other sub-strands, but those are the main ones.

malaidas
2015-Mar-13, 03:07 PM
Yes, another good strand is the Moist von Lipwig one although I agree its a somewhat plot heavy in comparison to some of the earlier ones, 'The Truth' has some wonderful humour in it.

Gillianren
2015-Mar-13, 03:42 PM
I think I've started with Guards! Guards!. I was put off by the Kirby covers for a long time, and actually only started reading the book in the autograph line, where I went to get the book autographed for my dad. :)

Graham and I refer to Kirby as "the old bad cover artist." They really are dreadful covers. I particularly hate how he did Angua, and on the original cover of The Colour of Magic, Twoflower actually has four eyes, because apparently Kirby didn't get what that means.


It's a very good book to start with. I know a lot of people who connect very strongly with Vimes. Personally I'm more of a Witches fan (might be gender related?), but there's really no book in the Vimes series that isn't good.

I'm not a huge fan of Jingo, myself, though there are a few amusing conspiracism jokes in it. (The grassy gnoll?) But when I saw Sir Terry speak at UW a few years back, the last question in his Q&A got taken up by some guy with this dull and pretentious question about the sociopolitical themes of the various chunks of the series, and the answer was basically, "Well, Death gets the metaphysical stuff because he's Death, and Vimes gets the politics because he's in a city, and like that." Frankly, he seemed bewildered that the question had to be asked. What's irritating to me is that I quite like Rincewind, but I don't much like the first couple of Rincewind books. It makes the Science of Discworld books a little more satisfying, honestly.

Long about the same time I saw him speak, I ran a Discworld roleplaying campaign. (GURPS has books on how to run Discworld.) I actually gave everyone in it required reading before they were allowed to build a character unless I knew they'd read enough of the series so I didn't have to. And everyone had to read Where's My Cow? unless they were willing to sit there and listen to my dramatic interpretation.

malaidas
2015-Mar-13, 04:08 PM
yes colour of magic and light fantastic were not good books at all. Equal Rites was better, but really the good stuff starts with Mort, Guards Guards and Weird Sisters

grant hutchison
2015-Mar-13, 04:21 PM
yes colour of magic and light fantastic were not good books at all.These were the ones I enjoyed most! For me, it all drifted downhill after that, so certainly I agree that people should not start with them, since they're not representative of the later works.

Strata was the first Pratchett book I read, before he started the Discworld series, and it's the only one of his (as solo author) that I've hung on to and regularly reread. I'm also a big fan of Good Omens, with Neil Gaiman.

Grant Hutchison

malaidas
2015-Mar-13, 04:59 PM
Good Omens was a great book

Trebuchet
2015-Mar-13, 05:53 PM
Dang, I did a whole post a while ago and apparently didn't send it up.
In the meantime, I now have Mort on my phone and will start it soon.

And here is today's XKCD (http://xkcd.com/1498/).

grant hutchison
2015-Mar-13, 06:49 PM
Graham and I refer to Kirby as "the old bad cover artist." They really are dreadful covers.Kirby did the covers for the Pan editions of the first three books in Robert Silverberg's Majipoor series. This was possibly the most ludicrous mismatch between text and cover artist since records began. Like asking H.R. Giger to do Adrian Mole.

Grant Hutchison

slang
2015-Mar-13, 09:34 PM
“Sometimes I get nice letters from people who know they're due to meet [Death] soon, and hope I've got him right.
Those are the kind of letters that cause me to stare at the wall for some time.”
― Terry Pratchett

And now that's got me staring at the wall for a bit.

"THERE'S NO JUSTICE. THERE'S JUST ME." -- Death.

JohnD
2015-Mar-14, 10:13 PM
There is a good appreciation of TP by DEan Burnett in the Guardian, "The embuggerance of losing Terry Pratchett"
http://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2015/mar/12/the-terry-pratchett-dies-tribute

JOhn

parallaxicality
2015-Mar-14, 10:43 PM
Now both he and Douglas Adams are gone, where will I get my life philosophy from?

grant hutchison
2015-Mar-14, 11:29 PM
Terminally ill people have been telling him for decades now that they hope that, when Death comes for him, it's his version of Death. So I would have known, had I seen them without any other context, what they meant.Sorry, I meant to thank you for this reply. These things are very context-sensitive, and I come from a context of not being well-versed in things Pratchett, having drifted away from his writing a couple of decades ago.
Those tweets, in isolation, break a couple of rules about Breaking Bad News. They don't fire a warning shot, and they don't say "he's dead" in just those words or their very near equivalent. As someone who has to inform people about death far too often, my response to those tweets was "Yikes!"
But I'm also aware that Sir Terry was a thoughtful man, who had time to consider this stuff at length, in consultation with people who were losing loved ones or dying themselves, and that he and his fans had a close and quite eccentric relationship. So I wondered how that actually worked out for his twitter followers.

Grant Hutchison

Gillianren
2015-Mar-15, 04:52 AM
To me, it was kinder than the way I actually learned it, which was logging into Facebook and seeing his picture on three posts in a row.

JohnD
2015-Mar-15, 12:13 PM
Surely, Grant, talking to the immediate family is different to a tweet, which is more like a news report.
"Buckingham Palace today announced [warning! this is going to be important!] the death of [OMG! Betty's popped it!] the Queen [it's true! it's true!] 's corgi, Gerald"

Those don't do the, "Now I know that you're aware how sick your father/mother/son/daughter, Gerald(ine) has been, etc. etc." and why should they? Those who receive the message are neither personal friends or family of the deceased.
Is it autistic/aspberger's to see the extreme attachment of some to celebrities, and their need for news to be broken gently as abnormal?
We should be kind to everyone we meet, but sometimes life is too short to allow for every frailty.

John

grant hutchison
2015-Mar-15, 02:01 PM
Surely, Grant, talking to the immediate family is different to a tweet ...Ummm. That seems self-evident.

Tweeting your own death is a fairly new phenomenon.
Twitter followers often have a relationship with the person they follow which is rather more intense than that of a passive consumer of the evening news, while less intense than family. Some twitter followers are close friends or family members.
The context of Pratchett's final tweets (the likelihood he wasn't typing them himself, the knowledge of his support for assisted suicide) made the tweets strikingly ambiguous.
I just want to understand better how that worked out for those involved.

Grant Hutchison

Gillianren
2015-Mar-15, 05:17 PM
The context of Pratchett's final tweets (the likelihood he wasn't typing them himself, the knowledge of his support for assisted suicide) made the tweets strikingly ambiguous.

To me, they aren't at all ambiguous. Do they leave out the cause of death? Yes. But then, I still don't entirely know the cause of death. I've read that it wasn't suicide, and that he was in bed with a cat and surrounded by family, and that's what I know. And those, I found out yesterday. But when Death takes you into the desert, you don't come back from it. The black desert under the endless sky appears in a few of the books, and the metaphor would have been clear to any fan.

What's more--JohnD, I'm not on the spectrum, and I would have preferred to have his death broken to me gently, because he did mean something to me. A friend did break the news of Roger Ebert's death gently. As it happens, I see the wording of the tweets as a gentle way to tell fans what had happened. I get that people who aren't fans don't get it, but I suspect that's because it's hard to understand that Death is himself arguably the main character of the series. He probably isn't Death the way people think of the concept, even if he is a seven-foot-tall skeleton in robes, carrying a scythe. He is also gentle. Thoughtful. Constantly trying to see what humanity is all about. Protecting humanity, in fact, from an outside force (the Auditors) that don't like life. And the desert? You walk the desert alone with your memories, and no one knows what's on the other side. There's no justice. There's only him, and the desert.

grant hutchison
2015-Mar-15, 06:04 PM
To me, they aren't at all ambiguous.Well, this is why I thought the question was worth asking.


Do they leave out the cause of death? Yes. But then, I still don't entirely know the cause of death.And the cause of death isn't really anyone's business, anyway. But what I found odd was that the event of death is missing. Pratchett's Twitter feed is still speaking, as if he's still there. There's no transition in which we can think, "Right, Terry's gone, here are words he prepared earlier." Pratchett achieves a sort of ambiguous existential status. I find that disturbing, but guess that his fans (who understand both Pratchett and Twitter better than I) don't.


What's more--JohnD, I'm not on the spectrum ...I think John was asking if it implied that he was on the autistic spectrum, that he couldn't understand why some Pratchett fans might want the news broken gently.

Grant Hutchison

slang
2015-Mar-15, 06:32 PM
I get that people who aren't fans don't get it, but I suspect that's because it's hard to understand that Death is himself arguably the main character of the series. He probably isn't Death the way people think of the concept, even if he is a seven-foot-tall skeleton in robes, carrying a scythe. He is also gentle. Thoughtful. Constantly trying to see what humanity is all about. Protecting humanity, in fact, from an outside force (the Auditors) that don't like life. And the desert? You walk the desert alone with your memories, and no one knows what's on the other side. There's no justice. There's only him, and the desert.

"Mom, that man is a skelington!". It's funny, in a reply that I decided not to post after all, I wrote almost exactly the same as you did. He is one of my favorite characters in the books. Scary, and yet comforting, and a wicked sense of humor. I always look forward to the sentences in disembodied dreadful all-caps.

Gillianren
2015-Mar-15, 10:42 PM
And the cause of death isn't really anyone's business, anyway. But what I found odd was that the event of death is missing. Pratchett's Twitter feed is still speaking, as if he's still there. There's no transition in which we can think, "Right, Terry's gone, here are words he prepared earlier." Pratchett achieves a sort of ambiguous existential status. I find that disturbing, but guess that his fans (who understand both Pratchett and Twitter better than I) don't.

I don't do Twitter. But the black desert is dying. If Terry Pratchett is in the black desert under the endless sky, he's dead. We only know of two characters who came back from that, and they're both witches showing someone else the way through the door. (It's in Hat Full of Sky.) Since he wasn't a witch, he won't be coming back from the black desert.

grant hutchison
2015-Mar-15, 11:11 PM
I don't do Twitter. But the black desert is dying. If Terry Pratchett is in the black desert under the endless sky, he's dead. We only know of two characters who came back from that, and they're both witches showing someone else the way through the door. (It's in Hat Full of Sky.) Since he wasn't a witch, he won't be coming back from the black desert.I do understand that the tweets from Pratchett's Twitter account clearly imply "Terry is dead".
It's the situation in which these words appear that creates the ambiguity. They're apparently Pratchett's words, and they describe, in Discworld terms, the process of Pratchett's own death.

So if these words just appeared on my phone, from Terry Pratchett's Twitter account, it seems to me that in the absence of any other information they have two different possible intepretations:
1) Pratchett is still alive and has dictated these words to be sent in real time, because he knows he is imminently about to die. (His interest in assisted suicide makes this much more of a possibility than it might otherwise be.)
2) Pratchett died some time ago, and someone else is sending these tweets on his behalf, to let us know he has died. (Also very plausible, given how long he has had to plan for this.)
This gets me into an existential dither: Is he alive? Is he dead? Is he actually dying while I'm standing here gawping at my phone?

Twitter lets stuff like this happen in a way no other medium has allowed. So I'm interested in how people dealt with it. In your case, it sounds like you found out about his death, and then read the tweets. I was hoping someone might chime in who was jut hit with the tweets, out of the blue.

Grant Hutchison

malaidas
2015-Mar-16, 09:45 AM
I can see the ambiguity you are talking about Grant. As it happened we in retrospect can tell that this wasn't the case, although I cannot be certain if he dictated the words at the time, or simply prepared them in advance to be tweeted in the moment of his death. I guess only the family can ever know that. To me though the bottom line is that it was a fitting set of statements for an Author who's most famous character was a Death that had a human aspect, that was the protective shepherd rather than the terrifying inhuman character of previous fiction. To me it suggests he himself had already come to terms with his imminent mortality and was at peace enough to keep his humour and allow the creator the death of his characters in the immortal memory of the written word. I shall never forget what he gave to me, but I can sit back and feel that at least 'fate' gave him a kind of justice, it spared him the one thing I think he feared more than anything else. Living without being him, and for that we should be thankful. (obviously by fate here, I mean simply chance, but its as good a word as any)

grant hutchison
2015-Mar-16, 10:36 AM
I should point out that I don't doubt or wish to undermine the family's statement about how he died.

Grant Hutchison

malaidas
2015-Mar-16, 11:33 AM
If I came across as implying that I am sorry, because I knew you weren't. I understand you are asking for what psychological reaction they caused in the people reading them at the time who experienced this as the first information about the facts.

its just that in my mind, regardless, it was very appropriate for Sir Terry to do this.

JohnD
2015-Mar-16, 02:25 PM
Gillianren,
No, there is no desert. That was Pratchett's point.

Grant,
Up to a point, Lord Copper.
Mark Twain, ‘The report of my death was an exaggeration’. - New York Journal of 2 June 1897. It was his cousin, also a Clemens, who had been deathly sick.
And Clive James, still with us, but not for long he fears, "I've got a lot done since my death". He was widely reported to be in a similar state to Twain's cousin, two years ago.
See: http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/mar/15/clive-james-interview-done-lot-since-my-death
I'm sure that Twain would be tweeting today; James certainly does. https://twitter.com/clivejames5

I have been told, I know nothing for certain, that despite TP's advocacy of assisted suicide, there was no need.
He had a severe chest infection. I presume that he refused treatment.

But however his death was announced, by his own hand or by another's following his script, wouldn't we all like to have ours announced with some pithy, meaningful words, that we had written?
Even if it's on your tombstone/memorial tablet. Spike Milligan did, even if he had to put it in Irish.

JOhn

Gillianren
2015-Mar-16, 04:42 PM
Did no one notice that the third of those four tweets is a link to his publishing company's formal announcement? If anyone is confused by the metaphor, there's your reality for you.

grant hutchison
2015-Mar-16, 04:42 PM
Grant,
Up to a point, Lord Copper.
Mark Twain, ‘The report of my death was an exaggeration’. - New York Journal of 2 June 1897. It was his cousin, also a Clemens, who had been deathly sick.
And Clive James, still with us, but not for long he fears, "I've got a lot done since my death". He was widely reported to be in a similar state to Twain's cousin, two years ago.
See: http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/mar/15/clive-james-interview-done-lot-since-my-death
I'm sure that Twain would be tweeting today; James certainly does. https://twitter.com/clivejames5

I have been told, I know nothing for certain, that despite TP's advocacy of assisted suicide, there was no need.
He had a severe chest infection. I presume that he refused treatment.

But however his death was announced, by his own hand or by another's following his script, wouldn't we all like to have ours announced with some pithy, meaningful words, that we had written?
Even if it's on your tombstone/memorial tablet. Spike Milligan did, even if he had to put it in Irish."Up to a point, Lord Copper" means you are saying "no" to something I wrote, but nothing here seems remotely relevant to what I've been talking about.

Grant Hutchison

grant hutchison
2015-Mar-16, 04:54 PM
Did no one notice that the third of those four tweets is a link to his publishing company's formal announcement? If anyone is confused by the metaphor, there's your reality for you.Yay! I knew there had to be some context missing. Those four tweets (https://twitter.com/terryandrob) have been much retweeted and reported as three tweets, with the obituary link omitted. Thank you.
(And, as I've explained, I never had a problem understanding the metaphor.)

Grant Hutchison

marsbug
2015-Mar-17, 11:21 AM
I am sad :(

malaidas
2015-Mar-17, 11:30 AM
“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”
― Terry Pratchett (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1654.Terry_Pratchett), Reaper Man (http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/1796454)

malaidas
2015-Mar-17, 11:35 AM
and perhaps more pertinently I just found this gem

“...no-one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away... The span of someone's life, they say, is only the core of their actual existence.”
― Terry Pratchett (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1654.Terry_Pratchett), Reaper Man (http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/1796454)


​There are many great quotes but this one seems to sum things up for me here.

grant hutchison
2015-Mar-17, 12:34 PM
I believe this probably summarizes the philosophy that led to those postmortem tweets:

I believe everyone should have a good death. You know, with your grandchildren around you, a bit of sobbing. Because after all, tears are appropriate on a death bed. And you say goodbye to your loved ones, making certain that one of them has been left behind to look after the shop.
(context (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/11/139262401/discworlds-terry-pratchett-on-death-and-deciding))Grant Hutchison

Mareykan
2015-Mar-26, 11:57 PM
Aw man, I just found out right now (they had a small sign that said Terry Pratchett 1948-2015, with all of his books in the self underneath)... only really read Small Gods, tho I saw all the books that got made into a movie.

rigel
2015-Apr-01, 08:12 PM
I just heard last week when I was on the bookmobile. The librarian told the woman in in front of me that said he had just died and the collection of short that was holding was worthwile reading.

Trebuchet
2015-Apr-04, 07:36 PM
After a delay of several weeks while I finished another series, I've just started reading Mort. It didn't take long for Pratchet to slap me with an unexpected howler having to do with the opposite of "increment". I actually laughed out loud. That's a good sign.

Gillianren
2015-Apr-04, 10:51 PM
Some years ago, I was reading Going Postal at a con. The guy running the booth who had sold it to me said it had been lower on his list at the start of the weekend than the end, because he spent the whole weekend watching me reading the book and giggling madly.

Trebuchet
2015-Apr-05, 04:34 AM
I have just finished Mort, although I may have missed a couple of footnotes due to reading from the Kindle App on my phone. I facepalmed several times. Pratchett is wonderful. How have I missed this all this time? What a shame it took his Death to get me interested.

I've downloaded the next in the series but must ask: Does it matter much what order I read them in? If not, I'm open to suggestions. I'll take Gillian's post above as one.

parallaxicality
2015-Apr-05, 06:05 AM
You can read them in publication order, or you can choose to focus on specific character arcs. The arcs are:

Death: Mort, Reaper Man, Soul Music, Hogfather, Thief of Time

Rincewind/Unseen University: The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Sourcery, Faust Eric, Moving Pictures, Reaper Man, Lords and Ladies (a bit), Soul Music, Hogfather, Interesting Times, The Last Continent, The Last Hero*, Unseen Academicals, The Science of Discworld vols. I, II, III

(the ones in italics are specifically about Rincewind)
*It helps to be familiar with the City Watch continuity as well

The City Watch: Guards! Guards!, Men At Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, The Fifth Elephant, The Truth, Night Watch, Monstrous Regiment, Thud!, Snuff

(the ones in italics are basically City Watch stories told from other points of view, but have no effect on its continuity)

The Witches: Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade, Carpe Jugulum

Tiffany Aching: The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, I Shall Wear Midnight, The Shepherd's Crown (upcoming)

(these are meant for young adults, but personally I consider them his best work. They are set in the "Witches" continuity, and can be read as extensions of that storyline)

Moist Von Lipwig: Going Postal, Making Money, Raising Steam

(these can also be seen as part of the City Watch continuity)

The Monks of History: Small Gods, Thief of Time, Night Watch

Gods: Pyramids, Small Gods, Hogfather, The Last Hero, Monstrous Regiment

and then there's

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents

which doesn't really fit anywhere.

Gillianren
2015-Apr-05, 07:50 AM
In practical terms, I'd wait a while before getting to The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic, and the thing to be aware of is that a character who is very important in Equal Rites is extremely different in it than in every other book in which she appears. They are the first three books he wrote in the series, and they've never particularly worked for me; of them, I'm closest to liking The Light Fantastic. Honestly, though, I'd suggest either continuing on the Death subseries or else reading the Watch ones. Or, if you really like Shakespeare, several of the Witch books play on that. Though Maskerade is musical theatre and Carpe Jugululm is, obviously, vampires.

grapes
2015-Apr-05, 12:41 PM
Aw man, I just found out right now (they had a small sign that said Terry Pratchett 1948-2015, with all of his books in the self underneath)... only really read Small Gods, tho I saw all the books that got made into a movie.
Are all of the film adaptations British TV mini-series?

Maybe we can get Peter Jackson to make a trilogy out of Wyrd Sisters The Color of Magic

Trebuchet
2015-Apr-05, 02:59 PM
Thanks folks! I've clearly got some catching up to do!

CJSF
2015-Apr-06, 06:05 AM
I'm curious, Gillian. What specifically don't you like about the first books, with Rincewind? I agree they have a slightly different flavor that most of the rest of the series that I've read, but I was wondering why you're keen to steer people away from them at first? After I read Soul Music, I started back "at the beginning" and I really liked the first books. Not knocking your opinions or advice, I am genuinely curious.

CJSF

Gillianren
2015-Apr-06, 07:28 AM
For one thing, I feel that The Colour of Magic is far too interested in being a parody of other fantasy works rather than a story. Since I haven't read some of them, I'm clearly missing some of the jokes. I also feel that the humour is a lot more broad in those than in later books. Granny in Equal Rites is, in my opinion, not terribly bright, certainly nowhere near as insightful as she becomes later on. Comparing the Granny from Equal Rites to the Granny from, say, Carpe Jugulum or the Tiffany Aching books is a little unsettling, though she's obviously somewhere in there. I just feel that he doesn't really get a feel for the universe he's building until Mort--as though focusing on Death gave him a better understanding of his own world.

iquestor
2015-Apr-06, 11:42 AM
Small Gods was my favorite.

CJSF
2015-Apr-06, 12:24 PM
Thanks for the reply, Gillian. I think I understand your qualms about the early books. I just took it in stride that the characters developed and "got better" as the series went on - it's not jut Granny who is a shadow of her later self in those early books. You do get a sense that Pratchett was sort of "finding his feet" with it, but I never held that against him. I also noticed how at first it is clearly a fantasy/medieval world, but later it morphs into something more stereotypically Victorian. I suppose it's up to the individual reader if any of this makes the early books worth reading first or later, but your suggestions aren't bad. Mort is the only Discworld book I held on to when we had to pare down our belongings a few years back (well, and the copy of Hogfather I had at work at the time, but have since donated to the library).

CJSF

malaidas
2015-Apr-06, 01:36 PM
I have to agree with the opinion of colour of magic. It's more a collection of short stories, but the main characters Rincewind and twoflower never really get any depth in it, he's as much trying to form a world in his own mind as writing the story and it suffers for it. It's not an attack at TP it's a recognition that he had not yet really found his feet. He tries a little hard to for e the humour in his early books, rather than letting it just flow out of the basic ideas for the story. On the other hand it means that you need no real appreciation of the subject matter to appreciate the jokes, whereas with the likes of masquerade you need to have an understanding of theatre in general and phantom of the opera specifically to completely get the jokes.

Gillianren
2015-Apr-06, 05:03 PM
I do tend to refer to his books as "rewarding you for knowing stuff." Maskerade is funnier because I do know quite a lot about musical theatre, opera, and classical music culture in general--and I've not just seen Phantom of the Opera in about six incarnations, including the stage show, but I've even read the book. But I don't know a whole heck of a lot about trains, and I still found Raising Steam to be very funny indeed.

Trebuchet
2015-Apr-06, 06:38 PM
I think I'm going to go ahead and read The Colour of Magic, since I already downloaded it, and perhaps the next in the Death series.

slang
2015-Apr-06, 07:23 PM
I think I'm going to go ahead and read The Colour of Magic, since I already downloaded it, and perhaps the next in the Death series.

I've always enjoyed it, I'm sure you will too. The City Watch books are also excellent.

malaidas
2015-Apr-06, 11:00 PM
I do tend to refer to his books as "rewarding you for knowing stuff." Maskerade is funnier because I do know quite a lot about musical theatre, opera, and classical music culture in general--and I've not just seen Phantom of the Opera in about six incarnations, including the stage show, but I've even read the book. But I don't know a whole heck of a lot about trains, and I still found Raising Steam to be very funny indeed.

Ok I agree with this assessment. It's not that it's not funny anyway, it's just that the humour has do much more depth when it's a subject you know something about, he was a master of satyre