For what made him Sir Pterry was, I think, already gone.
Sir Terry Pratchett, who has died aged 66, was Britain’s best-selling novelist of the 1990s. His immaculately written, wildly imaginative brand of comic fantasy breathed new life into a largely forgotten form of humorous writing and enabled him to connect with readers not usually attracted to the science fiction and fantasy genres.
A truly great writer. The Truth is the best newspaper satire since Scoop (and is possibly better) and Making Money gets the economics so right it’s actually painful. Maurice is such a good retelling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin that I was shouting with joy at some parts of it.
However, it’s very definitely true that the last few books really were not up to standard. As someone who currently writes for a living (without that style, of course, without that competence even) I can tell you that typing something, seeing it come out on the screeen, is very different indeed from dictating something. The way that the jokes, the connections, link themselves is very different when you’ve got those words in front of you. And that was very much part of the joy of Sir Pterry’s writing. The complexity of the linkages within the story and the jokes.
His degenerative brain disease meant that the last few (I’m not sure quite marked the gap but Making Steam you can see what the book could have been but wasn’t, in a way that Unseen Academicals was) were dictated. And it’s very noticeable that they’re just not layered into that complexity.
Hmm, here we have evidence of why I’m not a great writer because I’m not explaining it all that well, am I?
The passing of Terry Pratchett is of course sad, as is the passing of anyone before “their time”. The passing of Sir Pterry happened, I am afraid to say, a few years back.
I have had so much joy in reading those books (and suffered bitter pangs of jealousy at not being able to do it, too) that I am entirely delighted to say that my life has been made better by his existence.
Vale, but the passing happened before the death.