Letters of Mass Construction

GOODBYE SIR TERRY PRATCHETT

I have a confession to make. When I read The Color of Magic the first time way back in the mid-1980’s, I didn’t like it. I bought it from the Science Fiction Book Club and read it in one day. I remember being mildly amused but the teenager me didn’t feel the need to read anymore books by Sir Pratchett for about 5 more years. Then I purchased Good Omens. Not because of Pratchett but because of Gaiman, whom I adored because of the Sandman comic book.

Good Omens is one of those seminal books for me. I have reread it more times than I can count. I don’t think I can ever remember reading a book that made me laugh more. At the time of its reading I was going through a rough spot in a relationship and it was the perfect antidote for my sadness. It forced me to give Pratchett one more try. I read Mort because it had Death in it. I followed that up with Guards! Guards! I was well and truly hooked at that point. I began devouring every book I could get my hands on.

I mean really hooked. I have statues. I have a replica of The Thieves Guild. I have Josh Kirby and Paul Kidby prints of his covers. Speaking of covers. I love the British versions of his covers and began to order them from London bookstores and having them shipped to me (I always picked ones he was signing at. I now have a very large collection of autographed books).

My favorite story about reading Sir Terry was a late night foray into The Truth. At some point Otto, the vampire photographer, gets into a fight with the flash from his camera and loses (I don’t want to give anything away so that was intentionally vague). This caused a rather loud laughing fit by me. It woke Sheri up. She gave me the look. I quieted down. The problem is Otto continued to have tragically funny moments. Each one better than the last. Each one causing me to laugh and waking up my long suffering wife. After the last wake up she began to have words with me. This only caused me to laugh more. I was out of control. I was also on the couch for the rest of the book.

When Sir Terry announced he was sick I began saving books. Not reading them right away. Stowing them away for a rainy day. I knew the end was near and I just couldn’t imagine a world without a new Terry Pratchett book. Now it is here. Even knowing it was coming has left me devastated. I will miss his wit and intelligence.

At some point I know I am going to go back and reread every one of those books. Working my way through the gift he has left us. Savoring every joke. Every sly commentary on the world around us. He is gone but he will never be forgotten. His words will resonate well past my own parting from this world. He was a giant. Rest in peace Sir Terry. The world is a lesser place without you.

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