Mysterious Galaxy Part Two: Sir Terry Pratchett

Last time I wrote about the recent, still fresh in my mind, book signing by the funny man Christopher Moore. A week after the event, and I continue to be optimistic and happy due to that encounter. So it’s time to bring me down a notch. I’m going back a number of years here, so my memories may be less accurate.

Before Sir Terry Pratchett was knighted, he came to the states now and again to sign books and make us laugh. Again, anyone who writes books with so much humor is probably going to be a funny speaker. And this was true with Sir Terry.

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Had I known how little I would remember of seeing him at the old Mysterious Galaxy store, twice, I would have written down the details in a diary or something. I do know we laughed, we loved the time spent with him, and we got books signed. Here are some of his most famous quotes:

The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.

In ancient times cats were worshiped as gods; they have not forgotten this.

Mike and I discovered Sir Terry by accident. A happy one, as it turns out. I belonged to one of those book clubs where if you didn’t manage to send in the card on your own stamp to say Don’t Send This Book, they sent the monthly book. When we opened the box after having forgotten to send in the card, the title of the book alone had us laughing. The Fifth Elephant.

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That was 15 years ago. Since then we have tracked down every book by Sir Terry we could find. All the Discworld books. The picture books like Where’s My Cow? And The Last Hero. The great Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook. And Mike has actually read the Long Earth series. Sir Terry co-authored those books.

He also co-authored Good Omens with an unknown writer names Neil Gaiman. This selfless act helped cement Mr. Gaiman’s place as a writer of note. (Tongue firmly in cheek) As it turned out, one of the books I brought for signing was Good Omens. Sir Terry looked it over, and asked if Neil had signed it yet? I said he had not. “Good. I’ll sign it up here so he can’t miss the fact that I signed it first.”

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I know he told us many wonderful stories and many great ideas that had not been used. His passing this year was a blow to his fans, but for me the harder times were when Sir Terry announced his condition, early onset Alzheimers, and then when he made the decision to stop writing.

His last book, The Shepherd’s Crown, just came out, and part of me doesn’t want to read it. When I finish it, that’s the end. No more new Pratchett, ever. His wife and estate have said no one will be granted permission to pick up the Disc World mythology and continue the sagas. And that’s no doubt for the best. But at the same time, it’s devastating.

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Please consider donating to the Alzheimer’s Research UK organization. and the Alzheimer’s Society.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.

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