Memories of Pterry

A sad day for fans of comic fantasy, a genre Terry Pratchett pretty much came to define.

My copy of The Colour of Magic dates from 1985, the first Corgi paperback edition, which described the story on the front cover as “Jerome K. Jerome meets LORD OF THE RINGS (with a touch of Peter Pan)” and on the back as THE WACKIEST AND MOST ORIGINAL FANTASY SINCE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (who knew Death started out as a blurb writer?). The comparisons had a whiff of desperation, but did the trick: as a teenage fan of Tolkien, Douglas Adams and Three Men in a Boat, I paid my A$4.95 and started reading.

I kept reading through my undergraduate years, as Equal Rites and especially Mort delivered on the promise of the first couple of Discworld books. In 1991, as a student in England, I lined up at a signing and got my copy of his latest, Moving Pictures, signed by the man himself. Not his greatest, but that came the following year; Small Gods was my favourite (or equal favourite, alongside Good Omens).

Around that time, one of my earliest online hangouts was on Usenet. I even submitted a few corrections to the Annotated Pratchett File way back in 1994, which on checking against the 2008 version I see were completely ignored; oh well.

But 1994, it turned out, was my last year of Pterry. I only managed one visit to Discworld that year before the remorseless timetables of doctoral study crowded out novel reading, especially the kind that appeared twice a year; I picked up Men at Arms and Soul Music but never got around to them, and that’s where my shelf of Pratchett paperbacks ends. Before long my 100% coverage shrank to 50% and now 35%. Maybe it’s time to see what I’ve missed.

Signed by Pterry

12 March 2015 · People