No writer in my lifetime has given me as much pleasure and happiness. He could do knockabout for schoolboys (and girls) but he was also subtle and wise and very funny in the adult world. I loved him because almost all the characters he didn’t like slowly grew more real, more interesting, more complicated perhaps to his own surprise.
He could write evil if he needed to, but if he didn’t his characters surprised us and him. His prose was layered: there was a mischievous surface, and a layer of complicated running jokes, and something steely and uncompromising that turned the reader cold from time to time. He was my unlikely hero, and saved me from disaster more than once by making me laugh and making me think.
Thirty years and a month ago, a beginning author met a young journalist in a Chinese Restaurant, and the two men became friends, and they wrote a book, and they managed to stay friends despite everything. Last night, the author died.
There was nobody like him. I was fortunate to have written a book with him, when we were younger, which taught me so much.
I’ll miss you, Terry.
Terry was one of our greatest fantasists, and beyond a doubt the funniest. He was as witty as he was prolific, and that’s saying something…A bright, funny, insightful, warm, and kindly man, a man of infinite patience, a man who truly knew how to enjoy life…and books.
He is survived by Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Mort, Death, Death of Rats, Commander Vimes, the Librarian, Cohen the Barbarian, Rincewind the Wizard, the Luggage and hundreds of other unforgettable characters, whose adventures will continue to delight and surprise readers all over the world for many years to come.
George R. R. Martin
Very sad to hear of the death of Terry Pratchett. I vastly enjoy his playful, smart Discworld books.
I love the Discworld novels for so many reasons. They satirise our world and its institutions with an unsparing savagery – everything from the coming of the railways to the internet via religious intolerance and radicalisation – but they don’t make us despair because there are always glorious characters with their hearts in the right place who bring us comfort: Sam Vimes, Tiffany Aching, Death, Captain Carrot, Moist von Lipwig, Rincewind and of course, the Patriarch himself, Lord Vetinari…
His Alzheimer’s was the cruellest possible blow to a mind so inventive, so rich and so funny. With his passing, the world is a less fantastic place.
He will be much missed, but what a legacy of wit and good cheer he leaves us!
Ursula Le Guin
He wasn’t imagining an alternative universe; he was reimagining ours. His fantasies sit alongside – and are the equals of – those of Rabelais, Voltaire, Swift, Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams. He’s surely our most quotable writer after Shakespeare and Wilde. Granny Weatherwax’s definition of sin – “When you treat people as things” – is all you need to know about ethics.
Whereas all my beloved P G Wodehouses and Philip Pullmans are neatly arranged on the bookshelves, my Pratchetts are strewn under the beds, in the bathrooms, the glove compartments. They have shopping lists, takeaway orders and Scrabble scores scribbled on the fly leaves. They were part of life.
Rincewind is always looking for something “better than magic”. Pratchett found something better than literature.
Frank Cottrell Boyce
I ripped off a good 80% of everything I know about writing from him…I can’t imagine a 13 year old alive who wouldn’t be changed a bit, for the better, by reading Terry Pratchett.
It’s a great loss to the surreal, zany and joyful world that the light that is Terry Pratchett has gone to shine elsewhere…Pratchett’s brilliant, quirky meditations on fantasy worlds and his intense humour developed a strain of fiction that was all his own, recognisably his. His courage in facing his deteriorating health shows the wisdom behind the smiling face. I met him briefly at a couple of events and found him completely authentic – without vanity or pretension.
A writer of monumental talent.
Terry Pratchett once gave me 2 pieces of advice.
1 Always tour to meet your readers face to face.
2 Buy a hat.
Of all the writers I’ve read, Pratchett felt the most human. There was more truth in a single one of his humble satires than in a hundred volumes of poignant drama. Unlike most comedians—who use their humor like a weapon, always out for blood—Terry didn’t cut or bludgeon. He was far too clever for that. Instead, he’d slide down onto the bar stool beside us, drape his arm around us, and say something ridiculous, brilliant, and hilarious. Suddenly, the world would be a brighter place.
It wasn’t that he held back, or wasn’t—at times—biting. It’s just that he seemed to elevate every topic he touched, even when attacking it. He’d knock the pride and selfishness right out from underneath us, then—remarkably—we’d find ourselves able to stand without such things.
And we stood all the taller for it.
Sir Terry, you have my sincere thanks. I don’t think that, despite your many accolades, the world knows what it had in you.
Gutted to hear of the death of Terry Pratchett. What a loss to British fantasy.
A legend and an inspiration.
Reading the news after his death was announced, you could almost have believed that Pratchett was primarily a commentator on the human heart or a revealer of societal insanity. He was those things, of course, but more: Pratchett was genuinely, reliably funny.
Pratchett was a master of the one-liner and the long gag. He could drop a laugh on you out of the blue to puncture a serious situation or just because it was there, but he could slow-burn a joke too, so that it was bound into the fabric of a story and when the punchline came, it not only made you howl with laughter but also solved some fearsome quandary in the story. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have anything to say.
The dark secret of literature is that it’s not hard to write about serious topics, but Pratchett did it so well that half the time you don’t spot it.
He was funny. Funny doesn’t benefit from analysis, and analysis doesn’t truly understand it or why we need it so much. Funny happens and it makes the world bright, and then it’s gone.
I hope the next world is as full of fun and adventure as the ones you created while you were here.
A true sorrow. I met him once, at an event. He was a charming curmudgeon.
A great life, a brave death, inspirational man.
Terry Pratchett brought more joy to my life than any other author.
Thanks Terry Pratchett, not just for books, but for eight years of eloquence about living with Alzheimer’s.
Discworld is one of the very most fabulous creations in all of literature. I am gutted by the death of Terry Pratchett. One of a kind.
Such a loss. I admired him very much.
The world has lost its bravest of knights.