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Wes thu hal, Terry Pratchett

Very sad about the news of Terry Pratchett today. Out of curiosity, does anyone know if it was euthanasia or natural causes? I've not been able to find anything definitive. (That feels horribly gauche to just ask, but I'm considering pitching a blog piece over at ThinkChristian, and knowing would be helpful.)

I wrote the following over at Tumblr and thought some of you might find it interesting. I'm serious about looking for good places to start reading him, if anyone has any suggestions.

*************************

I’m a bit shamed to say I’ve never actually read anything by Terry Pratchett by himself. Good Omens was delicious, the half of it I finished before leaving it on the subway. Probably time to buy an ebook version or a new copy and finish it. I’d also welcome recommendations for a Pratchett virgin on the best books to start with.

That said, if I made poor life choices regarding his books, other people are much more familiar. The quotes being shared are beautiful, really, in many ways the human spirit at its finest, or at least a large part of what I think of when I imagine what humanity is actually good at. One favorite bit, taken from all over but including here:



All right,” said Susan. “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need… fantasies to make life bearable.”

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

"So we can believe the big ones?"

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

"They’re not the same at all!"

YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME…SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—"

MY POINT EXACTLY.


If you want to honor the man by engaging in a bit of story, here are the AO3 pages for Discworld, Good Omens, and all Terry Pratchett fanfic. Also of note: his Amazon page, his Twitter account, and the Tumblr tag where people are remembering him. neil-gaiman‘s page has also had some heartwarming items.

Godspeed, sir, and may the wind be always at your back (and your stories in our ear).

********************************

PS - vulgarweed's Tumblr is in full-on Pratchett mode, for those of you looking for gentle remembrances today. Check it out.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
scfrankles
Mar. 12th, 2015 10:18 pm (UTC)
The Daily Telegraph has an article here, which refers to a statement from Terry Pratchett's publishers. They confirm it was natural causes - a chest infection - rather than assisted suicide.
marta_bee
Mar. 12th, 2015 10:47 pm (UTC)
scfrankles and karri_kln1671: Thanks for the information. I want to be clear, it wouldn't have made me think any less of him if it had been euthanasia. I used to volunteer in a cancer ward and so while I once had moral qualms about euthanasia, I now see it more or less as just one way a disease can kill you.

The thing is, I blog as a way to grapple with my thoughts in cases like these, sometimes at paid sites, and so I needed to understand the situation before I make my pitch. I knew he had done some public work on euthanasia, and the articles I skimmed described him as dying at home with his family without making it clear it was natural causes, so I thought this would be as good a place as any to ask. It's a tragic loss that he'd die at such a young age, naturally or otherwise.

Edited at 2015-03-12 10:48 pm (UTC)
karri_kln1671
Mar. 12th, 2015 10:24 pm (UTC)
His publisher insists it was natural causes. It's terribly sad; he was a brilliant writer. I think it's good though that he and those he loved didn't have to endure the slow, lingering misery of his disease for long.
azalaisdep
Mar. 12th, 2015 11:05 pm (UTC)
I'm so, so sad. And I wouldn't have blamed him at all if he had chosen the time of his end, given what he knew lay in front of him. I loved him even more when he stuck his neck out to campaign for the right to assisted dying (on which I feel very strongly, currently helping to nurse my mother through a very lingering death from cancer) and worked to raise awareness of Alzheimers.

In terms of the books - personally I love a lot of the early "witches" novels, such as Lords & Ladies, and Witches Abroad (I want to be Granny Weatherwax when I grow up, basically). But I think some of his later Ankh-Morpork novels centred on Vimes are really dark, mature, funny, humane and brilliant - I would recommend Night Watch and Thud! in particular. And for a Discworld-in-microcosm short cycle, with a fantastic female lead, there are the 4 Tiffany Aching books: The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, and the peerless I Shall Wear Midnight.

Have spent all evening talking Pterry, here and on Twitter and on FB. All sorts of my friends who I never even knew were Pratchett fans have come out of the woodwork and are fiercely debating which are their favourites!
rhapsody11
Mar. 12th, 2015 11:12 pm (UTC)
Have you never read any of his Discworld novels? For me Equal Rites is the most awesome one to begin with, but L-Space web has suggested reading orders for those books. Personally, besides the awesome Good Omens, I am very very fond of The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. A book that I am reading (for a while now since I don't have much time to read) is Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Stories
mrowe
Mar. 13th, 2015 05:03 am (UTC)
That quote is perfect.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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