back to article Terry Pratchett has Alzheimer's

Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's, as he announced yesterday with a post to the web. The best-selling author of the Discworld fantasy books is 59 years-old. "I would have liked to keep this one quiet for a little while, but because of upcoming conventions and of course the need to …


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  1. GettinSadda

    Not dead yet?


  2. carey pridgeon

    what a terrible shame

    I do hope he manages to keep going for a few years yet. I worked with Alzheimer's patients for many years, and I know they can manage to do well for a long time with the right treatment.

    He has my sympathy. I do hope he manages to keep going with the books, after Douglas Adams he's my favorite author.

  3. jason lee

    For all the fans...

    Like myself I would ask all to be glad that for now he is well and happy, that he is optimisticly looking forward to the future and has some time to enjoy before his troubles hit him.

    I would ask - even if Mr TP (Terry Pratchett - NOT to be mistaken with anything to do with near the lower body) has not asked - if you feel to donate towards an Alzheimers charity - either cure or support or whatever you wish - please do so.

    I'm sure Moist Von Lipwig would aprove* (honest :) )

    All the best Terry - for now and always from one of many loyal and devoted fans.

    * Mr TP fan humor.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    That Really, REALLY Sucks

    He's a British National Treasure, and, unlike Douglas Adams (before his -also untimely- impediment to further progress), he still lives there.

    Alzheimer's is a very, very nasty disease. I have seen a number of people deal with family members who have it. The "early onset" brand from which he apparently suffers, is a particularly nasty variant.

    He will be in my thoughts and my prayers.

  5. Stan

    All the best with the embuggerance

    That's Thursday buggered and its not even started yet. Never could get the hang of Thursdays.

    Still, as good a time as any for a drink to Mr. Pratchetts health and long may the 'I aint dead' last.


  6. Alex Threlfall
    Thumb Up

    Always happens to the best people...

    It's sad that diseases like these always affect the people who deserve it least!

  7. Karl Dane

    An embuggerance indeed

    Mr.Pratchett has been a significant part of my life since I was 12, (I am now 32), and I have often (selfishly) thought that it would be the end of an era when he finally stops writing. I have never met the man, but nonetheless I am embarrassingly well-versed in his works; I will too easily re-read one of his books rather than start a new one by another author.

    When I started my contracting career, it only made sense to name my company ( after one of his most prominent characters; the weaselly and cowardly 'Rincewind'.

    Here's to hoping I'll still be reading new Pratchett material when I'm 64.


  8. Anonymous Coward

    I ATEN'T DEAD -n/t

    Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

  9. Bob Bramwell

    Only the good ...

    Very bad news for all of us Prat-o-philes out here. All good things must come to an end, I suppose, but somehow I'd always imagined him disappearing in puff of smoke leaving only his boots behind. I'll keep my ears open for any brain chemistry specialists who might happen to pass nearby.

  10. BoldMan

    I'm saddened...

    Having met the old codger a couple of times at conventions - first time in 1987 before he became HUGELY famous and we got somewhat smashed at a bar in the Radisson Kensington... or somewhere similar... I am encouraged by his humour in the face of the spectre of a disease that frankly terrifies me.

    Good luck Terry, there's a few more books in there yet I reckon!

  11. Pete Wilson


    One word - Aricept.

    It works rather nicely.

    Puts off the day of reckoning, but that gives time to work on something better.

    And, incidentally, I reckon that the best thing in the early Discworld books was the footnotes. Bloody magic. And, of course, the 'Two dogs' joke...

    -- P

  12. Gower
    Thumb Down


    good ole TP

  13. Lupus

    Didn't see that one coming.

    Really. Earlier this year he was doing a rather massive book signing at a well-known London sci-fi-cum-everything-else-collectable shop, and having spotted a friend of mine who works there, he asked how *I* was. By name.

    His only prior knowledge of me being that my friend asked him to sign a book or two for me about a year prior.

    Yeah, this was the last thing I'd have expected, poor blighter. :(

  14. brendan

    Th-send in the Igor-th-s

    On Discworld the surgical skills of the Igors include advanced brain chemistry. Let's hope Roundworld's equivalents are up to saving the "marthster" of acerbic sci-fi.

  15. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

    Tragic Irony

    I had the honour of meeting Pterry quite briefly, twice across the span of 10 years, continents apart at book signings, with hundreds of other people all around me.

    And was astonished as he was able, the second time around, to name the time, the place, the occasion and other people with me at that first meeting.

    His memory amazed me - what sad irony to hear about this terrible memory and brain afflicting disease.


  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Having only met him briefly at a book signing in Nottingham, but like most people having his complete set of books, it makes me sad that this has happened. Still he's cheery about it so we all should be too!

    i was amazed at the book signing that he was writing an individual comment in each and every signed book... not just the usual "to whotsit signed whoever" every comment was witty.. and unique!

    as his books say in the inside cover "Terry Pratchett is 5? years old and isnt dead yet"....... and he aint!

  17. Edward Miles

    Hmmm... suitable melancholic song

    OK, was trying to think of a song from the Discworld novels that would be suitable for here... but after reading him describe it as "an embuggerance" , the only song I can think of is "The Hedgehog can never be buggered".

    so I'll sing that instead :)

  18. Nexox Enigma

    Truely awful!

    I'd really miss Mr. Pratchet if his hourglass were to run short on sand!

    I don't often pick favourites, etc, but I'm positive that he'd my third favourite author of all time, after Neal Stephenson and Douglas Adams (in that order.)

    I don't know what I'd do without more Discworld books! Besides just reading the existing ones over and over until my eyes fell out, that is.

    I've just decided that the world can't possibly exist without Pratchett, so obviously he won't go. Doesn't he realize that heros defeat million to one odds 9 out of 10 times!

    So I'll just go into denial until I hear some good news!

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Weatherwax Cureall?

    This is really, really bad news - but TP is being typically upbeat & optimistic. Maybe we'll see a reflection of this in his upcoming books. I want to know what Nanny Ogg & Granny Weatherwax would make of this?

    We love ya Terry :)

  20. Huw Davies

    The truth shall make ye fret

    Pterrible news.

    *wanders off to afp and abp*

  21. Markie Dussard

    But everyone knows ...

    ... that there's a million-to-one chance they'll find a cure in time!

  22. Alex Cooper

    Top Bloke

    Just met him the once in a book signing in Liverpool, incredibly nice guy, took time for his fans, and looks cool in his trademark hat ;)

    Here's to you Terry, raising a glass of 'Dibbler's Genuine Soggy Mountain Dew' to you, Cheers!

  23. David Willis


    Time to start taking the dried frog pills ?

    What harm could they do (except to the frogs and your tastebuds)

  24. Matthew

    Now I know what my parents meant...

    They always seemed to be going on about how so-and-so, their favorite (actor/author/singer/etc) was ill or had died. I guess I must be getting old too: I lament the demise of Douglas Adams, Terry Nation, Gene Roddenberry...

    It is just too sad that such a horrible illness should hit such an amazing guy. I hope and pray that it will be cured before we lose a national treasure.

  25. The Other Steve


    As a proud owner of a libraries worth of PTerry books, I'm saddened by the news, but like many others heartened by his optimism.

    ob-anecdote :

    When I went to get my copy of "Thief of Time" signed, the chap in front of me in the queue said to the Great Man (who was, indeed, wearing his most excellent hat) "I'm a student and just starting out on my career path, so could you maybe write some words of wise advice" (or something like that, it was a while ago).

    PTerry's response was to inscribe his copy with the words "Get A Job!"

    Pure genius.

  26. dervheid


    There may be a cure somewhere in The Luggage. Anyone brave enough to have a look?

  27. Anonymous Coward


    ...remember guys, he isn't dead or dieing (well technically we all are but that is a post 3am drunken musing) and i'm sure, however well meant, that some of these comments are a little too bleak. He has been diagnosed and probably early, not committed. Encouragement, not consignment is needed here! mmm That sounded catchy, wonder if Reg will write that on a sign and parade around? Mind you he would just wonder what the fuss was about....

  28. Dan Collett


    What shame such a talented author. But that will teach him for making fun of death ;-)

  29. Anonymous Coward


    That's fecked my day up...

  30. Hogfather




  31. michael

    hope there are "meny" more books to come

    I have never actuley met him but his books single handdley introduced me to the wonderfull world of the printed word

  32. Sean Casaidhe


    As someone's said, that's Thursday buggered.

    TP is the only author I'd actually stand in a line and wait for an autograph, and I have done too, in Easons in Dublin. I tried to come up with a terribly funny wisecrack but if I recall correctly, the only thing I could come up with was "I hope you write a lot more books before you die" :)

    He promptly responded; "So do I, 'cos only Mr Hitler wrote books after death" And it took me about 30 minutes to figure out what he was talking about.

    Let's hope reality doesn't catch up with him for some time...

  33. Paul

    @Markie Dussard

    A Million to one? Good to know he will be ok.

  34. Colin Jackson

    Chin up

    Since TP thinks that writing is the most fun you can have, I'm sure we'll see a few more books out of him, and I for one will be greatful for anything he cares to write.

    re: "Unseen Academicals" not part of the diskworld series.

    Are you sure? Sounds like it is.

  35. Tom


    You have been with me since I was a child, i'm so sorry to hear you've been thwarted with the most cruel of afflictions, especially for a mind so bright, you puts the rest of us to shame. I hope you go out with a bang!

  36. Danny


    I am privileged to own two signed copies of his books. He is a really nice guy, who always takes time to meet his fans and treat them with respect. A lot of the younger 'celebrities' could do with following his example as without the fans they are nothing. This really is a very sad day for British literature. For some strange reason, I have never imagined a day where I would no longer be able to look forward to the next Discworld release even though it was bound to happen someday. I wish PTerry all the best and hope the disease progresses incredibly slowly granting him many years of quality life.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, please raise your glasses to a creative genius and an all round nice guy and join Nanny Ogg in a toast

    Up your eye! and Mud in your bottom!

  37. Nick Palmer
    Thumb Up

    Sign him up ...

    ...for The Silver Horde, then..."WHUT???"

    Thoroughly unwelcome news, but seriously, though, if he's staying upbeat, we should too. As noted above, we just need someone with an expertise in REALLY TINY thtitcheth...

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very sad

    I've never cared for Pratchett's novels - in fact I'd consider him one of the two most over-rated writers in the English language (the other being J.K. Rowling) - but he's a thoroughly decent human being and far too young to be 'embuggered' by such a dreadful condition.

    I wish him well and sincerely hope that he wins his battle with Alzheimer's

  39. Slaine

    immortality through the media

    'Well, - - - - me,' he said. 'A - - - - ing wizard. I hate - - - - ing wizards!'

    'You shouldn't - - - - them, then,' muttered one of his henchmen, effortlessly pronouncing a row of dashes.

    Long may this source of insight and humour continue not being dead yet.

  40. Mal Franks
    Paris Hilton

    Will only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry eh?

    Definitely no Paris Hilton angle here then.

  41. Alien8n

    @ Huw

    I'd join you there but the only way to get there for me is google groups...

    Real shame to hear PTerry suffering from this, but as he says, he ain't dead yet. Hopefully there's still plenty of years left. His photo from 1996 with him holding the (then 3 month old) Podling still has pride of place on the wall. Signed "I don't sign small children".

    The Original AFP CMOT Alien X Xenumorph

  42. Rob

    Bastard Thursday!

    Let it be known that bad news like this and having to spend an hour and half to get work (usually takes 20mins) makes this day a Bastard day.

    It appears Fridays and the 13th aren't exclusive to each other.

    He's literatures equivalent to John Peel in my eyes.

  43. Phantom Wibbler


    That's bad news for a Thursday morning, but glad he's keeping his chin up.

    All the best mate! You've made me laugh more times than I can remember.

  44. Jaap Stoel

    Best of luck

    I'd like to with Terry Pratchett the best of luck.

    His books often move something in my soul. And I hope there will be many more.

    I wish I could think of some profound discworld quote to accompany this message. But Buggrit. I cant think of anything.

    But, where's the IT angle?

  45. jai

    terrible shame

    one of the greatest British authors of all time? tis a sad blow to the nation - but as Ben said, Pterry's not gone yet, there are more books in the pipeline, and he's taking the new optimistically so we should too.

    i've been to a few signings and everytime am awe-struck by the incredible numbers of people who turned up to queue in line, and the fact that Pterry would sit there and sign books until everyone was seen. i don't know of any other author, especially the successful ones, who appreciate their fans as much as Pratchett does.

    all the best wishes to Terry and his family - here's hoping things go as well as possible, in these circumstances


    "There's no justice in the world...."


  46. stuart meadowcroft
    Thumb Down


    And I thought I had a bad bat with my IT problems yesterday :(

  47. Rob


    I wonder if he's performed Ashe Kente to offer a bargin.

    I have two books signed by the great man and it was an absolute pleasure to have 3 minutes to chat to him whilst he did it.

    May he still have a long and happy life.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    Re: But everyone knows ...

    "... that there's a million-to-one chance they'll find a cure in time!"

    And we all know that million-to-one chances happen nine times out of ten.

  49. Anonymous Coward

    The sugar on this bitter pill?

    As a prolific writer much of Mr Pratchett's mind is saved for posterity in his existing (and future) work and in the memes of his readers.

    The pirate flag icon because, well, a world without pirates and cowboys and spacemen 'snot worth growing up for.

  50. Rob Holmes

    @ Paul

    Well everyone knows Million to one chances crop up nine times out of ten.

    Seriously though, terrible news, why does this always happen to the talented people who are genuinely nice?

  51. Kane

    Still, could be worse...

    ...there could be snakes in here with us.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Million to one?

    Strikes me it might be around fifty thousand to one. Anyone want to find a way to complicate it? Perhaps trying to find a cure while riding a unicycle would be closer?

  53. alistair millington
    Thumb Down


    Nuff said

  54. Anonymous Coward

    Millenium hand and shrimp..


  55. Anonymous Coward

    Insert title here ...

    "re: "Unseen Academicals" not part of the diskworld series.

    Are you sure? Sounds like it is."

    Yeah, but remember that the Tiffany Aching books aren't part of the 'proper' Discworld series despite being Discworld books ... kind of like The Last Continent not being a book about Australia, but being a bit Australian.

    Bad news aside, I'm really hoping that he's got another Tiffany Aching book in the pipeline - Rob Anybody and the Nac Mac Feegle never fail to make me smile. What makes this news worse, for me at least, is that all of his books since Thief of Time have been absolute belters (on the off-chance that you've not read Going Postal and/or Making Money then run, don't walk, to your nearest book emporium) - to be hit with something like this when you're on a run of good form really is an embuggerance.

    I choose the smiley icon because, like PTerry, I'm trying to stay optimistic.


  56. Antony

    Thats the Spirit TP

    With 59 years experience of not suffering from Alzheimer's, I fancy your chances.

    Just get smoking them Pantweed Slim Panatellas, or something with a little more THC!

  57. Steve Evans


    Has anyone else noticed, but given the number of complete a**eholes on this planet, you'd expect a few of them would contract something like this, but no, they'll still be there p*ssing us off well into their 90s.

    National treasures like Mr P don't deserve this.

    "Death isn't on line. If he was, there would be a sudden drop in the death rate. Although it'd be interesting to see if he'd post things like: DON'T YOU THINK I SOUND LIKE JAMES EARL JONES?"

  58. amanfromEarth



  59. Mark


    Dunno why but it seems to me like it would be the right thing to do to have a "going-away-party" but get it now so Terry can enjoy it.

    Maybe Terry could do a "going-away-party" tour. Mind you'd he'd probably be sick and tired of strange chickeny pastry things before half way through. And *we* could sign *his* book...

  60. Léon

    I asked and got this answer


  61. A. Lewis

    How very sad.

    I love his work, and I am saddened to here this. I am glad to see though that he seems to be retaining his unique and incredible sense of humour.

    My thoughts with you PTerry!

  62. John Homer

    No one has mentioned.........

    Wot? No one has come up with the dried frogs pills - seems to work for everything else. Or maybe it's just us fans who should be taking them cos he ain't dead yet and will be around for a while yet (we hope). If he is having trouble with the keyboard I feel confident there would be a legion of fans who would take dictation!

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Title says it all.

  64. Steve Sutton
    Thumb Up

    Sad? Why so sad?

    Why is everyone saying this is "sad" and "bad news".

    I personally think that it's brilliant news that on this very day, Terry Pratchett isn't dead!

    PS. Rob, I've never read any of John Peel's literature, but I bet it's nowhere near as good as Terry's work!

  65. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    And the IT angle...

    I'd like embuggerance to be added to the El Reg lexicon, immediately. We can work out exactly what piece of IT kit is used to inflict one later.

  66. Steve Pettifer

    Waily, waily!

    As Daft Wullie might say:

    Ach crivens! Ye're already deid so whut's the problem eh?

    Ever since being introduced to the Discworld 15 years ago I've been an avid fan (and also a fan of the non-Discworld stuff especially Good Omens so I was pleased to see someone quote that!) and had the pleasure of meeting him albeit briefly to get my copy of Soul Music signed. The queue was outrageously long but still he suffered all manner of oddballs, students and other assorted fans with excellent humour and all round affability for hours on end.

    Glad he's keeping a positive outlook and planning to carry on writing as long as possible because there's no point in just giving up. Like the Feegles, if there's a fight to be had then a fight should indeed be had.

  67. Paul Crawford Silver badge


    It is sad to have such a disease attack some one so undeserving. But that seems to be life (think lottery winners). Few could manage the wit of calling it "an embuggerance" under the circumstances, but then he is a remarkable guy.

    Lets hope for some (working) dried frog pills, ideally without much frog...

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    What difference will it make?

    It is rather sad that the gentleman has Alzheimer's disease but it doesn't mean the end.

    Simply blu-tak a new title onto several of your existing Discworld books every year and pretend that they're newly written masterpieces.

    If you have the luxury of being able to alter the order of the "jokes" as well then you could become the new TP (it seems to be just about all he does and it put me right off his books rather sharpish once I noticed)

    Where's the Paris Hilton angle?

  69. Daniel Voyce
    Thumb Down


    Theres no justice!!!

    Terry Pratchett got me through my childhood :) Lets hope he releases some of his titles to be made into big budget movies!

  70. H'arj Imladd

    An Embuggerance indeed

    One of my all time favourite authors.

    Good to see he's positive about such bad news, a fine example to set.

    Best wishes to Terry and family from one of many, many fans.

    and remember, "I ATEN'T DEAD" is for life, not just for Christmas!

  71. kaiserb_uk


    There's a time and a place for slating someone's work, and this isn't it.


    Another huge fan here, hoping he ain't dead for some considerable time yet.

  72. cphi
    Thumb Up

    Ah sh*t...

    can't add to the quality of the comments so just adding to the quantity - good luck, mate

    (tooltip aside, the down thumb just didn't seem right...)

  73. amanfromMars Silver badge

    The NeXXXXt Level Playing Field? ..... Open Source MetaDataMining

    I was knocked down by a Leipzig tram once..... that was a blow that cracked a few ribs, but I had the last laugh though, for the tram never hit me again for I was always avoiding its attentions by being as many steps ahead of the Game as possible. Such is Life when you tell IT IT2 is ill, for then does Future Perfect Memory Imagine 42 Open whole new Chapters for the Virgin Brain to XPlore and leave behind as a Chronicling Text Book of First Impressions, Second Helpings and Third Party Offerings in the Fourth E.State of the Fifth Column ..... ITs Underground Leanings and Clandestine Learnings........ Glorious in Sanity and nary an Affliction but a Blessing in Disguise.

    ie Share the Journey, Terry, IT is most likely many have travelled ITs Path before and found IT paved in newly Minted Gold and Kindred Deadhead Team Teen Spirits.

    "Just get smoking them Pantweed Slim Panatellas, or something with a little more THC!" .... Now there's a Novel approach, Antony, with more than a few grains of ancient wisdom in furtherance of the truth. Inhaling is, I am advised, obligatory 42 heighten the DNA reaction although that must be tempered with the fact that a cup cake can create a Similar Space for you "away with the fairies". Just ask Jacqui Smith or any plodding beatnik.

  74. Mark

    Re:What difference will it make?

    What difference does it make to me that you don't like the Discworld series? Hell, people buy and apparently enjoy Britney, so even though *I* think she's talentless, she's successful which is more than I am and FAR far more than you, who can do no more than post "it's all cack anyway".

    If you don't like 'em, don't buy them. It's not like there's fewer books because TP books are selling, is it, so you're not HAVING to read them.

    Get over yourself.

  75. Jason Togneri

    He aten't dead!

    Thanks for those pointing out that he's still alive. I first read Pratchett in 1993, somewhere in Denmark (it was The Carpet People) and he'd only written a few of the Discworld ones by then. Since that time I've gotten them all and followed his works and his characters - and if he is to die before his time, I'm sure that he'll give Death a run for his money.

  76. Andrew Kwa

    He could still have some time to go yet!

    My father has worked in metal health nearly all his working life here in the UK. He also run's the local Alzheimer's Disease Society so through him I've met quite a number of patients and careers. Treatments have improved greatly and with luck, TP will be around for a few years yet entertaining us all. It's a progressive illness that can be slowed down.

    But to be honest it's the family and those who care for patients that need the most help. Watching it in someone in the advanced stages is the most distressing time and caring for them is a full time and difficult occupation.

    But to keep this positive, keep up the good work Terry and we all look forward to finding out what your have in store for us next. Good Luck to both you and your family.

  77. Kane

    I wouldn't worry too much....

    ...he'll die, come back as a Zombie, and continue writing Discworld for the next 400 years.

    "Just because you're a zombie doesn't mean you're a bad person"

  78. call me scruffy

    Cheer Up You Miserable Bastards

    He aten't dead yet.

    He is still lucid, creative, active, interested and cared for. And he'll get get the best medical advice to be found on the disc...

    Okay "hurry up and reincarnate" probably isn't that great as advice goes, and we'd have to wait a couple of decades before he started writing again, but the second best advice might be quite good as well.

  79. Jonathan McCulloch

    life is like a gorilla’s left hand...

    >why does this always happen to the talented people who are genuinely nice?

    It doesn't. We just tend to hear about it more when it's someone famous than we do when it's some anonymous street-sweeper from Nottingham.

    Yet it’s a typically human trait to feel the tragedy of talent struck down in its prime is somehow worse than the tragedy striking the ordinary man or woman. Somehow we feel it’s worse if someone born disabled is also born beautiful. We feel more comfortable if they’re ugly. It fits our image of how things “should” be so much more closely.

    But to the individual concerned it's no worse. Anyone with Alzheimer's is in for a rough time of things, and from their individual perspective it's probably no different if they're Terry Pratchett or the abovementioned anonymous street-sweeper from Nottingham.

    Life is like a gorilla’s left hand: it’s neither fair nor right. Shit happens. Not a lot we can do about it save take it philosophically. As Pratchett himself puts it, “I will, of course, be dead at some future point, as will everybody else”; more often than not, we don’t know when this is going to be and there’s bugger all we can do about it.

    An “embuggerance” indeed.

    Since there’s nothing we can do about the ultimate destination, the only choice we have is how we make the journey.

    What I really want to know is who nabbed yesterday.

    -- Jon

  80. Ian Norris

    Todays Metro

    As sad as this all is, Todays London Metro picture editor hadn't thought this through, because TP is featured wearing a "Wheres my Cow?" T-Shirt.

  81. Paul


    Best of luck Terry, and glad to see you're keeping upbeat. I expect signing endless books for hours on end is pretty good training for that (as I recall standing in line for about 2 hours in some pub in London back in 1995, half asleep and quite possibly hung over, but intent on getting *something* signed. Fortunately for Terry they were selling copies of "Soul Music" in the queue, as I'd somehow neglected to bring anything but myself along that morning... =-o )

    Of course leave it to Terry Pratchett to successfully inject humor into an announcement about being diagnosed with a rare brain disease. Can't really help but admire *that*!

  82. Anthony


    He complained about hand-eye dexterity. I realise that this will pose a huge problem for him as he sets about essentially rephrasing his last 155 million books. Surely by now he has all the set situations and phrases memorised and at the very least set to different keys on his keyboard.

    F1 - ah yes, set the scene in AnkhMorkpork

    F2 - reveal something about the first character

    <wait for user input on characters name>

    F3 - copy paste entire middle bit of book-n

    <wait for user input on book number else use random number>

    I feel very sorry for anyone who has Alzheimers, horrible disease.

  83. Anonymous Coward

    Bad taste joke

    Yesterday, Terry Pratchett announced that he is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

    Today, Terry Pratchett announced that he is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

    OK, it is probably poor taste. But in my experience, a little humor goes a long way. Not long after my then-fiance/now-wife's mother was diagnosed, she asked me "What do you get for Christmas for somebody with Alzheimer's?", to which I replied "Same thing as last year. She won't remember." My wife shot back with "Yeah, in fact I could just get last year's out of her closet and re-wrap it."

    As long as TP still isn't dead, there will be hope and there will be humor.

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Expert, textpert

    "I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry"

    There is a geek overlap between the worlds of computers and medicine. Think of all those thirtysomething, fortysomething high-end experts in brain chemistry who grew up reading Terry Pratchett. I always thought that if Douglas Adams or Arthur C Clarke etc fell sick, there would be crowds of surgeons etc rushing to provide free care. There wasn't a chance with Douglas Adams, because he died suddenly, and Arthur C Clarke is of course immortal, but I can picture Terry Pratchett not wanting for expertise, even if he was poor.

    I am worried, after writing those words, Arthur C Clarke will die in the night, and I will be responsible.

  85. Dimitrov

    Damn :(

    Well, damn. I expected Pratchet's books to allways be around somehow. Sad.

    Good news is he isn't dead yet and I hope he won't be for at least 10 or more years.

  86. Danny


    You complete tit

    So you don't like PTerrys books, so what. This is no place for you to be ridiculing his work. This is for people who want to wish him well and thank him for the entertainment he has provided them over the years.

    If you think his books really are just a case of 'fill in blank here' then you haven't read them, or are simply too thick to understand them. He has repeatedly and succesfully managed to satirise many points about political, social and historical events. He is a highly intelligent not to mention very kind and decent man, something that many people do not class as desirable qualitites in this day and age, but without these qualities we are worse than animals. This is something you yourself demonstrate by posting uncalled for comments in this page. There are other places for criticism, feel free to use them but this is not the place.

    As El Reg will moderate my comment should I tell you what I think of people like you, I will leave it to the Librarian


  87. Demian Phillips

    The Martian bot has failed in it's mission.

    I notice that the amanfromMars bot failed in every way this time.

    It keyed in on the early mentions of Douglas Adams and peppered it's post with 42s. Not a single on topic bit to the rant, even the quoting was poorly done. The author of it needs to work better on context as it made a post about IT (and IMO it was actually somewhat coherent in the IT related part).

    Also I hope that recent news about mental exercises/games helping to slow the onset/advance is shared far and wide.

  88. Dan Salter

    Such A Shame

    This story has more comments attached to it than any other I've seen in my time of reading El Reg. I think that tells you all you need to know about the impact Terry & his work has had on our world.

    I for one will be raising a toast tonight to this giant of his art.

    There is only one word that can sum it up really, Oook....

  89. Jonathan McCulloch


    "This is for people who want to wish him well and thank him for the entertainment he has provided them over the years."

    No, this is a place for making *comments*. That you don't approve of some of them is neither here nor there.

    Just for the record, I have no opinions about anyone's comments, including my own. Not even this one.

    -- Jon

  90. Graham Marsden


    ... I'm going to be at the 2008 Discworld Con and the 2010 one and very probably the 2012 one as well as many more, and even if Pterry doesn't make any of them I'll still have a collection of inventive and original works of humour and gentle satire that make you realise that you just need to learn to be able to laugh at the world.

    From "Affordable Graham" ;-)

  91. Tony Folley

    Very Sad

    I don't normally feel obliged to post here, I am happy being a lurker, but this time I have to say something.

    For the Pratchett bashers - grow up! If you feel you can justify your use of oxygen on this planet by slagging off other peoples' life work then you are beyond contempt.

    To Terry - one of the main reasons I persevered through months of brain stretching installing AmiTCP on my old A1200 all those years ago was to allow me to read I have bought and kept just about everything you have written (including the Unadulterated Cat) and you are probably the only author who can make me laugh out loud.

    I also naively thought Terry would be writing forever and never considered the day I would not be waiting for the next fix of Pratchett wit. My best wishes to Terry and his family and may he entertain us all for many years to come.

    <quote>Did any of them kids have some space alien with a face like a friendly turd in a bike basket?</quote>

  92. Mike Arnautov

    Bugrit, bugrit, bugrit...

    Isn't that just about the unkindest thing possible for God/god/gods/fate/Fates/chance/other (delete according to your preferences) to do to Pterry of all people???

    Not being a brain chemistry expert of any level, I can only wish the best of luck to somebody I've hugely respected and admired for... is it really dacedes now?... yes I suppose it must be!

  93. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    New dictionary entry

    Only TP could come up with 'embuggerance'. It is an excellent description of so many lefe, erm, embuggerances.

    It is now irrevicably etched into my vocabulary!

  94. Morely Dotes

    Gone to a Better Place

    Firstly,I'd like to point out that with his phenomonal memory, Pterry in the throes of full-on Alzheimer's may well be indistinguishable from any bloke who doesn't have Alzheimer's at all; he just won't remember you from that book signing back in '89.

    That said, a short tribute in (I hope) Pterry's own style:

    I'd come to the King's Head looking for Tony Padsmueller, who owed me a few quid, after I'd heard he'd won a tidy sum in the lottery. His sister and I were on good terms, and she'd said he was known to spend his evenings there drinking and playing darts with the locals.

    "Tony?" replied a florid-faced gentleman, when I enquired after him. "Oh, Tony doesn't come round here any more. He's gone to a better place."

    "Oh, I'm so sorry, I didn't know he'd died. His sister never said," I blathered, a bit embarrassed to be looking for a man to collect such a small debt, and find him passed on.

    "Died? Don't be daft, mate! I never said he was dead! He's just gone to a better place; they won't let the likes of us in, but he's got money now, and they're not too proud to take it from him!"

  95. Nathanael Bastone


    He is my favourite author, and I am sad to hear this, however terry is treating it positively, so it would be an insult to him to treat it any other way. He also has made more of an impact on the world to date, than most people make in their entire lives. He is only of the lucky few who cannot say their life has been wasted. In addition to which, he still has a good while left yet.

  96. Danny

    @Jonathan McCulloch

    'No, this is a place for making *comments*. That you don't approve of some of them is neither here nor there'

    This is not a review of his latest book, or a feature on a movie based on his work which would be an apt place for criticisms. This was a story to inform people about his condition. Common decency would say that this comment page should be left to those who wish him well.

    As I said in my previous post:

    He is a highly intelligent not to mention very kind and decent man, something that many people do not class as desirable qualities in this day and age.

    Your 'comments' just press home this point

    Just like Anthony, You Sir are a tit.

  97. Morticia

    Keep fighting, Pterry!

    As for the fans: it occurs to me that if we all donated the price of a paperback to Alzheimer's research, this whole thing might be moot.

  98. Jonathan McCulloch


    "Common decency would say that this comment page should be left to those who wish him well."

    Wishing him well has nothing to do with saying good -- or bad -- things about his books. Terry getting Alzheimer's is no more or less awful than it is for anyone else whose kind and decent (and if you think it's somehow worse because he's intelligent, then that says more about you than you perhaps would like to reveal).

    I wish him well. Why would I not?

    I might be a tit, but I'm my own tit.

    -- Jon

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    "Common decency would say that this comment page should be left to those who wish him well" - this is The Register, for heaven's sake. It's not decent, and it's not for commoners.

  100. Anonymous Coward

    Use it...

    or lose it.

  101. Roger Keith

    So sorry to hear about this

    Unfortunately I know more than I'd like to about early onset Alzheimer's because my mother has had it for several years. It's a dreadful dreadful disease which has a devastating effect on both the unfortunate sufferer and their loved ones.

    I like Morticia's suggestion of people donating the price of a paperback to Alzheimer's research. It would be a nice tangible thing to do and maybe just maybe it might help the likes of Terry.

    My thoughts are with Terry at this time. I hope he can have a good quality of life for a long time yet.

  102. Pete

    Theres a long way to go yet,

    good luck Terry.

    To the critics, read "Night Watch". Nuff said.

  103. Dan

    Such a shame.

    So sorry to hear about this, awesome guy, infact i'd go as far as a legendary guy. first books i ever read and to this day still the only ones that keep me interested. such a bummer :(

  104. Pete "oranges" B.

    This is an -ing shame!

    Deeply troubling indeed, my best wishes to you, Mr. Pratchett, in his struggle, your books have brought me many a laugh and serve to bring back wonder to those modern miracles which have become mundane to us in our daily lives.

    While this should not be marked a black day, it is indeed one of a very dark shade of gray. :(

  105. Jason Haas

    very sad but hopeful

    This is like hearing that a member of my family has Alzheimer's... which has actually happened to me before. But that's not the point. This is terrible news. When I read it the other day, I was studying at a café, but then when I read this, I couldn't do anything more. I just ... couldn't. I think you know what I mean. I went home and talked with my wife, who has a good idea of what this meant to me.

    sad thing is it was my ex-wife who nursed me back to health after my head injury (made famous some 6.5 years ago on slashdot!), and it was she who introduced me to TP. (and my favorite band in the world, The Church. but that's a little less important right now.)

    I know personally how the people of the Internet can rally to support someone. His note is hopeful. Let's give PTerry our best!

  106. Fred Pilcher


    Damn damn damn damn damn damn damn.

    Too young. Yes, I know it ain't over yet, but it shouldn't be over for another 30 years at least.

  107. Jolyon Ralph

    Sad news. But...

    But, slightly more than impressed with the way that he was able to face the public and tell everyone about this.

    Knowing his wonderful sense of humour, I wouldn't be surprised if in 2 or 3 weeks, he calls another press conference and announces exactly the same thing.


    (ps. I gave up reading the discworld books when he started writing them faster than I could read them)

  108. Ian R

    ElReg unit

    Can I suggest a Pratchett as an ElReg unit of Embuggerence, seems fitting...

  109. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    1 Pratchett or 2?

    Just a couple of things:

    1: A Pratchett is not a suitable term for measuring embuggerance. Maybe as a negative function? and

    2... Errrmmm

    What was I going to say?

  110. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Bad news indeed that a national "treasure" has become so ill, even if i can't stand his books (bloody awful imo) Alzheimers is still a damn nasty thing to have

    Best wishes to his friends / family and of course him :) Just stop writing your naff books Mr P.

  111. Lozzyho

    Best Wishes

    Just to say, I hope Terry is reading these. Most of the comments would make him laugh out loud, especially the death-like 'SO I'M A LITTLE EARLY AM I?'. That was classic.

    Keep going Terry, keep writing. The world would be a darker place without you and the books.

  112. Mark

    "Just stop writing your naff books Mr P."

    Not entirely sure what's going on here. Does the existence of Discworld books reduce the quality of other books? Because for someone who doesn't like them, this would be the only reason why they should wish Terry to stop writing them.

    I mean, have you read Barbera Cartland? Mills & Boon? These books are an atrocity. However, their existence does not impact hugely on my life, and the only impact they DO have is that my mum reads them and likes them. Which is hardly a reason to wish them never written.

    So why ask this? Really. Why?

  113. Mark


    Millions of people die each day. Each one sad. What makes it sad for ME is what effect it has on me. I'm nowhere near as sad at your granddad's death (if dead he is, otherwise, great granddad) as mine because I know my granddad.

    When a friend loses her father, I'm sad because my friend is sad and that makes me unhappy.

    All are how the death affects me.

    A last thought for you: why do you say "you'll be sadly missed" when, since the person dead or dying will be dead and therefore not care overmuch about how missed they are. Why do we bury our dead rather than compost them or feed them to pigs (either of which is, from a strictly utilitarian point of view much better than wasting prime farming ground planting them)? How we treat our dead is about how WE feel about our own ending.

  114. Mark

    @Jonathan & Ashley

    But what does not liking his books have to do with his ill health? Does saying it make him get better?

    If the story was about how he'd started bonking Paris Hilton, then you've got leeway to insult his books. It's one way to take him down a peg.

    Taking down a peg someone with a death sentence like this is, at the very least, over-egging the pudding.

    How would you like it if at your mum's funeral I popped in, drunk as a lord and looked in the casket and exclaimed "Bloody hell, she's ugly! Wonder how she managed to get someone to bonk her enough to pinch out all these sprogs?". Even if she *was* fugly, would you feel that this would be fair criticism or being an arsehole.

  115. Jonathan McCulloch

    @Mark (twice).

    1. I never said I didn't like his books. If you can show otherwise, I'll pay £1000 to a charity of your choice.

    2. I never "took him down a peg". If you can show otherwise, I'll pay another £1000 to a charity of your choice. Whoever it was up above had it right when he said most of the comments here are selfishly couched in terms of "oh my... what am I going to read NOW?!".

    3. Terry Pratchett is not your mother. If you can show otherwise, I'll pay £1000,000 to a charity of your choice, and dig out both my kidneys with a rusty spoon and post the video on YouTube. Plus I'll re-enact those 2GirlsOneCup things with my dog.

    4. My mother is dead. We've already had her funeral, so you're a bit late.

    5. Your posts are subjective and emotional. Mine are rather more objective. Nothing "makes" it sad for you, and nothing "makes" you unhappy. You're a big boy. Take a bit of responsibility for yourself and your feelings, there's a good chap. You sound like a girl. Or a leftie.

    6. How would his choice of sexual partner give us "more leeway" to insult his books than the manner of his dying? More to the point, I think I missed the bit where you were voted Grand Poobah and we had to get your permission and seek "leeway" to express our opinions.

    7. Who said I've ever uttered the words ""you'll be sadly missed"? You know absolutely nothing about how I feel or think about my death or anyone else's. You're projecting your own feelings onto others and inventing all sorts of complex-equivalences. Are you sure you're not a girl or a leftie?

    Pratchett having Alzheimer's is a shit and really isn't fair. Then, it's not "fair" my son has cerebral palsy. It's not "fair" I'm, 42 years old and 5'5'' instead of 22, 6''2' and helpless sex-slave to a rich, 16-year-old bisexual pneumatic-blonde nymphomaniac Danish supermodel.

    It's not "fair" it's not Fair it's not FAIR!

    But that's the way the universe works. We can play only the hand we're dealt, Mark. And, Pratchett getting Alzheimer's is objectively no better and no worse than anyone else getting it. Subjectively, for whoever gets it, it's no party.

    And let's face it: they're the ones who really count in all this. I'm fairly confident the people actually going through it as sufferers and carers really get the shitty end of the stick. I only ever met one person who was looking forward to dying, and she was a nun. With exquisite irony, she recovered from her near-fatal illness and is still alive and really pissed off about it.

    So in the midst of all the wailing and gnashing of teeth on here and the self-pitying, just stop and think who this really affects: Pratchett himself and his family. They're the embuggered one here, and kudos to him for taking it as well as he seems to have.

    I'm not sure I would have such fortitude.

    -- Jon

  116. Mark


    So what about points 1 to 7? Coming on here and talking shit about TP's books is't right here (take a look at ashley's post, read what HE says and you defended him on).

    I've hit a nerve with you by trash talking about you (I wasn't, but your delusion made you think so, and so you reacted). Now what if TP or his friends read the comments? Not nice for them. Hence all the posts from people goin "naff off. No trashing Terry here".

    But as long as it's not you or your family, you want to *defend* them?

    Since there's no need to show fir points 1-4, why not donate 4 grand to altzheimers research?

  117. Marli


    fate deal you a dual of comedie genies and being born in the age of writing then busts you with alzimers.

    well we will see if all his books are cut n paste now huh?

    "err terry.. this new book, the colour of magic.."

    why is thier no icon for irony?

    TP for a Reg Unit of embuggerence!!!

    Yeah that four car pile up was 0.047 TPs of embuggerence.

  118. Steve VanSlyck

    Aw, Crapulence!

    The hands-down best Destroyer of English (and Gluminosity) in decades. P. Anthony could not hold my interest, but book-after-book-after-book - and let's not forget Good Omens - Terry kept creating. Yes, he IS a British national treasure, and in fact a national treasure of English writing and English literature. Keep on writing, Terry!

  119. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Units of Embuggerance

    The correct unit for embuggerance should be Wildes.

    I think that a Pratchett is a measure of multiplicity of dichotomies. And the icon used for it should be a source bottle.

    As in a dwarf buying a meat pie from Mr Dibbler and smelling a rat, for example. That could be worth 3 source bottles.

    1 for the contents of the pies

    2 for the pune on a pie from CMOT Dibbler and

    3 for the source bottle.

  120. Steve Granville

    What to say?

    What do you say to someone you have never met but has made your life a happier and brighter place?

    Terry, wherever your mind goes a lot of us will end up there too. So that's something to look forward to! It's not over yet but if you hear a fat lady singing in the distance, please write faster...

  121. Laurent Leconte

    I take comfort in the fact...

    ... that CMOT Dibbler is probably going around the crowd that's formed on this thread to sell sausages in a bun

  122. Jonathan McCulloch


    Errr... what? Can you write that again in English?

    I have never said anything about Pratchett's books. Not once. Nor have I said anything about not liking "it" if it was me or my family (and I'm not even sure what the "it" is here. If "it" is Alzheimer's, then you're damned right I wouldn't like it, but I also wouldn't give two hoots what people said about it, either). So I'm not quite sure what nerve you think you've hit, Mark, but whatever keeps you happy, mate. Personally, I get the feeling you make this shit up.

    See, if you actually *read* what I did write, you'll realise what I'm doing is a. being objective and b. tangentially defending free speech (OK, it's not strictly "free" because the good people at the Reg own the site and ultimately they have the final say what goes up here, and that's entirely right and proper).

    As for Terry and his friends reading this and not liking it: so what? That's unfortunate, but neither I nor anyone else can help that since we're all responsible for our own feelings. More to the point, freedom of speech is about defending the right of people to say the unpleasant and unsavoury things, not the nice ones. I've not once bashed Terry here. Nowhere. Not him, not his books. Not a thing. Nor have I made light of his situation.

    Yet, even those who have: it's not mutually exclusive to wish to express one's sorrow and regret at Pratchett's situation yet also to say you think his books are illiterate bilge. If you thought his books were crap last Saturday it's not the case his statement revealing his Alzheimer's suddenly changes your opinion as if by magic.

    If you're really suggesting you can't post anything here unless you're both saying how awful it is and how brilliant his books are you're potentially depriving Terry of some considerable emotional support for his plight (because of all the people who might want to say "Gee, Terry, I didn't like your books much, although I feel for you and your family and I wish you the very best in the difficult times ahead").

    Anyone who'd want to stop people posting those sentiments -- and I'm not saying you do, necessarily -- must actually be Satan made flesh. Watch when they step out of the shower: they'll be steaming AND leaving hoof-prints.


    -- Jon

  123. Danni


    I agree with some of what your saying but I would like to put forth my own views;

    You need to stop thinking logically about this, and start thinking humanely and emotionally;

    Terry pratchett has been diagnosed with a nasty disease which will affect his remaining years and his family enormously. Therefore it is common courtesy that, if you want to critise his work, it would be more careing to find another post, perhaps reviewing one of his books or discussing a recent award. We should fill THIS page with encouraging and supportive comments. And I know you arnt ridiculing his work or posting unfriendly comments (and i belive mark may have mistaken you for the poster of this comment; um

    By AnthonyPosted Thursday 13th December 2007 15:00 GMT He complained about hand-eye dexterity. I realise that this will pose a huge problem for him as he sets about essentially rephrasing his last 155 million books. Surely by now he has all the set situations and phrases memorised and at the very least set to different keys on his keyboard.

    F1 - ah yes, set the scene in AnkhMorkpork

    F2 - reveal something about the first character

    <wait for user input on characters name>

    F3 - copy paste entire middle bit of book-n

    <wait for user input on book number else use random number>

    I feel very sorry for anyone who has Alzheimers, horrible disease.)

    And im not saying that you HAVE actually posted a negative comment,

    im just disagreeing with your opinion that this thread should be a place for people to leave whatever comments they like. I think this thread should be a place for fans to give their thanks and good wishes.

    Thanks for hearing my opinion,


  124. Jonathan McCulloch


    Thank you, Danni. My own thoughts are it would be rather more useful to leave nice comments than nasty ones, although I don't recall anyone saying anything nasty about Terry or his disease.

    In any case, with the proviso this is the Reg's private property, I'm most definitely in Voltaire's camp: "Monsieur l'abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write."

    About "[I] need to stop thinking logically about this, and start thinking humanely and emotionally".

    Um. No. I'll pass on that, thank you. First, thinking "humanely" is not mutually exclusive with thinking logically. In fact, there are times when I reckon thinking logically is more likely to lead to a humane result: for example in deciding to end the life of a much-loved pet which is suffering. In my experience, "emotionally thinking" people tend to keep it alive (and suffering) longer because of their own selfish emotional attachment.

    Secondly, I'd take the Objectivist line on this and say "emotional thinking" isn't really "thinking" at all. It's "feeling"; and while "feeling" is certainly pleasant at times and reminds us we're human, allowing it to control your actions is by definition irrational.

    Logical thinking has brought us science and modern technology and all that goes with it. Mathematics, hygiene, computers, aeroplanes, modern medicine, the very monitor you're reading this on.

    On the other hand, emotional thinking tends to lead to book burnings, people-burnings, murder, rape, crusades against homosexuals, ethnic minorities, and historians who wish to utter words some people don't want to hear, lynchings, all manner of strange religions, and, the to my mind peculiar, woman who "KNOWS" she is the reincarnation of Queen Nefertiti and is having endless plastic surgery to "prove" it.

    Thanks for your concern, although I really do not have any desire or need for "emotional thinking" in my life. Feelings are great and I do have them, you know; I just don't base important decisions on them.

    -- Jon

  125. Antoinette Dowds

    It's not about you

    What a sorry bunch of whiners some of you are!

    Should Mr P ever have the time or inclination - on some rainy Tuesday - to read any of these comments I would merely like to state:

    Every one of your books has been eagerly awaited, thoroughly enjoyed and placed lovingly on the shelf to be read again. I hope to read as many more as you can give us.

    However, I hope you are busy writing instead of reading some self absorbed geek's defence of his totally irrelevant opinions.

  126. Kathryn Davies

    Buggrit Buggrit

    i just hate this, Terry is the funniest and best writer on the block, i have read every single discworld book at least a dozen times, though i must admit that every one i bought was a gift for my son i just happened to read em before i wrapped em, its not my fault i just couldnt wait to read em an was gutted as each one ended, so what on earth am i going to buy my son for his birthday and xmas when you stop writting?? sometimes fate can be a bitch,your books brightened all our lives and for that i am eternally gratefull,

  127. Kathryn Davies

    up your own arses

    I just looked to see if my comment had been accepted, but to tell the truth after reading through some of the comments i rather wish i hadn't bothered, seems to me that some of you just like the sound of your own voices, your heads are so far up your own arses you cant see whats in front of you, yes people who hear awfull news like this do say "what about me", its the way we are made, and i bet if terry does ever bother to read these comments he will not in the least worry about our selfish feelings.but all that aside, that does not mean that we do not feel for terry and more importantly for his family, but some of us pratchett fans feel like terry is a part of our family in a way, for instance, i discovered terry many years ago and then introduced him to my son, who recently introduced him to his own son with wheres my cow, and it is an embuggarence to learn that he wont be around for my grandson to grow up with, his books have made our family smile, cry, and yes, laugh out loud, on many occasions, and thank god those allready written and yet to come will carry on doing so for eons to come, and meanwhile, i like many others will be praying to the gods that be for that million to one chance

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