back to article Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

Sir Terry Pratchett has left us at the age of 66, but he has gifted the next generation a massive archive of fiction and non-fiction that will delight, amuse and inform readers for years to come. It's a sad day at the El Reg offices, many of us were devoted fans. He was born on April 28, 1948, and wrote fiction as a teen. At …

  1. Smitty Werbenjaegermanjensen - he was #1!


    And I'm not ashamed to say that I may have shed a tear for Terry when I read the news.

    1. TonyJ

      Re: Sad

      Which soulless wretch downvoted this post?

      There are some really nice people on el reg lately.

      1. Robert Baker

        Re: Sad

        To my mind, the votes here have become meaningless due to abuse; for instance, why downvote a joke post?

  2. Trollslayer

    I can hear it now


    1. James Anderson

      Re: I can hear it now


  3. David Webb

    Sadly missed

    I will miss waiting on this next instalment of his books. However, he appears to have completed a Discworld novel in 2014....

    He completed his last book, a new Discworld novel, in the summer of 2014, before succumbing to the final stages of the disease.

    So it looks like we have one final book to come from him, just think, a Discoworld novel that will not be signed by the great man.

    1. frank ly

      Re: Sadly missed

      From Wikipedia and other sources, it appears that the book completed last year is called The Shepherd's Crown and is part (the last) of the Tiffany Aching arc of books. (Publication date seems to be July, or autumn, 2015.) These books are set in the Discworld and were intended for a 'young adult' audience. Personally, as a quite old adult, I found 'I Shall Wear Midnight' to be a very mature story, wonderfully told.

      I'll be buying it as soon as it becomes available.

      1. David Webb

        Re: Sadly missed

        Same, I love the TA arc, would have been lovely to see her grow up to be a witch like Granny, but it will be rather unsettling to read the last words of that book knowing there will be no more.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sadly missed

          TA is a wonderful series and I have, as a 40 something year old, enjoyed them immensely. As has my ten year old daughter.

          I will shed a tear if I finish the book as I did when I heard the news but I'm mulling over the idea of buying it and keeping it, unread, on a shelf, so there's always one more book

          1. Proud Father

            Re: Sadly missed

            "I will shed a tear if I finish the book as I did when I heard the news but I'm mulling over the idea of buying it and keeping it, unread, on a shelf, so there's always one more book"

            How wonderfully put, thank you.

            I have also shed tears today. I am hurting.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Sadly missed

            "I will shed a tear if I finish the book as I did when I heard the news but I'm mulling over the idea of buying it and keeping it, unread, on a shelf, so there's always one more book"

            Such a wonderful thought. Something I shall also consider.

    2. Colin Miller

      Re: Sadly missed

      The Long Utopia, co-authored with Stephen Baxter, is due for release in the middle of June.

  4. IglooDude

    Many a pint will be hoisted in Sir Terry's memory, for all the brilliant writing he's given us over the years.

    1. Vulch


  5. David Given

    He was also an early Internet and social media adoptee, back when it was called Usenet, and spent a lot of time chatting with fans on

    Also, don't forget his rather more obscure science fiction: _The Dark Side of the Sky_ and _Strata_. I like them both a great deal and they're a lot more thoughtful than they first appear. (The latter features the first appearance of a science-fictional proto-discworld; alas, it also features a ubiquitous typo throughout where it uses 'altitude jets' instead of 'attitude jets'.)

    Also, fun fact: _The Colour of Magic_ is a straight Fritz Leiber parody, right down to the structure. Watch for Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser's cameo in the first chapter!

    1. Trygve Henriksen

      I assume you meant 'Dark side of the Sun'.

      Tonight, I will brew a pot of Yorkshire Gold tea, and re-read Strata.

      The Colour of Magic is a good book, and a great spoof of Fritz Leiber's work, but sadly, less of a Discworld book than Strata. (In my not so humble opinion)

      1. David Given

        You're quite right. Dark Side of the Sun. Bad fingers, they don't know how to type.

    2. Triggerfish

      Colour of Magic introduced me to Fritz Leiber when I saw learnt what characters he was referencing, I'll always have to thank him for that.

    3. Alien8n

      It was through afp that I got to know him personally, he was always willing to chat with his fans. I have a signed photo of him from the convention in '96 holding the Podling (aged 3 months) which he duly signed "I don't sign small children". This was an in joke as the saying went that he'd sign "anything except a blank cheque, but even that was arguable" and behind me was another fellow afper with a pen for him to sign my daughter with. My only regret in life is turning down the offer to go for a curry with him when I had the chance.

      1. David Given

        Wasn't there an old afp joke...

        "For sale: Terry Pratchett novel --- rare, unsigned edition!"

  6. Nick Ryan Silver badge
    IT Angle

    IT angle? Who cares! I suppose there were the tweets though.

    He annoyed other authors with his writing style but succeeded at being a greater author than most of his detractors because what he wrote was fun to read, often clever and insightful on many levels.

    1. BoldMan

      I remember Tom Paulin reviewing Terry Pratchett on The Review Show many years ago:

      A complete amateur... doesn't even write in chapters.

      which has since appeared on many Discworld covers :)

      1. SteveastroUk

        Who the hell is Tom Paulin......

        <rummages on Wikipedia>

        Oh yes, a complete dick head.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I remember them discussing a book (Interesting Times, I think). Mark Lawson and Mark Kermode or Tony Parsons (I can't remember which) thought it was funny, and Tom Paulin and Allison Pearson didn't. No surprise on the split of the panel. (However, when Mark Lawson referred to Truckle the Uncivil's walking sticks that said LOVE and HATE, Allison Pearson laughed and Kermode/Parsons called her out on it, implying that she just wouldn't admit that she found it funny.). I remember Allison Pearson complaining about the cliched language structure Pratchett used, missing the whole point that he was writing about a bunch of old heroes so would have been parodying fantasy prose.

        Anyway, I enjoyed Discworld as a teenager and young adult, and the reason I stopped reading them was because I stopped reading fiction.


        1. Spiracle

          Allison Pearson complaining about the cliched language structure Pratchett used, missing the whole point that he was writing about a bunch of old heroes so would have been parodying fantasy prose...

          To be fair the junction in the Venn diagram of Interesting Times and I Don't Know How She Does It readers is probably fairly slim.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            The IT angle is simple. Hex.

            That man knew what he was talking about.

            1. RyokuMas

              "Anthill inside"

              Ah Hex... full of ants and still faster than my mother-in-law's old Vista box...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "Anthill inside"

                ...Reminds me of the discworld character who was going around selling some mysterious thing called 'in-sewer-ants'. As a teenager in the '80s it took a while for the meaning of this to dawn on me ...

                1. BoldMan

                  Re: "Anthill inside"

                  and don't forget Twoflower's introduction of the concept of "reflected sound of underground spirits" :)

                2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

                  Re: "Anthill inside"

                  Got that t-shirt, will wear it with more pride. It generally takes my CS students a little while to realise I am not wearing a T-shirt with an Intel ad.

                  What I will miss most about Terry Pratchett is the warmth and love of humanity with all its shortcomings that oozes from all his work. The one thing that really offended him is "treating people like things". He was a wonderful man with an unparallelled talent

                  1. TRT Silver badge

                    Re: "Anthill inside"

                    I liked the practicality of his mind. The ninja getting tooled up in Pyramids - weighted himself up so badly with so much gear that he fell over backwards. Never seems to be a problem in the fantasy genre, that you carry so much gear you can't move.

                    And then there's the communications Clacks.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            Also, Oxfam bookshops are full of old Booker prize winners that look as if they have never been opened: Terry Pratchett, Jacqueline Wilson, not so much.

            Sadly, authors who don't actually have anything to say seem to spend the most time praising themselves and their friends for the way they say it.

      3. Proud Father

        Lol that review always made me laugh.

        If I remember correctly, that review excerpt was on some of the hardback covers.

        Brilliant use of Tom Paulin's moronic book review.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "He annoyed other authors with his writing style"

      He annoyed English teachers because they wanted pupils to learn through the "established" canon of authors and he gleefully adopted and adapted all the canons. It must be no fun to try to explain postmodernism or magical realism to a class when a couple of boys at the back are muttering "Terry Pratchett".

      1. Dazed and Confused

        Re: "He annoyed other authors with his writing style"

        > He annoyed English teachers

        He both annoyed and delighted English teachers because after years of their efforts boys (perhaps more than girls) would discover Pratchett and suddenly start to read.

      2. D@v3

        Re: "He annoyed English teachers"

        I was put onto Pratchett by an English Teacher, not my own, a friend who just happened to to go on to become one, and I am glad that I was.

        Now, where did I leave my frog pills.....

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: "He annoyed English teachers"

          To understand half of his jokes you had to deconstruct words and understand the etymology of the components. Sheer genius. For example, the thaumometer.

  7. horsham_sparky

    RIP Terry

    I'll be hoisting a pint of Turbot's Really Odd in your memory

    Have been a fan since university days when I was lucky enough you meet you at a book signing at the Uni bookshop..

    Say Hi to Albert, Death, Susan and the death of Rats for us :-)

  8. Slartybardfast

    I'm 54 year old man who has never met Sir Terry but feels like he knew him. I've had a couple of tears in my eyes today. Daft really, but I'll miss him.

    I shall wear the Lilac in remembrance

  9. A. Coatsworth Silver badge

    I've heard the names of Terry Pratchett and Discworld before, but I've never read any of the books...

    After reading the dozens of loving comments left by commenters it the notes published by El Reg, I really want to get in the Discworld... er... world.

    I'd really appreciate tips or comments on what would be the best approach to Sir Terry's work

    1. horsham_sparky

      Start at the beginning, the colour of Magic :-) it sets the tone for the rest of his books really. you don't have to read them in order, each book is a good read in isolation.. but you get to know the characters and the history if you do go in order though

      1. Martin


        I would actually NOT recommend starting with The Colour of Magic. My justification for this is that it's the only one I've read, and it just didn't do anything for me. I've said this to many Terry Pratchett fans and they have all, to a man (or woman), said "Well, it's actually not particularly good compared to the later ones. Perhaps you should try one of the others." Small Gods certainly came up as a recommendation.

        I've never got round to trying one of the others. Perhaps I will now.

        1. stuartnz

          Re: Hmmm...

          Small Gods is still my favourite. The least laugh out loud funny for me, but the most thoughtful and interesting.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmmm...

          "I would actually NOT recommend starting with The Colour of Magic"

          Completely agree. It's interesting watching someone start to develop a idea and a style, but it isn't in the same class as the later books. Reading it put me off completely until I was staying in someone's house in wet weather and read Equal Rites and Pyramids, and then started to seek out the rest.

    2. David 132 Silver badge


      All of the below is IMHO, and I'm sure everyone here will have their own thoughts...

      I'd probably start with one of his Discworld books. Although they feature recurring characters and in-jokes, this doesn't mean you have to start with the very first. His style of writing and humour changed slightly over the years, meaning that some of the later books are much funnier than the very earliest ones.

      Two "best book to read first" suggestions would be "Guards, Guards!" (introduces the hard-bitten, cynical misanthrope night watchman Sam Vimes) or "Witches Abroad" (which (ahaha) introduces the witches Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick).

      My favourite of all time is the non-Discworld "Good Omens", which as TFA mentions was a collaboration with Neil Gaiman. An angel and a demon collaborate to prevent the Apocalypse, involving the M25, black nuns, paintballing, a Satanic Hellhound who likes to chase cats, and various "Americans and other aliens".

      RIP Sir Pterry. We met only once, at a book-signing in Chester, and my pimply 20-something self was so over-awed to meet one of my literary heroes that I stuttered incoherently and made a fool of myself.

      1. David Given

        I probably *wouldn't* start with _Colour of Magic_. It's rather different from the rest of the series, being a Fritz Leiber parody, and his style only starts to gel a few books later on.

        My recommendations? _Small Gods_, which a minister once described to me as the best book about religion he'd ever read. _Pyramids_, which is about fate, belief (not the same as religion!) and camels. _Mort_, about growing up, death, and Death.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Up vote for Small Gods

          First book I'd read for a good while, and had been in a grey state; I actually laughed out loud at the tortoise's persuasion technique with the eagle. Read his work avidly ever since.

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Small Gods is the best literature

          Pyramids is my personal favourite

          Colour of Magic/Light fantastic - good, but you probably have to be a fantasy fan to get all the jokes

          The guards books (Guards Guards / Feet of Clay / Men at Arms ) and the Von Lipwig (Going Postal / Making Money / Raising Steam) are probably most readable stories

          The only dissapointing book is Monstrous Regiment.

          1. BoldMan

            Witches Abroad is also the book with the marvellous "Glod" footnote. Remember reading that in Selfridges bookstore before I bought it and burst out laughing in the middle of a busy shop!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Actually that's one of my favourites - although different from many others.

            All good books however! I think everyone will have their own favourite.

        3. Down not across


          So many to choose from. Each has their own appeal.

          I did find Mort exceptional.

          Then again so were many of the others.

          Thank you pterry, for enriching my life with your writing talent.

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge


        The Discworld novels can be grouped into different story sequences, more or less - as helpfully illustrated by this diagram:

        EDIT: Go with what Dave 132 (no relation) has said.

      3. tfewster

        Wyrd Sisters first introduces us to the coven and is best read before Witches Abroad. Equal Rites (probably) precedes both, but is "only" Granny Weatherwax

        1. David 132 Silver badge

          ^^ You're right. I hang my head in boundless shame. My comment above was typed in a hurry amid many distractions.

          I will hand in my Pratchett fan-club card as I leave.

          Still think "Witches Abroad" is a good book with which to start, though.

          1. David Given

            Ahem. Equal Rites was written in 1987. Wyrd Sisters was written in 1988.

            Equal Rites, in fact, features only a proto-Granny Weatherwax; her character and the way witching works changes considerably in the later books. (One of Pratchett's strengths, I think, is that he's willing to discard continuity in favour of a good book, although he did fall into the Canon Welding trap in the very later books.)

      4. IT veteran

        The witches were introduced in Wyrd Sisters, a parody of Macbeth.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The witches were introduced in Wyrd Sisters, a parody of Macbeth.

          I make this comment just to amplify how Pratchett wrote. Wyrd Sisters is not a parody of Macbeth. It is an amplification of the technique of Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are dead by Stoppard.

          [plot spoiler alert]

          In Stoppard's play, we see the action of Macbeth through the eyes of a pair of attendant lords. In Wyrd sisters a Macbeth-like plot unrolls, but instead of the witches just being incidentals as in the play, they get involved in the action and completely subvert it, arranging for someone who may or may not be the rightful king - with a huge plot twist on the way - to take over. The Birnham Wood scene acquires a huge mythic dimension. The Macbeth characters are urban in a rural environment and are seen as fundamentally out of place - I feel there is a reference there to the second homers who plague Wiltshire and Somerset, moving in and demanding that farms be closed because they don't like the noise and the smell. (You can probably guess where I live).

          A parody is like the real thing but designed to expose the weaknesses of the writer and the improbability of his or her plots. A burlesque is a version of the original in which the jokes are broad and crude. What Pratchett does is to amplify Macbeth and at the same time bring in other related themes.

          In Pratchett's world, Middle Earth is just a small part of the more backward region of Discworld, where some very unpleasant little wars took place and missionaries are going out to reclaim the Orcs for civilisation. A book ostensibly about football contains a powerful criticism of the moral void at the heart of Lord of the Rings and its default position that the aristocracy are the only people who matter. (Pratchett has an exchange between the Patrician and a ruler from Uberwald that makes it abundantly clear that this theme is intentional.)

          Someone here has compared him to Jonathan Swift; the difference is that Swift is a pessimist and Pratchett, an optimist. Pratchett believes in improvement and perfectibility, and above all he believes in civilisation, whether it is small agricultural settlements like Lancre or large cities like Ankh-Morpork.

          1. Snafu1

            Re: The witches were introduced in Wyrd Sisters, a parody of Macbeth.

            [quote]In Pratchett's world, Middle Earth is just a small part of the more backward region of Discworld, where some very unpleasant little wars took place and missionaries are going out to reclaim the Orcs for civilisation. [/quote]

            Tell me, have you ever tried /Grunts/ by Mary Gentle? If you've read enough of LoTR to remember it, & appreciate parody, it should knock your socks off! :)

      5. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        In my opinion he started off with one style 'Colour of Magic' and 'Light Fantastic', and then spent the next few books tweaking things*, and changing his writing styles and techniques. In my opinion Sourcery and Pyramids were some of his weaker books because of this. I still enjoyed them, but didn't feel much desire to re-read them. Admittedly they've been in a box for the last 15 years, and I've only just dug them out after several moves, and some time in storage - perhaps they're due another read?

        Anyway, I think he'd really got himself going again with Wyrd Sisters. Which I very much like (and have re-read). And might be a good starting point. I love the way he can be doing a multi-page literary parody, sometimes within a book that is already a literary parody (Wyrd Sisters / Macbeth for example) - and then he'll put in a proper groan-inducing pun and suddenly there'll be a knob gag, or he'll drop in a stupid footnote for the hell of it. His writing style plays on so many different levels that you can appreciate the books in different ways, depending on your mood, and that makes them worth re-reading too. So Wyrd Sisters then Witches Abroad (where I loved the short Hemingway parody) then hooked.

        Or you could go for for Guards! Guards!, and read along with the Watch, as someone else also suggested. There's also the Death novels. But I didn't think Mort was one of his strongest books, so I wouldn't start with it, just like I think Equal Rites (the first witches one) isn't even in the same style as his later stuff. Everyone likes different things though. And I do fear recommending books / music that I love to people, because so much of it is personal. And then when they don't like it, they've stabbed me in the back. The bastards!

        You've got a whole load of books to look forward to. Assuming you liked the first couple you read. Happy days. There's a bunch of kids/young adult books in the Discworld series as well, but I just ignored that and read them anyway. I really enjoyed the Tiffany Aching books (Wee Free Men, Hat Full of Sky and Wintersmith). More witches.

        He then did a bunch of other stuff. I remember not particularly liking Strata and Dark Side of the Sun - but that's all I remember, I read those sometime in the early 90s I think. There was Truckers, Diggers and something else, which I've never read, and I seem to recall the name 'The Carpet People'. All kids books I think.

        Then finally, Good Omens (with Neil Gaiman). Radio 4's recent adaptation was excellent. The book is even better. Hopefully, happy reading to you. Oh and the ones with Stephen Baxter, that I haven't read, the first one's on my bedside book pile.

        * I just had a major fat-finger issue and typed twerking1 (should I have left that in?).

        1 I put this comment in brackets, then realised that in honour of the Master himself, it should obviously be done as a footnote2. I also particuarly liked his footnotes inside footnotes gags.

        2I should probably have stopped after 2...

        1. theblackhand

          Reading order

          I would recommend starting with either The Witches Trilogy or Death Trilogy as they provide a gentle introduction to Discworld life.

          Avoid starting with the Colour of Magic unless you really enjoy classical fantasy books - once you've read some of the other Discworld books coming back to the Rincewind series makes more sense when the pace of the books slows.

          Alternatively, far wiser people have created the following reading order:

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: Reading order

            All the above are excellent suggestions - my taste would be for Guards! Guards! and the other Sam Vimes books - but no-one has mentioned Soul Music... which is worth it for a two-hundred page lead-up to an absolutely appalling pun on the last page (and incidentally gives an interesting cross section of Pterry's taste in music).

            1. Omgwtfbbqtime

              Re: Reading order - Soul Music

              Definitely - Soul Music / Hogfather / Thief of Time make a good starter set.

              Always Liked the Susan Death books.

    3. Gordon861

      Another vote for Guards Guards as the best newbie Discworld book to start with. It is a great introduction to the world and humour without really needing to know anything about the disc. I have lent copies to friends in order to get them hooked and it never fails.

      As to the man himself, I met him once after queuing for hours in Kingston to get the new book signed, he will be greatly missed.

      ... the turtle moves ...

    4. Monkeyman

      I started on Mort and it held me in good stead. Mind you Interesting Times is so funny that you might be better just stating there... really it doesn't matter, the important thing is that you start.

      A big part of me hopes that Terry is sitting in the Mended Drum having a pint right now.

    5. jai

      I was wondering whether to suggest watching the TV adaptations?

      I thought Going Postal was brilliant! but then maybe it helps to have read the book first and that's what makes the tv show so good?

      From the books - i would recommend Guards! Guards! as a good starting point too. it's a great story by itself, full of fantastic characters. the rest of the books with those characters are great.

      Then again, Wyrd Sisters might be a great place to start, as you'll be familiar with the underlying story that it is parodying.

  10. Ketlan

    so sad...

    A glorious writer. Thank God we had him for as long as we did. Ook, you wonderful old fucker, you.

  11. Woza

    Paraphrasing Soul Music

    People will always remember the books he never had a chance to write, and they will be the greatest books of all.

  12. Stevie


    Nice job, Reg Hacks. A worthy obituary.

  13. CYMinCA


    met him at hay on wye festival where he gave a great rambling talk. Took my son who remembers it even now and treasures his signed copy of colour of magic.

    As my wife said what the hell is she supposed to buy for my birthday now she can't rely on a new discworld book, a sentiment I'm sure would amuse sir terry

    1. Wommit

      Re: Missed

      My daughter cussed for the longest time when she heard. She too was bemoaning this embuggerance of no more pressies for her lovely Dad.

      RIP Terry, loved you stories since the first. The world is better for your short visit.

  14. Robert E A Harvey


    Pterry and his friend Neil Gaiman both had a character called Death. In both cases, they were the most compassionate characters in their respective universes. Another writer I am fond of, Phil Rickman, has mentioned the angel of death as a comforter.

    The older I get the more I understand it. It iwas the genius of Sir Terry to be able to pass that wisdom, and a lot more insights like it, straight to young people. To grant them wisdom without any other experience.

    The truly great writers are not the tragedians, who hold a mirror to that part of humanity we have known since childhood. But the comic writers, who can teach us the unexpected and the true.

    One of his books was called 'The Truth'. It was his only stock in trade.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Death

      Death as a "comforter" is an old idea. Pterry's take on it was wonderful, but still just a new take on an old idea.

      If you re-read 'The Colour of Magic', it's interesting to note that the Death in that is a very different character from what he became in the later books. I'm not sure if he ever completely forgave Rincewind for his unpunctuality.

  15. Tromos

    R.I.P. Terry...

    ...and may the Gods be with you (especially the small ones).

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I met him in 198x at Exeter Uni when he sneaked in incognito despite being the star guest. I remember he cracked the Elrond Hubbard joke and we spent ages debating which book that character should have been in.

    Only one more book in the pipeline (The Shepherd's Crown), doesn't seem to be listed on Amazon yet ? I'll be sad all over again when I have the first Christmas in so very long, that's without one of Terry's books.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


  18. Blank-Reg


    A glass raised for you. Thanks for the excellent reads and many happy evenings reading. Hope you had a good curry with Death on the way out...

  19. David Schlinkert

    Comparing Pratchett to Dickens' "fire" is like comparing an aircraft carrier to a couple kids on a raft.

    1. veti Silver badge

      I'd say it's more apt than the comparison to "Tolkein"...

      Both (Pratchett and Dickens) were passionate about injustice. Both could be, by turns, sharply witty and satirical, and interminably preachy, particularly in their later works. Both were hugely popular, celebrities in their own lifetime.

      The only candidate I can think of who'd make a worthy third to that duo would be Mark Twain, but he's disqualified on account of being American.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Jonathon Swift rather than Tolkien

        Make it a fantasy and you can poke fun at everything AND the wise and learned people you are poking fun at think it is a silly story for children !

        Tolkien wouldn't know a joke if it bit him on the Silmarillion

        1. fandom

          "I was talking aloud to myself. A habit of the old: they choose the wisest person present to speak to"

          Hey! it's funny

  20. TheRealRoland
    Paris Hilton

    Clevew twap?

    Probably falling into a cleverly disguised trap here. Tolkein?

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Clevew twap?

      No, I just left my proffreedng skills in the glovebox this morning. It's been fixed :(


  21. G Mac

    Summary for Me

    You made me happy.

    You made the people I made read your books happy.

    I am sad now.

    I will reread all your books and I will be happy again.

  22. John Gamble

    I've had the honor of briefly meeting Pratchett a couple of times. He was, as you'd expect, very friendly and quite witty. I hope his USENET postings are preserved.

    Unsurprisingly, he got better as he got more political (public figures make better targets than fantasy tropes), and I've loaned out Small Gods, The Truth, Going Postal and others often, and they've been greatly appreciated.

    I'm going to miss him.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      For 20years I have been buying every 2nd-hand copy of Good Omens I find to give away to people.

  23. stuartnz

    Time to re-read

    There's a certain brutal aptness to the fact that smallcaps DEATH is one of my favourite characters ever. I'd love to raise a glass in his honour, but since I have hyper-intolerance to alcohol, I'll settle for re-reading the Death arc, again. And making sure to be extra nice to the neighbourhood cats, since I'm sure Blinky's rider will be in a FOUL mood after this particular hourglass ran out.

    1. Vic

      Re: Time to re-read

      I have hyper-intolerance to alcohol

      Me too.

      Eight or nine pints, and I'm anyone's :-)


  24. Bleu

    Why do you say

    'gifted' instead of 'given'?

    It is terribly vulgar, in the pejorative sense, and most unworthy in an obit. for a very good writer and humourist.

  25. Arctic fox

    We all have I am sure our favourite moments from his remarkable canon.

    One of mine is from Guards! Guards! when our hero the estimable Vimes holds off a lynch mob in the stables with a dragon tucked under his arm. "The question is,do you feel lucky?" I read that bit on the top of a bus on the way to work. My howls of laughter caused some raised eyebrows!

  26. Mephistro

    I never met him personally...

    ... and have only listened his voice in an interview.

    Still, I feel as if an old friend has passed away.

    Thanks, Terry, and Godspeed!.

    1. Tom 7

      Re: I never met him personally...

      I must confess that having mocked Diana's funeral hysterics I can see where it comes from.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I never met him personally...

        "I must confess that having mocked Diana's funeral hysterics I can see where it comes from."

        Except the big difference here is that Sir Terry is someone WORTH mourning, someone who did a lot for a lot of people, who contributed a large amount to the world.

        Diana people just jumped on the band wagon because it was "trendy"

  27. Peshman

    Small Gods was my favourite.


    Zap out a small lightning bolt for me every time you come to mind or whenever I see a turtle.

    I'll be raising a pint in your honour.

  28. Mike Arthur

    Ah, sad day indeed.

    His books still have the power to make me properly laugh out loud.

    A great writer, made very clever use of the language to provide entertainment to so very many people.

    I had the great fortune to meet him on several occasions in the early 90s whilst I was working in a bookshop. Funniest memory was being sent across to the supermarket across the road for a couple of bags of frozen sweetcorn (had to be sweetcorn, not peas) for him to put on his painful hand after spending several hours signing all manner of items.

    Anyway, I shall send my assistant off to the shelf to bring me something of his to read.

    'Oook?', 'yes please, that one'

  29. Anonymous Coward


    A further recommendation for 'Guards Guards' as a starting point, it was the first one I read and I have read all of Sir Pterry's books since.

    A sad comment on the universe when someone who contributes to humanity passes while an oxygen thief like Piers Morgan still wanders this realm.

    RIP Sir Pterry, may the Great A'Tuin guide you through eternity (but remember not to fall off the edge of the rim and always head hubwards)

  30. Sartori

    Terribly sad that Sir Terry has passed. So many happy memories of how his books over the years have made me laugh, smile and think.

    I was lucky enough to meet him at a book signing once in Liverpool. He was all smiles, witty and so much time given with a sense of fun to all the many fans who queued to see him.

    A man who mixed childlike wonder, silliness, endless imagination, with wisdom, sharp wit and intelligence in his work.

    He will be missed by millions, thoughts with his family and friends. RIP.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So sorry

    All his books were full of warmth, wit and wisdom and I'm so sorry he's no longer with us. My sincere condolences to his family, who must be feeling rather empty now.

  32. Elmer Phud


  33. Killing Time

    His work will stand the test of time...

    One of the few authors to make me laugh out loud whilst also making me think deeply. Given his output you could list them all day but those that immediately spring to mind, for the comedy are the interchanges between Rincewind, Twoflower and The Luggage and for the insight the whole of 'Money'.

    Farewell Sir Terry. DEATH will look after you....

  34. A K Stiles

    Reading order?

    I'd quite like a black bush-hat icon to express my combination of sadness and anger, perhaps attached to the phrase "Buggrit Buggrit Buggrem"?

    As noted elsewhere, the reading order probably doesn't matter much, though it's probably better to read the various arcs in their own sequences. The later books have an easier style to them, but from my personal experience, I had the pleasure of starting with The Colour of Magic in 1988 at the age of not-quite-twelve, closely followed by The Light Fantastic, then Equal Rites and each subsequent book as it came out, and it does help to introduce some of the recurrent characters and set up some in jokes for later books.

    If there really are any gods, and they have had anything to do with this sad event, then they are definitely bastards!

    1. 9Rune5

      Re: Reading order?

      CoM is a mixed bag of sorts. The first time I read it, I remember thinking it was 'okay'. I stuck with it however, and 'Guards! Guards!' (as well as 'Mort') was the big payoff as far as I am concerned.

      To me it makes sense to turn the wary reader onto 'Guards! Guards!' first before tackling the earlier DW novels. Either way, a new reader must read beyond the first two books to get the full DW reading experience.

      With my son however, I expect I will gradually introduce the stories before reading age and hopefully he will catch on that way. (he is just 4 m.o. so I still have time to re-adjust my strategy)

      Just one more novel to go... I had wished for many more, but what was provided was truly generous. Thank you Terry.

  35. Peter Prof Fox
    Thumb Up

    Skillful writing technique

    He was able to tell a story slowly without being boring for one minute. A master of the slow-burn joke you should have seen coming-up two pages ago, so when the punch-line comes you're ashamed at not being alert as well as tickled by the way he's strung you along. The same goes for parodies, satires and turning what's un-obvious into 'see it was there in front of you all along -- Now do you understand'. A classic example of Pratchet's humanism is when (amongst other minorities being exploited and attacked, Dwarves, Golems, -- the usual stuff) there's a female werewolf major character in a policeMANs role. Police 'dogs' fine but women! Very unsettling. Dwarves have a venerated 'home' back in the hills but where is her 'home' in all senses?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Skillful writing technique

      Ah, yes, Angua... a woman for whom the comment that she can be a bit of a bitch for a few days every month has to be taken a bit more literally than usual!

  36. James 36


    I am reading this at work trying to not to weep at my desk. I love his books and need to reread them.

    Another vote for Guards Guards as an intro

    for an IT angle what about the troll in the freezer whose intelligence increases as the temperature drops ?

    I particularly love small gods.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RIP TP

    I met Terry several times at various (and rather wonderful) Unicorn Theatre productions of his books, and found him unfailingly charming and modest. It was nice to see the witty chap I'd chatted to on CIX was the same in real life. I won't join the debate about what t read first as it depends so much on what your sense of humour is, but will add that I have reread several of his books many times - Interesting Times, Night Watch, Mort are all excellent.

    I am also a proud owner of a rarity, an unsigned copy of Mort :)

    1. JimC

      > an unsigned copy of Mort :) was Re: RIP TP

      But is it a properly unsigned copy of Mort? i.e. one that has been taken along to a book signing, opened by the master, but not actually written in?

  38. Someonehasusedthathandle

    Quoting Big Fish seems apt.

    "Most men, they'll tell you a story straight through. It won't be complicated, but it won't be interestin' either."

    "A man tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories. They live on after him, and in that way he becomes immortal."

    Farewell Sir Terry

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Drinking Songs!

    A great loss, my condolences to his family.

    I think tonight will require the sinking of a few pints in his honour, before trying to kick off a bit of a sing-song with a round of 'A Wizards Staff has a Knob on the End' and Nanny Ogg's favourite 'The Hedgehog Song'!

  40. Tim Worstal

    The thing is

    When one of the books was based upon something you know well the most absurd jokes were actually the true bits.

    The Truth is the best satire of the newspaper business since Scoop and probably better. And in Making Money the truly absurd thing about all of the economics is that it's absolutely completely and totally correct.

    Yes, even down to the hydraulic computer for modelling the economy.

    Although, to be fair, it's only one half of the economics profession who thinks that if you can get the model right then it will affect the real economy.

  41. Thecowking

    He'll be missed in my house

    I recently got round to rationalising the Pratchett books in my house and passing the spares on to the deserving. I didn't want to be greedy though, so I kept the books he signed for me as they're probably not worth as much as the pristine ones!

    Today I was on a clearly very dusty train as my eyes started to moisten quite noticably as I read "The Colour Of Magic" on the way to the office.

    I met him a few times and enjoyed that he took the time out to visit my school (for such was the place of our first meeting) and I always found him patient and amusing.

    My first Pratchett was The Light Fantastic back in 1988 or so when I was really far too young to be reading them. Luckily no one told me so I kept on reading them.

    A pint shall be raised to him tonight.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: He'll be missed in my house

      I don't know. Should you raise a pint to him? Or should it be a glass of something blue or green and sticky, that's been lurking in a crusty bottle at the back of the bar since a holiday about 20 years ago?

    2. Terje

      Re: He'll be missed in my house

      You didn't just happen to have Susan as a teacher did you?

      1. Thecowking
        Thumb Up

        Re: He'll be missed in my house

        My teacher of the time had black hair with a silver streak. So some kind of negative of Susan, possibly from traversing the universes.

  42. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Oook :o(

    Ahem, > "usually wearing in his trademark black fedora "

    I recall reading an interview when he stated it is a "Borsalino".

    I wrote to him once, ending, as usual wiht "Irealise you are very busy and will understand if you are unable to reply". After a couple of months I got a reply, apologising for the delay, and responding in detail to what I'd written.

    de Chelonian Mobilus!

  43. DeVino

    I thought that "Raising Steam" was a rather odd book when it came out as it contained just about every character in the Discworld. Now it seems to make sense as it's like having a curtain call for everybody.

    I also never met the man and in some ways I mourn more for Sam Vimes, Moist Lipwick and the Librarian.

    Which perhaps is how Mr Pratchett might like it. Thank-you sir for some great times. Especially Night Watch.

  44. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Small Gods

    Everyone supporting ISIS, the Taleban, Al Quaida, or indeed any religious moveoment that believes in killing people should read Terry Pratchett's "Small Gods".

    1. David Nash

      Re: Small Gods

      "Everyone supporting ISIS, the Taleban, Al Quaida, or indeed any religious moveoment that believes in killing people should read Terry Pratchett's "Small Gods"."

      And those that don't.

  45. Putters

    Both my favourite authors gone now ...

    First George MacDonald Fraser* and now Terry Pratchett*. Their two series account for about 50% of the fiction on paper in my house.

    No more Sir Harry and now no more Rincewind :o(

    * I wonder if it's just because I like long footnotes ? They just don't work so well in ebooks !

    1. jjk

      Re: Both my favourite authors gone now ...

      And Harry Harrison. And Patrick O'Brian. And Jack Vance. All within the last few years.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Both my favourite authors gone now ...

        And tragically and far too young - Iain M Banks

      2. Bleu

        Re: Both my favourite authors gone now ...

        ... and Jack Williamson, he still wrote a few great stories at a very advanced age.

        Death happens, part of the human condition.

        More of a tragedy for Sir Terry was more that he had to put up with early senility from his early fifties or late forties.

        Come to think of it, I am thoroughly sick of Internet obits in general, every comment piling on to be more piously regretful than the last. I am quite sure that Sir Terry Pratchett would agree.

  46. Ol'Peculier


    Will really miss PTerry. He did a web chat on a forum I was a member of once just before he announced his embuggerance kindly spending an hour or so answering questions.

    Anyway, El Reg. when did Brits start donating dollars to research?

    1. jai

      Re: Dollars?

      As I recall it was a million dollars worth of UK Sterling.

  47. jjk


    "In 1980, he moved into PR and became the press officer for three nuclear power plants run by the UK's Central Electricity Generating Board."

    "A computer enthusiast since the early days (his first machine was a Sinclair ZX81), [...]"

    Well, of course.

    1. Robert Baker
      IT Angle

      Re: ZX-81

      "In 1980, he moved into PR and became the press officer for three nuclear power plants run by the UK's Central Electricity Generating Board."

      "A computer enthusiast since the early days (his first machine was a Sinclair ZX81), [...]"

      Well, of course.

      Maybe he was in charge of the ZX81s which controlled the power plants. :-)

  48. Amorous Cowherder

    I was never huge fan but anything I did read by him, I always thoroughly enjoyed. The typical British sense of humour was so well captured. It's never nice when someone who gave so much genuinely innocent pleasure to so many, is no longer around.

  49. Dodgy Dave

    Among many gems

    ...was his 'pork futures warehouse' where ghostly pig carcasses faded in and out of existence as the economy rose and fell. Absolute genius.

    I will savour his few remaining books that I've yet to read, like bottles of vintage Bordeaux.

  50. Tanuki

    I can kinda imagine him having specified that his coffin should be made from Sapient Pearwood.

  51. Benjol

    Haven't read one in years, but must say that I think they are truly the only books that have ever consistently made me chortle out loud.

    1. Vic

      I think they are truly the only books that have ever consistently made me chortle out loud

      I've had the same effect from reading Robert Rankin and David Langford. And both of those authors had forewords by Pterry[1].


      [1] Which is why I read them in the first place :-)

  52. Simon B

    An amazing author, a legend who I will greatly miss. Long live the great a-tuin

  53. Isendel Steel


    Not fortunate enough to have met him. But he has provided me with hours of entertainment with the Discworld (in all its printed forms), and pause for thought with the Long Earth and Nation.


  54. Ashton Black

    I've read and re-read most of them down the years. Being a D&D and fantasy literature fan, the Colour of Magic/ Light Fantastic really tickled my funny bone. I do remember looking forward to each book, to find out which story arc it would be for. I think he wasn't considered "literary" for the simple reason, his style was fun and accessible, without a degree in English Lit.

    Very sadly missed.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A Life Changer

    A great loss of somebody who changed my life.

    I remember being told about the colour of magic by a friend when it was released. I was not interested - I didn't read books! But I remembered the name. Some years later, when at an airport about to depart on a long flight to the w.indies for a holiday, I thought about what I would do on the plane (and whilst sitting round the pool). I saw a book stall and thought hmm. By then there were 6 books in the discworld series so, having a bit of an addictive personality, I bought all six. I started to read the colour of magic whilst waiting for the plane and had read 2 books before we landed - I was hooked. Since then I have become a big reader, TP started all of that - not just discworld but lots of comic fantasy (Robert Rankin, Tom Holt, etc).

    I had the fortune to meet Sir Terry only once (as with others on the forum it was a book signing, for Jingo). The queue was long but even so, her took the time to chat, and sign other items brought along (he signed a DEATH christmas card to me, and penned 'the turtle moved' on a discworld map. What a great man.

    You will be sadly missed.

    Bootnote - When I told my wife about the sad departure of Sir Terry yesterday she said 'that was a surprise'. "Not really", I said, "It was a million to one shot". She naturally didn't get the reference, but I'm sure most here will.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: A Life Changer

      "Bootnote - When I told my wife about the sad departure of Sir Terry yesterday she said 'that was a surprise'. "Not really", I said, "It was a million to one shot". She naturally didn't get the reference, but I'm sure most here will."

      My wife would get the reference. It was she who introduced me to Discworld :-)

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ooook :(

    Ooook :(

    What more can be said?

  57. Sweeper

    Sir Terry is easily my favourite author and always will be. I reread every book in a year back in 2008. It's time to start again. Maybe we should have a mass Terry Pratchett / Reg Reader day somewhere.

  58. Scott K

    Truckers, Diggers and Wings

    I started reading his books as a nipper Truckers, Diggers and Wings. They dragged me into his mind, his world and told me it was OK to think differently. I haven't stopped since, never met the man but wanted to many times. Now it looks like I never will unless it's a pint in the mended drum.

    Legend who will be missed and his books will be re read and re read I just find it hard to grasp the fact the discworld has supernova'd there are no more stories from that land to be told. Just a final farewell on Twitter which broke me.

    So long and thanks for all the books. (I know, I know)

    Favorite quote hard to decide. This I still use to explain quantum physics!


    ― Terry Pratchett, A Blink of the Screen: Collected Short Fiction'

  59. Aub the IT Bloke

    I have to admit to being deeply saddened by the loss of Pterry, I have every book, quite a few of them in pristine unsigned hardback, and they've been the only thing I have actually wanted for birthdays and Christmas for years, the Mrs will be at a loss.

    Now (to go for a tech angle) I'm sure I'm not alone in this but for the last 20 years I have been naming computers after the characters from Discworld, both at home and at work. There is such a rich variety of characters that you can always find something that is appropriate. My personal favourites include :-

    Rincewind - bit of a crap server but ran for ever.

    Twoflower - my laptop that travelled the world with us.

    Luggage - NAS filer that stored everything but you were never quite sure if it was going to eat a disk.

    Now modern standardised naming conventions have taken over at work I wonder how long the likes of these will last. I think we should all try to make sure there's at least one representative of Discworld on every LAN, in honour of the man that made it all possible.

    1. Ol'Peculier

      I had a dev server once called Magrathea...

    2. DaveMcM

      Three of the various PCs and NAS servers dotted round my house go by the names Holly, Hactar and Hex... The hardware gets replaced from time to time but the names remain.

      Sir Terry will be sadly missed in this house after years of bringing joy through his writing.

      I feel like I may have some rereading to do....

    3. kwhitefoot
      IT Angle

      Count this as a footnote

      I know what you mean by modern (I think), but really things are not modern simply because they are current or new.

      Many of my colleagues describe C# as modern; I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

  60. fritsd

    incredibly good writer

    I enjoy reading immensely. Especially Pratchett.

    And I believe I'm very clever.

    But while reading the Discworld series, I noticed some kind of unexpected development:

    The first books read like very humorous fantasy novels, great for a bit of light escapism.

    But some (not all) of the later books, as he grew in his craft of master storyteller, contain layers that I found difficult to penetrate and understand.

    There are some of his books, maybe beginning with Small Gods, that shows that he imbued the world he perceived with meanings that are difficult to explain or to talk about. Yet during the whole book he managed to convey these meanings in a way that I usually understood. (after re-reading in some cases). It's like he wrote about things, in our real world, that most people probably don't even know exist, and that are difficult to explain in words.

    Maybe that just means I haven't understood them very well :-) but here follows a list of what I personally *believe* he talks about:

    Small Gods - religion (I understood, but what a wonderfully insightful book!)

    Jingo - the difference between police and military

    Hogfather - mythology (I think I understood after re-reading a few times. Completely blew my mind)

    The Fifth Elephant - love (I feel like I'm missing a large part of what he's saying, this was the most difficult book for me)

    Thud! - terrorism

    many of the witches' books - duty, and the maintenance of a society

    He just kept getting better and better!

    And if you read them all, then it's a mixed bag of "easy" and "difficult" books, and maybe for you a completely different subset is easy or difficult.

    It's like he was saying: "the Discworld, just like our world, is a complex mess. Deal with it, and be happy with it!"

    1. Huw D

      Re: incredibly good writer

      Jingo was (unless I'm missing the point) about Jingoism.

      My (country/religion/football team/dad) is better than your (country/religion/football team/dad) and specifically used to refer to excessive/agressive foreign policy.

      That sort of thing.

  61. Mad Scientist

    Books never written

    I discovered Terry back in the 80s and went on to play several of his characters on stage. He was generous to let a bunch of amateurs loose on his masterpiece but was incredibly supportive through the years.

    I remember in his first biographical notes he said he would write about his experiences at the nuclear power stations if he thought anyone would believe him. I would have wondered what he left out. I shall be reminiscing later with a the Archchancellor (amongst many DW roles).

    I will miss his razor wit and would loved to have seen him deconstruct our current times.


    Moving Pictures, Lords and Ladies, Jingo,Maskerade and Making Steam. Best introductions Mort,Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters

  62. Deryk Barker

    I've never managed to get through an entire Prachett novel - and comparing anyone to Wodehouse is simply a non-starter, DIckens too for that matter.

    But I have to congratulate him on flourishing after working on the Bucks Free Press, which I remember from my early days as a completely awful rag.

    And the nobility of his final years.

  63. 4ecks

    Farewell dear friend.

    Although I never met him personally, he has been with me all my adult life.

    I'm saddened by his passing, but still chuckling at the jokes that I'm remembering.

    I fondly remember being able to tell when there were other fans of his on the train in the morning by the massive increase of laughter and giggles I could hear whenever a new book came out.

    I still can't get the name of the local school right - Bangabandhu Primary always comes out as Bhangbhangduc.

    The handle 4ecks was pilfered from The Last Continent.

    Another beer in your honour Sir!

  64. Blank Reg

    Oh Waily Waily :(

  65. C. P. Cosgrove

    By coincidence, I finished re-reading 'Witches Abroad' on the morning of his death.

    I am at least theoretically banned from reading any of his books in bed, my beloved always accuses me of making the bed shake when she is trying to get to sleep. She hasn't quite managed to stop me yet.

    I too will raise a glass to his memory.

    Chris Cosgrove

  66. Bleu

    My sister

    gave me a book that I very much like.

    She did not 'gift me with' a book.

    Terry Pratchett has given the english-reading world much good writing, he did not 'gift' the world 'with' it.

    Yes, that usage of 'gift' as a verb originated in New York, very recently, and irritates the hell out of me, even worse, people who claim to be writers, as on this article, don't even seem to recall give, gave, given, it becomes gift x with, gifted x with, gifted x with.

    Illiterate crap.

    Cheap as hell.

  67. This post has been deleted by its author

  68. GSG

    It was only last year that I finally got the raven jokes - both the name (Quoth) and the 'n word' references.

    He'll be sadly missed :-(

  69. This post has been deleted by its author

  70. Misky

    So so sad, he was truly a small god.

  71. Trollslayer

    We are fortunate to have someone to cry over

    I would much rather go through the loss than to have never enjoyed PTerry's time on this inflated disc.

  72. bex

    Sad face

    I was trying to get a customers Ipad to stop being an ass when the trukking thing popped up that Sir Terry was dead. it was like being punched in the gut.

    It's a sad day, the man brought joy and broadened the imagination of millions. For a man like this to get such a disease is a tragedy. I am grateful for every word in every story he wrote. Gone but never forgotten, I will miss you Sir Terry.

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