So Terry Pratchett has just died and, while we all knew this was coming, I’m upset and also a bit angry that someone so smart and skilled as a writer and thinker has gone. This is one of my authors, the ones I read devotedly and still revere. His books were sat on a shelf with David Gemmell’s and theirs only. So here’s my emotional splurge I just threw onto Facebook:
Pratchett wasn’t just funny, he was damn smart as a writer (and person). His mysteries were really good. The plot about poisoning the Patrician, where he puts it right in front of the reader but you (well, me) don’t see it until all is revealed is sublimely done. The fact Gaspode would say woof, not go woof, was a bit of humour that also showed you how nuanced a description can be.
Granny Weatherwax is one of the strongest female characters I’ve ever come across. Gender ident…ity among dwarves was played out and resolved with amusing maturity. Rincewind is more of an inspiration due to being a coward, not a hero. Assassins wouldn’t dress all in black because that would actually show up too well in the darkness. Camels were brilliant mathematicians, dubbed You Bastard. Words had power, ideas could become more real than reality itself, and gods depended on believers, not the other way around.
David Gemmell, and also Janrae Frank later on, taught me how to write heroic fantasy, although I’m a poor imitator of both. Pratchett taught me how to write comedy, how to write smart with comedy, and how that even an orang-utan or the Death of Rats can become an interesting character.