Thursday, March 12, 2015
The Death of Fantasy Authors has come to Broad Chalke, England. And hopefully the Death of Rats came and gave Sir Terry Pratchett’s cat, sitting on his deathbed, a swift kick in the rear followed by a silent “SNH. SNH. SNH.”
Terry Pratchett, one of my favorite authors, died this week at 66.
His death, announced over Twitter, was done most appropriately, according to the BBC:
The first tweet was composed in capital letters - which was how the author portrayed the character of Death in his novels.
"AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER," it stated.
"Terry took Death's arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night."
Like no other author, Pratchett combined the worlds of fantasy and satire, showing that the often tired world of fantasy was open to a new approach.
My favorites will always be his Sam Vimes novels, particularly THUD, though Feet of Clay is a close second. The best scene he ever wrote, however, comes from Moving Pictures:
The two farmers peered in through the barn doors. Stacks of cabbage waited stolidly in the gloom.
"Told you it were cabbage," said one of them. "Knew it weren't chickens. Oi knows a cabbage when I sees one, and oi believes what I sees."
From far above came voices, getting closer:
"For gods' sake, man, can't you steer?"
"Now with you throwing your weight about, Archchancellor!"
"Where the hell are we? Can't see a thing in this fog!"
"I'll just see if I can point it -- don't lean over like that! Don't lean over like that ! I said don't lean --!"
The farmers dived sideways as the broomstick corkscrewed through the open doorway and disappeared among the ranks of cabbage. There was a distant, brassica'd squelch.
Eventually a muffled voice said: "You leaned."
"Nonsense. A fine mess you got me into. What is it?"
"Some kid of vegetable?"
"Can't stand vegetables. Thins the blood."
There was a pause. Then the farmers heard the other voice say: "Well, I'm very sorry about that, you bloodthirsty overbearing tub of lard."
There was another pause.
Then: "Can I sack you, Bursar?"
"No, Archchancellor. I've got tenure."
"In that case, help me out and let's go and find a drink."
The farmers crept away.
"Dang me," said the believer in cabbages. "They're wizards. Best not to meddle in the affairs of danged wizards."
"Yeah," said the other farmer. "Er . . . what does dang me mean? Exactly?"
Pratchett’s ability to write cinematicly fascinates me. Anyone hoping to be a good author had better study his works just to hear his voice coming out.