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March 2015

Farewell, Sir Terry, 66 years is too short

Terry Pratchett Books

It's strange how some things hit you. I've known that we will lose Sir Terry Pratchett prematurely since 2007, but wasn't expecting to hear the announcement today when I was driving home.

His books have always been a staple of my life since I started secondary school in 1983, when The Colour of Magic was first published. I can remember reading the adventures of Rincewind the Wizard with glee, and eagerly devouring the next book when it came out. A family tradition was born; every Christmas, my mother and father would always buy me the paperback of the latest Terry Pratchett, along with the annual Tolkien Calendar and probably a Satsuma and a Terry's Chocolate Orange.

At University, his books were my escape from examinations, and I tended to rip through the whole series (back when it was considerably shorter in the early nineties) as light relief and a touch of procrastination. His humour slowly shifted and became more subtle rather than slapstick, but I still found my sides splitting with laughter at unexpected moments.

Now I've children, my rate of reading has massively slowed, and I'm overdue a complete re-read of his books by several years. But the Christmas tradition continued, with a new book each year. Except now he's gone, and a little bit of my childhood with him.

Farewell, Sir Terry. You'll always be remembered through your books and the joy they have brought. But tonight, I will feel sad and raise a drink to you, as you pass into memory with a tall darkly hooded figure with a scythe, a horse, a strange twinkle of starlight in his eye sockets, and A LIKING FOR CAPITAL LETTERS.