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General Discussion => Books 'n Readin' => Topic started by: The Lurker on March 12, 2015, 08:43:45 AM

Title: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: The Lurker on March 12, 2015, 08:43:45 AM
http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-31858156 (http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-31858156)
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: ScottotD on March 12, 2015, 09:20:53 AM
I can't even process this
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: Compound on March 12, 2015, 10:02:37 AM
Sigh. Not good news to start off the morning.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: Lemming Howard on March 12, 2015, 10:21:34 AM
Rest in Peace Sir Terry.  The Discworld lives in my library!
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: The Lurker on March 12, 2015, 10:34:30 AM
http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2015/03/terry-pratchett.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter (http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2015/03/terry-pratchett.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter)
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: ScottotD on March 12, 2015, 10:39:24 AM
FUCK
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: SJP on March 12, 2015, 11:10:07 AM
Him and Douglas Adams are the reason I ever wanted to get into writing in the first place.  I read Pyramids in 8th grade and was instantly hooked.  His mix of comedy, satire, and just good old-fashioned storytelling made him probably my favorite author ever.  I had been planning to write a letter to him for a long time.  Now I won't get that chance.

Not really sure what to think.  Reading would probably only make me depressed.  Writing would be productive, but I don't know if my heart would be in it.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: ScottotD on March 12, 2015, 12:00:52 PM
Not really sure what to think.  Reading would probably only make me depressed.  Writing would be productive, but I don't know if my heart would be in it.

NO! Ignore assholes and just create  :)
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: BathTub on March 12, 2015, 12:25:32 PM
Yeah this sucks so much.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: MartyS (Gromit) on March 12, 2015, 03:33:11 PM
Just read about this a little while ago, was expecting him to have at least a few more years, darn...
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: Variety of Cells on March 12, 2015, 09:06:02 PM
This is the only celebrity death I can think of that's actually made me sad. On the other hand, I'm glad he's not shoved in a home somewhere with no idea who he is. He really didn't want that.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: Tripe on March 13, 2015, 07:15:30 AM
What I wrote on Facebook:

So, Terry Pratchett:

Terry Pratchett was a wonderful writer, probably my favourite novelist. His books are clever, humane, dark and complex all while seeming to be mostly light hearted comic fantasy. That is ground which many people will talk about in the coming days. But I’d like to highlight something else, something that endeared him especially to me; how he influenced my paganism.

Oh, yes, hi, my name’s Nick and I’m Pagan. This isn't exactly a secret but you know I'm not walking around with a giant pentagram or anything (probably because as symbols go, it’s not one of my favourites). Paganism, Neopaganism, is kind of* ad hoc and free form, which is why it appeals to me. I have cobbled together concepts and practices that are theologically/spiritually/transcendentally satisfying for me and a fair number I took from my reading of Pratchett’s work.

I truly do think that gods are finite things that grow and thrive based on the food that is genuine belief, whether that is a literal truth or simply a metaphorical one doesn't actually matter, it’s pretty dead on. I first read about that concept in, hmm I want to say “Small Gods” but I think it’s earlier than that, “Small Gods” is just the novel that really expounds upon it. This wasn’t an idea originated by Pratchett, indeed go read “Divine Horsemen” and see Maya Deren talking about it decades earlier, but his gift for presenting philosophy through narrative was tremendous.

I really do see the year split into two seasons overseen by two figures, The Summer Lady and The Wintersmith, you may have seen me alluding to them in posts from time to time. Again this isn’t really a new concept (aside from the names, I think) but he gave it such life in my favourite subset of the Discworld books; those concerning the Witches, both of the Ramtops and those of the Chalk (I think Tiffany is my favourite character in the books, though “Spike” Dearheart** is close, for entirely different reasons). Being ad-hoc-free-form Neopaganism doesn’t exactly have scriptures but I would recommend a beginning witch or other pagan/occultist, especially one of a bucolic bent, to read all of the witch centric Discworld books, there are worst places to start off.

I keep wanting to organize the Morris dance described in “Wintersmith”, the one where the Fool and The Lady swap sides of the square to represent the change of the seasons, it seems as if it would be good to do that this year really.

I also always think of Lilly Weatherwax when I manage to step between two mirrors, that’s not a big thing, I suppose it’s just an image that really resonated.

His ideas that the world runs on stories and that stories are essentially formed from a sort of element also makes so much sense from a conceptual standpoint.

Pratchett created a body of work that is phenomenally deep in folkloric knowledge and this increased with his later years. If you've never read him please do, I suggest starting with one of the witch books (I did) but “Guards! Guards!” isn’t a bad jumping off point either.

And for those who knew and loved him: It was suggested that people wear a sprig of Lilac on the 25th of May in remembrance of PTerry. I like this idea; after all we were all there, so I would encourage us all to do that. :)

*because there are neopagan movements that are far more structured, Gardnerian Wicca for example, I'm not Wiccan, or indeed anything but a free form eclectic.

** And was Claire Foy ever well cast in “Going Postal”, Little Dorrit really grew up to be…compelling.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: Relaxing Dragon on March 13, 2015, 12:11:36 PM
This seems like the place to say it: I've never read Pratchett, and I've been meaning to start. Something about things like this always spurns me on (I didn't read HHGTTG until shortly after Adams died).

Anyway, given the massive amount of what he's written with regards to Discworld, I want to ask: is there a good place to start? Just go right from the beginning, or can one skip some of the early stuff if it's a bit rough?
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: RoninFox on March 13, 2015, 12:13:56 PM
I started with Hogfather and I'm reading Moving Pictures now.  I've heard from others that it doesn't really matter much which order you read them, if anything you'll just get a list of favorites.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: Tripe on March 13, 2015, 12:55:05 PM
Try this guide: http://m.imgur.com/r/discworld/qHa8Zf5
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: Pak-Man on March 13, 2015, 12:56:02 PM
I started with Color of Magic, but I have this slightly OCD side that doesn't want to take in any new book if there's ever been anything that was written before it. I want to take in every story as it was intended, with no biases or expectations from future novels in my head.

That said, I hear a lot of people like to start with Small Gods.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: Tripe on March 13, 2015, 01:10:45 PM
Small Gods is certainly the first significantly philosophical novel (they all have some but it's the first one really built around a key concept) and if the nature of belief is your thing, by all means start with Small Gods.

I usually suggest Guards! Guards!, Wyrd Sisters or Mort.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: MartyS (Gromit) on March 13, 2015, 01:23:28 PM
I didn't start reading the books until after seeing the 3 TV movies, you know, Going Postal was 4 years ago, it's about time they did another one....  I then read the books for the movies after re-watching them, really enjoyed that way of getting into the massive Discworld series.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: Relaxing Dragon on March 13, 2015, 03:55:19 PM
Try this guide: http://m.imgur.com/r/discworld/qHa8Zf5

This seems like the specific sort of thing I was after.

Thanks to everyone for the recommendations. I can only spare so much extra time these days for reading (fun reading, at least. School reading is its own timesink of a category), but I'll try to spare as much as I can here.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: BathTub on March 13, 2015, 09:15:10 PM
Might have to start collecting the audiobooks and get back into them!
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: anais.butterfly on March 15, 2015, 05:33:30 AM
This seems like the place to say it: I've never read Pratchett, and I've been meaning to start. Something about things like this always spurns me on (I didn't read HHGTTG until shortly after Adams died).

Anyway, given the massive amount of what he's written with regards to Discworld, I want to ask: is there a good place to start? Just go right from the beginning, or can one skip some of the early stuff if it's a bit rough?

This is literally the exact reason I came into this thread. I also appreciate the suggestions and link.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: mrbasehart on March 15, 2015, 07:35:24 AM
I'm assuming people saw this, but for people who didn't.  This was the first tweet sent from his account after his death:

https://twitter.com/terryandrob/status/576036599047258112?lang=en (https://twitter.com/terryandrob/status/576036599047258112?lang=en)
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: CJones on March 15, 2015, 11:03:26 AM
What!? Terry Pratchett died!? God damn it, why do all my favorite people keep dying? I knew he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, but I didn't expect him to die so soon.

My first Terry Pratchett novel was Mort. Being a fan of HHGttG, I was immediately hooked. I loved any of the Night Watch books, and any of the ones with Susan. And Small Gods, while not so much funny, was brilliant. What really set Pratchett apart from Douglas Adams was that, even though he wrote comedy, he made a serious attempt to have a coherent and thought provoking plot. In that sense, Hogfather was a particular favorite of mine. I honestly went into that expecting a straight up parody of Christmas. But it was a lot better thought out than I expected. Death's monologue towards the end about people needing to believe the small lies like "The Hogfather" or "The Tooth Fairy" to prepare them for the big lies, like Justice or Mercy, particularly stuck in my head.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention Good Omens. That, along with Dune and Watership Down are my three all time favorite novels. I've even bought Good Omens twice (the first one got water damaged).
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: Tripe on March 15, 2015, 04:40:48 PM
Death's monologue towards the end about people needing to believe the small lies like "The Hogfather" or "The Tooth Fairy" to prepare them for the big lies, like Justice or Mercy, particularly stuck in my head.
That's one of the finest bits of writing in any of the books.

It also contains the perfect description of humanity:

WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE ASCENDED APE.

Splendid, I don't think he comes close to anything quite as awesome a s the whole Susan and Death exchange (though his base level of awesome is exceedingly high) until Vetinari's story about the otters in Unseen Academicals.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: SJP on March 15, 2015, 06:56:33 PM
As I mentioned before, I started with Pyramids.  I would not recommend anyone else starting with Pyramids, because that's practically the most standalone story in the entirety of Discworld.  It does not really prepare you for the world at large, since except for Death very few characters from that story appear in any of the other ones except in very fleeting moments.

I've always been partial to all the Watch stories, myself.  I like all the Discworld novels, but Vimes and Company always seemed to be the biggest beneficiaries of Pratchett's "the world changes and time marches on" bits, with the integration of the Watch, all the new technologies springing up, the exotic locales the 'City' Watch oddly always seemed to go off to, and the shenanigans they got mixed up in.  Men at Arms still has the single funniest segment of a book I've ever read aloud to another human being, with the clown funeral (I won't spoil it here...but it is simply fantastic in its execution).  Their stories also always seemed to be the most poignant to me character development-wise...the Fifth Elephant in particular, with the philosophical message of "What is more important, the thing or what it represents?"  But that's just me.  Really, once you start reading them, you'll find one of his protagonists to be your 'favorite' group, but all of them are wonderful in their own way.  And if you start earlier, you do see the evolution in the writing.  Color of Magic is loads of fun to read and very satirical, but doesn't go particularly deep in terms of thought...certainly not like "Night Watch."  That one is an excellent book.

But one of his greatest moments that I will share here is a footnote.  One of my favorite bits of business is where a philosopher on the Disc (name eludes me at the moment) states that the easiest course of action is to believe in all afterlives and all gods equally...that way, one of them is bound to exist and be the right one, and you won't get in trouble.  The footnote states, after he died, all the Gods of the Disc surrounded him, various horrible implements at the ready, saying, "We know what to do with clever dicks like you."

I just find that line incredibly amusing.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: SJP on March 15, 2015, 08:06:16 PM
I'm fully aware of the difference.  It's not the wordage, it's the situation I find amusing.  But thanks for pointing out for anyone who doesn't.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: CJones on March 16, 2015, 06:05:41 AM
I'm going to assume it means something like "smart-ass". What is it with intelligent body parts in that general area of the body?
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: SJP on March 16, 2015, 06:40:21 AM
I'm going to assume it means something like "smart-ass". What is it with intelligent body parts in that general area of the body?

No idea.  But it's funny how those terms sort of overlap.

Okay, didn't know how up you were on the slang (you're not British and I've just embarrassed myself, are you?).

No, I'm not British, but I'm beginning to think my sense of humor is.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: SJP on March 16, 2015, 07:26:31 AM
Looked up something, and that seems to be the case.  Though no one can agree which Richard is the Dick of clever dick.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: Compound on August 31, 2015, 01:34:26 PM
Well, there's been no improvement as to Mr. Pratchett's health since March. However today the fine folks at The Guardian submitted this review on The Shepard's Crown:

Quote
Get real. Terry Pratchett is not a literary genius

It does not matter to me if Terry Pratchett’s final novel is a worthy epitaph or not, or if he wanted it to be pulped by a steamroller. I have never read a single one of his books and I never plan to. Life’s too short.

No offence, but Pratchett is so low on my list of books to read before I die that I would have to live a million years before getting round to him. I did flick through a book by him in a shop, to see what the fuss is about, but the prose seemed very ordinary.

Needless to say, reaction to this was rather negative.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: SJP on September 01, 2015, 05:49:52 AM
Interesting.  An article that reads, "I've never read Terry Pratchett.  Yet because I've read Mansfield Park, I know he sucks."

I love how he name drops Gabriel Garcia Marquez (who I didn't know had died last year).  I had read Marquez for class projects.  I don't much care for Marquez, but I can appreciate the contribution to writing without having read everything by him.  But Pratchett was also somebody of big ideas, not just poetic turns of phrase.

Even the literary world has its trolls, I guess.
Title: Re: RIP Terry Pratchett
Post by: BathTub on September 01, 2015, 05:45:25 PM
Exactly, 'Never read him, but I know he's no good' isn't even trying to hide the trolling.