(This past Thursday, March 12, Sir Terry Pratchett passed away in his sleep. I’m sure you’re wondering “Well… who the fuck was that and why should I care?”
Terry Pratchett was a prolific fantasy author (he maintained a writing pace of producing two books a year for the past 20 years!) that I had happened upon when I was really getting into Neil Gaiman. Mr. Gaiman, having worked with Sir Pratchett and had been a close friend, mentioned his relationship with Pratchett in interviews from time to time.
My interest in Pratchett’s work was further piqued when I learned that he was suffering from a type of Alzheimer’s, PCA, if I am not mistaken. Ailment aside, he still kept up the pace that he had set with his writing.
As I am a slut for writing and a slut for reading books, learning that he basically gave the finger to PCA and kept working made Sir Pratchett my new hero.
If there is one thing that I have learned throughout the course of my life it is that you need to have a hero, an example to look to throughout the course of your life. There are going to be times when you are at your lowest of lows, having that person (or group of people) will help you pull through.
As such, I have decided that this week I will share my thoughts on some of Pratchett’s work. I say ‘some’ because the amount of books that he has written in his lifetime is somewhere in the 70’s. I hope you enjoy what’s to come.
Thanks for reading,
There’s a thing about literature that’s written by an Englishman, when they are being clever, or funny, the point is sometimes lost to anyone who’s not an Englishman (or Englishwoman).
Unseen Academicals is no exception to this (somewhat lame) theory of mine.
Through an oversight in the executions of college traditions, the wizards at the Unseen University have been delivered an ultimatum by the universe: they need to form a football team or else they will be taken down a peg or two by the Patrician of their city.
As with all things written by Terry Pratchett, the story is not that simple. However that is the main theme running throughout.
To be perfectly honest, I ended up putting it down the first time that I tried to read it. The business with the Megapode within the first handful of pages was a bit of a turn off for me.
After some time had passed, I soldiered on past the silliness (which was actually a rather coy set-up for a satire that I completely missed on the first go around) and I was completely blown away.
Unseen Academicals is pure Pratchett. Love, the importance of family, social tolerance, sportsmanship… All of these themes written into the rich tapestry that Pratchett has created with the birth of Discworld nearly 30 years ago.
If you are unfamiliar with Discworld, you will be at a loss if you were to start with this book. I would suggest starting with one of the early books like “The Colour or Magic” or any of the first handful of novels, they generally have a good explanation of things (and if memory serves correctly, they should have a basic glossary of characters, as well.).
(*I say “most” because I have not read “ALL” of the stories written by Sir Pratchett.)