Sir Terry Pratchett (1948 – 2015) was an English author. He was known as a successful fantasy author, despite not being a fantasy author. Not really.
His characters live in a fantastical universe, yes, but the themes of their lives are very Earthly. Even when they’re riding dragons or avoiding petulant Godly smitings.
Pratchett began in journalism, became a press officer and, in 1987, started making a living from writing full time. His success came in the form of the Discworld – a flat earth held up by elephants who stand (of course) on a celestial turtle. The central characters range from a stone-faced policeman, to a trio of bickering witches, to Death himself
If you think the novels are a niche fetish, it might surprise you to learn that Pratchett’s UK hardback sales were second only to JK Rowling in 2005 (Potter’s prime).
Why? Because Pratchett managed the rare twin feat of being very silly and very serious, simultaneously. As Neil Gaiman said of Pratchett, ” . . . beneath any jollity there is a foundation of fury”.
His books are satirical, purposeful and – if you really can’t be doing with all that – incredibly funny at the same time. They don’t encourage you to look through reality and see the magic beneath (yuck) but rather to look straight at reality and wonder whether it was always so peculiar, and how come you never noticed.
He was also really bloody good at writing. Terry Pratchett is my very favourite author.
That is why, when Joanna suggested we record a Discworld recap podcast, I ignored the pitiful wails of my schedule and agreed to co-host. It’s called The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret (a reference to a Discworld book about print media).
Each month, we read one of the Discworld novels, going in chronological order; we then summarise, dissect and discuss it in front of a microphone, in three parts.
We point out literary devices, track character development, highlight bits we liked (and, more reluctantly, bits we didn’t), and go down tangential research rabbit holes.
So far, we have recorded nine episodes and released five of them. We’ll be recording a special Hogswatch (Christmas) episode, too.
Visit The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret’s website if you’d like to listen, or start with the first episode below.