ICYMI-Pratchett’s Discworld: An Appreciation

Terry Pratchett.  1948-2015.
Terry Pratchett. 1948-2015.

Neil Gaiman recently wrote an essay about his good friend and one-time collaborator, Terry Pratchett.  Gaiman’s thesis was that, no matter how much Pratchett looked like a jolly Santa Claus in photos, and he often did, he was actually not a jolly man.  He was an angry man, and it was this anger that drove his writing.

On the surface, this does not make much sense.  Pratchett’s work was often filled with silly comedy, where ineptitude was probably the true force of the universe, and confusion the rule.  If we take his Discworld works, a series with 41 individual novels (the last one due this summer), plus numerous short stories and even an atlas, how could anyone construe anger from this man?

In retrospect, though, it makes perfect sense.  Pratchett’s work was satirical.  Satire requires holding a mirror up to humanity and society, pointing out what’s wrong with the image in the mirror, and then hoping against hope that society decides to do better as a result.  I think a certain amount of anger is highly appropriate for anyone taking up such a task.

Continue reading ICYMI-Pratchett’s Discworld: An Appreciation

Pratchett’s Discworld: An Appreciation

Terry Pratchett.  1948-2015.
Terry Pratchett. 1948-2015.

Neil Gaiman recently wrote an essay about his good friend and one-time collaborator, Terry Pratchett.  Gaiman’s thesis was that, no matter how much Pratchett looked like a jolly Santa Claus in photos, and he often did, he was actually not a jolly man.  He was an angry man, and it was this anger that drove his writing.

On the surface, this does not make much sense.  Pratchett’s work was often filled with silly comedy, where ineptitude was probably the true force of the universe, and confusion the rule.  If we take his Discworld works, a series with 41 individual novels (the last one due this summer), plus numerous short stories and even an atlas, how could anyone construe anger from this man?

In retrospect, though, it makes perfect sense.  Pratchett’s work was satirical.  Satire requires holding a mirror up to humanity and society, pointing out what’s wrong with the image in the mirror, and then hoping against hope that society decides to do better as a result.  I think a certain amount of anger is highly appropriate for anyone taking up such a task.

Continue reading Pratchett’s Discworld: An Appreciation