I have read that Terry Pratchett passed away. He was one of three great English writers – that got me into the whole words on page thing. They are Roald Dahl, Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. All three of them had an off-kilter way of satirising through fantasy elements. All three of them re-modelled the world they lived in within the fantastic landscape of their fiction.
Dahl created worlds that put children’s insight at the fore, where the Adult world was out to get them, where Parents were blind to the evil doings. It was a world of magic and mischief, a lost world of what Children got up to when they where out of sight, out of mind. It was partly because of his writing that his readership as Adults did in fact shut-up and start listening to their Children.
Pratchett saw both the dirt of society and the its heroes. He treated each miss-step and heroic act with equal bemusement and grace, his wit devastating and joyous both. He re-framed an entire society through a lens that constantly showed us at our weakest, our most selfish and base – and in so doing demonstrated that heroism is all around us, whether it be the run away kind, or the charge right in, it is there everyday.
Adams saw the folly of humanity claiming the right to an entire universe when we can’t even imagine the sheer immensity of space – it is after all a long way down to the corner store. He equated our greatest achievements to navel gazing, and supposed that the universe would carry on just fine without us, in doing so re-framing the picture of our lives to be but a spec in a vast reality. A spec capable of love, a spec cable of such decency if only we would care to try.
All three of them have passed, but not before changing the world through creating fantastic ones. And to be close to them again, all I must do is real to my bookshelf – I would encourage you to do the same.