A Legend Has Passed: Terry Pratchett (and other bookish news)

Terry Pratchett (April 1948 - March 2015)
Terry Pratchett (April 1948 – March 2015)

Terry Pratchett is an author I’ve often heard of but never got around to reading. His books are always recommended but for some unknown reason, I’ve never placed them on my TBR list until a few months ago. Though I’m unfamiliar with his work, I was still shocked when I read he had died.

Pratchett, a British author of comic fantasy novels, died on Thursday, March 12. He was 66. Along with his zany stories such as the Discworld series, which is set on a disc-shaped world that is balanced on the backs of four elephants that stand on a giant turtle’s shell, Pratchett is also noted for his satire, which is compassionate rather than biting. In 2008, it was revealed to the public that Pratchett suffered from a rare form of Alzheimer’s. Due to his diagnosis, Pratchett advocated for assisted suicide and began the formal process for it in 2011. His publisher claims that his death was not due to suicide.

May his soul rest in peace.

Related articles, infograph, and video:

BBC obit: Sir Terry Pratchett, renowned fantasy author, dies aged 66

New York Times: Terry Pratchett, Novelist, Dies at 66

io9: How to Read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, in one Handy Chart

A few memorable quotes: (see more on The Guardian’s website)

“Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can.”

“Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.”

“I have no use for people who have learned the limits of the possible.”

In other book news:

Genre wars

Lincoln Michel has written an article in Electric Literature in which he discusses the current genre war over Kazuo Ishiguro’s comment in a New York Times article that his recent novel, The Buried Giant, is not fantasy. Ursula Le Guin took offense to the statement and posted a response after which a slew of opinions on genre fiction followed. Michel makes a great point about the snobbery going both ways: genre fans sometimes snob literary writers as well.

I chose to highlight Michel’s article because it is a good read and also has links to other essays, reviews, and opinions on genre fiction.

Margaret Atwood writes new book

With that said, let’s segue to a Margaret Atwood announcement: Her new novel, The Heart Goes Last, will be published in September. According to Publishers Weekly, it’s her “first stand-alone novel in 15 years.”

“The novel is set in the same near-future universe as Atwood’s Positron series of four short stories, released exclusively as e-books….[It] tells the story of Charmaine and Stan, a couple living in their car and surviving almost entirely on tips. Their lives take a drastic turn, however, when they sign up for a “social experiment” that provides them with jobs and a home. The caveat, though, is that the couple must do a stint in a prison cell every second month, while an “alternate” pair occupies their house. According to the publisher, Charmaine and Stan become obsessed with their alternates, and “the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire begin to take over.”” (Publishers Weekly)

Piggybacking on the genre wars entry, Atwood is known for claiming that her stories aren’t science fiction.

Diversity in Star Wars

Star Wars will publish a novel, Star War: Lords of the Sith, on April 28 that will include its first official LGBT character, reports NPR. Her name is Moff Delian Mors. Star Wars has received much criticism on its lack of diversity.

The book-design process

Random House has made a short video on the book design process. It features the various drafts considered for Hausfrau: a Novel by Jill Alexander Essbaum.

I think this cool. Not all readers consider the cover when they read. I, however, am one of those who tend to judge a book by its cover and also refer back to the cover many times while reading to see if it matches the story so I appreciate this.

Related article and video:

Don’t judge a book by its cover ’til you see how long it takes to design

Umberto Eco new book to be published in English

A new novel by Italian author Umberto Eco will be published in English on November 5. It’s titled Numero Zero and it “links two stories: one about the shooting of Mussolini and his mistress at Lake Como in 1945, and one about a hack writer named Colonna in 1992 Milan.” The Guardian has more about the novel.

Tara Kyle to publish a memoir

The widow of American Sniper author Chris Kyle has written a memoir, American Wife: A Memoir of Love, War, Faith, and Renewal, which will be published on May 4. The memoir was co-written by Jim DeFelice, who was one of the co-writers for American Sniper. (LA Times)


2 thoughts on “A Legend Has Passed: Terry Pratchett (and other bookish news)

  1. Actually, Ishiguro asked whether his readers are going to say his book is fantasy, which I interpreted as him being concerned that his established fans will dismiss the novel because it has fantastical elements; a valid concern for any writer writing in a different genre or a “literary” writer doing something that could be considered genre. If you ask me, Le Guin deliberately misinterpreted his statement and is just looking for a fight. One chooses to be offended, after all.

    On a completely unrelated note, do you realise that the amount of tags you’re using is preventing your posts from displaying in topic searches in the Reader? If you use more than fifteen tags and categories combined the system filters out your posts as possible spam and then other people can’t find them by searching in the Reader.


    1. Thanks for alerting me to that! I read a WordPress post a few weeks ago about tagging and obviously forgot everything I read.

      And I agree with you about Le Guin. When I read Ishiguro’s interview, I thought he meant that because the book is based in Medieval times and has fantastical elements some readers might limit the book by considering it fantasy only without considering all that the story offers.

      Liked by 1 person

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