….Is the very first thing printed in my copy of Reaper Man. I suppose it’s fitting, that Reaper Man was the first one that came to hand. It’s Reaper man that contains one of the more profound insights into the duration of a single human life:
no-one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away
So in a sense, the title of this post is still true, and will always be true – it will be a very long time before the ripples of Sir Terry’s work finally die away.
I saw Sir Terry speak twice at the Hay Literature festival, once when I was about 7 years old, and again when I was 15. I’ve also met him in a different setting entirely. When I was 7 the only books of his I had read were Truckers, Diggers and Wings – books I hope to introduce my own children to, one day. My dad had taken me, and he’d taken his copy of Maskerade to get it signed. He wasn’t able to, but I started to read it on the way home.
When I was 15, I’d gone with a friend to see him talk, and that was just around the release of Thud!. Afterwards, during the signings, he spoke to me at some length about Half-Life 2, because I was wearing a Half-Life 2 tshirt. It was incredible to have someone I looked up to so much just talk to me for a few minutes about a common interest.
The final time I met him, was a far more personal setting. He came into the bookshop I was working in. My boss was out to lunch, so I was manning the counter. I was sure it was him, but didn’t want to completely geek out at him while he was just doing some shopping. He bought several rare second hand books (And I can’t remember for the life of me what they were), and when the transaction was completed, I told him I was a big fan of his books. I’ve always wondered what it was like for celebrities to be pestered in public, but he didn’t mind at all, and we spoke for a few minutes about the Hay festival and Hay itself. I said that his descriptions of L-space had always reminded me of the second hand bookshops in Hay-on-Wye.
My boss came back, and brazenly capitalized on the situation by asking Sir Terry to sign some of our stock! He was quite happy to, but my boss barely waited for him to be out of the door before marking the prices up and sticking them in the window. (My boss apparently went to the same school as Bernard Black).
I’m going to go away and celebrate the life of Terry Pratchett, one of the greatest authors of all time, by reading Reaper Man. I’ll have a glass of whiskey, and I’ll light a candle.
“What I could do with right now is one of Mr Dibbler’s famous meat pies – ‘
And then he died.
The Archchancellor glanced at his fellow wizards, and then tiptoed across to the wheelchair and lifted a blue-veined wrist to check the pulse. He shook his head.
“That’s the way I want to go,” said the Dean.
“What, muttering about meat pies?” said the Bursar.
Goodbye, Sir Terry Pratchett. We’ll miss you.