A peek at a magical, colourful world

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 December, 2011, 12:00am

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The Great Sir Terry

Terry Pratchett is known simply as 'The Great Sir Terry' to his millions of fans all over the world. His fans read his books, organise conventions to talk about his work, and lavish attention on him. Pratchett is not just a novelist; he's a phenomenon.

He is famous for his hugely popular and long-running Discworld series of comic fantasy novels. Pratchett wrote his first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, in 1983. He published his 39th Discworld novel, Snuff, earlier this year. Snuff sold 55,000 copies in just three days after it went on sale.

Imagination let loose

Any Pratchettophile (see footnote) will tell you their favourite author is blessed with a limitless imagination. The actual world is not big enough to hold the stories he has to tell.

Prachett also writes stand-alone fantasy novels for teen readers, like The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. His novels have been translated into 37 languages. In 2009, Queen Elizabeth II knighted Pratchett for his services to literature. Arise, Sir Terry! You thoroughly deserve this recognition.

The road to Discworld

Terry Pratchett was born in a small town in southern England in 1948. He looks back on his childhood as a time that helped shape his career as a novelist. He was a clever boy and at the age of 11 passed a national exam that gave him a place at a grammar school.

Terry was an avid reader from an early age. He spent much of his free time with his nose buried in books.

His schoolboy passion was astronomy. Young Terry had a telescope, collected game cards about space, read as many science-fiction novels as he could get his hands on, and attended sci-fi conventions whenever his parents would let him.

Terry published his first fantasy short story in his school's magazine when he was 13. Two years later, he sold the story to a magazine publisher.

His favourite teenage authors were pioneering science-fiction writer H.G. Wells and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes. Pratchett advises today's teens that they 'really ought to read' the two authors' novels.

Fantasy & style

Fans of Pratchett would recognise a novel of his from a mile away. As soon as they open one of his books, they know they are going on an epic comic fantasy written in their favourite author's unique style.

Sir Terry has stressed that fantasy fiction is not 'about wizards and silly wands. It's about seeing the world from new directions'.

Pratchett doesn't always divide his stories into neat chapters; sometimes he just lets the story get carried away. He often employs clever puns in the names of places and characters. Occasionally he writes dialogue in capital letters or without punctuation.

Pratchett also likes inventing new words, the meanings of which are immediately obvious. It may take a new reader a little time to get used to the quirky cleverness of Pratchett's imagination. But once he has you on board, you just can't get enough.

Footnote:

Pratchett loves to use footnotes in his novels. So here's ours: 'Pratchettophile,' a word invented by the writer of this article, means 'a lover of Terry Pratchett's work'. There are quite a few words that end in -ophile or -phile in English. A 'bibliophile' is a lover of books. A 'cinephile' is a fan of movies.

 

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