Terry Pratchett: Neil Gaiman and Ursula Le Guin lead tributes

Gaiman mourns 30-year friendship with author, while novelist Le Guin pays tribute to Pratchett’s ‘legacy of wit and good cheer’

Neil Gaiman led tributes from the literary, entertainment and fantasy worlds to Terry Pratchett after the author’s death on Thursday, aged 66.

The author of the Discworld novels, which sold in the tens of millions worldwide, had been afflicted with a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Gaiman, who collaborated with Pratchett on the huge hit Good Omens, tweeted: “I will miss you, Terry, so much,” pointing to “the last thing I wrote about you”, on the Guardian.

“Terry Pratchett is not a jolly old elf at all,” wrote Gaiman last September. “Not even close. He’s so much more than that. As Terry walks into the darkness much too soon, I find myself raging too: at the injustice that deprives us of – what? Another 20 or 30 books? Another shelf-full of ideas and glorious phrases and old friends and new, of stories in which people do what they really do best, which is use their heads to get themselves out of the trouble they got into by not thinking? … I rage at the imminent loss of my friend. And I think, ‘What would Terry do with this anger?’ Then I pick up my pen, and I start to write.”

Appealing to readers to donate to Alzheimer’s research, Gaiman added on his blog: “Thirty years and a month ago, a beginning author met a young journalist in a Chinese Restaurant, and the two men became friends, and they wrote a book, and they managed to stay friends despite everything. Last night, the author died.

“There was nobody like him. I was fortunate to have written a book with him, when we were younger, which taught me so much.
“I knew his death was coming and it made it no easier.”

Nail Gaiman, DIrk Maggs and Terry Pratchett
Nail Gaiman, Dirk Maggs and Terry Pratchett: ‘acute mental discipline’. Photograph: Heather Larmour/Supplied

The writer and director Dirk Maggs collaborated with Gaiman and Pratchett on the BBC radio adaption of Good Omens. He told the Guardian: “Terry was kindly, driven and intolerant of half measures. Last year when he, Neil Gaiman and I collaborated, despite his illness Terry was very lucid about the areas where we should not compromise. It was a glimpse into the acute mental discipline that was the foundation of the worlds he seemed to write about so effortlessly.”

Pratchett’s fellow SF author Ursula Le Guin told the Guardian: “I am very sorry to hear that Terry Pratchett is gone, he will be much missed, but what a legacy of wit and good cheer he leaves us!”

David Cameron posted his tribute on Twitter: “Sad to hear of Sir Terry Pratchett’s death, his books fired the imagination of millions and he fearlessly campaigned for dementia awareness.”

The Booker prizewinning Canadian writer Margaret Atwood added her voice, tweeting that she was “Very sad to hear of the death of #terrypratchett. I vastly enjoy his playful, smart #Discworld books.”

The crime novelist Val McDermid tweeted: “RIP Terry Pratchett. Sympathies to all who loved him. And to us readers who loved his creations. No more Nac Mac Feegles, Sam Vimes et al … The world is a less fantastic place tonight.”

The children’s author Michael Rosen said: “Loved his books - fave was Mort. Loved his anti-snobbish attitude to reading and readers.”

Many fans including Ricky Gervais quoted Pratchett’s most famous lines in tribute. Gervais tweeted: “‘It’s not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren’t doing it.’ RIP the brilliant Terry Pratchett.”

Pacific Rim actor Robert Kazinsky said: “I owe my love of books to you, growing up, your Discworld was my favorite place to be.”

The comic book writer Kieron Gillen tweeted that Pratchett “understood Fantasy is a device for emphasising humanity rather than running from it”.


Alex Needham

The GuardianTramp

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