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'The world is a less fantastic place' after Terry Pratchett's death

16 March 2015

‘Speaking as a writer of genre fiction, there are few sentences that cause more irritation than "these books transcend genre", but if it has any meaning at all, it is this: because of that obvious interconnectedness between the world we inhabit and the world Pratchett invented, the Discworld novels found a readership that stretches well beyond people who would consider themselves fans of fantasy fiction. I always read - and sometimes reread - Pratchett on book tours. They are the perfect antidote to being alone and far from home.

I love the Discworld novels for so many reasons. They satirise our world and its institutions with an unsparing savagery - everything from the coming of the railways to the internet via religious intolerance and radicalisation - but they don't make us despair because there are always glorious characters with their hearts in the right place who bring us comfort: Sam Vimes, Tiffany Aching, Death, Captain Carrot, Moist von Lipwig, Rincewind and of course, the Patriarch himself, Lord Vetinari...

His Alzheimer's was the cruellest possible blow to a mind so inventive, so rich and so funny. With his passing, the world is a less fantastic place.'

Val McDermid on Terry Pratchett, in the Guardian