Terry Pratchett is famous for writing
fiction, particularly the Discworld series of books, and this is a
collection of his non-fiction work. The dustjacket is carefully annotated as such, just in
case the careless purchaser thinks it might be otherwise. Thematically, Pratchetts
scribblings are divided into three main sections.
The first section concerns the behaviour of a professional writer. Not
only what this particular one does during the day to continue writing, but the other
minutiae of a professional writers existence, such as promoting the book, attending
Science Fiction conventions (Terry is famously a Science Fiction author, but please
dont let that discourage you.) He presents some words of wisdom for the budding
writer, such as Douglas Adams advice that once youve finished a project, you
should immediately start a new one. Pratchett notes that Adams famously did not follow his
own advice in this regard. Pratchett, on the other hand, has been a professional writer
almost his entire working life, first as a journalist, then working as a press officer for
an energy board and finally as an author.
The second section is a miscellany of essays about what got him to where
is now, including his first book purchase Brewers Dictionary of
Phrase and Fable - a title that is referred to more or less constantly in
several essays. There is also the proprietor of a porn shop that sold Terry his first
substantial quantities of SF (and possibly the inspiration for Nanny Ogg).
The third is the most intriguing as most people ought to know,
Terry is famously suffering from a degenerative brain condition, similar to
Alzheimers disease and Terry does not wish to pop his clogs suffering from an
advanced case of going gaga. It is a tribute to his skill that these essays are neither
insufferably egocentric nor bathetic. We will all die. Most of us will be blissfully
unaware of our manner of going until quite late in the piece. Terry is one of the few who
knows how. He would also like a degree of say over when.
There is a delightful introduction by Terrys good friend Neil
Gaiman. Read this book. You shant be disappointed.