Friday, September 16, 2005

Compared to Pratchett's, My Prose is Deathless

Here for more of Paul Kidby's Discworld Art.

but last night, I skipped it to see Terry Pratchett at Barnes and Noble on the West Side. What I'd expected to be a signing was in fact a "happening" where he spoke a bit, took questions, and then signed like a machine I'm sure he wished he were allowed to use.

I was early enough to get a seat, and the people around me were pleasant geeks of all ages, including the children who are fans of his Wee Free Men and Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. If you're not a fan yet, it's not too late. You'll find satire of almost any large subject amid the wordplay and slapstick. In fact, there's a guide to the parodies at the website above diplaying topics for mockery within the various books.

The cat-loving Death is one of my favorite recurring characters, especially accompaied by the eyeball-lusting raven, his horse Binky, and Death of Rats. I also favor the sweeper and history monk Lu-Tze and Susan Sto Helit with special regard, but not one of Pratchett's 33 Discworld books (which have been transmuted into games, musical theatre, non-musical theatre, and collectible stamps and figurines) is without laughs and deep, stabby japes at something or other that deserves them.

Pratchett was wry and funny in person, which was pleasant given that I no longer expect writers to be good off paper. However, it was also depressing for those of us (me) who already feel hack-like by comparison. I don't know if he's truly happy, but he seemed content enough. Up close, he was tidy-looking and clean-smelling as he signed my book, nothing there to console myself with.

Thanks for continuing to write, Mr. Pratchett. But think about becoming less prolific and cultivating bad B.O. just to give the rest of us a break, okay?

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