“Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying ‘End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH’, the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.”
― Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time
Ok, internet. If you haven’t read any books by Terry Pratchett yet, first of all, what’s wrong with you? Second of all, how have you made it this far in life? Third of all, what?
Mmkay, here’s the deal: SIR Terry Pratchett (um, yes, he was knighted for being so fab-tastic and writing beautiful things) has written approximately eleventy billion books. Most of them, but not all, are set in a made-up universe called Discworld. And though his Discworld books are full of wiz(z)ards, witches, vampyres, and other magical magic-y things, and even though they’re quite funny and stunningly witty, they are also some of the realest descriptions of what it is to be human that I’ve ever come across. And I recently found a small passel of Discworld books I hadn’t read yet (joy oh joy oh joy), so I rectified that situation as fast as possible. I don’t so much read books by Pratchett as inhale them, gobbling them up with my eye-holes as fast as possible. The pages sometimes catch fire behind me as i go. Professional speedreaders (is that a thing?) take notes from me.
Let’s take just one of his books to exemplify his mastery. It’s called I Shall Wear Midnight, and it’s one of his Discworld boks that’s purportedly written for the YA audience. Yet I’ve found it one of the darkest, and best, of his rather intimidating repertoire. There are passages that describe what, for lack of a better term, I’ll call “the human condition” so beautifully that my eyes prick and I want to lay on the floor for awhile and stare at ceilings. And then others make me laugh, and others turn my brain just a bit out of whack, so you look at things just a little bit different than you did before…Let’s just read a few quotes together, shall we? Because no one can sell Pratchett like Pratchett can:
“She heard him mutter, ‘Can you take away this grief?’
‘I’m sorry,’ she replied. ‘Everyone asks me. And I would not do so even if I knew how. It belongs to you. Only time and tears take away grief; that is what they are for.”
“She had heard it said that, before you could understand anybody, you needed to walk a mile in their shoes, which did not make a whole lot of sense, because probably AFTER you had walked a mile in their shoes, you would understand that they were chasing you and accusing you of the theft of a pair of shoes—although, of course, you could probably outrun them, owing to their lack of footwear.”
Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight
Have I done enough here? If not, then I sincerely apologize, because no one should have to go through life without reading the soul-balm that is Terry Pratchett’s writing, and if I have not convinced you to at least give it a try, then I have failed. But I WILL KEEP TRYING. Because even if you don’t read books or you think the fantasy genre is silly (you slimy cretin) you should still give him a go. It will be worth it, I promise. And if it’s not, and you dislike him, then you have taken the test of humanity and YOU HAVE FAILED. So you’re probably a robot. Happy days!