Literary Birthday: Terry Pratchett

Even though his most popular series began as something of a spoof on the genre, Terry Pratchett (born today in 1948) nevertheless became one of the most famous fantasy authors of all time thanks to his Discworld series. Set on a flat world that whirled through the ether on the back of a massive turtle (itself resting on some elephants and who knows what else), Discworld was a palimpsest on which Pratchett could satirically riff on everything from the hidebound traditions of post-Tolkien fantasy to more modern topics ranging from the Balkan Wars to the privatization of public institutions.

He also conjured up many memorable characters, particularly that of Death himself. A thoughtful chap who spoke quietly in ALL CAPS, Death was there to greet Pratchett when he passed away at 68. According to an entry that day from the author’s Twitter account, Death said, “AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.”

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