Imagine a montage of newsreaders. Like the one they use in films to declare that the zombie apocalypse has really started now, so could the heroes please get on with the plot. The same words spilling from the different newsreaders lips, edited into shorter and shorter sound bites. It starts with the BBC of course, just so you know that this is real and serious news.
“Sir Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld novels, has died today aged 66. He had been battling Alzheimers since 2007 and become an outspoken proponent of assisted death. The …”
“Breaking news, the author of the popular Discworld novels, Sir Terry Pratchett…..”
“Sir Terry Pratchett …. ”
Fade to black.
Now turn the camera and let it slowly come into focus on the face of a young woman. Tears are rolling down her cheeks as she messages her mom and brother to break the news. They share memories. She wanders onto social media and mourns with the other fans.
The next day.
There is to be one more book! One more Discworld novel to read! A Tiffany Aching novel, The Shepherd’s Crown.
Fade to black once more. Maybe insert some footage of flowers blooming and trees blossoming to indicate time has passed. There should be some in the archives.
And now the woman has the book in her lap. She’s staring at it. Afraid to read it, afraid of the pain and sorrow she suspects are in there. But also reluctant to end it. To have read the final Discworld novel, to have no more of them to look forward to. Eventually she decides. To collect them all, all the novels in the main series, and to read them all in order. In one long marathon. From The Light Fantastic to The Shepherd’s Crown.
That woman was me. And I made that decision back in August of 2015 and now the time has come to execute the plan. It’s hard for me to explain how much the Discworld means to me. I was a teenager when I first discovered the books. A lonely, depressed, nerdy teenager who wanted nothing more than to disappear and whose chosen method for this was books. My first Discworld book was The Hogfather.
“Susan says, don’t get afraid, get angry.”
Words I still try to live by, but there was so much more, Susan and Death, and the idea that justice is a lie we have to believe in, and in between this all jokes. Marvellous, side splittingly funny jokes about computers and the Oh God of Hangovers. I was confused, I was entertained, I wanted more. And so over the years I read all the Discworld novels. In no particular order, other than the one in which I could get my hands on them. And they gave me strength, they taught me to believe in myself, to do what is right and to forgive humans for being fundamentally human.
They got me through years of depression. I read them when I was down and nothing else could cheer me up. I read them when I needed strength. I read them when I just wanted to laugh. And now, for the first time in all these years, I’m going to read them in order. I don’t yet know what I’ll encounter, I plan to post again when I finish. Perhaps in between I’ll write reams on all the characters, the themes, things I’ve only just realised. Perhaps I’ll write nothing and just chuckle and cry to myself.
If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen me Tweet some comments with the hashtag #AroundTheDisc. I’ll be using this to document random thoughts. And I’ll be starting my journey before this post goes up, because I’m an impatient bugger, and frankly I could do with some laughs right now.