Ah… Terry Pratchett. Every time I read one of his books I feel a little mixture of sadness and dread knowing that one day there will be no more books of his I have not yet read. Right now, the list remains sufficient though, made up of old books and new stories and those I am not sure if I’ve read before (as I don’t seem to have a copy tucked into my collection of Pratchett books). But for now I shall savour all his words and enjoy the stories he has chosen to tell us.
A Blink of the Screen is a more personal collection of short stories – personal because each tale begins with an introduction by Terry Pratchett himself, his little story of the story ahead. While I have read his works often enough, to hear him actually write as ‘himself’ in a non-fictional manner is not a common occurrence. Perhaps, out there, a collection of Pratchett non-fiction writing or papers exists but I have not been privy to them.
In this collection, Pratchett shares a collection of stories written throughout his career – and the beginning of it – as an author. We read the first story he ever wrote (and sold as a teenager), the possible beginnings of the Discworld, related short tales, and other stories inspired by moments in Terry’s life.
There were definitely some stories I enjoyed more than others. “The Prince and the Partridge” is a great retelling of that Christmas classic, Twelve days of Christmas. “Rincemangle, the Gnome of Even Moor” is a tale of gnomes hijacking a truck to escape the city and get back to country life. “Kindly Breathe in Short, Thick Pants” is pretty hysterical political/reality satire, alongside “There’s No Fool Like an Old Fool Found in an English Queue”. And we also learn the words to the “Ankh-Morpork National Anthem”, which caused me to look for the live recording on YouTube – I found it, in case you were wondering.
In true Pratchett fashion, I also found myself tabbing some words of wisdom and observation…
“I reckon that behind half the great inventors of history were their wives, nagging them into finding a cleaner way of doing the chores.”
“… a secret kept by so many people must be very secret indeed.”
“What is a university for if it isn’t to tell you that everything you think you know is wrong?”
Ah, Mr Pratchett, you’ve surely gone too soon, but you’ve left us with many memories and stories indeed.
Definitely a must read for all Pratchett fans.