Thursday, June 19, 2008

Terry Pratchett On David Frost

Today I would like to share a TV interview of Terry Pratchett by David Frost. Many of us have heard the gist of this interview, but fewer have seen it. Enjoy.

It appears that Terry has mice in his library (really? with six cats in the house?) and has recently taken up snuff.

Aricept and/or turmeric seems to be working for him. His condition has improved since December. In the car, he no longer has to keep stabbing away with the seatbelt; he can fasten it in one. Dressing, he’s no longer baffled by his clothes; he just puts them on.

Aricept means he can’t drink, but he’s taken up snuff “because it has an interesting historical background; it’s made of ground-up churchwardens, you know”. The fact that it might harm him is a perverse consolation.

“I take the view that it may be bad for me in the long term. On the other hand, if it is bad for me that is because I havea long term, and from where I am sitting, the long term seems like a very good idea. This may be the time to take up free-fall parachuting.”

I like this bit especially,

He hates the kind of genre apartheid that sends sci-fi and fantasy to some dank bookshop location – “like the VD clinic”. In fact the genres include great writers, not least GK Chesterton, one of his heroes (and mine). Fantasy is also a term too easily applied.

“There are mainstream novels that have more fantasy than some of mine . . . The point is that any fantasy in a book will turn it into a fantasy, whereas a murder in a book will not turn it into a murder mystery. I’ve written police procedurals, romances and murder mysteries; but because the person murdered is a dwarf, it becomes a fantasy.”

Equally irritating to him is repeatedly being asked if Rowling stole something from him – or he from her.

“Magical schools or universities, elves, trolls, orcs, unicorns – they’re low-hanging fruit. These are cultural things: nobody owns them and everyone is allowed to take them down off the peg and paint them a different colour.

“I would never have been able to write Discworld without the people ahead of me. Everyone is standing on the shoulders of giants . . .”

As I write this, various members of the North Amercian Discworld Convention Committee are gearing up to attend the UK Discworld Convention in Birmingham in August to see how it's done. You have my best wishes, folks. Have a great time.

Meanwhile, I have a new t-shirt.

Happy Spring,


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