Will The Discworld End? Should It?

  In December 2007, Terry Pratchett, the much honored and award winning author of the Discworld fantasy series as well as other books, publicly announced that he was suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Many of his fans since then have wondered if Discworld can continue once Sir Terry can no longer write or if it even should.

I came across a discussion on this very subject a couple of days ago on The Morporkian, a Terry Pratchett discussion group on goodreads. The question posed asked how people felt about the Discworld series continuing on without Terry Pratchett. You can see the discussion here if you’d like: A Surrogate Pratchett?

I visit Discworld often and I actually dread not being able to look forward to the next new book but I have sadly concluded that there is only one Terry Pratchett. I have looked long and hard for other writers who can capture a similar tone and mood and I have found none – none at all.
Pratchett is unique and (need I say) my favorite author. I’ve mentioned him several times in my blog as both a writer of wonderful stories and as an inspiration for my own but I’m doubtful anyone I know of can do justice to the series. Pratchett’s ability to create believable and truly likeable characters in an unbelievable world and his ability to create entertaining and humorous stories while providing deep cultural insights is enviable and wonderful.
I won’t say that it is impossible to find someone to carry on. Perhaps there are writers out there who can and if Terry Pratchett names a successor, I will certainly give his or her books a try. Quite honestly, I hope he does. A round world without a Discworld to reflect the truly important bits would be a much sadder place.

A Discworld Update – February-2013

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About Dave

A reader and writer of speculative fiction. See my website for more information on me and my writing. https://dlmorrese.wordpress.com/

Posted on November 9, 2011, in Fantasy, Fiction Reading, Influences, Speculative Fiction and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. This is something i’ve also dwelled on since I heard the news of his condition and if I were He I would write The Last Ever Discworld novel to be released at a time I could write no more. No one could do Discworld like He and I wouldn’t want to see anyone try. Even if it was Discworld: Armageddon Outta Here I would trust him to end the world we all love on a high note,no doubt with the last charater’s last sentence written in capitals!

    • Final words, indeed. I have heard since I wrote this post that he would allow his daughter, Rhianna, to carry Discworld into the future, but I’ve seen nothing about her feelings on this idea.

  2. There has been a shift in pTerry’s style since he became aware of his Posterior Cortical Atrophy and, as I am sure you know, his last books were effectively a joint venture between himself as originator and Rob, his PA, who put some of the words on the page. This has been seen in many writers – I feel that David Eddings style definitely went downhill with the advent of Leigh as his co-writer.. I agree that Nobody will ever write with the same linguistic style as pTerry, for which we should be grateful.
    However the Discworld has taken on a life of its own that is almost independent of TP and I would love to think that stories from the Disc will continue, no matter by whom they are written. They should be seen as hommage (like Eoin Colfer’s sixth book in the Hitchikers trilogy) rather than duplication.
    But, Hey, he “aintnt dead” and was so busy catching up with his collaboration with Stephen Baxter that he couldn’t attend Irish DWCon this year. It has been said that he will be in Birmingham for DWCon in August 2012. Roll on!

  3. I agree completely. I would also give a continuing author a shot, hoping that their take on Discworld worked for me. But I think it’s particularly tough to capture the spirit

    • Silly phone UI–always hitting buttons when I don’t mean to.

      Anyway, I think it’s tough to capture a comedic spirit like Pratchett’s, especially. Ordinarily, for example, I find Eoin Colfer to be quite funny and skilled on his own, but his continuation of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide series fell flat.

      • Hi, Stephanie. Thanks for the comment. I agree. I liked Colfer’s Artemis Fowl books but his sequel to the Hitchhiker’s Guide series wasn’t quite Douglas Adams. It was fun but not quite right. I’ve heard Colfer named as a possible candidate to continue Discworld along with a few others including Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s daughter Rhianna and I am both hopeful and doubtful about the idea. I would like to think someone could carry on but the fact is, no one writes like Terry Pratchett.

        • Hi people

          (1) The work of good writers is very hard to imitate and anyway (2) I am unsure we would want an exact imitation.

          Those points do leave open the possibility of something like an appropriation or adaption of one good author by another good author – i.e. something like what happens when a film is true to the spirit of a book. But such an appropriation is hard to pull off, and I fear that the motivation in these sort of continuation cases is not to do as good as job as possible but is rather profit or fame or vanity. (For, given the difficulties, why else would someone – or a publisher or an estate or an author – do it?)

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