Saturday, 28 April 2012

Britain says "Happy birthday" to a brave old fantasy writer with alzheimer's disease called Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett, novelist best known for his popular and long-running 'Discworld Series' of comic fantasy novels, who has sold over 65 million books worldwide in thirty-seven languages, is 64 years old today.

What you possibly didn't know about Terry, that he :
 was born in 1948 in Beaconsfield , Buckinghamshire, went to grammar school where he was, in his own words, a "non-descript student", had an early interest in astronomy and like me collected 'Brook Bond Tea' cards about space, owned a telescope, wanted to be an astronomer and read British and American science fiction. 

* at age 15, published his first short story 'The Hades Business',  left school at 17 to start writing for the 'Bucks Free Press'  under the name 'Uncle Jim' and found success with his novel, 'The Dark Side of the Sun', in 1976.

*  in 1980 became Press Officer for the 'Central Electricity Board'  in an area with three nuclear power stations and later joked that he had demonstrated "impeccable timing" by making this career change so soon after the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the USA and said that he would "write a book about my experiences, if I thought anyone would believe it".

* published his first 'Discworld' novel, 'The Colour of Magic' in 1983,  gave up working for the CEGB and by 1996 was the top-selling and highest earning British author.
Talking about his books and said of his books :

* in  2007,  'posted online' that he had been diagnosed with a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer's disease, in which areas at the back of the brain begin to shrink and shrivel and described it as an 'embuggerance' in a radio interview.
* in 2008, donated $1,000,000 to the Alzheimer's Research Trust, saying that he had spoken to at least three brain tumour survivors, yet had spoken to no survivors of Alzheimer's disease and that he was shocked "to find out that funding for Alzheimer's research is just 3% of that to find cancer cures."

* in 2011,  presented a BBC documentary entitled : 'Terry Pratchett : Choosing to Die' on the subject of assisted death and  won the 'Best Documentary'  award at the Scottish BAFTAs and said :

* has an observatory in his garden, an asteroid named after him, is an avid video game player and he has collaborated in the creation of a number of game adaptations of his books, has a fossil sea turtle from the Eocene epoch of New Zealand  named in his honour Psephophorus Terrypratchehetti,  is a trustee for the Orangutan Foundation UK and had one of his most popular fictional characters, the Librarian of the Unseen University and a wizard, transformed into an orangutan in a magical accident.

My earlier posting about Terry :
Jume 2011
Britain is still a country for an old fantasy writer called Terry Pratchett but only as long as he wants it to be

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