On Discworld

Like so many others earlier this year, I mourned the loss of Sir Terry Pratchett. I was late coming to his work. Fortunately, once they learned of this hole in my reading background, Kate and Sarah promptly encouraged — read that as “insisted” — me to start reading him. I am more than glad that I did. PTerry was a master at so much, from worldbuilding to storytelling. His death brought up the question of what would happen to Discworld. Would someone else start writing those favorite characters? If so, would they be able to do those characters and that wonderful series justice?

I had visions of the publishers trying to bring in someone else to write new entries in the series. It wouldn’t be the first time that had happened. Rarely, very rarely, has such an effort been successful. So, I was ready to hate and gnash my teeth.

Finally, the question has been answered. Rhianna Pratchett, Sir Terry’s daughter, gave the definitive response via Twitter the other day. The Shepherd’s Crown, to be released later this year, will be the final book written by PTerry. We won’t be getting “new” books by him years after his death ala Tolkien. She later added, “To reiterate – No I don’t intend on writing more Discworld novels, or giving anyone else permission to do so. They are sacred to dad.” When one fan expressed their sadness and said there were fans who wanted more Discworld novels, Ms. Pratchett responded with her belief that fans wanted more of them by her father and that, sadly, wasn’t going to happen. You can read more of the associated tweets here.

I respect Ms. Pratchett a great deal. I have enjoyed playing a number of video games she has been the writer on: Overlord, Overlord: Raising Hell, Overlord II, Mirror’s Edge, Tomb Raider (2013 game) and others. She has been working on Rise of the Tomb Raider, due out later this year. She has, in my opinion, proved herself through gaming and other forms of media that she is an accomplished storyteller. I have no doubt her father’s publishers would have welcomed her had she said she would like to try to continue the Discworld series on her own. But she knew it wouldn’t be the same.

So kudos to her for being true to herself and true to her father’s memory and legacy.

Would that other publishers and authors feel the same way.

(Apologies for the short post. I will return later this morning with another one but with potential heavy rains coming in later today, I need to finish the work outside to make sure the water flows away from the house. I don’t want to go through what we did last month.)



21 thoughts on “On Discworld

  1. Good for her. [Smile]

    Similarly, Sherwood Smith had written some sequels to Andre Norton’s books and after Norton’s death she was asked if she would continue to write in Norton’s worlds.

    Her response was that it didn’t feel right to write in Andre Norton’s worlds without being able to show her work to Andre Norton.

    I can respect such a position.

  2. As Paul said, good for her.

    Only one literary heir in our field has done their parent justice. However, beyond getting The Silmarillion ready for publication all Christopher did was organize his father’s notes and drafts so we could all see the breadth of his father’s sub-creation. Even then I consider his edition of “Children of Hurin” questionable. He gets the benefit of the doubt due to “History of Middle Earth”.

    Contrast that to what was done to Dune.

    1. Oh, yes – the Dune sequels are an abomination unto Nuggan. I’m glad that the Discworld is left untarnished by unworthy sequels, although I imagine the temptation was there.

        1. It’s not the prequels I object to so much as the two books he supposedly created out of the Dune 7 outline. Given by his own account he did not have the outline when creating the prequels and the importance of his antagonist from the prequels in Dune 7/7.5 I think he at best hacked up his father’s outline to conclude the series to add in his own material.

          1. mmph, if those were mostly Brian Herbert, maybe I should try KJA again. Fortunately, I have ‘The Dark Between the Stars’ waiting.

            1. I can’t comment on the ratio of Brian Herbert to KJA in them. What I can say is I doubt that was much if any Frank Herbert there.

    2. I’d dispute that, and say that Sanderson did a fairly good job wrapping up Jordan’s work. Then again, he also had the benefit of extensive notes and partial draft. (And also the benefit of Jordan’s wife’s editor’s input.)

      1. I consider the Jordan/Sanderson thing a separate class. Jordan knew he wouldn’t finish and made extensive preparations. If I understand what happened correctly he also was involved in the selection of Sanderson.

        Brian Herbert, by contrast, found a 30 page outline in a safety deposit box and turned it into a pair of novel that I frankly do not believe were anything close to his father’s goal. For one thing, his prequels figure heavily in the plot and there is no evidence his prequels have any relation to his father’s work or notes. He would have been better collecting his father’s various notes and publishing “The Future History of Dune” or something similar.

        Christopher Tolkien’s work on The Silmarillion and The Children of Hurin sits roughly between the two with the former closer to Jordan/Sanderson and the latter a tiny bit to the Brian Herbert side.

      2. Well Brandon Sanderson has said that there will no more books/stories set in the WoT universe by request/decree of Jordan’s wife.

        Of course, I consider Brandon Sanderson’s work as *finishing* Jordan’s series. IE there was a need to finish the series.

        There’s no real need to write more Dune works or more Discworld works.

        Of course, YMMV. [Smile]

    3. I was going to point out Jeff Shaara’s “Gods and Generals” and “The Last Full Measure” as exceptions, but I missed the phrase, “in our field”.

      1. I added that phrase as I don’t feel even close to knowledgeable enough about fiction in English as a whole to comment. Maybe detective I could but even then that’s not even a whole genre but I can’t really on mystery in general.

  3. It’s the right decision on her part, for sure

    Good luck with the rain, we are bracing for it down here in San Marcos as well

  4. I’ve seen what happens in other areas. One person has a vision and launches, but after the creative control passes, what was a beauty becomes a beast.
    PLEASE stay dry in yer house! I’ve got a front door leak that has suddenly manifested and it’s an ugly thing.

  5. I’m divided on this. On the one hand, I’d hate to see the Discworld label slapped onto any sub-par piece of media in hopes that fans will purchase out of brand-name recognition, but I’d still like just one more book to wrap everything up. Makes me think of Agatha Christie’s Curtain, Peroit’s last case, to be published only after her death.

  6. pterry had plenty of time to bring another writer on board, brief him, and hand over the reins. He chose not to.

    That’s good enough for me.

  7. Good decision! With a handful of exceptions, post-mortum continuations of an authors work have ranged from poor to WTF. Note that Justin Leiber had the good sense/taste to not continue the Fafrhd/Mouser franchise.

  8. I do look forward to seeing what Rhianna Pratchett does in her role overseeing the City Watch tv series. Of course, that’s assuming it isn’t dead in the water–I sincerely hope it isn’t, and cling to my assumption that PTerry’s health issues were behind the long delay.

    1. Aha, the wiki has been updated: It’s NOT dead, and shooting is supposed to commence sometime this year. (Hopefully, that’s true…)

  9. Good for her. I’ll miss the joy of getting a new Terry Pratchett book. I don’t generally do comedy, but Terry was a genius, and his stuff I loved.

    I’ll never forget reading one of his early books on a bus ride. When I went to get off I noticed everyone was starting at me. Probably because I was falling all over the seat laughing myself silly.

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