Aw, Fuck

Terry Pratchett, gentleman, scholar, and in the running for the coveted title of Funniest Author Alive, has announced that he has an early-onset form of Alzheimer's.

This just sucks.

Bad things happen to good people, and that's the way of the world, but this just ain't right.

Good Omens, which Pratchett co-wrote with the great Neil Gaiman, is way, way up near the top of any list of my favorite books, genre or otherwise. Not even the much-vaunted Hitchhiker's Guide made me laugh as much as Good Omens. The book opens with the Earth's horoscope based on Bishop James Ussher's famous and absurd down-to-the-minute calculation of the Earth's age (Earth's a Libra). It gets funnier from there, offering the theory that all cassettes left in the car for longer than a fortnight transform into Best of Queen (which means that Satan communicates with his servant Crowley in the voice of Freddy Mercury), presents us with the Other Four Horsemen Motorcyclists of the Apocalypse (including Greivous Bodily Harm, Really Cool People and Treading in Dogshit), and in a bit of characteristically British (but still funny to Americans) humor, explains the dubious origins of things like the M25 Motorway, Value Added Tax and Manchester.

Somehow, even though I've devoured pretty much everything else Gaiman has written, I never got around to reading any more Pratchett until recently. While visiting a bookstore, I mentioned this oversight to my soon-to-be mother-in-law, and she was slightly horrified. She decided to rectify this error on the spot and bought me a copy of Going Postal, one of Pratchett's Discworld novels. I rather liked it, and have since started reading more of his stuff. I'm in the midst of The Colour of Magic, which is his first foray into Discworld, and therefore a bit uneven, but still hilarious and entertaining.

We attended a book signing he did a couple of years ago (where he was the first to sign that battered copy of Good Omens; Gaiman added his signature a month or so later), and he was quite personable and funny and entertaining, just as you'd expect.

Anyway, I'm writing this like it's a eulogy, which it's not. Pratchett is facing his diagnosis with "a mild optimism," and is still certainly more than active and lucid enough to complete several more books.

Still, this sucks.