I Killed Terry Pratchett
I've had a brroding feeling over the last few years that I'm turning into some sort od writer killer. For years I kept dismissing it, for I am trained in statistics, and there is some skepticism that informs my 'brooding feeling'. But now that I am supposedly free from the shackles of rational thought, maybe I can revisit the matter.
In 2000, I discovered R K Narayan, and how! I bought up every book he had written (they are cheap enough to buy, thank heavens) and read and re-read and re-re-read them. Then he passed away in 2001. anyway he was old and peeping through the keyhole of Yama's door, so one should not be so surprised.
Then I discovered Stephen Jay Gould. He is a great writer on evolution, and the library had lots of his books. I bought what I could afford. And then he died of cancer, just like that, in 2002. Gould, whose "The median is not the Message" is such a brilliant analysis of how doctors misunderstand cancer statistics ("the you have only three months to live" funda, so critical to four-kerchief tear-jerkers).
Um, two might be a coincidence. Then came Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but Douglas Adams was already dead by then. Richard Dawkins is still alive, so are Edward Wilson and Jared Diamond. Ernst Mayr died at age 100; I had bought his book and haven't read it yet. I'm in serious love with Alexander McCall Smith, and he is prospering.
Then I discovered Raja Rao in November 2005. He died the next month, aged 98. So here's a fourth case, if you count Ernst Mayr.
And now there are reports that Terry Pratchett has Alzheimer's and might go wherever Discworld characters go when they, er, .... (The fourth dot is a full-stop. The earlier sentence is really incomplete, and this is not a Joycian 'stream of thought'.) And I have been reading just about every scrap of paper that I can find that has anything to do with this man's amazing fantasy-land - the flat discworld, that stands on four elephants that stand on a turtle that swims in the universe.
Now I'm getting the shudders. Am I responsible for what happened to this man?
Yeah, well, I know John Mortimer and H.R.F. Keating, my current reads, are still alive, but this is the fourth case.
Maybe I should stick to Kipling and Dickens (eternal favourites, and both safely dead). Maybe I should give up reading altogether. I love reading and re-reading my own oeuvre, and I have felt like aiming a well-placed kick at the bucket myself. Luckily only once, and then I decided there were other, more deserving targets to kick.
Are you still complaining that I don't read your works?