Terry Pratchett has bad news

Awful news from Terry Pratchett confirming on Paul Kidby’s Discworld News that he is suffering from early on-set Alzheimer’s. Terry’s not just one of the biggest (and most consistently enjoyable, smart and funny) fantasy authors, he’s one of those rare bestsellers who appeals way beyond the genre, making him one of the most popular writers on our wee planet. I’ve seen lines of fans at Terry’s signings stretch round the store, out the doors, down the street and round the block; I’ve also seen him sit there and sign for each one of those folks and chat to each of them too, occasionally taking a moment to rest his wrist in some iced water then start signing more books. As Cory Doctorow notes in Boing Boing though, Terry is employing his humour, trying to stay positive and encouraging readers to do the same:

” I would have liked to keep this one quiet for a little while, but because of upcoming conventions and of course the need to keep my publishers informed, it seems to me unfair to withhold the news. I have been diagnosed with a very rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s, which lay behind this year’s phantom “stroke”.

We are taking it fairly philosophically down here and possibly with a mild optimism. For now work is continuing on the completion of Nation and the basic notes are already being laid down for Unseen Academicals. All other things being equal, I expect to meet most current and, as far as possible, future commitments but will discuss things with the various organisers. Frankly, I would prefer it if people kept things cheerful, because I think there’s time for at least a few more books yet :o)

PS I would just like to draw attention to everyone reading the above that this should be interpreted as ‘I am not dead’. I will, of course, be dead at some future point, as will everybody else. For me, this maybe further off than you think – it’s too soon to tell. I know it’s a very human thing to say “Is there anything I can do”, but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry.”