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Of dragons, Pratchett and my immortality.

You know what? This one is essential reading. I kid you not.

It was the summer of 2003, and a younger, sillier, blue-haired version of me was studying for my Masters at Warwick U. One afternoon I noticed that a bestselling novelist was giving a talk on creating fantasy universes and while I hadn't read him at all at the time, I had enough friends who were completely geeked out on his prolific output and I thought I'd give the talk a whirl.

Terry Pratchett was a fascinating speaker -- warm, funny, self-deprecatory and most insightful -- and after the talk, I went up to him, he made a pleasant blue-hair jibe (which I won't repeat, don't bother asking) and I asked if I could buy him a beer and chat a bit. He was most amiable, so we trotted off to the Graduate bar and talked about writing and fantasy.

It was a fun chat, highlighted, I feel in hindsight, by his recommending Good Omens as a good starting point for his work "because I'm sure at least Neil's bits won't be completely dreadful." For the record, he also called the first half-dozen Discworld books absolute rubbish -- but that could have been because he was, at the time, telling me to go ahead and write a few bad books to find my stride as a writer.

Anyway, so I picked up the tab and, later, a few of his books, and it became my brag-story to Pratchett-fanatics over the years, and that was that. (By the way, those of you well infatuated by the man's staggering body of work are likely to hate me even more now. Heh)

Cut to now, when a justifiably crazed phone call from the ever-excitable wildpixie cued me in to a Discworld novel published by Terry in 2005, called Thud!

Great read, and recommended heavily, but for now let's just let the book speak:

Lady Sybil's eyes focused. 'Give him to me,' she ordered. 'And you take Raja!'

Vimes looked where she was indicating. A young dragon with floppy ears and an expression of mildly concussed good humour blinked at him. He was a Golden Wouter, a breed with a flame so strong that one of them had once been used by thieves to melt their way into a bank vault.

Vimes picked him up carefully. 'Coal him up,' Sybil commanded.

It's in the bloodline, Vimes told himself as he fed anthracite into Raja's eager gullet. Sybil's female forebears had valiantly backed up their husbands as distant embassies were besieged, had given birth on a camel or in the shade of a stricken elephant, had handed around the little gold chocolates while trolls were trying to break into the compound, or had merely stayed at home and nursed such bits of husbands and sons as made it back from endless little wars. The result was a species of woman who, when duty called, turned into solid steel.

Vimes flinched as Raja burped.



The only dragon mentioned by name, ladies and germs. It's only a few words, but it isTerry Pratchett, and if swallowing coal is what it takes, so be it. I think it counts as a bonafide second or two of immortality. God bless ya, Terry.

Comments

From a humble spider to a majestic dragon... that's fantastic, Raja!

And he had me at "little gold chocolates..."
What better than a dragon named after you!!

How come I had never heard the Pratchett story before?
it's called Envious Husband Syndrome.
:)

aha, and what spider you calling humble, miss? :)
Point well made, and I stand corrected.
Dude, that is just so cool.
isn't it just?
I'm being uber-geeky, but hey :)

(Anonymous)

and now I have to make sure the book adorns my bookshelf, if only for the want of a Crouching Tiger-Hidden Dragon. MY crouching Tiger-Hidden dragon, of course. :)

*meow*
- Catty Woman, Cat Woman

just for ya, baby. ;)
I HATE YOU!
lol, that is one seriously cool story. I've been kicking myself for years for missing out on my chance to meet Robert Jordan (across the street from me, he was!) and you go and get yourself a character in fucking Terry Pratchett's book! no wonder sloth is a sin.

now, see, THAT's the reaction I was aiming for :)

Someday, someday I will host that dinner with Rushdie, Gaiman and Barnes. Someday..

(Anonymous)

My dear friend,

Its amazing how you keep getting these little ego boosters(okay,this one was a biggie) every now and then..i have seen it happening again and again over the years and i know for a fact that you completely relish and survive on them. The look on your face...the tenor of your writing completely changes when these things happen..its a delight to watch and read!

funny how these things don't happen to us mortals...
*gasp*