True, Discworld series is built completely around a world of Elves, Goblins, Zombies, Golems, Vampires, Dwarfs, Trolls, and so forth which is pretty much the definition of Fantasy. These characters even play major/leading roles in the Discworld books but that is hardly the point of the series.
Pratchett’s world is all about satire. It’s about taking a look at our societal norms and beliefs then showing them for the utter ridiculousness they embody. From girl witches trying to get into an all-male wizard academy, the creation of post offices, the Trolls and Dwarves disdain for each other and, my personal favorite, the creation of a war for a few people’s personal gain… that one sound familiar?
With over 30 books in the Discworld series (and about a dozen others not part of Discworld) Pratchett has created a fantasy world so deep in characters and details that readers who do not normally find themselves fans of the genre get sucked in to spending the better part of a few months reading the entire collection of books. They learn the streets, the buildings, the people and immerse themselves into the crazy place that is Discworld.
Sad to say, despite the prolific nature of Pratchett, the possibility of only a few more Discworld books has become a harsh reality. Even though he is only 59 years old, Pratchett released a statementon his artist’s website stating that he has a rare form of Alzheimer’s.
Although Pratchett reminds us in the end of his letter that he is “not dead” and we should not be saddened by the news it is hard to feel optimistic. I have seen the effects of Alzheimer’s and the tolls it eventually takes on the afflicted and their family from watching my own grandmother suffer its fate. It is painful as all you can do is watch their world slip away.
And as the years pass by for Pratchett, the saddest thing his family and fans will see is not just one world slipping away, but two.