When Terry Pratchett died on 12th March the world lost one of its funniest, most clever writers, and I lost one of my favourite authors. I know people who can't stand his work, but as the author of the most shoplifted books in Britain, his popularity can't be denied. Many people wrote tributes to him following his death, and originally I saw no need to add to them. However, having listened to BBC Radio 4's production of Mort this week, maybe I do have something worth saying, after all.
    I first came across Terry Pratchett's work at a meeting of the Cassandra SF workshop back in the early 80s. One of the members tried to describe The Colour of Magic, but I knew that if I wanted to truly appreciate luggage made out of sapient pearwood, I'd have to read the book. At some point Terry Pratchett became a member of Cassandra–I think someone must have written to him and asked him to join–but sadly, he never came to the meetings or contributed to the anthology. Many years later, when I was freelancing for a local newspaper, a representative was invited to one of his book signings. I would have fought a duel with the reporter assigned to the event to cover it, but as I was a part-timer it was no contest–I didn't even manage to get a signed copy.
    From the first Discworld novel I read, I was hooked. Terry Pratchett's writing was laugh aloud funny. Many's the strange look I've received from fellow passengers as I read on the bus home. Although entertaining, no radio or film adaptation of his work can hope to contain the life and inventiveness that fizzes in every sentence. More than this, he deflated every pompous, offiicious, illogical corner of society without mercy, favour or fear. Anyone who claims that the fantasy genre is only for children and has nothing valid to say, has never read Terry Pratchett. He'll be greatly missed.

P. S. On a lighter note, here's a reminder that my stories 'Patterns in the Sand' and 'Follow that Car!' are now available at http://www.alfiedog.com.