When I was a lot younger (I think, I was maybe around 10 or 11), I got curious about the (seemingly) hundreds of books which my Dad kept on his bookshelf in our living room.
They all had beautifully illustrated covers and names like "Diggers", "Strata", "Mort" and "Wings".
They were all written by one man, Sir Terry Pratchett.
When I asked my Dad about them, he gave me "Truckers" to read. I was hooked.
Since that time, I made it my mission to read all of those books that my Dad had, and I was inevitably drawn into The Discworld.
When I was in High School, the books provided a welcome escape from anger, depression and confusion.
This magical place that was a close satire of ours was enjoyable to me as a kid, and then re-reading the books as an adult, became almost profound in the subtly of his wit and criticism of the world we all inhabit.
My favourite Discworld novel has always been "Mort", but I've read "Monstrous Regiment" more times by now, because of its empowering message against jingoism, sexism and the bad kind of nationalism.
Not only did Terry Pratchett give me decades of entertainment with his fantastic books, he gave me a closer bond with my father.
We laugh together about little references, such as how the hedgehog can never be buggered and Nanny Ogg's famous Carrot and Oyster Pie (carrots so you can see in the dark and oysters so you have something to do).
So, when I think of Sir Terry, I have to think of my father and I laughing out loud at his books, talking about them afterwards and sharing a beer.
Someone I have never met has had such a wholly positive impact on my life just through his writing that I am very sad indeed to know that my father and I will not be talking about the next adventures of Moist von Lipwig of Sam Vimes.
I'm hopeful that when my nephews are old enough though, I'll be able to give them that same rare treat and introduce them to a world that is so crazy, backwards, different, and similar to our own that it makes them laugh and understand a bit more about the world they live in.
That's the good thing about stories, especially great ones. They never go out of style.
Thank you, Terry. From the bottom of my heart. For the laughs, the perspective and the questions about the world that I always had but you helped me articulate them.
As for my dad and I? Well, we don't need something like a new book to have a good talk any more. Thank you for that too.
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