Two years ago on March 12th, Terry Pratchett finally died. And that is still terribly sad. Because no one has done “fantasy, but with real people” better than him.
One day I’ll be dead and THEN you’ll all be sorry.— Terry Pratchet on alt.fan.pratchett
Most of what I could say about him is in this surprisingly nice documentation done by the BBC. It’s a bit of a tear-jerker, though. Hell, I cried. But it’s about the life and death of the most thoughtful satirical writer in ages. And satisfying, too:
I am quite happy to note that I agree with Neil Gaiman that his best book is Nightwatch. I’m also glad to hear him point out that “The Light Fantastic” is quite far from that – hell, pterry[footnote]Even though I was a big fan of newsgroups at the time, I was never a member of alt.fan.pratchett where he used said moniker, so I’ll consider using it a privilege of actual list veterans. Take it as a source marker for where he said it in this one case[/footnote] himself always admitted that he became better with every book. I just wanted to point that out, because memorial days bring of “best of” lists compiled by a lot of folks with no clue and a deadline and recommending The Light Fantastic is a good hint that you do not have to read any further.
Thing is, I would have a problem to actually advise anyone how to get into Pratchett’s work, except not starting with the early ones: His books thrive on real characters in a fantasy world and how they shape it. So they get better the more you know.
I myself am a huge fan of the whole Ankh-Morpork
NightWatch series. Sadly even that one starts still a bit weak with Guards! Guards! – but it does make a lot of sense to read them in the right order.
Aside from that, The Truth might be a good book that can stand alone, as does Going Postal, as both feature a new main character. Monstrous Regiment is as much as a one-shot as you’ll get with Discworld, I think.
Whatever you do: Read his stuff. Again, if you already have. He was one of the best. And I think on the weekend, I will sit down, take a deep breath and read The Sheperd’s Crown. Even though I know there is a scene that is going to be hard to swallow.