Title: A Slip of the Keyboard
Author: Terry Pratchett
Page Count: 384
This book is in many ways a difficult read because of how emotional it can be. I’m a massive Pratchett fan and I’m pretty close to having finished reading everything that he ever published, but that means that every time I read another book of his, I’m one closer to the end.
This particular one isn’t a Discworld book, although it does talk about the Discworld, and it focusses mainly on sharing some of Pratchett’s talks and essays on a huge range of different subjects, from his job as a press officer for a nuclear power plant to his visits to various conventions around the globe, perhaps most notably to Australia, which was of course an inspiration for the Discworld country of XXXX.
But the most moving parts here are when Pratchett comes to terms with his mortality while writing about the Alzheimer’s that eventually killed him, along with the injustices inherent to a society that won’t allow someone who’s suffering to choose the manner of their own death. But I’m going to avoid a debate on the ethics around euthanasia here because that’s above and beyond the scope of this review :Let’s just say that I’m on his side and leave it at that.
What’s good about this collection is that there’s a huge amount of variety to it. Pratchett covers a whole heap of topics, ranging from his personal life to his musings on creativity. There’s also an introductory essay from Neil Gaiman where he talks about his friendship and working relationship with Pratchett. I particularly liked the way that he said that people often think of Pratchett as a mild-mannered and kindly old chap, while Gaiman says that he was also very, very angry.
You can’t really blame Pratchett for that, and in fact it’s a testament to the person that he was that he didn’t allow himself to be swallowed up by bitterness because of his diagnosis. And the way that I see it, it’s just another reason to pick up his books if you get the chance. He really is fantastic, and it’s always worth checking out his stuff whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. Enjoy.