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It's A World of Laughter A World of Tears

Terry Pratchett to Leave Discworld in His Daughter’s Hands

Don’t panic, Discworld fans, to use the words of another British humorist. Terry Pratchett hasn’t given up the writing ghost yet, he’s just planning for the future. And those plans include his only child, Rhianna Pratchett, already a pretty accomplished writer in nerd spheres.

The New Statesman’s Laurie Penny sat down with Pratchett and his assistant Rob Wilkins to talk about his health and the future of his long running satirical Discworld series of novels. Pratchett was diagnosed early with a rare form of Alzheimers in 2007, and in the intervening years has both maintained that he will write until his disease prevents him entirely from doing so, and has done a major investigation into and become an advocate for the legalization of assisted suicide. These days, since losing the ability to use a keyboard, he writes with the aid of dictation software. More serious health complications have since motivated him to focus on the future of his work, says the New Statesman:

[Rhianna] will be a co-writer on the BBC Discworld series The Watch, news of which has had fans like me chewing their cheeks in excitement. Mine may never recover after hearing some particularly exciting casting details that I’m absolutely not allowed to tell you about.

Run by Pratchett’s new production company, Narrativia, The Watch will continue the well-loved City Watch saga where the books left off, and Rhianna will be an important member of the writing team. The author tells me that he will be happy for her to continue writing the Discworld books when he is no longer able to do so. “The Discworld is safe in my daughter’s hands,” Pratchett assures me.

Like her dad, Rhianna is a professional writer, whose career has mostly focused on script writing for video games like Heavenly Sword and Tomb Raider. Trapped within a non-disclosure agreement when a questionable trailer and statements about the nature of Lara Croft’s character were released prior to her announcement as head writer, she was unable to talk about the game for some time after the controversy that ensued. Here is a good article of her take on the game once she was able to speak publicly about it.

I’m excited that somebody who knows the books and Sir Terry inside and out will be attached to the City Watch television show in a hedge against his failing health, and I’m sure it’s something of a relief to Mr. Pratchett as well. I do wonder if any other writer could capture his voice as well… but I’m also absolutely certain that if she winds up writing a new Discworld novel, I’ll read it with gusto just to find out. Man, I really hope that Rhianna Pratchett, Holly Gilliam, and Christopher Tolkien get together for drinks every now and then.

You can read the whole article on Pratchett and Wilkins here. Oh, and that City Watch show? Casting has already begun…

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  • Matt Graham

    I’m just happy to see where she’s taking Lara.

  • Anonymous

    This news fills me with sadness. Even worse, the expectation of eventual sadness. I cannot stand to see those I love and respect wither. This news, combined with that CTV documentary about Annette Funicello have made it a bad day for those I admire.

  • Lance Bravestar

    Rhianna Pratchett also developed the story for the Overlord games, which is a great satire on fantasy fiction that’s funny without sacrificing mythology, so she’s not really a stranger to the genre.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I would be thrilled to keep picking up Discworld novels with the name “Pratchett” on them, but equally thrilled if the series closed…without an attempt to cash in. I hope that she’s a good mimic…OR that she has something to say in that universe that is different yet still appropriate. Actually, the latter would be healthier.

  • Sarah

    I agree that it’ll probably be best if she does her own thing within the Discworld universe. Although, I’d love to read her take on Susan and Death.

  • Shoshana B

    This news fills me relief that Discworld will continue and sadness that I am reminded of Sir Terry’s mortality.

  • Brian Snape

    This is quite a change of heart as, in the past, Pterry asserted that no one but him would write adventures of the Discworld. I would still be hesitant, though the future would be safe in Prhianna’s hands.

  • Anonymous

    Oh good, can we look forward to her making Granny Weatherwax “vulnerable” too, then?

  • Padma

    I’m actually not so thrilled about this. Every writer should write with their OWN voice and tell their OWN stories. If she continues Discworld, it will just become a franchise and no matter how much she tries, she cannot be her father. I always hate it when famous works are carried on by other writers – make your own stories and become recognized in your own right. Let Discworld end gracefully when the time comes. It’s Terry Pratchett’s story alone.