Wed
Nov 14 2012 12:15pm

Terry Pratchett Reveals He Will Hand Off Discworld to His Daughter

Rhianna Pratchett will take over Discworld from her father, Terry PratchettFantasy fans have been quite nervous since 2007, when Sir Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Pratchett is still active as ever, of course, but the question stood for some time—who will handle his beloved Discworld series when he’s no longer able to write them? Will this be the last of Ankh-Morporkh, the Watch, Susan Sto Helit, and the rest?

Thankfully, the answer is no.

It looks as though Pratchett has already planned to hand the series over to his daughter, author and game writer Rhianna Pratchett, saying in an interview with the New Statesmen that “the Discworld is safe in my daughter’s hands.”

Rhianna is already working on the forthcoming Discworld television series, The Watch, and will continue on with the books once Terry decides it is time. (Apparently there are fabulous casting details forthcoming about The Watch that Pratchett could not give up.) Pratchett has every confidence in his daughter, which is incredibly exciting news for his fans everywhere.

According to the interview, having to acknowledge a day when he can no longer write still makes him “incredibly angry,” but he isn’t letting that stop him from working, despite being no longer able to type or write longhand for extended periods. The interview also goes into detail about a distressing heart attack the author suffered in a cab while in New York City in October. (Possibly right after his New York Comic Con appearance.)

We’re still hoping that Sir Terry continues long into the 21st century, but it is good to know that he has made the choice of how his fiction will be handled and where it will go from here. Fans of the Discworld series can rest assured that Pratchett’s work will not ebb away or come to a close any time soon.

Get the rest of the news about Discworld, Rhianna Pratchett, and The Watch over at New Statesman.


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16 comments
T S Davis
1. tee+D
Ooh, thanks for this.
I hate to think of him gone, but this is comforting.
Umbardacil
2. Umbardacil
I'm immeasurably saddened whenever I'm reminded of Sir Pterry's Alzheimer's. While the idea of passing on the torch and keeping Discworld alive is grand, it still will not be the same without his magic touch. Even if there's absolutely no way you can tell it's not him, you'll know that it's not and for me at least, that will make a difference.

I don't believe I've read (or played) anything of Ms. Pratchett's. What's her work like?
Umbardacil
3. Svenn Diagram
Have we learned nothing from Brian Herbert and Todd McCaffrey? It may be sad to lose a great talent, but it just adds insult to injury when their creation is desecrated by well meaning offspring.
Umbardacil
4. James Davis Nicoll
At the risk of ruining my James Hates Everything Street Cred, JR Pournelle's Outies (in the world of Mote in God's Eye) was pretty good. She is Jerry Pournelle's daughter.

Come to think of it, Laura Resnick's fantasies are not bad (although I cannot think of an instance of her work in in her father's worlds). Maybe the problem here isn't with no-talent kids working in their parents' worlds but uh, more gender specific than that. Give me a minute and I will come with a hand-waving evo-psych reason why it is men are so lousy at following up on their dad's work.
Umbardacil
5. Umbardacil
Svenn Diagram @3 Apparently, Sir Pterry is himself confident that his daughter will be able to carry on his legacy and is making the decision to hand the world over to her himself, so I'm going to wait until that far-off time in the future when a Discworld book by Rhianna Pratchett comes out before passing judgement. Not everyone is a Brian Herbert. There are Christopher Tolkiens out there too.
Umbardacil
6. James Davis Nicoll
Doesn't Christopher take a more editorial approach to his father's work rather than writing his own Middle Earth fiction? I'd draw a comparison here between him and Mark Saxon's role in Austin Tappan Wright's Islandia except I just discovered Saxon wrote three books set there, something I was not aware of. Well, I will use Sylvia Wright instead.
Umbardacil
7. Fred Davis
Mirror's Edge, one of PRhianna's work, had no right to be anything other than a parkour simulator but did manage to display a range of emotional affect that is still exceptional for computer games.

The proof is in the pudding obviously, but she's no Kevin J Anderson.
Alan Courchene
8. Majicou
@6: Yes. The mind reels at the thought of CJRT trying to write fiction. Still, the analogy stands in that he has not cluttered up Arda with sub-par additions. I hope Ms. Pratchett can do as well. I did really enjoy playing Mirror's Edge, which she wrote, but it was more about the gameplay than the story.

I guess that Robert Jordan didn't have any children. I wonder whether if he had, could they have done as good a job as Brandon S. has?
A.J. Bobo
9. Daedylus
When commenters above pointed out that when an author's son takes over it doesn't seem to work well, I immediately thought of Jeff Shaara as a counter-example. His father, Michael Shaara, wrote The Killer Angels. It's the story of the battle of Gettysburg, and is one of the best books I have ever read. Then, years later, Jeff wrote Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure to fill out the rest of the Civil War. I think those other two are very nearly as good as The Killer Angels.

If Rhianna can tell entertaining stories with the same satiric view as her father, then I say let her do it. If Pratchett himself is willing to hand his creation over to her, that's all the more reason to trust her.
Peter Tijger
10. Peter-Tijger
@7...Fred Davis.

Good observation on the Mirror's edge game. Do try to find the Mirror's edge comics or trade paperback with the 6 issues. There you can find some more of Rhianna Pratchett's writing. It's more than what's to be found in the game itself. And I definitely liked the comics. Sure, it's somebody who's getting a foot into the writer's world, but she shows promise.
We'll see where Discworld will go, hopefully it will be to our satisfaction. But for now, let's just hope that Mr. Pratchett will have many years of writing/decent life ahead of him.
Umbardacil
11. Amy Goldschlager
I'm distressed to know that Sir Terry had a heart attack in an NYC cab, but I can confirm that it WASN'T right after his Comic-Con appearance. Or at least, not directly after his signing. Some friends and I had dinner with him that evening and he was fine. Rob was not at that dinner, so if it happened, it must have been at least a day afterward.
Umbardacil
12. Zakrael
As well as Mirror's Edge, PRhianna is also the writer behind the Overlord series of video games, which are a lot closer to the tone of Disworld. Specifically, Discworld around Eric, or They're also really quite wonderful - not particularly from a gameplay point of view (somewhat fiddly minion management, quite a few bugs), but from a world-building and dialogue side.

If nothing else, she can definitely pull off her dad's style of humour.
Matthew Abel
13. MatthewAbel
I was incredibly saddened the day I heard of Pratchett's illness, years ago now. I am mixed in feeling about future books from his daughter, but at least he's picking her. It won't be the absolute drivel that was ...And Another Thing.

Still, who knows? I am somewhat eager to have him pass the torch. I love that he's still working, but the last Discworld book I read (the Sam Vimes and the Goblins) was a bit of a let down. I think he peaked at Night Watch.

Honestly, though, and Pratchett book is a "Shut up and take my money" sort of situation.
Umbardacil
14. Viviannn
I'm not sure this is good news. As Q said in STNG, all good things must come to an end. Continuing a series indefinitely only gives it the opportunity to deteriorate indefinitely. Pratchett's daughter may be an excellent writer--I don't know--but she won't be able to keep the quality up forever because nobody can. You may as well try to repeal the second law of thermodynamics. I would rather have seen Pratchett follow Seinfeld's lead and end on a high note.
Jennifer McBride
15. vegetathalas
Even if she writes deteriorated crap, what's the harm? New stuff doesn't take away from the genius stuff before. I still re-read Dune and Hitchhiker's, despite the inferior sequels.
Umbardacil
16. Andhaka
Sorry to hear that. With all due respect, the daughter is not the father. Better to let Discworld come to an end like all good things must eventually do.

Giving the Discworld in the hands of another author, even the daughter of the original one, would be a terrible mistake.

Cheers

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