19 December 2008

First Kiss: Pyramids

My mother died when i was young... she went for a moonlight swim in what turned out to be a crocodile.

~ Terry Pratchett, Pyramids

PyramidsAs I have said before, the first book I read by an author is like a first kiss, and, if the author then becomes one of my favourites, that book will forever be my favourite favourite, regardless of how much I love the others.

My first introduction to Terry Pratchett was Pyramids, way back in 1991, when I was still in high school. I had read every single book I could lay my hands on in the horror/thriller section of our local library, and a fair amount of mainstream fantasy and sci-fi too, and asked the librarian, desperately, if she could suggest anything else for me to read. She didn’t even hesitate, but walked straight to shelf, pulled out this colourful book and handed it to me with a big smile on her face, as if she knew she had just played cupid.

I looked at the busy cover and could not help but be sceptic – it looked like it was written for children, and, at 17, I was definitely no longer a child. I mean, really, I had been reading Dean Koonz and Stephen King and the like for a couple of years already.

I read Pyramids for the first time that evening. I did not sleep until I closed the book. And then I read it again. And then I went back for more. I laughed so loudly that first night that my parents ran into my room to check if I was ok, convinced that either I was on crack or being assaulted.

Little did they know that Pratchett was to become my crack.

Later that year, I was interviewed by some official for my bursary application, and one of the questions I was asked was about a book I had read recently. I was so completely and utterly in love with Pyramids, and all things Pratchett, that I proceeded to give a lengthy analysis of the book, its satire and its application to our world. I was awarded the bursary and was able to attend university, and I always like to think it is because of Pyramids.

I now own every single Discworld novel ever written, with the exception of Pyramids (thanks to someone who decided I no longer needed my copy), as well as as many of the other books Mr Pratchett has written as I could find in our local bookstores, and still list Mr Pratchett as my favourite author and one of my main sources of inspiration in my own writing.

2 comments:

Anthony said...

Wow! That was the first one I read too.

Such wonderful writing.

Vanessa said...

@Anthony: isn't it just. And such a sad, sad thing that there won't be many more books from that fountain.

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