Terry Pratchett started his career as a crypto-monarchist and ended up the most consistently humane writer of his generation. He never entirely lost his affection for benevolent dictatorship, and made a few classic colonial missteps along the way, but in the end you’d be hard pressed to find a more staunchly feminist, anti-racist, anti-classist, unsentimental and clear-sighted writer of Old White British Fantasy.
The thing I love about Terry’s writing is that he loved - loved - civil society. He loved the correct functioning of the social contract. He loved technology, loved innovation, but also loved nature and the ways of living that work with and through it. He loved Britain, but hated empire (see “Jingo”) - he was a ruralist who hated provincialism, a capitalist who hated wealth, an urbanist who reveled in stories of pollution, crime and decay. He was above all a man who loved systems, of nature, of thought, of tradition and of culture. He believed in the best of humanity and knew that we could be even better if we just thought a little more.
As a writer: how skillful, how prolific, how consistent. The yearly event of a new Discworld book has been a part of my life for more than two decades, and in that barrage of material there have been so few disappointments, so many surprises… to come out with a book as fresh and inspired as “Monstrous Regiment” as the 31st novel in your big fantasy series? Ludicrous. He was just full of treasure. What a thing to have had, what a thing to have lost.
In the end, he set a higher standard, as a writer and as a person. He got better as he learned, and he kept learning, and there was no “too late” or “too hard” or “I can’t be bothered to do the research.” He just did the work. I think in his memory the best thing we can do is to roll up our sleeves and do the same.
There is nothing wrong with having “negative” emotions such as sadness and pain, and for you to believe that the “happy/sunshine” image that your bias shows on camera all the time is the only emotion they have, is ignorant of you.
So don’t try and accuse others of “tainting” their image just because they acknowledge that these people, who sacrifice their freedom and social life in order to pursue their dreams and make good music for us, do indeed feel pain as well.
probably gonna delete later but just needed to rant
The first time Rose did it, it was out of ignorance.
The second was desperation.
The third time she did not do it. If she had, it would have
been purely malicious.
She resisted it the fourth time too, and the fifth, the sixth and the
The eighth time she never got the choice: she died first.
The first, though—the first was Adam. An eager and honest
bucktooth man with blond hair in ringlets that reminded Rose just a bit of her
own. Adam was the first human Rose fell in love with, and it was different. It
wasn’t her normal human love, that soft and gentle maternal kind. This love was
bubbly and effervescent. It was walks alone just the two of them that felt
giddy and new and anxious eager jolts in her mind of touching his skin and
investigating his lips and getting close, close like humans do, in a way that
And 58 was far too young an age, Rose thought, for Adam to
fade. He burst out in sores that corrupted his human form and could not heal,
would not heal, and no human could save him. So Rose did. Adam died, and Rose
shed just enough tears to bring him back into existence.
Things didn’t change all at once. For years nothing was
different than the novelty of Adam’s ringleted hair truly matching Rose’s. But
humans experience the passing of decades different from Gems. Adam grew solemn
when all his friends died. He made new ones. Then 50 years later, they all died
Adam’s body remained healthy. But it seemed the human mind wasn’t
equipped for centuries of life. Maybe humans had a finite amount of love
packaged into them, meant to well up from the soul for 70 or 80 years at most.
Adam ran out of love. He packed his things, just a single bag on his shoulder,
and he told Rose he would leave forever.
Rose let him go, but her heart still broke, because Gems
work on a much larger time scale.
Samuel was the next man in her life, a mere 30 years later,
and he was spry, bubbly, energetic, overflowing with a sort of giddy love that
Rose felt would last and last. She swept him up in her arms and spun with him
on the briny beach front, her bare feet molding in the sand as they swirled and
danced, day after day, year after year. She and Samuel married, as was a custom
among Samuel’s kind, and he gathered a batch of humans larger than Rose had
seen since the victory against Homeworld.
Samuel turned 75 faster than Rose could measure. He was gray
and worn, thin and knotted at the joints, senile and immobile when Rose still
wanted to dance with him on the beach. He did not wake up one morning, and it
was too soon for Rose. She wept, honest heavy wet tears that poured the life
back into a husk that dried too soon.
Samuel lasted another 75 years after that. But he burned
down, slower than Adam but still the same. His human light died. He wept too
hard for his family and friends, for the children of his first marriage and his
children’s children, and their children… He grew solemn, and cold, and
inconsolable, and one day he told Rose he wanted to explore the ocean with his
infinite age. Alone. Without her. His human love had burnt itself to the wick.
The heartache hit worse. Rose gave her hand and heart and
time to no other man for decades. Not the curious sailors who came hat-in-hand
to the Temple. Not the outcast townsfolk who came to investigate the myths of
the magical women out by the briny shore. She waited, and waited, until that
ache in her chest grew too heavy, and she let a young and spindly man named
Wilson woo her. He took her out to sea on a rickety hand-crafted boat, and he
pointed out the wonders of the vast sea to her, and Rose wondered silently if
ever they might cross Samuel’s path.
Wilson grew old when Rose was not paying attention. She went
to visit him one day, and found only a sickly man curled up in bed, breathing
in wheezes, blinking through milky eyes. Garnet found her that evening, Garnet
with the ability to see the paths laid out ahead of her. She warned Rose not to
follow through this time, and Rose did not. And Wilson died.
Mark with the thick orange brows was slowly whittled down to
thin scraggly gray hairs, like fuzzy caterpillars resting on his lip and brow
the day he died. Seth had only hit 30 when his carriage was lost off the side
of the road in a blizzard, his body found days after. Wallace made it to 76.
Jeremy to 64…
When she met Greg, Rose reached a selfish conclusion. She
would be the human this time. She would be the human wife that Adam, Samuel,
Wilson, Seth, Mark, Wallace, Jeremy never had…she would be the one to give him
And she would die first this time.
The other men had seemed so peaceful when they passed, Rose
thought in hindsight. A life well-lived. A life fulfilled. Not like Adam, not
like Samuel, whittled down to husks and then nothing but a puppet on strings,
in a body strewn about, too spent and stressed for a human. She wanted to know
that peace of a life lived to its end. She wanted to pass on her chance of
experiencing the world to a new human, a new generation, like all humans were
so happy to do.
Rose died first. Steven lived on.
Lars has not visited Beach City in centuries. Pearl, Garnet,
and Amethyst still live there, he knows that, but he never knew them well. He
never properly met the green and blue ones either.
He travels sometimes. Mostly he lingers. Wherever he ends
up. It’s all a blur. Where he’s been and where he’s going. Just not Beach City.
He’s visited those old homes too many times, and he saw them all demolished
over time. Nothing’s left for him there.
Lars does not quite know where he is. He does not
particularly care. It’s indoors, and dim, and a man is logging orders on a
holographic tablet one table over. It’s a restaurant of sorts. Lars doesn’t
need to eat, but if he orders a coffee, they will probably let him linger
Lars stares out the window. He does that often. He’s run out
of other things to do over the years. He’s gotten numb to most of it.
A shadow of a man slides into the booth with Lars. He takes
the space on the opposite side of the table. He’s wearing a rain poncho, a thin
and ultra-light orange material for maximum hydrophobic effect. He looks old,
eyes lined with wrinkles beneath the hood. Lars swallows the urge to ask him
what he wants as the man lowers the hood.
His hair cascades in ringlets, each the same pale and
luminous pink as the hair on Lars’ head.
He sticks a hand out, and offers a thin smile that doesn’t
quite touch his eyes.
“I’m Adam. I noticed your hair from the other side of the
bar. Sorry to intrude, but could we talk a moment…?”
Background: My church partners with a group that builds small sustainable filters that can take the nastiest water and make it safe to drink. These filters are used all over the world. We usually send groups to places like Haiti or the Dominican Republic since some of the church leaders came from there and have people they partner with. The church pays for as many as they can at a time and send people with them to install and teach maintenance to families without clean water.
A class of first graders heard about this project and they wanted to help. So without telling their teachers these six and seven year olds talked it over and brought their piggie banks in one Sunday to put together. All told they had enough to buy one family’s water filter and send it to an area recently devastated by hurricane Matthew.
Then, a girl in our youth group asked to meet with the leaders of the project. This seventeen year old gave them three thousand dollars, probably her life savings. This kid probably could have used that money for a car or college but she was insistent on helping make as many sources of drinking water safe as possible.
These are the young people that are going to inherit the world we live in: young people that care about people and about the environment. Kids that don’t care about borders, politics. They want to use the privileges they’ve been given to build others up. Guys that makes me so happy to see.
“Breeding, as I understand it, is a means of storing up the tremendous forces of mankind so that the generations can build upon the work of their forefathers: not outwardly, but inwardly, growing organically out of them and becoming something stronger.”
—F. Nietzsche, The Will to Power, §398 (edited excerpt).
It’s possible that humans have more advanced technology but
for the sake of this argument, let’s say aliens do. Imagine the entire universe generally views humans as dumb, on some planets they mock us, on others they pity us.
Now imagine humans rebelling against it. Imagine humans
gathering all the information they can and sharing it with their entire species. It takes time but eventually humans advance and they introduce their new knowledge to their school systems.
Aliens don’t believe it at first but the new generation of
humans (and some members of the older generations) know all about the latest technology. Humans start appearing on spaceships and various planets. Most aliens acknowledge the advancement of our species and welcome them.
Some aliens refuse to acknowledge it. They’ve always known
humans as the ‘dumb species’ and can’t imagine it not being true.
Those aliens are silenced when humans start introducing new
products. They’re silenced again when humans use their new technology to help other planets in trouble. Humans stop being viewed as dumb, instead they’re known for their perseverance and ingenuity.
Generation after generation of humanity sat by idly, too comfortable to be spurred to action. Too complacent to stop our disastrous path before our inevitable destruction.
Now, the earth’s atmosphere is damaged beyond repair, and humanity as a whole must adapt. Maps must be redrawn. Entire coastlines are washed away under the world-wide floods. New deserts are formed as the thinning atmosphere’s protection wanes. Global droughts decimate populations, and a few years later, when everything is dry, the fires begin in earnest. Some cities survive, but the number that do is smaller than anyone cares to admit. The shape of the world changes, and humanity with it.
Cities are build under the new deserts, using the winds as power and the sands as protection against the sun. We must now learn how to survive in the parts of the world we have made uninhabitable.
Some people flee to the sea. There’s so much more if it now, and out there, there is less overcrowding. Modern-day dreams of atlantis become realities faster than anyone could ever have known as desperation and ingenuity pull us away from moving shores. Humanity learns how to live in the flooded world they’ve made - they must.
Still others fight to fix what was broken. It is futile to hope for a full return to glory, but cities which burned after the Droughts are rebuilt with as much vegetation as can be made. Taller buildings are crafted to hold more people and more flora. Old building designs are shed like dead skin - a symbol of hope for a new world and the death of an era of failure.
Some turn towards the stars. Space colonization programs began to cooperate on large-scale projects during the first Droughts. Now, they are beginning to take off in every sense of the words. Short-term tests on the moon have proven to be successful, and now- armed with entire libraries of knowledge on ways to keep a planet healthy, the space programs begin to look beyond, to further planets and distant stars.
Designs are borrowed from those places which have always been most accustomed to the heat. Clothing changes to accommodate the rising temperatures. Linens, silks, and other, newer fabrics, synthesized to repel the constant heat are the foundations of a global fashion boom. Sun screening lotions are altered to be stronger and last longer. Paints and skin-coats are adapted to look beautiful in the parts of the world where it is too hot to live without anymore.
There are places in the world which become uninhabitable. Any plans for long-term habitation are ultimately unsustainable. These dead-zones become the perfect place for secrets to hide, though trips through them must be kept brief and well-planned if one wishes to survive.
Garbage becomes a commodity. Recycling materials that no longer exist in nature is a fairly new business, but it is thriving. Companies fight over rights to old dump sights and sharp entrepreneurs trawl the oceans for the trash humanity forgot long ago.
Solar windows are in - it is harder now to walk outside without suffering the consequences, but humanity has not forgotten their love of the light. Direct exposure is more dangerous than ever, but protected windows give humans the ability to walk in the sunlight without fear of their impending deaths.
We did it. We destroyed the planet we were given to live. Now, we must live amongst the proof of our forefather’s misdeeds.
”The following are all the extracts that can be translated so far from old books that our ancestors tried to keep generation after generation.”
Human History Volume 3
"After the War"
The new King, Roy Goldburn, was out of his castle most of his time. Looking for monsters that had escaped and ignored his orders. Any monster found was sent to jail or forced to work under the kingdom’s watch. While some thought the measure was extreme, a fair part of the population was scared of the possibility of being killed by a monster and have their soul taken, and preferred to keep the few monsters left out there under the humans watch, than to leave them free roaming around our lands.
The king would often ask for the wizards from other kingdoms to help him on his journeys. While it is said that the king was just looking for normal monsters, there are rumors that say he was looking for one monster specifically. One that had already, multiple human souls in his power.
After 2 months, the king ordered to call all the wizards to his castle for a secret meeting. What was said and discussed is still a mystery to everyone, but we suspect that whatever the king was looking for, he had found it’s location, which required all help possible. He asked the wizard of perseverance, integrity, kindness and patience to go with him on a 3 days mission; leaving the young wizards of Determination and Bravery to be in charge of all the kingdom’s duties for these 3 days.
What humanity never expected to happen, was that all 5 wizards, disappeared in said mission.
From all corners of the continent, hundreds of guards from all kingdoms were sent to look for our missing leaders, but despite everyone’s effort, they were never found. Not even a trace. The king never mentioned where he was going or what was he after. All humans were desperate and didn’t know what would happen from that point and on.
It was then when the Lightvale family decided to step in and take control of everything, before humanity sunk into complete chaos. Everyone thought it was going to be too much work for the young siblings; to our surprise, they proved us wrong.
Implementing innovating systems that included the participation of all kingdoms, it seemed like humankind would overcome this tragedy.
“The second tragedy"
But then, after 10 years of peace, the two siblings, both powerful wizards, who had agreed on everything during their shared ruling of the kingdom, began to argue over their opinions on monsterkind.
Copper Lightvale, our Determination wizard expressed his desires to free monsters that were sealed underground. Having traveled all corners of our continent he had seen how monsterkind could live along humans in complete peace, helping each other as equals. Agate Lightvale, his twin sister, insisted in believing on our old King’s warnings, and keep monsters apart from humankind to ensure the race’s safety, and to keep another tragedy from happening.
Both siblings never got to an agreement and began to demand to have the final word on the matter. Their people began to demand for one ruler and settle things once and for all. Agate came up with the idea and challanged her brother to a magic battle and decide who would have the right to decide over the other.
Even though it wasn’t a battle to death, Agate behaved like it was one. Her brother’s Determination had no limits, leading him to victory.
Something in Agate changed that day. We barely saw her outside her castle since the battle took place. And after a week, she left.
Her brother was extremely concerned. He sent out guards to look for her day after day. Stress began to overwhelm him as weeks went by, having to take care of all of Agate’s duties, raising the future princess, looking for his missing sister and looking for a way to open the barrier. His smile slowly faded away and even the kingdom began to worry about his health.
It was then when she came back. Her eyes were not the same. In fact, when she first appeared no one recognized her. Copper welcomed her sister with open arms, having even a party to celebrate Agate’s return. The rumors say that the guards standing near her, couldn’t help but feel fear towards her. It wasn’t necessary for her to make eye contact, the fact of standing near our queen caused us to feel shivers down our spine.
A few days passed until Agate asked her brother for a second battle. Copper denied his sister’s demand, but apparently she forced him to accept it.
A dark feeling came upon the entire kingdom. Agate was no longer the sweet queen we all once knew, her sole purpose was to take revenge upon her brother. Copper ordered the guards to evacuate the kingdom and nearby areas, he felt Agate’s evil intentions and that she wouldn’t hold back.
The people that were present and watched the fight, say that Copper held himself together most of the battle.
But that Agate did something that caused her brother to lose his Determination rather than overwhelm his power. It was there when she killed him. People saw terrified as Agate dealt a fatal blow on her brother’s chest, shattering his visible soul in her hands. Everyone abandoned the kingdom and ran to nearby countries, warning everyone of what their queen had done. Everyone got prepared to fight against her, but after the battle, she was never seen again.
Humankind fell into chaos, with no rulers, people felt lost. Considering humans’ natural cruelty and desire for power, we were terrified. Somehow, miraculously, and after so many tragedies, it felt like everyone agreed to try and do things right way for once. Thanks to the noble family from the kingdom that belonged to the kindness wizard, they decided to allow monsters’ intervention in political and economic issues. Both races cooperating together allowed their kingdom to stabilize itself and reach peace.
The other countries slowly began to adapt the kindness’ kingdom’s practices, in fact, decades passed before another kingdom finally accepted monsterkind among humans again.
Hey, if you're not too busy, i was wondering what podcasts you listen to/would recommend? I started listening to the bright sessions and Mabel after seeing you reblog/post about them and i seem to have such trouble finding new ones to listen to. Thanks!
aI AM NEVER TOO BUSY TO TALK ABOUT PODCASTS.
Also, I listen to a HUGE number and I have been meaning to make a list.
so OK, here we go! /Mario
http://mabelpodcast.com is amazing, it’s an eerie story about a woman trying to get in touch with the estranged granddaughter of the woman she takes care of as a live-in nurse. There’s ghosts, or faeries, or something else eerie.
http://thebrightsessions.com is a sweet, light podcast about a bunch of kids (high school and college age) who have superpowers and go to therapy. There’s a thriller element, lots of queer rep, and tons of in-world documents/blogs/etc created.
http://www.kingfallsam.com/ is about the radio hosts of the overnight call-in show in King Falls, a town where the weird happens. Reminds me of Eerie, Indiana, if you ever saw that show.
http://withinthewires.com is by the Welcome to Night Vale people and it’s a creepy horror story about an oppressive regime and women escaping from it, and sisters and love and memory and identity.
https://arsparadoxica.com/ is a cold-war-style spy show about time travel and accidental history and science and people who are broken in interesting ways.
http://www.albasalix.com/ is a silly fairy-tale comedy that reminds me in all the best ways of a great sitcom. It’s about the grumpy Royal Physician to the King in a fantasy land and the idiots that plague her.
http://woodenovercoats.com/ reminds me instead of the great old British comedies like Fawlty Towers and Are You Being Served? It’s about a struggling funeral home on a tiny island and is lightly surreal. (It’s narrated by a mouse, for starters).
http://thebridgepod.com is a tale of the transcontinental bridge, a once-grand project that has fallen to ruin, the mystery of what happened to those who once lived there, and deep-sea monsters and the eco-terrorists who love'em.
http://pleasuretownshow.com/ is about a turn of the century town in Oklahoma that was once envisioned as a hedonistic utopia but quickly fell to the vaguarities of man.
http://thrillingadventurehour.com/ now rarely updated, but with tons of back episodes – an old-school radio play type show. The two stories that anchor it are Sparks Nevada, Marshall on Mars (space cowboys!) and Beyond Belief (glamorous NYC couple drinks, encounters the supernatural, amuses themselves by resolving problems) but there are quite a few serial shows.
http://www.eos10.com/ is about a couple of doctors on a space station that serves as an intergalactic travel hub, and is silly and ridiculous and worth it.
http://www.archive81.com/ is also about both the library and librarian of a weird collection. I stopped listening at the beginning of season 2 because of some pretty explicitly on-tape torture, but before that it was good.
https://www.lessergodspodcast.com/ is about the Final Five – the last generation of humans after a reproductive apocalypse. They live in decadent fame as the world ends and people desperately try to create more people. I wish this was fully acted rather than read in-perspective, I have a hard time keeping characters apart sometimes, but it’s good stuff in terms of world-building.
https://greaterbostonshow.com/ reminds me of a slightly more serious Douglas Adams, it’s a slightly surreal show about people in Boston and…weirdness.
http://www.returnhomepodcast.com/ is about an ordinary guy who returns home to find his dad has forgotten him, his mother is missing, and the Society of Shadows needs him. The writing starts out pretty cliche but it gets better as the show goes on.
http://www.ourfaircity.com/ is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi… I’m not sure what to call it. It’s not a comedy, but it is weirdly funny. It’s not horror, but it can be horrific. I have audio processing issues and this one gives me trouble, but when I can puzzle it through it’s usually worth it.
http://www.limetownstories.com/ is so so so good and I so hope for another season – a decade ago a scientific collective/town disappeared completely, to a person. A reporter related to one of them investigates what could happen. Heart-poundingly scary in all the best ways.
http://pnwstories.com/ has The Black Tapes, Tanis, and Rabbits, all presented as very ordinary NPR-style podcasts about weird and mysterious things – a collection of supernatural events that a scientist is studying, a place/state of mind/eerie thing called Tanis, and an ARG/real-world game. I like’em well enough but they lean on the same tropes, so pick one and stick with it IMO.
http://www.lorepodcast.com/ is more folklore than fiction, but it’s good storytelling about mysterious and creepy and lovely things, so I think it belongs here.