At Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention held in Spokane, Washington in August of 2015, significant footage was shot for a tribute documentary on Sir Terry Pratchett. The beloved author had died March 12 of that same year after a long battle with Alzheimer’s – a disease Sir Terry called “the embuggerance”. The documentary, to be called The Turtle Moves, is nearing completion. Here is the trailer for it.
This isn’t like the trailers you usually see – it’s not full of explosions, or action, or quick cuts from one disjointed plot point to the next to keep you guessing. Instead, it’s a few select moments from the documentary, designed to give you the flavor of the coming film in terms of the emotional and societal impact Sir Terry had – and as author of more than 40 books in the Discworld series and another 30 books outside it, that impact was quite something.
Sir Terry was known best the Discworld series, and wrote more than 70 books over his lengthy career. He also wrote screenplays for Doctor Who,and collaborated with Neil Gaimon on Good Omens, a fantasy novel that achieved cult status and has been recently produced as a radio drama for the BBC.
He was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007, but continued writing, completing his final book in the Discworld series in the summer of 2014 (The Shephard’s Crown, a Tiffany Aching book).
In addition to the recognition and acclaim he had won for his books, he was also much beloved by the fans themselves. He was one of us. This tribute film is a love letter to Sir Terry Pratchett, and is made by John Kentner, with the help of a great many fans, and for the fans.
The header of every page of SCIFI.radio contains a meta tag which carries Sir Terry Pratchett’s name. You can see this by using your web browser to view the source for the page. The reason it’s there is due to a WordPress plugin called GNU Terry Pratchett that does this. The rationale comes from one of Pratchett’s Discworld books, Going Postal.
In the book, the clacks are a series of semaphore towers loosely based on the concept of the telegraph. Invented by an artificer named Robert Dearheart, the towers could send messages “at the speed of light” using standardized codes. Three of these codes are of particular import:
- G: send the message on
- N: do not log the message
- U: turn the message around at the end of the line and send it back again
When Dearheart’s son John died due to an accident while working on a clacks tower, Dearheart inserted John’s name into the overhead of the clacks with a “GNU” in front of it as a way to memorialize his son forever (or for at least as long as the clacks are standing.)
“A man is not dead while his name is still spoken.”- Going Postal, Chapter 4 prologue
We are helping to keep the legacy of Sir Terry Pratchett alive forever. For as long as his name is still passed along the Clacks1, Death can’t have him.
1Nowadays called “The Internet”
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