The L-Space Web: Interviews

Delos 9: Interview
One of the most loved fantasy writers of this generation* every one of his books a best seller...Delos couldn't let him slip!

By Luigi Pachì

(Used with permission from Delos)

Translated by Kimberley Verburg.

Terry Pratchett is among the most popular fantasy authors in England. Among his output, which has reached about twenty best-sellers, shines the saga of the Discworld (Mondadori [an Italian publisher - KV.]), novels inhabiting a strange, flat world that pokes fun at our society by way of allegory and amusing anecdotes. Terry has recently been mentioned as being among the 500 richest men in Great Britain (lucky him!) We have approached him on behalf of our Delos Cyberzine readers to get to know him better.

Delos: Terry, when did you start writing fantasy, and why?

Terry Pratchett: I have always liked science fiction and fantasy. I began to write in those genres when I was a kid.

Delos: Did you use a particular approach with the publisher who brought out your first fantasy novel?

Terry Pratchett: Huh? No, nothing like that. I only sent one copy to the publisher and it was subsequently accepted. I think it was about 1968...

Delos: Where did the main idea for your mad fantasy world come from?

Terry Pratchett: Discworld isn't a crazy world. Or at least, compared to our world it's quite "sane". I'd say that the Discworld isn't a mad world, it just seems that way!

Delos: Is there are particular reason why you have decided to write fantasy with this distinguishing characteristic? Did you perhaps find a lack of fantasy written in such a way?

Terry Pratchett: I wouldn't know. I only try to write in my own manner, I believe. I don't have any big ideas in my head when I begin these stories. I only like to write the types of things that I would like to read.

Delos: Terry, do you think that there is a difference between your paradoxical fantasy novels and the science fiction works of authors like Robert Sheckley and Douglas Adams?

Terry Pratchett: I believe that each of us use the "humourous genre" in the best tradition in our work. The differences (few? many?) that exist between us are the same one would find in any other group of authors.

Delos: What is the main ingredient in your novels that allows you to always be on the bestseller lists?

Terry Pratchett: The feedback says that people like a mix made up principally of humour and philosophy. Apart from that, if it were possible to isolate the magic ingredient for a best seller we would all be using it...

Delos: Have you any idea of what your Mondadori sales are in Italy?

Terry Pratchett: No, to be honest. That all passes through so many people's hands that it is really difficult to get that sort of data.

Delos: Films like Mel Brooks' "Spaceballs", or television series like "Red Dwarf" can help the public get much more closer to science fiction in a general sense, or do you think that these programmes are only followed by a few aficionados?

Terry Pratchett: It's exactly the opposite. These films and programmes are watched by millions of people (at least in England). But they're not really about science fiction: in general only the scenery and some science fiction plots are used.

Delos: Have you got any new things planned for the future?

Terry Pratchett: Lots.

Delos: Are there plans, for example, to bring the saga of the Discworld to the big screen?

Terry Pratchett: There are always plans of that sort, even if the American proposals are, in general, not very convincing. In any case, some TV versions could become concrete soon.

Delos: I recently read in a specialist magazine that you"re bored with the information highway. Could you explain to our readers what you meant by that?

Terry Pratchett: I'm not bored, I'm just fed up with all this talk about nets. Internet is being sold as the magical cure-all. Certainly, the Internet is fun, but fundamentally it"s only another damned THING. The future isn't modelled on the Net. To me, someone who really wants to order a pizza via the Internet is terribly sad.

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