When I was a child, I had a fear that was so all consuming it would keep me up at night. It wasn’t the monsters under my bed. They had rules that would allow me to defeat them or put them off so I could live another night or at least past the next toilet flush. No, it was that one day I would run out of books. I would have read them all.
As I grew older, I began to understand how silly that was. Books are written every day. Even if I were to only concentrate on one language, I could never dream of running out of books.
In high school, my favorite teacher handed me a copy of Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I had adored authors before, but that was the first time I’d ever had the urge to just sit and talk with one. As I became legal drinking age, I wanted nothing more than to buy Douglas Adams a drink and watch him create a universe.
It was around this time that a dear friend handed me the first Disc World novel and I came to adore Terry Pratchett equally. In the beginning I saw a similarity between them that made the long drought after Mostly Harmless easier to bear. 1, 2
I am digressing,3 but if you read this, you know I do it frequently and at length. Anyway, as I came to know Terry Pratchett’s writing beyond The Colour of Magic, I found a wealth that went beyond witticism and pseudo-simplistic style. I found a way of seeing the world that shaped my formative adult years. Every time I reread one of his books 4 I find depths I hadn’t yet discovered.
I shared his books as much as I could. One Christmas, I handed out paperback copies of The Hogfather. In return, after she had read it, a dear friend and co-worker (without whom I might never have survived that job) hugged me and told me she wished I had been her daughter. I’ve lost touch with her. I wish I hadn’t, because she understood.
In 2001, I found out that my preorder for the Salmon of Doubt would never be fulfilled. I had, in fact, run out of Douglas Adams books and although others would step up, no one would ever take his place. 5
A few years ago, I found out with the rest of his fans that our time with Sir Terry was running out. He promised a few more novels. To my delight, he delivered them, yet for the last few years I have held off buying and reading them. Each unread book is a precious gem. I hold them off to avoid facing the truth. One day I will run out of books.
- Though I had Salmon of Doubt on preorder and a much cherished email from the tech support of The Starship Titanic who revealed that the game rules on my website had been brought to them by DNA himself to be a source of inspiration–they called me “The Neferset” which is something that sent me over the moon in a way that only a serious fan girl can understand. My idol was in some small way a fan of me.
- Sadly all trace of this communication was lost when my hard drive deleted itself in–I want to say 1998? If the sent copy still exists out there, it would mean the world to me to have it again.
- No, I’m not. I found a foot notes plugin after writing this and cleaned up the digression, but I like this phrase, so I’m leaving it.
- Or I allow Nigel Planer or Stephen Briggs to reread one to me thanks to Audible.com and the computer in my kitchen–this is, in fact, most accurate.
- I did suggest at the time that by the multiple universe theory that he mentioned himself, there were infinite Douglas Adamses and for the next book we only had to progress technologically enough to contact one. I am still waiting. Any time now…