Pratchett, Physics & Profanity

A hundred years on from Albert Einstein’s ‘miracle year’ of 1905, Radio 4 is talking to writers and artists who have wrestled with the scientific legacy of modern physics in their work in their series of programmes Relatively Einstein. Yesterday???s programme featured a discussion with the SF & Fantasy Author and Amateur Astronomer Terry Pratchett . I remember meeting with Terry and talking about our SF degree at the Hay Literary Festival two years ago ??? I was trying to give him a compliment by saying something like ???Wow, your books are really popular with our students – we have to work really hard to get them to put them down for a moment to read the set texts?. Unfortunately this came out as ???Wow, we have to work really hard to convince our students not to read your books???. Which was followed by a pause, at which point Terry looked at me from under his wide brimmed hat and said in a voice which echoed across the room ???You utter b*d?????. – Rev.


    Mike Reddy

    February 2, 2005

    Many years ago, when I was a student reporter for an arts
    magazine in Manchester, entitled GRIP (Garbage Regurgitated
    Into Print), we had the priviledge of interviewing Terry. He is
    rather an odd sort, with a very sadistic sense of humour. He’d
    encourage you to slide down a razor blade if he thought you
    would do it.

    Mark Brake

    February 2, 2005

    I fear this posting may degenerate into a very “luvvie” SF
    conversation on the topic of Pratchett, whose books, I must say,
    irritate me greatly.

    Nonetheless, I met him around 5 years ago at the BBC Radio 4
    studios in London. We were appearing, along with SF author
    Stephen Baxter and mathematics professor Ian Stewart on Radio
    “Material World”: . The topic of conversation was science
    and SF, and I’d been invited along in light of our new science and SF degree which had been launched on the eve of the millennium.

    I must say that we all got on very well, and that two things stick
    in my mind about Terry Pratchett. One was his utter denial that
    he wrote SF, with which I heartily agree. The other was a very
    funny tale he told of his recent trip to the US. He’d visited a
    town in one particular state and was intrigued to learn that the
    name of the town’s most dearly loved mayors was Dead John
    Griffiths [i’m using a made up name (a) to protect the innocent,
    and (b) because I can’t recall his real name].

    Anyhow it turns out first time he was elected, in the early
    1900’s, the guy had promptly died. But they kept him in office,
    and re-elecetd him, because they prefered his hands-off
    administration to previous mayors! Must belong to the same
    political party as “h2g2”: ‘s Man in the Shack

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