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Fantasy author Terry Pratchett’s unfinished novels destroyed by steamroller

As per the late novelist’s wishes, the hard drive containing his unfinished work was crushed by a steamroller.

books Updated: Aug 30, 2017 14:09 IST
The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian
Terry Pratchett,unfinished novels Terry Pratchett,Terry Pratchett Alzheimer’s disease
Terry Pratchett, best known for his colourful and satirical Discworld series, died in 2015 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.(Wikimedia Commons)

The unfinished books of Sir Terry Pratchett have been destroyed by a steamroller, following the late fantasy novelist’s wishes.

Pratchett’s hard drive was crushed by a vintage John Fowler & Co steamroller named Lord Jericho at the Great Dorset Steam Fair, ahead of the opening of a new exhibition about the author’s life and work.

Pratchett, famous for his colourful and satirical Discworld series, died in March 2015 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. After his death, fellow fantasy author Neil Gaiman, Pratchett’s close friend and collaborator , told the Times that Pratchett had wanted “whatever he was working on at the time of his death to be taken out along with his computers, to be put in the middle of a road and for a steamroller to steamroll over them all”.

On Friday, Rob Wilkins, who manages the Pratchett estate, tweeted from the official Twitter account that he was “about to fulfil my obligation to Terry” along with a picture of an intact computer hard drive – following up with a tweet that showed the hard drive in pieces.

The symbolism of the moment, which captured something of Pratchett’s unique sense of humour, was not lost on fans, who responded on Twitter with a wry melancholy, though some people expressed surprise that the author – who had previously discussed churning through computer hardware at a rapid rate – would have stored his unfinished work on an apparently older model of hard drive.

The hard drive will go on display as part of a major exhibition about the author’s life and work, Terry Pratchett: HisWorld , which opens at the Salisbury museum in September.

The author of over 70 novels, Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2007. He became an advocate for assisted dying , giving a moving lecture on the subject, Shaking Hands With Death, in 2010, and presenting a documentary for the BBC called Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die.

He continued to write and publish, increasingly with the assistance of others, until his death in 2015. Two novels were published posthumously: The Long Utopia (a collaboration with Stephen Baxter) and The Shepherd’s Crown, the final Discworld novel .

The Salisbury museum exhibition will run from 16 September until 13 January 2018.

First Published: Aug 30, 2017 14:09 IST