“They are sacred to dad.”
June 12, 2015 2:06 PM   Subscribe

Terry Pratchett's daughter declares The Shepherd's Crown will be the last Discworld novel. [The Guardian] [Books]
Terry Pratchett’s daughter Rhianna has brought down the curtain on her father’s Discworld novels, declaring that she will not write any more herself, nor give anyone else permission to do so. The comic novels set in a world balanced on the backs of four elephants standing on a giant turtle are “sacred to dad”, she said. The author, videogame and comics writer told a fan last week that her late father’s forthcoming novel, The Shepherd’s Crown, featuring teenage witch Tiffany Aching, would be the final Discworld book. And asked by a fan if she would be continuing the series herself, she ruled out the possibility. “No. I’ll work on adaptations, spin-offs, maybe tie-ins, but the books are sacred to dad,” she wrote on Twitter. “That’s it. Discworld is his legacy. I shall make my own.” She added: “To reiterate – no I don’t intend on writing more Discworld novels, or giving anyone else permission to do so.”

The Shepherd’s Crown, which will be published on 27 August, is the 41st Discworld novel. [Cover art.]
posted by Fizz (63 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
I hope she stands fast on this decision.
posted by me3dia at 2:08 PM on June 12, 2015 [26 favorites]


Clap clap clap
posted by bswinburn at 2:08 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Somebody raised her right.
posted by darksasami at 2:08 PM on June 12, 2015 [25 favorites]


Good.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 2:11 PM on June 12, 2015


Oh, good.
posted by suelac at 2:13 PM on June 12, 2015


Clearly, she knows what is Right, and acts accordingly.
posted by bouvin at 2:17 PM on June 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


GOOD.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:19 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


She said the same thing right after her father's death, and I really like the way she put it then:

"They’re sacred, they’re Dad’s legacy and I’m the protector of Discworld and that means protecting it from myself as well."
posted by Ian A.T. at 2:20 PM on June 12, 2015 [23 favorites]


Welp, good and bad. Good because we won't be getting crappy, watered down marchandise-driven corruptions. Bad because this means I have to admit what actually happened and that there won't be any more books. sigh
posted by Samizdata at 2:20 PM on June 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


I knew I liked her for more than her parentage.

And her amazing work on Tomb Raider.
posted by teleri025 at 2:20 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was happy when I saw that she'd let them stay as they are, but I'm even happier knowing the last will be a Tiffany Aching book.
posted by byanyothername at 2:21 PM on June 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


Good for her.
Can somebody please tie Christopher Tolkien and Brian Herbert to a straight backed chair in an uncomfortably hot and humid windowless room, scotch tape their eyelids open (with some sort of eyedrop delivery mechanism, we're not animals) and force them to watch a video loop of Rhianna saying “That’s it. Discworld is his legacy. I shall make my own” over and over until some sense creeps into their skulls?
posted by signal at 2:23 PM on June 12, 2015 [36 favorites]


I could have done with one more Vimes book, but yeah...I'm okay with Tiffany Aching.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:24 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Good. I was just revisiting the Hardy Boys post from a few days ago and wondering what was left unfinished by Pratchett and if the Discworld series would continue without him.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 2:29 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's good that there will be no sanctioned official schlock. It's bad that the characters will not enter the public domain in my lifetime, a barrier to non-schlock.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:29 PM on June 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


Well, Christopher Tolkien and Brian Herbert are not doing quite the same thing. Tolkien is putting out books of his father's notes and rough drafts and such. Herbert is writing novels in his father's fictional universe.

Tolkien's endless volumes of ephemera may be eye-rolling, but it's not like he's publishing "Christopher Tolkien's BATTLES AGAINST UNGOLIANT™ Volume Five: The Dark Betrayal [In the World of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth!]" Which is pretty much what Brian Herbert is doing.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:30 PM on June 12, 2015 [15 favorites]


Yeah, this has been known for a while. (She's gotten questions about it pretty much since pTerry's diagnosis.) But always good to get clarification out there in the public.
posted by kmz at 2:32 PM on June 12, 2015


Shoot. I was looking forward to F.W. Dixon's Sam Vimes and The Secret of the Caves.
posted by Monochrome at 2:37 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Chrysostom: "Well, Christopher Tolkien and Brian Herbert are not doing quite the same thing. "

Well, Christopher can see at as more a time out to really think about what he's doing, rather than the actual re-programming that Brian needs.
posted by signal at 2:37 PM on June 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


That's a remarkable amount of self-restraint, as I'm sure the temptation to write the Gaspode the Wonder Dog (stroke Death stroke Teppic stroke Guards stroke Rincewind brackets delete as appropriate brackets) story she's always wanted to write must be strong.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 2:43 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Way back forever ago I had a fool's hope for what Brian Herbert would be doing with the Dune-universe but then I read House Harkonnen and that was that. As far as I'm concerned there are only six Dune novels.
posted by Fizz at 2:45 PM on June 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I get that feeling that he hasn't actually read the Dune novels. Maybe just sort of glanced over their wikipedia pages.
posted by signal at 2:51 PM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Maybe just sort of glanced over their wikipedia pages.

Exactly! That is what reading Brian Herbert felt like. As if it was a cross between fan-fiction and a wikipedia summary set in the same universe. Such a waste of a legacy. I feel like he's done more harm than good to that universe and name.
posted by Fizz at 2:53 PM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also, Todd JohnsonMcCaffrey. Not that she was the best actual writer in the world, but she did great world-building, and he showed absolutely zero interest in continuity of any variety with what had come before. I'm not sure if he's finally done or if there's more to come, but I don't even know vague details about the last few and I'm happier for it.
posted by Sequence at 2:55 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm moved that his last book is a Tiffany Aching book. His feminism was real and that's a lot for a man of his generation.
posted by latkes at 3:04 PM on June 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


"adaptations, spin-offs, maybe tie-ins"

What does this mean? What's the difference?
posted by dilaudid at 3:09 PM on June 12, 2015


Leaving the door open for "spin-offs" makes me a bit puzzled about the actual meaning of this announcement. Within Discworld there are already lots of different localities and character groups that don't interact in a way that affects the plot; if these had different authors we'd call it a franchise. So she seems to have left open the possibility of novels set in Discworld that are not Discworld novels.
posted by LogicalDash at 3:10 PM on June 12, 2015


What does this mean? What's the difference?

Discworld movies, animated TV series starring Death, Tiffany Aching appearing as a Super Smash Bros character.

Examples are given respectively.
posted by Talez at 3:11 PM on June 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Most Hobbit/LOTR fans will agree that we owe Christopher Tolkien bigtime thanks for slogging through all those boxes and boxes (and, obviously, boxes and boxes and boxes) of unpublished JRRT stuff, making some sense of it, and putting some of it into publishable form. I assume he started with what was closest to being finished, worked downward, and originally intended to stop before he got to the old laundry and grocery lists. I am very glad to have the Silmarillion (hat tip to Guy Gavriel Kay for that one also) and The Children of Hurin.

But Chris, you've reached the laundry list strata. Stop.
posted by jfuller at 3:16 PM on June 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


A fine choice. Well done.
posted by boo_radley at 3:19 PM on June 12, 2015


Are spin-offs necessarily in different media? I thought, like, Spider-Gwen was still a spinoff of Spider-Man.
posted by LogicalDash at 3:25 PM on June 12, 2015


Thinking of that, credit to Christopher Tolkien for finding Kay for the world. I've never been able to make it through the Silmarillion, but Guy Gavriel Kay is a blessing and I'm not sure he'd have had the writing career he's had if it weren't for that. But I'd say the chances of any other author's kid doing the same for the world are pretty slim.
posted by Sequence at 3:28 PM on June 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Are spin-offs necessarily in different media?

No, but it's not like Rhianna Pratchett is legally bound by this announcement anyway and is trying to weasel her way into being able to write a novel-in-Discworld-that-is-not-a-Discworld-novel and say "See! I said 'spin-offs'! You can't hate me!"

She knows what she means, and I hope she sticks to it.
posted by Etrigan at 3:31 PM on June 12, 2015


"Sullying the legacy" just isn't a thing for me. I'm not upset that someone wrote Hitchhiker books after DNA died; it's a shame that they're not very good, but my opinion of the originals hasn't changed one jot Shakespeare has been pulled every which way. Who thinks less of his work? James Last made a fortune out of sugar-coating music in ways that make my teeth rot within four bars, but any negative thoughts I may have do not transfer to the composers. And I enjoy some of the updates to Sherlock Holmes more than I do the originals.

Plus, there are plenty of authors, composers and other creatives who have gone back to the well far too often.

Absolutely, others may feel differently, and I'm more than happy for Rhianna to put the lock on. Someone with the wit and verve to do a credible DW novel can probably do better on their own terms. If you do subscribe to legacy pollution, then you don't want to see things you love perverted. But I think it's possible to decide not to feel that way.
posted by Devonian at 3:43 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


One of the worst things in the universe* is the continuation of of Roger Zelazny' s Amber by that person who's name I shall not write.


* ok a bit extream
posted by edgeways at 3:56 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Counterpoint to the other examples in this thread: Ruth Plumly Thompson's Oz books are delightful.

But yeah, pretty much the exception that proves the rule...
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:02 PM on June 12, 2015


Leaving the door open for "spin-offs" makes me a bit puzzled about the actual meaning of this announcement.

Rhianna Pratchett is involved with the still in production Guards! Guards! television series, isn't she?
posted by MartinWisse at 4:05 PM on June 12, 2015


I read the post title as "They are scared to dad," and thought somehow Pterry had become Death. I guess he'd have to fight Christopher Lee for the job....
posted by tzikeh at 4:06 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


One of the worst things in the universe* is the continuation of of Roger Zelazny' s Amber by that person who's name I shall not write.

As a person who read the first Brian Herbert Dune book (or trilogy, I can't recall) and thought "It's Dune, but a Dune in the same way a Big Mac is a burger, familiar enough, but not exactly filling", but who has a hand-span of Christopher "The Re-animator" Tolkien tomes, but who also read (and enjoyed enough) the eighth Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser book, I feel I've done exploration of the world of "continuations" ...

Publishers: Let It Go.
posted by Mezentian at 4:11 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can still make my Nac Mac Feegle game, though, right?

Gameplay involves fightin', drinkin', and stealin'.

The biggest complaint right now is that it's too difficult to get out of pubs.
posted by curious nu at 4:16 PM on June 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


Yeah, I get that feeling that he hasn't actually read the Dune novels.

I liked reading his shitty books in the same sense that I like finding a long okayish fanfic of a rarepair in a small fandom.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:47 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


So is the Watch series dead, then?
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:53 PM on June 12, 2015


I actually think it would be fine and dandy to have more novels set in Discworld that just don't use the established characters.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:56 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


One of the worst things in the universe* is the continuation of of Roger Zelazny' s Amber by that person who's name I shall not write.

At first, I thought you meant the second five books. "That's a bit harsh, I think Zelazny was trying to put his kids through college."
posted by Chrysostom at 4:59 PM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Vimes himself would approve.
posted by schmod at 5:09 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am very pleased to hear this. It is the correct choice.
Franchises like these are a reflection of the author and a labour of love. Milking them as valuable IP is sordid and wrong.

You might make the argument that the newer Dune books don't rob anything from the originals (and, yeah, sorry to go back to Dune, but it's the perfect example) but I disagree. Brian Herberts new Dune books are prequels and rewrite important characters and events, casting them in a sickly badly plotted light. You have to declare them non-canon to enjoy the later books, you literally have to. So for them to be official canon (according to the estate) really does take something away.

The Discworld books might be a bit different, in that they wouldn't need to be prequels, or, given the nature of the books even about the same characters, but they would affect the nature of the world. No matter how careful you are with it, it's not your world to affect.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:15 PM on June 12, 2015


I am relieved to hear this, but there's still a bit of Night Watch that keeps running through my head and making me sad:

“And now Vimes had a mental picture of Sybil and Carrot and Detritus and all the rest of them, frozen in a moment that’d never have a next moment.”

I may console myself with fanfiction. Though the last time I did that, I ended up writing 30,000 words of murder mystery.
posted by nonasuch at 5:20 PM on June 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Just this guy, y'know: " You have to declare them non-canon to enjoy the later books, you literally have to. "

I agree wholeheartedly.

Great things shouldn't need qualifiers. You shouldn't have to say 'I love Dune, but just the original books', any more than you should have to say "Star Wars, but just the original trilogy".

Middling things can have bad things attached to them, and who cares. Great things should be allowed to be great, period.
posted by signal at 5:49 PM on June 12, 2015


Sacred to your dad but sacred to us as well. Thank you Rhianna.
posted by Ber at 6:18 PM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


LogicalDash: "I actually think it would be fine and dandy to have more novels set in Discworld that just don't use the established characters."

SOME CHARACTERS MAY BE VERY DIFFICULT TO AVOID.
posted by RobotHero at 6:45 PM on June 12, 2015 [20 favorites]


Can somebody please tie Christopher Tolkien and Brian Herbert to a straight backed chair in an uncomfortably hot and humid windowless room

As long as we do that post-Silmarillion, I'll provide the scotch tape.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:55 PM on June 12, 2015


SOME CHARACTERS MAY BE VERY DIFFICULT TO AVOID.

Also Vimes- Pratchett in his later years said that he was having trouble coming up with plots that Vimes wouldn't find and solve himself.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:39 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is very good news. Raising Steam was such a mishmash, and kind of sad. I don't know who, if anyone, had a hand in the manuscript besides Pratchett, and I don't really want to know.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:12 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Raising Steam, to me, felt really weird. The pacing was strange and things seemed thrown together. There was some nice callbacks here and there, but... Whew. I wondered at the time if his daughter had taken a crack at writing a DW book to see if she could. No proof of that and I suspect no one would say if it was the case, so I mainly don't think of it. Here's hoping Shepherds Crown is a good and true final book.
posted by edgeways at 10:25 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


> "adaptations, spin-offs, maybe tie-ins"

What does this mean? What's the difference?

Night Watch: Miami and Night Watch: New York City.
posted by XMLicious at 10:26 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm really trying hard not to read anything into that mystical, unachievable number 42 (which as we all know, is 6*9).
posted by wenat at 10:48 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Very heartening to hear. An amazing legacy it is.
posted by garbhoch at 11:08 PM on June 12, 2015


As far as I'm concerned there are only six Dune novels.

Really? What are the other five?
posted by PenDevil at 2:30 AM on June 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


There's that little speech by Vetinari at the end of Raising Steam, that sounded to me like the author speaking: "...You have given the world all you can give and now it's the time that is just for you...".

I interpreted that as Pratchett really having written that one book only for himself, possibly because he always wanted to write a book about steam trains, and even if maybe he couldn't get it to fit perfectly, it's his reward for himself. Which would be fine with me.

But I concede that maybe that's just my imagination running wild.
posted by Cironian at 4:03 AM on June 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't know who, if anyone, had a hand in the manuscript besides Pratchett, and I don't really want to know.

It read like a sort of pastiche of Discworld by someone who didn't really get the books. Bits of it were Pratchett-like, but other bits were clearly not. That's not to say that there were no uneven spots in other Discworld books, but I didn't usually feel that the characters were acting a part, or that the emergency and solution were quite so arbitrarily contrived.

"Oh! We must deliver a message! How lucky that we have just invented a new train! And that we have discovered an army of creatures to help us build a track! Because just delivering the message would be quite inadequate because of reasons! And all the other speedy transport mechanisms from other books - broomstick, teleportation, golem horse &c - are unthinkable! No! It must be the new device on the new route with the new creatures!"

As Vetinari tells Lipwig, tediously
I have given you your orders, how you execute those orders is up to you, but they must be obeyed!
I just can't imagine the Patrician from earlier books talking that way. Yes, he's a tyrant, but in the other books he simply makes suggestions, or shows people what they would like to do anyway (had they only realised it). Does he order anyone else about? Vimes, possibly, but that's about it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:07 AM on June 13, 2015


"Factum est." - It is done.
posted by Paladin1138 at 5:21 AM on June 13, 2015


I really felt like Vetinari got very off-model in the last several books.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:05 AM on June 13, 2015


I'm really happy to hear her decision, but a very nerdy part of me regrets that the total wasn't 42.
posted by snottydick at 3:03 PM on June 15, 2015


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