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SFE: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

Sir Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) was a UK writer who began publishing with "The Hades Business" in Science Fantasy in 1963. For many years he was in full-time employment, as a journalist until 1980 – contributing many still uncollected short stories to the Bucks Free Press "Children's Circle" section under the pseudonym "Uncle Jim" – and as a publicity officer for the Central Electricity Generating Board until 1987; as a consequence, his early books were written and published intermittently. His first, The Carpet People (1971; rev 1992), is a fantasy for children based on the Great and Small notion of a world of minute beings living among the (to them vast and forest-like) strands of a carpet. The Dark Side of the Sun (1976), makes gentle fun of the Alien-cluttered Known Space books of Larry Niven; further targets, including Ron Goulart, Jack Vance, and favourite sf tropes like Macrostructures, mysterious Forerunners and Living Worlds, are also affectionately addressed. Strata (1981) also Parodies Niven in particular and other Hard-SF writers in general, in this case by depicting an artificial flat world embedded within Ptolemaic heavens – it is a Pocket Universe, in fact – seemingly constructed by the ancient Spindle Kings (one of many apparent sets of universe-shaping Forerunners), though in fact Builder Gods were responsible and much more of the galaxy's past has been faked than was suspected even by the most sceptical . . .

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