Day 185: The Hat And Sole Of Sci-Fi

A sobering reminder of what Sole Of Sci-Fi is all about…

July 4 main

This following story is from The Guardian yesterday. While this blog is often silly fun, this made me remember why I started it all in the first place.

Terry Pratchett, who announced his diagnosis with early onset Alzheimer’s seven years ago, has pulled out of a Discworld convention later this summer, saying “the Embuggerance is finally catching up with me”.

Pratchett made the announcement with what he described as “great reluctance” on the website of the International Discworld Convention, where he had been set to appear as guest of honour in Manchester in August. “I have been putting off writing this announcement for quite some time and on good days thought I wouldn’t have to write it at all,” wrote the author. “I am very sorry about this, but I have been dodging the effects of PCA and have been able to write for much longer than any of us ever thought possible, but now The Embuggerance is finally catching up with me, along with other age-related ailments.”

Pratchett was referring, in the “embuggerance”, to the memorable description he initially gave to his posterior cortical atrophy, a rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s he announced he had been diagnosed with in late 2007.

He told fans on the Discworld convention website on Wednesday that “this is the first time ever that I have been unable to attend a UK convention and I really am very sorry”.

“They say time marches on, and it does, even though I have been running very fast to keep one step ahead of it. I really was looking forward to seeing your smiley, happy faces. Have fun everyone. Yes, on this occasion, have lots of fun,” said the author, who has sold over 75m copies of his comic fantasy novels, the majority of which are set in Discworld, a realm held up by four elephants balanced on the back of a giant turtle.

The convention’s chair, John Hicks, said that Pratchett would still be answering some questions from fans on video, that his business manager Rob Wilkins would be “bringing The Black Hat” – Pratchett’s trademark – “to the Convention to represent Terry in absentia and we will, of course, welcome it with all due honours”.

Alzhiemer’s – let’s join together to help research into this stealth killer that slowly sucks the soul from your body.

(On a side note, I did mock up an image for today that used the cover of Soul Music, but I couldn’t work out if an image featuring DEATH was an ironically defiant tribute or just in bad taste; I hope this replacement isn’t a little too maudlin as a triubute for a guy who has approached the disease with typical humour, but I thought it was a good idea to have a break from the frivolity for a moment and hammer home that at heart, this is a blog about fighting an illness that  – at the moment – always wins. That must change.)


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