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A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Non-fiction
 
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A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Non-fiction [Kindle Edition]

Terry Pratchett , Neil Gaiman

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Review

Praise for Terry Pratchett"One of the world's most delightful writers." --Cory Doctorow, "Boing Boing" "Some writers simply possess the Gift. No matter what they bring out . . . it's sure to be compulsively readable. That's certainly the case with Terry Pratchett." --Michael Dirda, "The Washington Post Book World" "The great Terry Pratchett, whose wit is metaphysical, who creates an energetic and lively secondary world, who has a multifarious genius for strong parody . . . who deals with death with startling originality. He writes amazing sentences." --A. S. Byatt, "The New York Times "" ""Clever . . . insightful. . . . [Pratchett's] wry wit is as good as gold." --Lylah M. Alphonse, "The Boston Globe" "One of the most consistently funny writers around; a master of the stealth simile, the time-delay pun, and the deflationary three-part list." --Ben Aaronovitch, "The Guardian "(London)"What Pratchett does is not just great, but unparalleled. In five hundred years, it won't be the Nobel laureates who are being studied. It's going to be this guy." --Brandon Sanderson, Tor.com

Book Description

A collection of essays and other non fiction from Terry Pratchett, spanning the whole of his writing career from his early years to the present day.

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More About the Author

Terry Pratchett is the acclaimed creator of the global bestselling Discworld series, the first of which, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. In all, he is the author of fifty bestselling books. His novels have been widely adapted for stage and screen, and he is the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, as well as being awarded a knighthood for services to literature. Worldwide sales of his books now stand at 70 million, and they have been translated into thirty-seven languages.

Photography © David Bird

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Of Disc, Dat, and de other thing 22 Aug 2014
By S. Berner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It is all too easy to disregard the accomplishments of Terry Pratchett because he made it look oh, so easy.

But Terry Pratchett, over the course of some 50 books, did nothing less than create a Universe.

A hundred years from now, we will still (well, not "we", you and maybe even I, will be long gone) be celebrating Discworld.

And if he had never created Discworld, his other writings (personal favourite, "Good Omens" with Neil Gaiman) would still have ensured him a warm and happy niche in the world of fanciful fiction.

Now, with this new collection, the first of his non-fiction pieces, we can see that, even without Discworld... without his other stories, novels, etc. (If you haven't started his "Long..." trilogy, written with Stephen Baxter, do so!) he would STILL have been an essayist of Ellisonian proportions

If you're a fan of even modest leanings, you know that there is a time limit to what we can look forward to from this master, but while we still have time, let's revel in all we have.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Pratchett 27 Aug 2014
By K. Sullivan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
“A Slip of the Keyboard” is a collection of nonfiction by Terry Pratchett, the prolific and best-selling author of the “Discworld” novels. Included are essays, speeches, interviews, articles, and more – almost 60 pieces in total – written as early as 1963 (Pratchett was born in 1948) and as late as 2011 (the vast majority comes from the 90’s and 00’s). The book is divided into three primary parts. The first and longest section focuses on themes relative to being a professional writer. The second part deals with Pratchett’s early experiences and development. The third part consists of Pratchett’s commentary on social issues (e.g., posterior cortical atrophy and Alzheimer’s disease, socialized medicine, death with dignity and assistance, and even orangutans). There’s a fourth part as well, but it has only one article. Following the more serious tone of the third part, it’s a wry ending that’s perfectly Pratchett.

Those familiar with Pratchett’s writing will find exactly what they expect in this volume: wit, intelligence, humor, and warmth. As the items included come from varying times and sources, there’s considerable repetition. Anecdotes and examples are revisited throughout the book. This highlights one thing, Pratchett’s message has been consistent. He’s an ardent defender of “fantasy” as a genre and reading in general. He believes in the general goodness of humanity and is as shocked as anyone by his considerable success. An occasional political or religious comment may alienate a few (there’s a barb or two that might be informed more by humor than charity) but he generally writes so compassionately and with such respect that most will appreciate his viewpoint even if they disagree. Aspiring writers may particularly appreciate Pratchett’s wisdom and insight even if, sadly, no magical Holy Grail exists for achieving publishing success.

Neil Gaiman, Pratchett’s friend and one-time collaborator, penned a moving foreword that captures something of the indomitable spirit of the author. Perhaps I’m being overly sentimental, but it may justify the price of admission alone.

In addition to the aforementioned repetition, there’s also an inherent unevenness in the entries. Given the variety in structure and occasion for writing, that’s to be expected. Simply gloss over the less relevant entries and bask in the remaining treasure trove – for that’s what it is. If I were to rate each article or essay individually, the ratings would be all over the place, from 2’s (I couldn’t even really relate to a couple of his early journalism entries – maybe they were uniquely British) to 5’s. But taken as a whole, “A Slip of the Keyboard” easily merits five stars.

The wit, class, and humanity that permeate Pratchett’s fiction are equally in evidence here. I’m just one of many Kevins (see the twelfth chapter of the same name) who are extremely grateful for the inestimable gift of Pratchett’s writing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A humorous collection of short nonfiction articles 30 Aug 2014
By Colin Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Terry Pratchett is one of the very few fiction authors that I read religiously. I picked up one of his books (The color of magic) whilst looking for something to read over 20 years ago at university and have since looked forward to his almost annual happenings of the DiscWorld.
His wit and humour portrayed through his expansive knowledge of the English language make him almost a stand up comedian of the written word.

A slip of the keyboard is not a DiscWorld novel but instead a collection of musings, published articles, letters his book tours and even an article to bookshops on what they should do for a signing. Each article is but a few pages in length making this an excellent book for being able to just pick up and read when you only have a couple of minutes spare in your busy schedule, although I tend to read his books in one sitting (occasionally interrupted by standing to go for coffee or to the bathroom).

The articles in this book range from his musings on why Gandalf never got married to a commissioned article on hats (who would have thought you could get paid to write a short article on hats)? Terry's humour and wit abound throughout and you also gain little insights into the characters portrayed in his DiscWorld novels (for example, read his article on hats and you can gain some glimpses into the wizards of Unseen University, or the article on magic kingdoms for insights as to his thoughts on how magic should be portrayed in a comical notion).

The collection of articles span Terry's career as a writer and right up to fairly present day including one letter to a newspaper on the current state of the British NHS with regards to his Alzheimer's.

Overall a good collection of writings covering a wide array of topics that give you a peek behind the covers of one of the best authors of this generation.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you have always thought how wonderful it would be to look over Sir Terry Pratchett's ... 30 Aug 2014
By Glenda Boozer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you have always thought how wonderful it would be to look over Sir Terry Pratchett's shoulder for a while, buy this book. It's the next best thing. It isn't a series of scholarly essays: it's the text of speeches and early and recent articles and forewards and miscellaneous wordcraft. It allowed me to find out about his first day of school (everyone else's second) and his grandmother (eerily similar to mine, down to the science fiction books).

I started reading Terry Pratchett by accident, as in, I didn't return the book club post card in time, and Reaper Man showed up in my mailbox, and I was in love. I continued reading partly for the sheer enjoyment of it, but I excused my expenditures on so many books in tough times because, as a nurse once told me, I had a depressed immune system, and at that moment, I resolved to do what I could to cheer it up. Nothing does it better than a Terry Pratchett book, and so I am still teaching algebra and writing filk lyrics. At this point, I will take every bit, or byte, or pixel of Sir Terry's output, and I was as delighted by A Slip of the Keyboard as I could have hoped. I laughed, explosively like some jungle bird, then about the second or third Christmas article, without being able to stop myself. Then, when I reached the last section of the book, I sobbed so hard I kept my teeth clenched together, as if my heart would have flown out if I had let my jaws fall open. I've had cognitive issues for some years longer than Sir Terry, after the Chicago Worldcon where he treated me so kindly (the lady with the cane and the backpack with the story about Death). When I first heard his dreadful news, it was like hearing mine all over again. That section brings it all back, including my own time of watching the movie Charly and weeping till I was sick. We both know about workarounds, and hearing people say, "thank goodness it wasn't a brain tumor." That doesn't make it ok, but that doesn't make us stop. Not till we're good and ready, and I appreciate every word of this funny, sad, very personal book, and any more we are gifted with. Read it. Just do.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett the Author Meets Pratchett the Person in the Nonfiction Collection 29 Aug 2014
By J. Wiles Parker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you're a fan of Pratchett's books, A Slip of the Keyboard is the type of book that you'll want for background purposes. The first two sections in particular provide eye opening insight into his childhood and younger writing years as well as his thoughts on writing and what makes fantasy interesting. If you're looking for writing advice, there's a surprising amount of that mixed in to if you're reading closely. While I love the book and the author, I did struggle a bit through the last section, not because it was badly written, but because of the content. After two generally lighter toned sections, hearing about his struggles with Alzheimer's and his championing of assisted death was a bit, well, hard. He explains his views eloquently and with a humanity that I often find those who are most faced with their own humanity can really best explore.

This is a solid volume of the nonfiction variety from a master of words and worlds. I was reminded of books I'd read and shelved and want to pick them up anew. I was enlightened, heartened, and encouraged that there is a person just waiting to explore the world in all of us. This book also made me want to pick up a pen and begin writing, even if it is some story once thought abandoned. Pratchett's humor and humanity are on display in an unfamiliar way, but what better way to get a peek into his life than through his nonfiction?
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