Terry Pratchett was a very accomplished and much loved fantasy author, born in Kent, England. His Discworld novels and other books have delighted and enthralled readers for generations, and continue to do so to this day, and with over 40 books to his name, there is plenty of choice if you are looking to get into reading fantasy.
Terry was unfortunately diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease called Posterior Cortical Atrophy, or PCA when he was 59 years old. PCA is incurable, and certain death is expected. Because of his diagnosis, he was invited to deliver the Richard Dimbleby Lecture at the Royal College of Physicians in London in 2010.
Terry chose this opportunity to voice his opinion on the subject of ‘assisted suicide’, or ‘assisted death’ (as he would like it to have been called). He believed that people with incurable diseases should be allowed to be assisted in their choice to die, and they should be allowed to do it whenever and wherever they like. The fact that the best option at the current time is for people to have to travel all the way to Dignitas in Switzerland is simply ridiculous.
This 58 page book is the same exact speech Terry delivered, word for word, at that lecture. It is ultimately informative, while still holding humour in it’s beautifully written prose.
I work with some people who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis, and have worked with people with Alzheimer’s disease, and I found Terry’s argument and point of view very interesting. His work on this speech is truly inspiring, and a very important read, even if the subject matter doesn’t interest you a whole lot.
Terry Pratchett lost his battle with PCA in March 2015, and the literary and fantasy worlds will miss him deeply.