Liz and Ben are joined by writer and publisher Peter M Ball for Pratchat’s first foray into Pratchett’s nonfiction! We discuss fandom, genre, Sharknado, figgins and even fit in six pieces from “A Scribbling Intruder”, the first section of Pratchett’s 2014 nonfiction anthology A Slip of the Keyboard.
Pratchett writes about the letters he receives from various kinds of fans as a popular genre author in “Kevins” (1993), before revisiting the same topic in the email age and explaining why he quit his own newsgroup in “Wyrd Ideas” (1999), both for The Author magazine. Then its time to discuss fantasy as a genre – both advice for writing it in “Notes From a Successful Fantasy Author: Keep It Real” for the 2007 edition of The Writers and Artists Notebook, and reasons why children should be reading it in “Let There Be Dragons”, a speech given at the Booksellers Association Annual Conference in 1993. Finally, best mates Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman tell us how they feel about each other, Terry in “Neil Gaiman: Amazing Master Conjuror” for the Boskone 39 convention booklet (2002), and Neil in his Foreword for A Slip of the Keyboard (2014).
As we’ve discussed before, Pratchett was never one to let a good idea only be used once – and you may have heard him talk to some of the themes in these pieces when being interviewed. Short stories may have cost him blood, as he used to say, but he never lost his journalistic mojo for writing fact and opinion – or replying to reader mail!
Have you ever written to a famous author (a nauthor, if you will)? Would you want them to read your fanfic? What was the first book you read by choice? Can you pin down exactly what makes Pratchett’s writing almost a genre unto itself, when others could be said to follow his advice? And go on, you can tell us: which of Liz and Ben is the Terry, and which is the Neil? Join the conversation using the hashtag #Pratchat65.
Guest Peter M Ball is an author, publisher and avid roleplayer based in Meanjin (aka Brisbane) in Queensland. Peter teaches creative writing, worked for the Queensland Writers Centre on the Australian Writers Marketplace and GenreCon, and is currently completing a PhD in Writing at the University of Queensland. You can find all of Peter’s social media links, and discover more about his own work – including a free sampler of some of his writing – at petermball.com.au.
Peter also runs the small press publisher Brain Jar Press, who specialise in shorter works of genre fiction and genre nonfiction. They’ve published Peter’s work, but also that of friends of this podcast Sean Williams (#Pratchat56) and Tansy Rayner Roberts (#PratchatNA7). Peter suggested Pratchett fans might enjoy Tansy’s brand new short story collection about seven women from Greek mythology, Gorgons Deserve Nice Things, or the Writer Chaps series of sci-fi and fantasy writers writing about writing.
You’ll find notes and errata for this episode on our web site.
Grab your broom and your pointy hat and watch out for giants and pictsies, because next month we get back to Pratchett’s novels with the fourth Tiffany Aching novel, I Shall Wear Midnight! And we’re delighted to welcome back as a guest author Amie Kaufman, last heard discussing some of Pratchett’s other tiny people nearly five years ago in #Pratchat9, “Upscalator to Heaven”. Get your questions in before the last week of March via email (email@example.com) or social media using the hashtag #Pratchat66.