Read A Slip of the Keyboard Online

Authors: Terry Pratchett

A Slip of the Keyboard

BOOKS BY TERRY PRATCHETT

The Discworld
®
Series

THE COLOR OF MAGIC

THE LIGHT FANTASTIC

EQUAL RITES

MORT

SOURCERY

WYRD SISTERS

PYRAMIDS

GUARDS! GUARDS!

ERIC

(illustrated by Josh Kirby)

MOVING PICTURES

REAPER MAN

WITCHES ABROAD

SMALL GODS

LORDS AND LADIES

MEN AT ARMS

SOUL MUSIC

INTERESTING TIMES

MASKERADE

FEET OF CLAY

HOGFATHER

JINGO

THE LAST CONTINENT

CARPE JUGULUM

THE FIFTH ELEPHANT

THE TRUTH

THIEF OF TIME

THE LAST HERO

(illustrated by Paul Kidby)

THE AMAZING MAURICE & HIS EDUCATED RODENTS

(for young adults)

NIGHT WATCH

THE WEE FREE MEN

(for young adults)

MONSTROUS REGIMENT

A HAT FULL OF SKY

(for young adults)

GOING POSTAL

THUD!

WINTERSMITH

(for young adults)

MAKING MONEY

UNSEEN ACADEMICALS

I SHALL WEAR MIDNIGHT

(for young adults)

SNUFF

RAISING STEAM

Other Books About Discworld

THE SCIENCE OF DISCWORLD

(with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen)

THE SCIENCE OF DISCWORLD II: THE GLOBE

(with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen)

THE SCIENCE OF DISCWORLD III: DARWIN’S WATCH

(with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen)

THE SCIENCE OF DISCWORLD IV: JUDGEMENT DAY

(with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen)

TURTLE RECALL: THE NEW DISCWORLD COMPANION … SO FAR

(with Stephen Briggs)

NANNY OGG’S COOKBOOK

(with Stephen Briggs, Tina Hannan and Paul Kidby)

THE PRATCHETT PORTFOLIO

(with Paul Kidby)

THE DISCWORLD ALMANAK

(with Bernard Pearson)

THE UNSEEN UNIVERSITY CUT-OUT BOOK

(with Alan Batley and Bernard Pearson)

WHERE’S MY COW?

(illustrated by Melvyn Grant)

THE ART OF DISCWORLD

(with Paul Kidby)

THE WIT AND WISDOM OF DISCWORLD

(compiled by Stephen Briggs)

THE FOLKLORE OF DISCWORLD

(with Jacqueline Simpson)

THE WORLD OF POO

(with the Discworld Emporium)

THE COMPLEAT ANKH-MORPORK

THE STREETS OF ANKH-MORPORK

(with Stephen Briggs, painted by Stephen Player)

THE DISCWORLD MAPP

(with Stephen Briggs, painted by Stephen Player)

A TOURIST GUIDE TO LANCRE: A DISCWORLD MAPP

(with Stephen Briggs, illustrated by Paul Kidby)

DEATH’S DOMAIN: A DISCWORLD MAPP

(with Paul Kidby)

Shorter Writing

A BLINK OF THE SCREEN

A SLIP OF THE KEYBOARD

Non-Discworld Books

THE DARK SIDE OF THE SUN

STRATA

THE UNADULTERATED CAT

(illustrated by Gray Jolliffe)

GOOD OMENS (with Neil Gaiman)

THE LONG EARTH (with Stephen Baxter)

THE LONG WAR (with Stephen Baxter)

THE LONG MARS (with Stephen Baxter)

Non-Discworld Novels for Younger Readers

THE CARPET PEOPLE

TRUCKERS

DIGGERS

WINGS

ONLY YOU CAN SAVE MANKIND

JOHNNY AND THE DEAD

JOHNNY AND THE BOMB

NATION

DODGER

Copyright © 2014 by Terry Pratchett and Lyn Pratchett
Foreword copyright © 2014 by Neil Gaiman

All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Doubleday, a division of Random House LLC, New York, a Penguin Random House company. Published in the UK by Doubleday, an imprint of Transworld Publishers, London.

www.doubleday.com

DOUBLEDAY
and the portrayal of an anchor with a dolphin are registered trademarks of Random House LLC.

Terry Pratchett
®
and Discworld
®
are registered trademarks.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Pratchett, Terry.
A slip of the keyboard : collected nonfiction / Terry Pratchett.
pages cm
ISBN 978-0-385-53830-5 (hardcover)—ISBN 978-0-385-53833-6 (eBook)
I. Title.
PR6066.R34S58 2014
824’.914—dc23      2014011949

Jacket design by Jason Booher
Jacket illustration by Justin Gerard

v3.1

You have in your hands a book of words that covers my entire career, and therefore it is only right that I should dedicate it to those delightful souls who have either collaborated or assisted me in myriad helpful ways
*
1
over many, many years.

To single out and to name just a few: my esteemed publishers Colin Smythe, Larry Finlay, Marianne Velmans, Philippa Dickinson, Suzanne Bridson, Malcolm Edwards, and Patrick Janson-Smith. My wranglers of words Katrina Whone, Sue Cook, and Elizabeth Dobson. My cherished editors Simon Taylor, Di Pearson, Kirsten Armstrong, Jennifer Brehl, and Anne Hoppe. My ever-buoyant and ever-capable publicists Sally Wray and Lynsey Dalladay. Lord of the Über Fans Dr. Pat Harkin. My friends Neil Gaiman, Professor David Lloyd, and the scoundrel that is Mr. Bernard Pearson. The Managing Director of Narrativia and even bigger scoundrel Rod Brown. My partners in writing Steve Baxter, Jacqueline Simpson, Jack Cohen, Ian Stewart, and my personal cartographer/playwright/wearer of tights and Man of a Thousand Voices
*
2
Stephen Briggs. My artists Paul Kidby, Josh Kirby, and Stephen Player, and my enchanting enablers Sandra and Jo Kidby. Jason Anthony for
Discworld Monthly
, Elizabeth Alway for the Guild of Fans and Disciples, and Steve Dean for his most prestigious
Wizard’s Knob
. A special mention has to go to the Head of the Thieves Guild, and man-who-can, Mr. Josiah Boggis/Dave Ward.
*
3
And to the Queen’s Head, and their pickled eggs and most magnificent bubble and squeak. And to anyone who has ever served or survived the mayhem that is a Discworld Convention as an attendee or part of the organizing committee, especially the founder and man responsible, Paul Kruzycki. And to anyone else who has helped and not hindered me along the way, but most especially to Rob, who quietly gets on with it, and without whom …

Thank you, one and all. Thank you.

*
1
Well, intended helpfulness and almost always with excruciating cheerfulness.

*
2
As long as they’re all Welsh.

*
3
Delete as applicable.

Contents
Foreword

by Neil Gaiman

I want to tell you about my friend Terry Pratchett, and it’s not easy. I’m going to tell you something you may not know.

Some people have encountered an affable man with a beard and a hat. They believe they have met Sir Terry Pratchett. They have not.

Science-fiction conventions often give you someone to look after you, to make sure you get from place to place without getting lost. Some years ago I ran into someone who had once been Terry’s handler at a convention in Texas. His eyes misted over at the memory of getting Terry from his panel to the book dealers’ room and back. “What a jolly old elf Sir Terry is,” he said.

And I thought,
No. No, he’s not
.

Back in February 1991, Terry and I were on a book signing tour for
Good Omens
, a book we had written together. We can tell you dozens of not-only-funny-but-also-true stories about the things that happened on that tour. Terry alludes to a few of them in this book. This story is true, but it is not one of the stories we tell.

We were in San Francisco. We had just done a stock signing in a bookshop, signing the dozen or so copies of our book they had ordered. Terry looked at the itinerary. Next stop was a radio station: we were due to have an hour-long interview on live radio. “From the address, it’s just down the street from here,” said Terry. “And we’ve got half an hour. Let’s walk it.”

This was a long time ago, best beloved, in the days before GPS systems and mobile phones and taxi-summoning apps and suchlike useful things that would have told us in moments that, no, it would not be a few blocks to the radio station. It would be several miles, all uphill, and mostly through a park.

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