Cover image for A slip of the keyboard : collected nonfiction
A slip of the keyboard : collected nonfiction
Pratchett, Terry.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Doubleday, 2014.
Physical Description:
xvii, 307 pages ; 24 cm
"A collection of essays and other nonfiction spanning Terry Pratchett's entire career, from his early years to the present day. A collection of essays and other nonfiction spanning Terry Pratchett's entire career, from his early years to the present day"--
A scribbling intruder. Thought progress (1989) ; Palmtop (1993) ; The choice word (2000) ; How to be a professional boxer (2005) ; Brewer's boy (1999) ; Paperback writer (2003) ; Advice to booksellers (1999) ; No worries (1998) ; Conventional wisdom (2011) ; Straight from the heart, via the groin (2004) ; Discworld turns 21 (2004) ; Kevins (1993) ; Wyrd ideas (1999) ; Notes from a successful fantasy author : keep it real (2007) ; Whose fantasy are you? (1991) ; Why Gandalf never married (1985) ; Roots of fantasy (1989) ; Elves were bastards (1992) ; Let there be dragons (1993) ; Magic kingdoms (1999) ; Cult classic (2001) ; Neil Gaiman : amazing master conjuror (2002) ; 2001 Carnegie Medal Award speech for "Nation" (2009) ; Watching "Nation" ; Doctor Who? (2001) ; A word about hats (2001) -- A twit and a dreamer. The big store (2002) ; Roundhead wood, forty green (1996) ; A star pupil (2011) ; On Granny Pratchett (2004) ; Tales of wonder and of porn (2004) ; Letter to Vector (1963) ; Writer's choice (2004) ; Introduction to Roy Lewis's The Evolution Man (1989) ; The king and I, or, How the bottom has dropped out of the wise man business (1970) ; Honey, these bees had a heart of gold (1976) ; That sounds fungi, it must be the dawn chorus (1976) ; Introduction to The Leaky Establishment by David Langford (2001) ; The meaning of my Christmas (1997) ; Alien Christmas (1987) ; 2001 : the vision and the reality (2000) ; The God moment (2008) ; A genuine absent-minded professor (2010) ; Saturdays (2011) -- Days of rage. On excellence in schools. Education : what it means to you (1997) ; The orangutans are dying (2000) ; The NHS is seriously injured (2008) ; I'm slipping away a bit at a time ... and all I can do is watch it happen (2008) ; Taxworld (2009) ; Point me to heaven when the final chapter comes (2009) ; The Richard Dimbleby Lecture : shaking hands with death (2010) ; At last we have real compassion in assisted-dying guidelines (2010) ; Assisted dying : it's time the government gave us the right to end our lives (2011) ; Death knocked and we let him in (2011) ; A week in the death of Terry Pratchett (2011) -- And finally-- . Terry Pratchett's wild unattached footnotes to life (1990).

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR6066.R34 S58 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Terry Pratchett has won the hearts and minds of readers around the globe with his bestselling Discworld series of novels. But what his many fans may not realize is that he has been writing nonfiction throughout his career. Some of it relates to Discworld, of course, but much of it--especially in recent years--is part of his outspoken campaigns for causes such as Alzheimer's research and animal rights.

A Slip of the Keyboard is the first collection of Pratchett's nonfiction work, and it brings together the finest examples of his extraordinary wit and his persuasive prose. Whether in short opinion pieces (on death and taxes), or in long essays, speeches, and interviews (covering a range of topics from mushrooms to orangutans), this collection is a fascinating look inside an extraordinary writer's mind. It includes his remarks at science-fiction and fantasy conventions, his thoughts on the importance of banana daiquiris on book tours, his observations on fan mail, and his belief that an author is obligated to sign anything a fan puts in front of him (especially if it is very sharp). He also writes about the books that shaped his love of language and legends, not to mention his entrance into science-fiction fandom when he attended his first sci-fi convention as a teenager.
Filled with all the humor and humanity that have made his novels so enduringly popular, this collection brings Pratchett out from behind the scenes of Discworld to speak for himself--man and boy, bibliophile and computer geek; a champion of hats, orangutans, and Dignity in Dying.
With a foreword by Pratchett's close friend and Good Omens coauthor Neil Gaiman to lead off, A Slip of the Keyboard is a must-have for any Pratchett fan.

Author Notes

Terry Pratchett was on born April 28, 1948 in Beaconsfield, United Kingdom. He left school at the age of 17 to work on his local paper, the Bucks Free Press. While with the Press, he took the National Council for the Training of Journalists proficiency class. He also worked for the Western Daily Press and the Bath Chronicle. He produced a series of cartoons for the monthly journal, Psychic Researcher, describing the goings-on at the government's fictional paranormal research establishment, Warlock Hall. In 1980, he was appointed publicity officer for the Central Electricity Generating Board with responsibility for three nuclear power stations.

His first novel, The Carpet People, was published in 1971. His first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. He became a full-time author in 1987. He wrote more than 70 books during his lifetime including The Dark Side of the Sun, Strata, The Light Fantastic, Equal Rites, Mort, Sourcery, Truckers, Diggers, Wings, Dodger, Raising Steam, Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Tales, and The Shephard's Crown. He was diagnosis with early onset Alzheimer's disease in 2007. He was knighted for services to literature in 2009 and received the World Fantasy award for life achievement in 2010. He died on March 12, 2015 at the age of 66.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Discworld fans rejoice! For the very first time, Pratchett's nonfiction writings have been collected into a single volume. The essays, letters, speeches, and articles feature all the wit and charm of his beloved novels and allow readers a more personal look at Pratchett's life and beliefs. In a mere 336 pages, Pratchett ruminates on the underappreciated role of fantasy fiction and its importance in the literary world; the trick to becoming a successful author (hint: there isn't one); the care and feeding of authors while on book tours; and his work with fellow writer and friend Neil Gaiman. And though it wouldn't be Pratchett if it wasn't laced with his customary humor and snark, do not make the mistake of thinking that this collection is simple comedy. Pratchett has never been shy about delving into the difficult aspects of everyday life in his fictional works, and he is just as unstinting when it comes to his own life. Nearly a third of the essays are devoted in some way to his struggles with Alzheimer's and his ever-increasing role as an activist for those who also suffer from the disease. As a collection of nonfiction writings, the breadth, intelligence and humor would make it appealing even from an unknown author. Coming from such a beloved fan favorite like Sir Terry Pratchett, A Slip of the Keyboard is a must-read.--Hayes, Rebecca Copyright 2014 Booklist

Library Journal Review

In the tradition of Neal Stephenson's Some Remarks and William Gibson's Distrust That Particular Flavor, the title is a collection of Pratchett's nonfiction essays, articles, and other short pieces. The book begins as a fairly amusing journey through Pratchett's career, interspersed with peeks into his writing process and the exciting world of signing tours. Die-hard fans of the author's "Discworld" books will likely find these chapters absorbing, but for the neutral reviewer they are mostly just mildly charming. That all changes, however, when the book's chronology reaches Pratchett's Alzheimer's diagnosis. These pieces are universally poignant and occasionally challenging. Even readers who have no history at all with the author could benefit from his musings on assisted suicide and end-of-life issues in general, not to mention first-person reporting from inside the process of dementia. Neil Gaiman's introduction does a wonderful job of letting the reader know what to expect as well as foreshadowing the arc of the narrative, ensuring that almost anyone who picks this up will read it all the way through. VERDICT Strongly recommended for teen and adult fans of the author or of sf, as well as those dealing with dementia or similar issues. [See Prepub Alert, 3/31/14.]-Jenny Brewer, Helen Hall Lib., League City, TX (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.