Lemme lay down a marker: we’re gonna see those unfinished Terry Pratchett novels eventually.

What’s that I hear?  The drives containing those novels got run over by a steamroller, then thrown into a stone crusher?  Yup!  Yup, they were.  At Sir Terry Pratchett’s own request, no less.  I understand.

I also understand this.  If Terry Pratchett had summoned me, on his literal deathbed, and asked me to swear an oath to personally destroy his unpublished materials, I would be literally bowed down by the weight of the responsibility. I would honor the man’s desire to do such a drastic, horrible thing to the cause of Western literature.  And I would of course absolutely respect Terry Pratchett’s status as being the final arbiter of what happens to his unfinished literary business.

Which means that there would be genuine tears as I clutched Terry Pratchett’s trembling hand in my own as I accepted this burden; and as the light died in his eyes, I would solemnly, gravely, and without hesitation lie to his face that of course I’d make sure that it was all destroyed.

And the polygraph sensors attached to my arm wouldn’t record a flicker of stress as I did this.

Moe Lane

PS: They’ve had two years to destroy these drives.  Two years.  Yeah, they’ve been cloned.  No, I don’t want to know how.  What I don’t know, I can’t reveal later under interrogation.


  • nicklevi86 says:

    And no jury in the English-speaking world would convict you.

  • bensdad00 says:

    His work, his choice. But that’s just me and my respect for personal freedom and the rule of law.

    • Moe_Lane says:

      I grant the strength of your position and genuinely concede that it is ethically and morally superior to my own and it would not even slow me down. 🙂

    • nicklevi86 says:

      Never trust what’s written in a will to be fulfilled. The Probate uses them as a “guidelines” on a good day assuming all your affairs are in order.

      • junior says:

        Ray Bradbury, in ‘Green Hills, White Whale’, has an amusing anecdote about carrying out the instructions in a will.

        Local English landowner in an Irish community includes a section in his will that all of his alcohol is to be poured on his grave. The locals get a bit upset about this, until one of them realizes that the will doesn’t specify exactly *how* the alcohol is to be dispensed on the gravesite.

        Cue massive amounts of pissing on said landowner’s grave.

  • Luke says:

    When you’re dead, you no longer hold property, including Intellectual Property.
    I’m with Moe on this one.
    I would have cheerfully lied to his face and preserved his work.
    And I do mean preserving it. Not letting some slimy publisher abuse the reputation by having other writers “finish” the material. (If one wanted to publish a book entitled “Fragments” with the only editing being grouping bits together, well that’s a different story.)

  • UnmovingGreatLibrary says:

    The question, though, is if Terry Pratchett would ask you if you had destroyed the drives, realize you were lying when you said yes, and simply refuse to die until you had done as he commanded.

    • Luke says:

      If that’s what he wanted, he could have d*mned well done the bloody deed himself at any time before the deathbed.
      There are some promises you ask for that you know will be broken.

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