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A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Non-Fiction

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  4,833 ratings  ·  624 reviews
Terry Pratchett has earned a place in the hearts of readers the world over with his bestselling Discworld series - but in recent years he has become equally well-known and respected as an outspoken campaigner for causes including Alzheimer's research and animal rights. A Slip of the Keyboard brings together for the first time the finest examples of Pratchett's non fiction ...more
Hardcover, 315 pages
Published September 25th 2014 by Doubleday (first published September 23rd 2014)
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Paul E. Morph
How is it possible to miss somebody so much when you've never even met them face-to-face?

I can't believe Terry Pratchett has been gone for over a year. His death affected me so much that I knew it would be a while before I could read one of this books again. The time has finally come.

This collection of non-fiction is an absolute delight for fans of this wonderful man. You experience his incredible sense of humour. You experience his compassion. You experience his anger. What you get here is a sm
...more
Jim
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure I've ever read one of his books all the way through & I've tried quite a few over the years since he's so popular & many of his books wound up in my hands. He writes humor, British humor, which leaves me cold. I usually think it's too obvious to be funny or just don't get it. Sometimes it's the odd words that sound like the same language I speak, but they mean something completely different & are pronounced in a funny ways with weird accents.

In any case, while his fiction doesn't i
...more
Regina
I love Terry Pratchett's humor even in talking about his Alzheimer's and "assisted death." Oh, and this book prompted me to write my first ever fan letter Here it is.

Dear Sir Terry Pratchett,

I am not a Kevin.

I don’t want you to write my loved one into one of your books. I’m not a writer, but a reader, so I live on the other side of the Holy Grail. I already know where great ideas come from. They come from books, great and small, and minds, great and small. I’m not a librarian but I do work in a
...more
Christine
Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley. I should note, however, that I pre-ordered the book before I got the digital ARC. It came the day before I sat down to write this review.

Perhaps in recent years, Pratchett has come to wider attention because of his activism in the right to die movement. I don’t know; it’s hard to judge here in American. I did have a shy student who actually came out of his shell when he discovered that I read and enjoyed Pratchett.

Pratchett’s appeal seems to lie in the fact that
...more
Paul
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-read-2015
The late great Sir Terry Pratchett, deity of Discworld, has made me laugh an awful lot over the past few years (OK decades), with his richly imaginative fantasy series. In a departure from his normal output this is a collection of articles, speeches and letters that he has written since the late 1980’s. But over recent years he has become equally well known for being an outspoken campaigner for causes such as orang-utans and of course Alzheimer's and assisted death.. This collection is the very ...more
Kalin
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While Terry's short fiction doesn't do much for me (I think he needs longer forms to really shine), this non-fiction collection regaled me with laughs and thoughts worthy of further thinking. Here're some of them:

~ Neil Gaiman really nails it in the intro:

But beneath any jollity, there is a foundation of fury. Terry Pratchett is not one to go gentle into any night, good or otherwise. He will rage, as he leaves, against so many things: stupidity, injustice, human foolishness and shortsightedness,
...more
Eilonwy
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it

This collection of essays covers Terry Pratchett's entire career, from before he even started writing the Discworld novels up through now, when he's possibly even more famous as an advocate for Death with Dignity.

I personally enjoyed the first half of the book the most, with his discussions of writing, touring, and attending conferences. It was fun to see what his working days look like, and comforting to see how anxious he stayed about writing *enough* even as he was selling loads of books.

Th
...more
Dave Schaafsma
I am not a Pratchett fan, not yet! My wife and my sister-in-law are making their way through the whole corpus. So it's sort of odd I picked this up, in part thanks to a review by Sam Quixote that pointed me to his writing about assisted suicide. I had thought of Pratchett as a fantasy writer and humorist, a jolly elf writing in the mode of other funny fantasy writers such as Douglas Adams. Been there, done that, and I enjoyed that ride, but I had no particular interest in going back in that dire ...more
Margaret
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
A collection of articles, speeches, columns etc from the late, very great, Sir Terry Pratchett.

The collection provoked thoughts, laughter, and tears in equal measure.

A great man; a great writer gone far too soon.
Chris
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve come late to Pratchett’s writings. I had tried some comic fantasy and sci-fi and found it wanting; it mostly seemed to be trying too hard to be funny and witty. I enjoyed Red Dwarf on TV and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on the radio but somehow on the page much of this genre writing seemed to consist of dull, lifeless things, full of their own cleverness. So, despite everyone saying I ought to try Pratchett, that I’d like his stuff, I resisted it. Perhaps it was the cover illustrations ...more
Althea Ann
An absolute must for all Terry Pratchett fans, and an interesting read for just about anyone.

This is a collection of, it seems, pretty much everything that Pratchett's published that isn't fiction.

It's divided thematically into three sections. The first focuses on thoughts on writing and the writing process. The second is more autobiographical material. The third has to do with Pratchett's early-onset Alzheimers and his advocacy for the right-to-die cause. (And then, it finishes up with a littl
...more
Nicky
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of Terry Pratchett’s non-fictional writing, including talks, articles, introductions and opinion pieces. It does include ‘Shaking Hands With Death’ as well, if you wanted to read that without actually buying the separate book with it in; this is technically better value for money, if you’re interested in all of the pieces. Most of them are interesting; one or two are odd without context — I haven’t read Nation recently enough, for example, to really appreciate his commentary ...more
Laura
Begins and ends with rage. The rage of a man who knows we should better, and knows we aren’t. I read it in two breathless sittings, reading large passages out loud to my husband and my dogs.

He could have structured this book to leave me warm and comfortable, delighted that there is another humanist out there, and one who can speak such poetry. He didn’t.

Well worth the time.
J
Note: free galley received via Amazon Vine program in exchange for honest review.

If you're a fan of Pratchett's books, A Slip of the Keyboard is the type of book that you'll want for background purposes. The first two sections in particular provide eye opening insight into his childhood and younger writing years as well as his thoughts on writing and what makes fantasy interesting. If you're looking for writing advice, there's a surprising amount of that mixed in too if you're reading closely. W
...more
Roxana Chirilă
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"A Slip of the Keyboard" is a collection of articles and speeches sir Pterry wrote and published over the years. The themes vary from writing, to discovering science fiction at a young age in the most unlikely of places, to a Situation at the nuclear power plant which involved sewers, radioactivity and a lot of horrified people (but no disasters, thankfully), and finally Alzheimer's and assisted death.

...there are plenty of people out there who do their jobs well (maybe exceedingly so), but who
...more
bfilbeck
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This collection of some of Terry Pratchett's non-fiction writing provides his fans (every reader who has ever read one of Terry's books) with an intimate look at the workings of his mind. He offers up his views on writing, gods, his Alzheimer's diagnosis, and a variety of other topics that give us the feeling that we have been his long time personal friends.

This is an absolute "Must Read" if you are a Terry Pratchett fan! If you are not (yet) one of his fans, read one of his Discworld books fir
...more
Melissa McShane
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, essays, humor, non-fiction
This collection of short pieces by Terry Pratchett is fun, if not particularly thrilling--but then, it's more or less what I expected, so I'm calling it a win. There's some repetition of content because these are essays and letters written at various times for various purposes, but, again, it's the nature of the beast. I especially liked his description of searching for frankincense at Christmastime in Bristol and the story of casting a honeycomb and bees in gold. I dipped into this now and agai ...more
Michael
Terry Pratchett is a treasure and this collection of his newspaper articles, speeches, letters-to-the-editor and the like just reinforces his status. While there is humor throughout, from his early newspaper articles as a journalist in the late 60's & 70's to his stint doing PR for various nuclear power stations in England in the 80's - the 'Discworld' series is represented too, of course - but Pratchett really shines with discussions from 2007 onward about his early-onset Alzheimer's, the stigm ...more
Margaret
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I finished this last night, after the news of Terry Pratchett's death. I'd been reading it for a couple weeks and had about 40 pages left--the pages dealing with how he wished to die. These pages should've upset me, but they didn't. Instead, I feel blessed to have read him, to have had my Uncle Jim insist I borrow the Witches' series when I was seventeen, or nineteen, or fifteen. Thank you Terry Pratchett--I bow to your wit and fun and wisdom. The world, I think, is a little bit better with your ...more
Martyn Stanley
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: great-read, good-book
First of all, this was a fantastic read. When I started it, it was really hard to put down. I ended up putting it down for a bit, partly because I didn't want to finish it. I suppose it's perhaps the fact that this will probably be the last Terry Pratchett book I read. Yes, I read The Long Earth but it wasn't a pure Pratchett book and though I WILL read on, I'm in no major rush to.

I've always admired Terry Pratchett's writing. The Colour of Magic was really the seed my second wind of 'love of re
...more
Dorin
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
„A slip of the keyboard” is a collection of speeches of Mr. Pratchett, usually on writing and how people perceive his work; however a large portion of this book is not dedicated to the jolly old man Pratchett might feel like if you read his work, but to his fight with Alzheimer's and his fight for the right to assisted death.

The more fun you have with the first part of the collection, the harder the hammer will fall with the articles from the final part. It's a topic hard to swallow, and it feel
...more
Nigel
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I guess something I've known about Terry Pratchett for years is that he is an outstanding wordsmith. He simply writes so well. Equally he is a wonderful observer of humans and the "human condition" rather more widely. This books offers some wonderfully acerbic humour - the Australian book signing tour and the attack of the Uzi is marvellous. However this book also ranges widely on writing, what fantasy actually is, books and their readers and death both the Discworld variety and actual death.

I s
...more
Peter
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: terry-pratchett
This beautfiul book hurts. Why? Because I spoke with Terry on Numerous occasions and helped to organise and set up some signing sessions. He recognised my brother at an event although they had never met before and I wasn't there!

The end of this book hurt and I miss the old sod...

BLESS YOU TERRY YOU ARE SORELY MISSED.

PEACE
...more
Archana
Jun 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is it weird to miss a man you've never met? To wish you could meet him, listen to him talk away, be a friend? This book, from the word go, gave me this punch-in-the-gut feeling of missing a close friend and wanting to meet him just once more.

And what is even more weird is I'm not a proper science fiction fan and have not read a single discworld book. I don't miss that part as much as I miss the person I met in this collection of essays and articles by him.

In the book he says "Sometimes things c
...more
Joey Woolfardis
Sir Terry Pratchett OBE died on the 12th of March, 2015, at the age of 66 from a rare form of Alzheimers. He wrote over 40 novels and was the creator of one of the greatest fictional worlds; Discworld.

When I was 12 I read my first Discworld and I hated it. It was The Colour of Magic and, from memory, the reason I hated it was because it had the word "bastard" on the first few pages. To me now, this is absurd. The first thing I do when I wake up is swear, usually one of the worst ones (ones much
...more
Ann-Marie
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The world lost a great man when we lost Sir Terry. Never had a man used his impending death in greater service of mankind. You may one day have the gentle passing of your choosing thanks to the efforts of Pratchett in the cause of assisted passing.
Pratchett did not believe in a supreme being. I do. There goes that argument. I want nothing to keep me from my promised Reward when this world holds nothing but drugged pain and/or mental confusion. My God doesn't want it either.
The rest of this aud
...more
Tsana Dolichva
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Slip of the Keyboard by Terry Pratchett is a collection of miscellaneous essays written by the author. Those who, like I, didn't have the chance to read Once More With Footnotes will be pleased to learn that all the non-fiction essays in that volume are contained in this one and all the short fiction appears in A Blink of the Screen, which I have not read. I have, however, read all of the Discworld books and a few non-Discworld books written by Pratchett.

The second section, "A Twit and a Drea
...more
Dodo
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
When I ordered this book, the Writer was still alive. When the shipment arrived, he was still alive. And then the sad news...

Reading A Slip of the Keyboard has been like having a talk with an old friend returning from a long journey. Listening, wondering, agreeing, arguing, smiling and frowning. Him explaining things one might have missed on the meetings in his books, where one can but catch occasional glimpses of the author. You rejoicing at his success and indignant at things making him hurt.
...more
Dearbhla
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 800s
A week or two before Terry Pratchett died A slip of the keyboard and A blink of the screen arrived for me from amazon. I added them to the bookshelves, thinking I’ll get to them in a bit. And then came the news that Pterry had died. It was strange how surprising that news was. RIP Terry Pratchett.

So I picked up this, a collection of Pratchett’s non-fiction. It is a collection of various essays and articles and bits’n’bobs that Pratchett has written over the years. Some of his talks at events and
...more
Doubleday  Books
If you've read one of Terry Pratchett's amazingly funny Discworld novels, filled with insight about the flailing and failings of every little nook and cranny of civilization, you probably would bet that he would make a dynamite and devastating essay writer. Well, it's time to collect your winnings, because A SLIP OF THE KEYBOARD is an astounding collection of his writing. From sci-fi conventions to incurable diseases, Sir Terry always has a unique insight, and he never fails to find a way to sha ...more
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Born Terence David John Pratchett, Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, i
...more

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