Don’t get me wrong, The Colour of Magic put fantasy on the UK best-seller lists, gave the genre a massive kick up the credibility ladder… With much respect to the man who penned it, it just never floated my turtle.
Meeting him, though, has made me wonder if I still have a copy.
Funnier than his fiction, sharper than his bright brown gaze – bandy words with this man at your extreme peril. Five minutes in his company and I’m not engaging in repartee, his (what else?) rapier wit is straight under my guard and curling me round jabs of laughter in my stomach.
His energy is palpable; his insight unparalleled – he challenges with the bifurcation of science fiction from fantasy. Even as I answer, he’s there before me – with how sf is mainstream, time-travel is current. I counter with the popularity of post-Cyberpunk; he turns my riposte with an image of a vacuum cleaner whooshing from a wall-slot – his description reducing the office to hilarity.
His family weave through his wit – his daughter who, unsurprisingly, ‘can write a mean plot’ and his approval of her bloodgore-writing boyfriend – a father to be proud of, I think.
He talks about Spaced like he’s lived it, about the new Star Trek like he fears it and about a random plug-in for Oblivion whereby an adventurer can take his mother Questing. The concept that Mum is always one level up is hilariously astute – I mean, who ever gets the better of their mother?
The thing that disarms me, though, is his comprehension of the nature of geekdom – his experience and insight paint word-sketches that are caricatures in accuracy. From the fandom’s stalwart ‘comic book guy’ to the shapely ladies with the echo-chamber cleavages; from the families that love Discworld to his immediate identification of me as ‘geekarina’ (as oppose to ‘geekette’), nothing misses him.
In his hour in the office at the London Megastore, he signed some five hundred copies of ‘Nation’ while he kept up the barb of his badinage – and he signed one more thing.
Sunday is World Alzheimers Day.
Please don’t forget.