Last week, revered author Terry Pratchett, best known for his brilliantly witty, insightful, and incisive Discworld series, passed away after a battle with Alzheimer’s. The makers of Elite: Dangerous have created a whole space station in his honour.
The space sim’s latest patch added a location called Pratchett’s Disc starport. If you want to check it out, it’s in system HIP 74290. It’s not a flat disc positioned on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle, but it will do.
Speaking with Eurogamer, Frontier executive producer Michael Brookes explained why the developer felt so strongly about doing this:
“At Frontier we have a great many Pratchett fans on staff and we were all saddened to learn of his passing. The sentiment was reflected by our community so we felt it would be right to remember him in Elite: Dangerous.”
“For me personally, Terry Pratchett was one of very few authors whose books I could buy without needing to read a review or even ask what the story was about. His talent for social commentary, humour, unforgettable characters and vivid worlds not only provided joy as a reader, but inspiration as a writer.”
Elite: Dangerous also recently added a tribute to Leonard Nimoy, who tragically passed away at the beginning of the month. It’s been a pretty shitty month, if you ask me.
Pratchett’s works were, of course, immensely influential for countless people who work in sci-fi and fantasy, whether that involves video games or not. I personally found his books to be profoundly witty and, oftentimes, flat-out profound. He was a goddamn genius, plain and simple — someone who strove to capture the essence of humanity above all else. It’s nice to see him honoured, even if only in a small way.
What’s your favourite Terry Pratchett book? I have to go with Small Gods, but I also enjoy some of his more recent stuff — like Going Postal — more than some. Oh, and if you’re in the neighbourhood for some brilliant Pratchett-related writing, I’m basically obligated to recommend this heartbreaking, important piece from Kieron Gillen. As he put it, “Pratchett fundamentally understood fantasy as a device for emphasising humanity rather than escaping from it… He made us fall in love with the most unlikely things, turning the things into people and making them our friends.”
Rest in peace, you marvellous example of humanity, you.