There's no pleasant way to report this awful news - Terry Pratchett has announced that he has a rare, early-onset form of Alzheimer's Disease:
I would have liked to keep this one quiet for a little while, but because of upcoming conventions and of course the need to keep my publishers informed, it seems to me unfair to withhold the news. I have been diagnosed with a very rare form of early
onset Alzheimer's, which lay behind this year's phantom "stroke".
We are taking it fairly philosophically down here and possibly with a mild optimism. For now work is continuing on the completion of Nation and the basic notes are already being laid down for Unseen Academicals. All other things being equal, I
expect to meet most current and, as far as possible, future commitments but will discuss things with the various organisers. Frankly, I would prefer it if people kept things cheerful, because I think there's time for at least a few more books yet :o)
PS I would just like to draw attention to everyone reading the above that this should
be interpreted as 'I am not dead'. I will, of course, be dead at some future point, as
will everybody else. For me, this maybe further off than you think - it's too soon to tell.
I know it's a very human thing to say "Is there anything I can do", but in this case I
would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry.
I'm doing my best here to follow the man's request to keep things cheerful. With so many challenges around the world today, to people and societies, it is worth keeping in mind that we live in an age of wonders. Diseases and medical afflictions keep moving, one by one, from "incurable and fatal" to "chronic and treatable" and even occasionally to the "curable" columns. Those of us who are in a position to take advantage of these wonders, through time, place, and means, should count ourselves among the luckiest souls in human history. Mr. Pratchett should certainly be able to have the best that modern medicine and technology can provide applied to his care; I hope this will be enough.
Irony is just about the easiest thing to ring in, but I'm sure others will also note the fresh resonance to Vernor Vinge's remarkable Rainbows End, where the works of Terry Pratchett play a major role, and where one of the principal characters is being treated for post-Alzheimer's Syndrome...