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18 March, 2008

More on the Embuggerance

A Guardian interview with Terry Pratchett covers a range of topics, including the essence of why I appreciate his writing:

When I chose this ridiculous world that I called Discworld, it was a reaction to how fantasy fiction had become silly. I wanted to make it real. Let's have none of that 'Belike, he will wax wrath' stuff. Let's not imitate Tolkien. Let's not get medieval on their arses. Let's set the situation and get people to act as people act – cowardly and all the rest.

However, the focus of the article is obviously his reaction to having been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. One paragraph jumped out at me:

Last week Pratchett pledged £494,000 to the Alzheimer's Research Trust. An estimated 700,000 people in the UK have Alzheimer's, but according to the trust, just £11 per patient is spent annually on research into the disease, compared with £289 for cancer patients. Pratchett told the trust's annual conference last week: "It is a shock to find out that funding for Alzheimer's research is just 3% of that to find cancer cures. Personally, I'd eat the arse out of a dead mole if it offered a fighting chance. I am, along with many others, scrabbling to stay ahead long enough to be there when the cure comes along. Say it's soon – there are nearly as many of us as there are cancer sufferers, and it looks as if the number of people with dementia will double within a generation."
I fear Alzheimer's more than death, quite literally. I've just set up a monthly Direct Debit to the Research Trust.

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