I must apologize for the belated nature of this letter. I know it's too late, but I need to write it anyway.
Thank you for writing some of the best books I've ever read. Not some: most. Thank you for writing these stories and then sending them out into the world to be discovered by people who didn't know they needed those stories, but whose lives were made so much the better for reading them. I'm one of those people.
Yes, I'm part of a big crowd. The only folks I know of who don't like your books are folks who haven't read them yet. Well, I possibly know one or two people just who wouldn't admit to not liking them, because no one in their right mind would admit such a thing to your fans, but then no one in their right mind wouldn't like them anyway, so perhaps we're all even.
I suppose you know all about not being in your right mind, though. I'm sorry. You deserved better.
This letter is difficult to write because I can't stop thinking in clichés. "You're an inspiration." "Your work meant so much to me personally." "I'm your biggest fan." Statements you must have heard over and over again. You write a lot about your interactions with fans in your recent book A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction, which I just finished reading this weekend, with simultaneously wonderful and terrible timing. I had just started on the last third of the book ("Days of Rage"), which includes several articles on your experiences with Alzheimer's, when I saw the news.
I wish your life didn't have to end that way. I wish it didn't have to end, period, but then you'd be some sort of immortal Dreadlord, which frankly I might not have minded anyway because Dreadlord Pratchett sounds just fine as Dreadlords go, but you can see how your immortality might be disconcerting. But I do wish you hadn't been stolen so prematurely from your readers, from your friends and family, and from your own self.
I've been meaning to write this fan letter for a long time, but couldn't bring myself to do it. What would be the point?, I thought. You get so many fan letters anyway. So many interviews and write-ups and book reviews and special features. But I should have written. I should have joined that chorus of people who wanted to tell you that you did something wonderful for them. I waited too long.
Maybe what I'm really trying to say is simply this:
I'll miss you.