Terry Pratchett’s “Shaking Hands with Death”

Imagine a very, very slow-motion car crash. Nothing much seems to be happening. There’s an occasional little bang, a crunch, a screw pops out and spins across the dashboard as if we’re in Apollo 13. But the radio is still playing, the heater is on and it doesn’t seem all that bad, except for the certain knowledge that sooner or later you will definitely be going headfirst through the windscreen.

Whatever your views on death, if you are a writer, you can’t help but admire this speech by Sir Terry Pratchett, given as a Richard Dimbleby lecture. It was read Feb. 1 on BBC1 by Tony Robinson.

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