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Pratchett Pokes Fun at Rowling

Discworld series author Terry Pratchett pokes a bit of fun at Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling in response to Rowling’s recent comments that she did not know she was writing fantasy when she wrote Harry Potter. Says Pratchett, “I would have thought that the wizards, witches, trolls, unicorns, hidden worlds, jumping chocolate frogs, owl mail, magic food, ghosts, broomsticks and spells would have given her a clue?”

Far be it from me to blow these things out of proportion, but I can easily see this escalating into a Literary Celebrity Death Match. Now that I think about it, the public would probably welcome a series of author feuds. Anyone for a couple of rounds of Cory Doctorow vs. the corpse of L. Ron Hubbard? Maybe a culinary three-way with C.J. Cherryh, Theodore Sturgeon and Anne Rice? OK, I’ll stop now, before I go too far with the Philip K. Dick/Michael Moorcock bout.


About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

7 Comments on Pratchett Pokes Fun at Rowling

  1. It seems clear to me that neither Rowling (when she started) nor the reporter have a good grasp on what the fantasy genre is actually all about these days. In looking at the latter day fantasy novelists (Wolfe, Erikson, Martin, Donaldson) and comparing them to Rowling’s work, the subversion aspect does not come down on Harry Potter’s side. It seems much more traditional to me than the other authors. And the caveat that the Potter books are changing fantasy by setting the story in the modern day world doesn’t wash either. Neil Gaiman anyone? Or Tim Powers?

    And I do agree with Pratchett that there are better fantasy stories out there than Potter that deserve more attention and acclaim from the general public. It’s my belief that Potter is so huge because it’s aimed at a younger audience and parents aren’t afraid to say they’ve read it to their kids (or in Tim’s case, listened to the audiobook). There is a lot more to say on the success of Potter vis-a-vis the success, or lack thereof, of the SF/F genre. But that is another, much longer post.

  2. Is Rowling qualified to comment on what the fantasy genre is if she doesn’t like it or read it? I hate to state that the single most succesful fantasy writer ever (in terms of dollars made) isn’t qualified to comment on the genre – but she admits she doesn’t like it or read it.

    It’s like me going out and writing a mystery novel about a crime-solving frustrated software developer (complete with sample scripts even) that just happens take off – then me commenting on how I’ve really changed the genre because my character is real despite the fact that I don’t read mystery novels and wouldn’t have a clue if it was unique or not.

    Note that I am aware that there is a whole collection of what I’ll refer to as profession-based and hobby-based mystery novels where not only do you get a story, but often get a hobby item included. For example, there are culinary mysteries that include recipes, there is a mystery novel where the main character knits so the book includes a knitting pattern, etc.

  3. So, for your mystery novel Scott, would the reader get a copy of SIM?


  4. Don’t forget mysteries for cat-lovers; that is stories where the cat solves the crime. But don’t get me started. (:-@ Meow)

  5. Allan Roswarne // August 4, 2005 at 10:01 am //

    Not entirely positive my thoughts are completely on point, BUT… IMO, JK’s comments are somewhat parallel those of Margaret Atwood’s from a few years back. IIRC, “Oryx and Crake is not a SF book, and I don’t write SF, since SF is silly stories about giant talking squids.” Regarding her other comments regarding what literary influences inspired HP’s series. Well, one cannot always trust authors on this topic, since for several years David Brin has said his book Glory Season has no relation to similar books, such as The gate to women’s country or The shore of women.

  6. Except I guess I can see David Brin saying that – he’d never read the previous two books and he’s afraid somebody is trying to tell him he copied those ideas when he didn’t. The fact that Glory Season is like those others is accidental to him (at least that is my impression.)

  7. in all honesty, fantasy is a huge genre, and if your really open minded you can say teenage novels are “fantasies.” anything that is made up is something to do with the imagination is a fantasy right? so really, what Rowlng and Pratchett have done are both fantasy, and both of them are so”different” thats what make them popular! and im sure Pratchett didn’t really “poke” fun at Rowling anyway, but meant it in a general way, and im pretty sure the media (as usual) have blown it out of proportion, or added something into it.      

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