LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

In Fitting Postscript, Terry Pratchett Had His Unfinished Works Steamrolled

Terry Pratchett, pictured in 2008 in London.

It's a pair of rites we see often at the passing of great authors: first, the tributes from those who loved their books; then, the good-faith effort to find their unfinished works and shepherd them to the bookshelves they never would have found otherwise.

In the case of Terry Pratchett's death in 2015, those tributes were voluminous and poignant, penned for a writer whose deft touch could leave readers laughing, thoughtful or crushed. As for the prolific Discworld author's unfinished works — well, those are just crushed.

As in, literally crushed.

Per Sir Terry's wishes, a hard drive containing his unfinished books was introduced to the unforgiving end of a steamroller last Friday. The manager of Pratchett's estate, Rob Wilkins, tweeted the ritual act's before-and-after from the writer's official account, displaying the hard drive — said to have contained 10 separate works in progress — then displaying what it looked like after meeting a steamroller named Lord Jericho at the Great Dorset Steam Fair.

Richard Henry, an official at The Salisbury Museum, where the remains of the hard drive will be displayed along with other artifacts of Pratchett's life and work, noted with Pratchett's characteristic mordant humor that Lord Jericho proved "modern technology is no match for the might of the Industrial Revolution."

Henry told the BBC that Pratchett, who died at age 66, wanted his unfinished works destroyed after his death to prevent them from seeing the light of day without his blessing.

Pratchett had struggled with early-onset Alzheimer's disease for nearly a decade before his death.

"It's really nice that they have followed his requests so specifically," Henry said — though he admitted the effort was not without complications.

"It's surprisingly difficult to find somebody to run over a hard drive with a steamroller. I think a few people thought we were kidding when I first started putting out feelers to see if it was possible or not."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)