I've been a big fan of the Discworld series (yeah, big nerd, geek, et cetera) for years, mostly because of the sarcasm and droll commentary that just drips off each page, so it is with some sorrow that I use this Coffee Brake to mourn the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett who passed away March 12, 2012 at the age of 66. Pratchett picked up the fantasy genre where JRR Tolkien left off, and added a healthy dose of derision on...well...just about anybody and anything. His command of the English language far exceeded the contemporary writers like J.K. Rowling, and placed him firmly in the group with the likes of C.S. Lewis and Ray Bradbury.
His Discworld series (for the uninitiated, I'd suggest starting with The Colour of Magic and then heading straight to Guards! Guards!) is a fantastic read, and the character of Death (and the Death of Rats) was particularly well done for what it was. He even managed to write an entire book (Mort, 1987) about Discworld's the grim reaper. However, what I enjoyed most of our each of Pratchett's novels was the liberal use of footnotes, notes that were almost always puns and would cause fits of laughter in even the most cantankerous of old farts. In his later years Pratchett was afflicted with the horrible disease that is Alzheimer's (donate to Alz.org to support research for a cure here), and he even took it with a dose of humor, saying stuff like "Personally, I'd eat the arse out of a dead mole if it offered a fighting chance."
Rest in peace Terry, and I hope the view of Great A'Tuin the giant turtle is good from where you are.