1498: Terry Pratchett
Title text: Thank you for teaching us how big our world is by sharing so many of your own.
ExplanationSir Terry Pratchett. It came out the day after the renowned fantasy author died. The comic quotes a (slightly abridged) passage from Wings, one of the three books of The Bromeliad Trilogy (also known as The Nome Trilogy), a series of children's books by Sir Terry.
During the first five panels of the comic Cueball reads the quoted passage in his book Wings. This passage describes what Masklin thinks about when he told Grimma that they "were going to get married, and all she could talk about was frogs." He then recounts what she told him about a type of tree frog that are found in bromeliad flowers where they lay their eggs, which hatch into tadpoles, and then live most of their lives in a single plant. See a description of this plot point when it happened in Diggers. She—amongst other things—muses about the fact that they are blind to the rest of the Universe, and that most people are blind to them.
After reading this Cueball puts the book down and walks off, and soon finds that he himself has been living at the bottom of a flower much like the frogs in the bromeliad. This is an allegory for a common praise of the best fantasy and science-fiction writing: That by reflecting our own world in a different context, it allows us to better see ourselves. In the allegory, Cueball's journey to the edge of the leaf is a representation of broadening one's horizons, perhaps even in ways that are somewhat frightening.
On a more literal level, the concept of living on a flat surface with a precipice at the edge is explored at length in the Discworld series, Pratchett's most iconic work. Both this series (wanting to own it all) and the space all of Terry Pratchett's books would take up on a bookshelf are the subject of 625: Collections. The title text continues, more directly, the point previously made allegorically. It thanks the late Sir Terry, noting that his fictional worlds allowed us to better see the real world. "How big our world is" also ties into another point raised in the quoted passage, that there are countless amazing things happening around us all the time without our knowledge. Terry Pratchett was also referenced in panel 18 of 1052: Every Major's Terrible. A similar tribute comic was also dedicated to Steve Jobs, the day after he died, in 961: Eternal Flame, to Gary Gygax, three days after he died, in 393: Ultimate Game, and to John Conway, two days after he died, in 2293: RIP John Conway.
- [Cueball is reading a book over the first four panels at the top of the comic. He shifts position from sitting, leaning back on one hand, laying down on his belly to finally sitting more upright. Above these four panels and breaking the frame of the outer panels of the comic we see what he reads during these four panels:]
- I told her we were going to get married, and all she could talk about was frogs.
- She said there's these hills where it's hot and rains all the time, and in the rainforests there are these very tall trees and right in the top branches
- of the trees there are these like great big flowers called... bromeliads, I think, and water gets into the flowers and makes little pools and there's a
- type of frog that lays eggs in the pools and tadpoles hatch, and grow into new frogs and these little frogs live their whole lives in the flowers right
- at the top of the trees and don't even know about the ground, and once you know the world is full of things like that, your life is never the same.
- — Masklin, Terry Pratchett's The Bromeliad Trilogy
- [Below are four more panels. Cueball stops reading in the book. Leaves the book and begins to walk. Walks out on a leaf from a big flower. Finally, zooming in on him at the edge of the leaf, he looks down and sees what is below the flower.]
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