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Est. 1997 - Proprietors Anthony, Barnett & Massey
Being More Terry Since 1997

Discworld Monthly - Issue 42: October 2000

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. Recommendations
5. DiscTrivia
6. Review: Clarecraft's Cohen & Mad Hamish
7. Feature: About The Colour of Magic & Light Fantastic Comics
8. Article: About Drop Bears
9. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 42. Last month Joanne Foster's letter provoked the biggest response we have ever received. After much collating we have come up with a consolidated report about Drop Bears. See section 8 for the conclusions.

--
Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Deputy Dawg)


2. News

Last month's PC Format DVD edition included a complete version of ISIS' Discworld audio book Guards Guards. It was however only a demo version with various sections sampled at different qualities.

The September 15 issue of The Bookseller has an interview with Terry and also an article about him, called "On not being Miss Glitz" by Benedicte Page. Both the article and interview are available on the Bookseller's website for those in the UK who can't get hold of their local bookseller's copy. The interview can be found at www.theBookseller.com/news/mpratchett.html

An extract from the latest issue of ANSIBLE: TERRY PRATCHETT on lost property: "When the _Legends_ anthology was done, a limited number of hardcovers were signed by all contributors. We were supposed to get one each, quite a valuable item if cheapened only by the inclusion of me. My copy never survived the perilous journey outside the USA.... Finally, a spare was released and is now in my possession. This means that a copy marked "P" may be floating around, and me and Tor would just _love_ to know if it ever comes to light."

Stephen Briggs has just finished recording The Fifth Elephant for ISIS Audio Books. This is only the second time an ISIS Discworld book has been read by someone other than Nigel Planner, the other being by Celia Imrie. ISIS are extremely pleased with Stephen's dynamic range of voices (anyone who visited the Clarecraft event will have heard sneak previews of some of characters). The Fifth Elephant is the first ISIS Discworld title to come on ten tapes (all previous books have fitted on eight). If you require any more information about this new book email Peter Johnson at

All Australians and non-Australians interested in talking about just about everything, could do worse that join the Bugarup University at Apparently they even had a Dibbler until they threw him in the Dungeon Dimension.

Australian fans have the chance to see the Unseen Theatre Company's production of Guards! Guards! (adapted by Stephen Briggs) and directed by Pamela Munt, at the Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas St, Adelaide on the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 15th, 16th, 17th & 18th November 2000 at 8pm. Tickets cost 12AUD for adults, 10AUD concessions and 8AUD for groups of 10 or more. You can order tickets by calling BASS 131246 or Betty 82962004 (8am to 6pm). More information is available at unseen.com.au

Dave Johnson ( ) wrote to say: If you have Telewest Communications Active Digital cable TV you now have access to its video library service and can see the "Truckers" film for only 49p.

Alan Winton has just set up his first monthly Discworld competition on his web site. If you would like a chance to win a copy of The Witches Trilogy visit www.btinternet.com/~discworld/

J Heyes ( ) wrote to say that Game and Electronic Boutique have the Discworld Noir game for 9.99GBP. Noir was seen at both Lakeside Shopping Centre and Bluewater (either side of the Dartford Crossing).

The Point 303 Theatre Company will be performing Carpe Jugulum on the 4th-7th October 2000 at The Questor's Theatre, Mattock Lane, Ealing W5 from 7.45pm Wednesday - Saturday + Matinee on Saturday. Tickets cost 6GBP and 4GBP concessions. For further details please contact Lynne Armstrong, on 020 8992 8341

Waddy ( ) has some more photos of the Clarecraft event 2000 and some of the 99 event. More details at: www.ankh-morpork.rapidial.co.uk

Small Ads....

Meyer Kachel ( ) is looking for the Playstation version of the first Discworld game.

Sinead McDonnell ( ) is a 29 year old Irish girl living near San Francisco/San Jose in California. Sinead says: What I miss most about Ireland and England is having so few TP fans to chat with. Thankfully Amazon UK sends me the books here so I don't have to wait for the much much later and more expensive American versions! I would love to email with anyone in the States or outside on TP - I'm big sci-fi fan and sarcastic humour is a trait I endear to. Don't care what age or sex - life is too interesting to put us all into classification boxes!

Catherine Hare ( ) was just wondering if there was anybody out there that is 14 and likes Discworld? She says: It just seems that no one my age seems to like it [DWM says: how wrong can you get?!], but I love it. If there is anyone out there that is under 16 and likes Discworld please e-mail me.

Paul Milward ( ) still needs more help with his A-level communications studies project. Please contact him with your favourite book, character and one-liner from the books.

Mrs Meyer ( ) and her husband can't recall which book "samizdat" appeared in. [we couldn't either - Ed]. So if you know please pass on this information.

Don Blackburn ( ) is searching for the words to the (risque) version of the HihoHiho song, mentioned in Moving Pictures.

Karl Roome ( ) has for years named all his cats after Pratchett characters, 5 so far, and has just been adopted by another kitten after a loss in the family. Karl is looking for a site that lists all the characters in the books but cannot remember where he saw it. If you know the URL of this site please let Karl know.

Rosa ( ) writes: I have found (finally) a site that has two Discworld manga pictures! Horray! The site is: www.crosswinds.net/~jienc/macrocosm/ First enter, then click on gallery line and then onto 'High Fantasty'

Lynne Green ( ) is a 35 year old mother of two, a frustrated writer whose main interests are humorous fantasy and sci-fi. She is looking for an epal but don't bother with marriage proposals, she is happily married.


3. Readers' Letters

If you have any letters/comments, please email

We assume any correspondence is eligible for use in the newsletter unless otherwise stated, including the sender's email address. We may also edit your letters to induce civil unrest and evil uprisings.

Each month the writer of the month's best letter will receive two Discworld badges with PTerry quotes on them from Snapdragon Gifts. You can contact Snapdragon Gifts at or www.snapdragongifts.com. Please mention DWM in any correspondence. Holiday postcards, letters to loved ones, that sort of thing.

*
* From: "Dewy" ( )
*
After spending a couple of years in London at the embassy, I became hooked on TP books. Of all the British culture I could have become fond of while living in its oldest and largest city, it turns out to be a loony author who writes loonier books. I can't think of a better thing, actually. Well, what I'm writing about; I'm looking for other Americans in their 30's who got bit by the same bug.

DWM replies: 2 years in the Embassy? Was this a hostage situation or something?

*
* From: "Dianne Hughes" ( )
*
My mother is 97 and a keen fan of Mr. Pratchett (as she always refers to him) though with failing eyesight she's having a bit of trouble reading, but says if she dies laughing at one of his books, she will come back and haunt him. One section of The Fifth Elephant took her fancy and she laughed so much she finished up in hospital. The staff at the nursing home thought she was having a stroke - not so, just laughing at Mr. Pratchett. I don't think age has anything to do with reading and enjoying Discworld books.

DWM replies: Letter of the Month goes to Dianne, or maybe her mother.

*
* From: "Ali Wilson" ( )
*
RE: Responding to William D Moore

My husband has used Pratchett quotes in sermons and the only sermon I've ever done I finished with a Discworld quote. You can always tell who in the congregation reads Discworld because they start to grin at the first couple of words, rather than wait for the punch line. Small Gods and Good Omens are both books that have prompted some fascinating theological discussion with my friends (for people not up on church language - read "serious argument") and I've got to admit that Small Gods is my all-time favourite book. It says a lot of things about organised religion that have helped me to keep a good sense of perspective when struggling through a structured church and trying to find the God that people keep hiding behind all the hoo-hah.

*
* From: "Martin Leigh" ( )
*
I frequently preach on PTerry's words, characters and situations. I have produced a "Lent Course" (better than giving anything up) on Small Gods; and a primer for Anglicans from Small Gods on relevant questions for our hierarchy. As Vorbis said, "You do not have to be very clever to be a bishop, otherwise bishops couldn't do it." Yours in the Bowels of Om Martin Leigh

*
* From: "Andrew Raby" ( )
*
RE: Beti and Al letter from Krista

I had always thought that there was some reference to "Wilson Kepple and Betty" in the *nom des plumes* of Nobby and Colon in Jingo.

They were the Vaudeville act who made the *sand dance* famous - you know the one, shuffling and dancing on a sand-covered stage like a cross between Chuck Berry and Cleopatra. Any other suggestions?

*
* From: "Mark Kranenburg" ( )
*
Something has been bugging me for a while. As everyone knows, you can't magic iron, so how come the magic swords come into existence...? It's probably just my lack of brains, but if anyone happens to know this, let me know. Thanx.

RM suggests: Iron & Octiron, an alloy, could (presumably) be subjected to magical influences.

*
* From: "Michael Kokich" ( )
*
Last month the review of the Colour of Magic and Light Fantastic comics said:

"I think these graphic novels are great but would only really appeal to fans who already know the story."

It is a fair comment but this is what I have to say about this. BO***CKS [modified for publication and public decency - Ed]

A few years ago while I was intermediate we had to do a book study on a few different books, and I did two of mine on the Color Of Magic and Guards, Guards. Anyway at that time I had also hired out the comic version of CoM from the library and had that at school. Some friends were interested in the CoM so I gave them the comic version to read.

It went around the class a few times, and I don't think that it lost any of its humour. My friends raved about for ages. The novel didn't just appeal to those who knew the story (in fact I was the only one). It is a good way to get the story across and to also people who might not usually sit down and read a novel. I think all the great elements are still there and that anyone can enjoy it.

*
* From: "William Pietz" ( )
*
OK, this probably won't get to the AUTHOR anyway, but here's a question in case it can penetrate the circuit of that grand consciousness circling that Turtle & those damn Elephants. I just wrote a highly learned academic article for a collection of essays to be published by the University of Chicago Press (in case you don't know, this means it's Legit) on something or other about Buddhism. What I'm curious about is whether I'm right in citing Pratchett's Auditors of Reality (Reaper Man, Hogfather) as, at least in part, parodies of Buddhist monks (in that these robed embodiments of emptiness burst into flames & as Spinoza would say, 'fail to persevere in being', whenever they utter the word "I"). I'm publishing the damn article anyway, but I'd be curious to know of himself intended to make fun of the No-Self doctrine of Buddhism in these personages.

*
* From: "Martin Watts" ( )
*
Last month I was in Germany for a work related course. I visited a local bookshop and found a good selection of Terry Pratchett's work. I had planned to buy some books to teach myself how to read German, even if I never get around to speaking it, and these were ideal, especially when I found a couple of reasonably priced paperbacks with two Discworld volumes each. One had "The Colour of Magic" with "Sourcery", the other "The Light Fantastic" with "Equal Rites".

What I didn't understand was why the first of these books had the cover from Robert Rankin's "The Sprouts of Wrath" instead of a suitable piece of Kirby artwork!

DWM replies: You have GOT to be joking...

*
* From: "Robert Best" ( )
*
In DWM 41 you released the dates of TP's signing tour for "The Truth". All well and good one might say, but where the hell are the dates for Northern Ireland? Oh right, there aren't any, sorry. I mean I just find it odd that tours can go to Germany and Australia and whatnot with some frequency, but someone seems to have trouble crossing the Irish sea. I know there was one for the Fifth Elephant, but one of the reasons TP's asked to sign the whole series at once, is that people are unsure whether they can get to the next one, or if there's going to BE another tour to where they live. Right that's that off me chest... thanks.

DWM replies: If Terry did all the touring his fans requested, he wouldn't have time to write any more books. Besides he's not signing anywhere near us either.

*
* From: "David Brauchli" ( )
*
I have decided I am starting to get a little tired of the good versus evil plots that have been of late the main excuse for a novel to be written around. I do understand that Terry makes his bad guys very human, and this blurs the distinction between the good and bad guys with very humanistic insight, but there needs to be a radical departure from the usual plot devices and stock characters. They seem to be turning into detective novels, very amusing ones no less, but still.. how about an epic romance, a satire of Jane Austen proportions, or a true Lord of the Rings spoof? I am just a little worried the books have become too formulaic, compared to the chaos of the first incarnations.

*
* From:
*
I've sometimes wondered about the fascination of TP's fantasy world for a University lecturer and a systems engineer.

I believe that the reason my wife and I love the Discworld novels is that there is no cynicism in them. Most of what we find today in books and the other media is so weary, so sceptical, so old and hopeless. That world-weariness isn't there in Pratchett's stories. While the Discworld contains characters who are marinated in villainy, the stories themselves are ultimately hopeful. The principle characters, even Death, are principled and kindly within the limits of their roles. The books aren't just entertainment; to some degree they are therapeutic antidotes to a world-view that's become distorted, even diseased.

*
* From: "Rodney Masarirambi" ( )
*
In one of the DW books (I forget which) but he talks about how a visitor/explorer comes to a landmark and asks the native "what's that?" and the native answers "your finger you idiot" and its forever known as Mount 'Your Finger You Idiot'.

In Malawi there is a lake which like in the case above became to be known as Lake Nyasa which means Lake so it literally is called 'Lake Lake'. In Australia correct me if I'm wrong but Kangaroo means 'I don't know' as in explorer asks "What is That" Native says "Kangaroo (I don't know)".

DWM replies: Could we ask Australia readers to nominate just ONE person to verify that last point?


4. Recommendations

The recommendations section was introduced to reduce the size of the letters section because we were getting so many recommendations. Almost as soon as we introduced the new section everyone stopped sending recommendations. This will, therefore, be the last issue to include a recommendations section. Unless you know otherwise.

Discworld FanAuthor
AmylasePiers Anthony
W BarnettW Barnnet (The collected works, Vols I-XII)

5. DiscTrivia

This month's trivia questions are all about my favourite character Sir Samuel Vimes.

1) Where in Ankh-Morpork was Sam Vimes born?

2) Sam Vimes' famous ancestor, 'Old Stoneface' was also known by what name?

3) ...and who did he execute?

4) What is Captain Vimes' badge number?

5) As Ambassador to Uberwald, what was Sam Vimes' FULL title?

--
Simon Greener ( )


6. Review: Clarecraft's Cohen & Mad Hamish

Clarecraft have recently created a Silver Hoard collection made up of 7 pieces: Cohen, Mad Hamish, Teach, Caleb The Ripper, Boy Willie, Old Vincent & Truckle The Uncivil. I briefly saw them displayed at the Clarecraft event in July. I didn't have a chance to look at them closely, however I do remember them looking good as a group.

Elton sent us Cohen (DW116) & Mad Hamish (DW117) to review as samples of the pieces. Cohen looks striking in his lined boots and woollen loin cloth and has a long white beard down to his thigh. He is also carrying his sword which stands almost as high as his shoulders. The detail on this piece is up to Clarecraft's usual high standards, with his ribs showing on his back and wrinkles on the back of his neck. As with many of Clarecraft's pieces Cohen's sword is made from pewter and weighs almost as much as him. Cohen costs 24.95GBP.

Mad Hamish in his fortified wheel chair which has daggers protruding from the metal studded wheels (reminiscent of the chariots in Ben Hur) looks great. Hamish is a much larger and heavier piece than Cohen, which is reflected in the higher price of 35.95GBP. There are some wonderful features on the piece such as the blanket over his frail legs and his extremely weathered face. Once again the daggers and sword are made from pewter.

Overall I thought these pieces showed the characters well and will fit in nicely with my collection. Obviously they would look better as a whole set but at nearly 200GBP for the lot I won't be extending my collection that far.

If you want more information about Clarecraft products visit their web site at www.clarecraft.co.uk/ or email Elton at

If you plan to purchase any Clarecraft pieces, please consider using the following affiliate link which will take you direct to Clarecraft's on-line catalogue and will help promote Discworld Monthly.

www.clarecraft.co.uk/cgi-binr/web_store.cgi?refid=dwmoook


7. Feature: About The Colour of Magic & Light Fantastic Comics

From Scott Rockwell,

In 1990, Innovation Comics had a great artistic and commercial success adapting the Anne Rice novel THE VAMPIRE LESTAT into a comics format. Innovation's publisher, David Campiti, was looking for other literary series that we could adapt into comics. I was Submissions Editor and Art Director at Innovation then, and the Discworld novels had been among my favourite reading for some time. I suggested we adapt them.

The Colour of Magic (not "Color" of Magic -- I insisted on retaining the British spellings throughout the series) [good man - RM] was slated for a 4 issue series, beginning in early 1991.

Adapting the Discworld books to this format presented a number of problems, as readers of the series can well imagine. Terry Pratchett's use of the language is fabulous. His prose is not only hysterically funny, it's touching, lively, and vividly descriptive. My first challenge in adapting was to overcome the urge not to cut anything!

For example, the literal translations of what Twoflower is saying in the Trob language turns an innocuous remark into a long string of word images. I had to use a graphic device to show that Twoflower was speaking a different language than the other characters, so I had the letterer put {brackets like this} around his dialogue. When necessary, I used footnotes to show the absurd translations. Luckily, Terry dropped the translations in the second story, and had Twoflower speaking the same language as the other characters. I was very gratified when Terry approved the script with only minor changes.

Locating a suitable artist was also a challenge. Terry had full approval over the visuals as well the script, and about ten different artists did samples before Steven Ross was given the go-ahead. I loved Steven's visuals, which were always surprising but suited the Discworld beautifully. His depiction of the Disc gods playing dice with the characters was especially pleasing, and he based all the architecture in the Krull sequences on fish and undersea motifs.

With The Light Fantastic, I was faced with another problem: the book was simply too long to fit into four 32 page comic books. I had to find a way to tell a unified story while cutting a large section of the book. In the end, I cut the assassination subplot and combined the Trymon and Galder Weatherwax characters into one. I kept the name Weatherwax, since it would be more recognizable to Discworld readers. Terry approved the change. He wrote, "Discworld purists may howl, but let 'em!"

I think that both books translated well into comics, and would've loved to be able to continue the series, but sales weren't as great as I'd hoped. I think the reason for this was that the project came out too early. Equal Rites, Sourcery and Mort were the only other Discworld books out in the US at the time, and the UK market was not responsive to the single issues of the comic. Innovation did reprint them as graphic novels, which sold fairly well in the both the US and UK. Maybe some smart publisher out there will realize that a market for the Discworld comics not only still exists, but is many times larger than it was 10 years ago.


8. Article: About Drop Bears

Last month Joanne Foster asked the innocent / fatal question: However, the one animal that I didn't recognize immediately was the drop bear. I think that there is a possibility that it does exist, whereas my father believes that it is totally made up. Can anyone help?

Joanne wins the accolade of having the most responses to a letter in the history of this newsletter. We have attempted to sift through the dozens of letters to see if we can uncover the truth about Drop Bears. We would like to thank everyone who wrote in on this subject but for reasons of space don't want to fill the news-letter with a list of names. You all know who you are.

What is apparent when reading these letters is that most people believe drop bears to be another name for Koala bears. And for the most part it's an Australian joke to play on unsuspecting tourists.

One suggestion is that Drop Bears were an invention of the Australian army to test gullible foreign troops. In this version they are a carnivorous relative of the Koala that hunts by dropping out of trees onto the heads of their victims, thus either knocking them unconscious or disabling them long enough to attack. It was also said that vegimite, if spread thinly on the shoulders and top of the hat, would act as a Drop Bear repellent.

Another proposal is that in the summer after the Koalas have eaten their fill of eucalyptus leaves they get a bit dopey and fall out of the trees and being rather upset at this attack anyone in the vicinity.

Along the same lines is the story that after a heavy rain fall the now heavier than normal Koalas may break some of the sodden branches and fall to the ground.

Some also believe that the drop bear may have been based on the extinct pre-historic giant koala or the likewise extinct marsupial lion.

Alternatively the story was used to frighten American visitors and has been backed up by several instances of Koala bears falling out of trees when they are awoken and scared by loud voices.

It is sometime told to visitors to discourage them from shining torches into the trees at night and scaring the sleeping wildlife.

To find our more about this amazing creature visit http://dropbears.com/about/dropbears-cute-deadly/

Please, just don't send us any more emails about them, alright!


9. The End

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* Trivia Results *

1) Where in Ankh-Morpork was Sam Vimes born?
- Cockbill Street

2) Sam Vimes' famous ancestor, 'Old Stoneface' was also known by what name?
- Suffer-Not-Injustice Vimes

3) ...and who did he execute?
- Lorenzo the Kind

4) What is Captain Vimes' badge number?
- Badge number 177

5) As Ambassador to Uberwald, what was Sam Vimes' FULL title?
- His Grace His Excellency the Duke of Ankh Commander Sir Samuel Vimes.

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