Discworld Monthly - Issue 46: February 2001
Table of Contents:1. Editorial
3. Readers' Letters
5. Feature: The Reason for US Covers by Colin Smythe
6. Feature: DiscWorldCon - A Call For Help!
7. Review: The Fifth Elephant - ISIS Audio Book.
8. The End
It appears that Yahoo! are in the process of taking over eGroups who host this mailing list. If any details change with regard to this list we will let you know as soon as we can. We only hope that Yahoo don't interfere with eGroups as much as they did with webring.org
We've had hundreds of emails regarding the ISBN number of the hardback edition of Eric which for your information is 0-575-04636-8. Thanks to everyone that wrote in to let us know.
We received an email from a fan who was looking for the Amazon interview with Terry we mentioned in our last issue. If you happened to save the interview can you send us a copy at our usual address.
Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (The Man Without 2 Brains)
There is also a printable application form available for those who would rather pay by cheque or postal order.
It appears that an American Discworld Convention is in the planning stages. The organizers are looking for volunteers - for more information visit section 6.
The Wyrd Sisters cartoon created by Crosgrove Hall is now available on UK DVD. This title can be ordered from Blackstar for 17.99GBP. www.blackstar.co.uk/scp/id/discworld1/video/item/7000000059282
The Crescent theatre in Birmingham are putting on a production of "Guards! Guards!" from the 14th to 24th February. Tickets cost 7.50GBP and the theatre is on Sheepcote Street near Brindleyplace in Birmingham. To book tickets call the box office on 0121 643 5858.
Dave "the real Hodgesaarg" Hodges is looking for volunteers to
translate his book "The Arts of Falconrie and Hawking - A Beginner's
Guide" which he sells for 3 GBP plus postage, 1 GBP of which goes to
the Orangutan Foundation. Dave would love to have the book
translated into as many unusual languages as possible but warns that
the English in the book is somewhat rustic which may cause problems
for potential translators. If you would like to consider
translating this book please contact Dave via his web site at
TDJoyce ( ) writes: In a recent report it appears that a hard rock band by the name of "Cripple Mr Onion." has been set up in Christchurch, New Zealand. The local daily paper, 'The Christchurch Press,' (19 Jan 2001) reports : 'The band were formed in 1996.' It goes on to report that 'the name comes from a book written by celebrated sci-fi/mindgames author Terry Pratchett.' (of course we all know that is a lie, as it is a card game). It concludes with "We wrote to him and asked if we could use it and he said yes," says Wood.
The LUT (University of Leicester Theatre) is performing Mort the play at 7.30pm on February 14-17 as part of the Leicester Comedy Festival. The performances will take place in the Attenborough theatre, main campus and tickets are 4GBP/3.50GBP.
Charnwood Community Theatre will be performing Wyrd Sisters (also as part of the Leicester Comedy Festival) on Friday 9th, Saturday 10th, Friday 16th and Saturday 17th February. Doors open at 7:45pm and tickets cost 4.50GBP/3GBP for reservations / details call 01509 217681
Apparently, During 2001, and starting in February with "MORT", there will be at least four Terry Pratchett hardbacks to be won. To find out more visit www.willie.meikle.btinternet.co.uk
Jared Foley ( ) asks: I would like to solicit help from all the readers out there who are interested in the Discworld. And, I guess that would be everybody reading the DWM, that's you! I am doing the AS English course and need help for coursework ideas. I need to produce 2 pieces, 1 for readers 1 for listeners. The pieces need either to explain, instruct, describe, inform. I am thinking of a journalistic article to inform on the Discworld and a talk to entertain, must be funny! Please help!
Death ( ) would like us to link to his new web site at discworld.topcities.com
Tanya Denning ( ) is looking for a copy of Discworld Noir for the PC.
Scott M. McDonald ( ) has a copy of Eric in hardback for trade or sale.
Tmara Heininger ( ) wrote in a while ago about finding chat rooms to meet and discuss with other fans. She has now created an MSN Web Community at communities.ninemsn.com.au/AddictedtoDiscworld/ and is hoping it will become a popular place for fans to get together.
Dan ( ) has recently created a DW-related discussion list, though the discussion of other sci-fi and fantasy works is also encouraged. If anyone would like to join, just e-mail Dan.
Cathelijne Sengers ( ) is a 22 year old student from Holland who would like to meet up with other Dutch Discworld fans.
Lynne & Dick Land ( ) are looking for web sites that have Discworld desktop themes on them? They have searched in vain and have not come up with any, yet!
Katherine Sheen ( ) asked if we would mention her small, but growing, Discworld art gallery which is located at www.angelfire.com/zine/redwonderhomepage/discworld_art.html
Duncan Smith (
) has written a new
Discworld site featuring original illustrations and flash animations
(the turtle really does move!). Have a browse at
www.disc-traveller.fsnet.co.uk. Please mail any comments
about the site or ideas for future creations.
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 with reckless abanden.
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.
* From: "Catherine Lamin" ( )
I am very keen on acting and would be interested to hear of anyone interested in: a) performing a Pratchett play in the SW Cornwall area or b) touring with a Pratchett play. I will make the point that although I am suggesting these ideas I can ONLY do the acting thing (I do the odd bit of manic organisation!). Directing and technical stuff is best left to others so I really need to find someone to cover that end of things.
Sorry if I sound a bit vague and lost but most of this is based on my stuffin up A-levels and not getting into University which seems to have a become a very real idea as I have 3 rejections and one (high) conditional offer!
* From: "Andrew Kantor" ( )
Let me second (or third, or fourth) the comment about finding Discworld fans here in the States. It's just about impossible. (Here in Cincinnati I've found two). Maybe the folks here are too busy having their minds wrung dry by the likes of Baywatch or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, or maybe the covers really *are* that bad, but Pratchett fans are few and far between.
To add insult to injury, I saw that "Soul Music" was available on VHS at Blackstar -- but in PAL (that is, European) format. I searched for an NTSC version at Amazon.com; here's the results of that search:
Rhythm & Blues at the Apollo (1950) ~ VHS
The Best of Tina Turner - Celebrate! (2000) ~ VHS
If any fans want to drop a line and start an e-mail conversation, I'd love the company.
JA Replies: Arconmedia made the DVD of Wyrd Sisters a while back and were talking of releasing the DVD of Soul Music this year. Maybe you should contact them to see if they will also release an NTSC VHS version.
* From: "Martina" ( )
Hello, everybody! My name is Martina and I'm one of the few Pratchett fans in Bulgaria. I think he's really great and he makes me laugh like mad. The heroes in his books are so true, I love Death, Rincewind, and Vetinari. I have read all his books I could find here (23) and we still don't have translations of the books about the witches! Can you imagine? I hope they will be translated soon and I would like to know are there other TP fans in my country, except me and my friends? If there are please contact me, it's nice to know that you are not alone.... Otherwise DWM is a great idea. I wish you new TP fans in the new millennium!!!!
* From: "Janita Hopkins" ( )
This is in reference to Rita Ventura's letter last month. I am in Texas and began reading Discworld books after a visit to England many years ago. I became an avid fan but was unable to find many of the books in the States, so I got on line and found Alphabetstreet was more than willing to ship them to me. I put a rush on the shipments and get the books within a week of publication. This way I don't have to wait months or years before they are printed in the States. It is nice that The Truth was released in the US at the same time that it was released in the UK. But, like many other readers, I like the UK covers better, and although I bought it here, I will probably buy future books through Alphabetstreet. I love to visit London but can't afford to every time a Discworld book is released, so this is my solution.
* From: "Franklin Fisk" ( )
I sometimes think that I am the only Pratchetteer in Texas.
* From: "Josh" ( )
I have a question to put to... well, that's basically the question. What are Pratchett fans called? Do we have a snappy name like "Trekkies" ('Diskies'?), or something more sophisticated like Discworldarians, or discophiliacs? We have to have something... Any suggestions?
* From: "Lizmari" ( )
The last issue of Discworld Monthly was my first and I'm sure it won't be the last. I'm just rising to the challenge of another South African fan (namely Fiona Weeks) who challenged all South African fans to show themselves. So here I am taking my little bow. Also, I wanted to know whether there ever has been/will be performances of the Discworld plays in South Africa because it sounds like a real treat and I would love to attend.
* From: "Neerav" ( )
I must agree with "Sean Wright" ( ) as to the general non funniness of The Truth, I felt is was a big letdown after all the time I spent waiting for it mainly because I usually find many "laugh out loud" moments in a Discworld book, but The Truth only resulted in 2 or 3.
Discworld books recently (last 5-10 books) have become much more crime fiction compared to the old classics such as Reaper Man which were genuinely funny, entertaining, and satirical fantasy with different levels of meaning. I hope this trend is reversed with The Thief of Time.
Does anyone else feel this way?
WB replies: I thought The Truth was the best of the recent books.
* From: "Matthew Gale" ( )
Why does everyone insist plays of Pratchett's work should be word for word identical to books! I remember the first, and only, Pratchett play I went to see my friend complained all the way through "its not a quote" "that's not right" "it didn't happen like that" and I hear similar things through your newsletter. Plays have artistic license, they're not books, and if they want to change the plot that's fine by me as long as it doesn't lack quality, plays are an original idea on their own. In the play I went to see, Guards Guards, I thought the altered dialogue was an improvement! So hah!
DWM replies: Well, that's us told.
* From: "Asan Gany, Hasseena Begum (Hasseena)" ( )
Has anyone carried out a survey on the age group of TP fans? I am 32, reside in Malaysia and have been reading Discworld books since 1992. I realise that I am not the 'oldest fan' but could be one of the elite few as the majority of the fans that write to this newsletter seem to be STUDENTS! Since I discovered Discworld books, I have not read anything more enlightening, more original and funny as them. (exception: Tolkien and PG Wodehouse, I lump in the same class as TP) I wait eagerly for the latest books, we get the latest books really fast here-thank God, and I've got a standing order at one of the bookshops to call me as soon as the latest book arrives.
I would love to chat via e-mail to anyone out there who wants to write to me regarding the Discworld, TP or the UK (which happens to be my fav country)
JA replies: Whilst we have done surveys in the past, the amount of extra effort it demands from us is amazing. Can you imagine going through hundreds of email extracting the relevant information, remembering that HTML email makes this even harder having to mess around with all the (FONT) tags? We may consider putting up a form on the website some time, which would make it much easier to consolidate the information.
* From: "Daniel Klein" ( )
Are there any Discworld plays in the US or Canada? It would be great if you could ask in DW Monthly or just respond yourself, thanks.
JA replies: If we find out about any plays then we will put the information in the next available newsletter. But we do rely on fans letting us know in advance.
* From: "Sean Wright" ( )
Thought that I might drop a note to DWM to tell you about the response to my posting re TP's new novel The Truth. I have no idea what DWM's response has been but for my part I have received over 30 e-mails ranging from a 12 year old girl in the UK to a grandmother in Israel all supporting my opinion totally. I would just like to state in DWM (as I have to all of the correspondents to me) that my love of TP's works has not wavered one iota and that I remain a totally ardent fan. If the man never wrote another book (God forbid!) his contribution to Fantasy fiction (FantFict?) is beyond measure. Roll on The Thief Of Time!!
* From: "Cathryn Johns" ( )
In reply to Fiona:
I accept your challenge to any South Africans reading DWM - I have been subscribed to it for about 6 months or so, so don't feel alone! (Well, I did, until I saw your letter, but now there are two ....) Actually, SA isn't totally neglected by things Discworld and Pterry-ish - I don't know where you are in South Africa, but about 2 years PTerry came round on a book signing tour, and actually gave a lecture at the University of Cape Town (UCT) (legend here has it that the part in Reaper Man about the trolleys was based on a RAG event that PTerry saw at UCT - a trolley race around campus and down Jammie Steps, where one team member is in the trolley, and the 2nd team member pushes it - I don't know whether this is true or not, but it's nice to think it might be!) Anyway, back to the main point: we have even had some Discworld plays performed, here in Cape Town - the Simonstown Players put on a performance of Wyrd Sisters, which was actually pretty good. And of course, we also get all the calendars and diaries. So we shouldn't feel too ignored down here!
* From: "Luke Goaman-Dodson" ( )
Regarding some recent issues in DWM:
"Millenium hand & shrimp" has no meaning - it was first invented when Terry Pratchett was messing around with a program called Babble (with which you would feed words in and it would try and create "natural" sentences from them).
I never had any trouble introducing Discworld to my family - I first got into it because my brother used to read them.
Regarding Woden - Woden is the Anglo-Saxon name for Odin. I believe the tradition of naming days after gods was borrowed from the Romans - eg, Jupiter's Day becomes Thuror's Day (Thursday), and so on.
As a final note: does anyone else feel that the Discworld is too modern, and not fantastic enough any more? We never see octarine any more, or Bel-Shamharoth, or druids, or anything like that.
JA replies: Wasn't Bel-Shamharoth killed by Rincewind and co during the Colour of Magic?
* From: "yoav lubelsky" ( )
Let me say that I really enjoy your newsletter. It lets me know I'm not all alone in the world. The only problem is that since the TP fans community in Israel is not that big (probably due to the fact that most people don't read English and the translations are shameful so all of the jokes even those not based on play of words are lost) only the paperback addition arrives here so I read comments about the new book in DW monthly and then have to wait a whole year before I can read the actual book. Naturally I spend this time rereading the previous books so I'm not being Pratchett deprived while waiting. Happy century to all.
* From: "Todd A Clark" ( )
I am unsure if this has been noted anywhere, but there must be a Discworld fan out there at one of the pinball manufacturers (Bally/Midway, I believe.)
While playing Cabaret Voltaire at a local arcade, I noticed something quite odd. As you lose each ball during the course of play, you are give a score by a trio of "judges" who appear on the monochrome video screen, each having a small picture and a name. During one game, one of the judges was obviously a crudely-drawn wizard, miniature pointy hat and beard included. And lo-and-behold, his name was Rincewind! I can't imagine this being just a coincidence. Hopefully there are others out there who have been pleasantly surprised by this Discworld reference in a very odd place.
* From: "Sockii" ( )
I got to say that I laughed aloud on the very first page of The Truth, wherein 2 dwarves were discussing turning lead into gold. But I will also stand up and admit that I *like* panto (although I will draw the line at 'knock knock' jokes).
What I got out of TT:
Laughs which are amusing, more so because the theme is dark. (And, for a change, understandable to me.)
I sympathise with William de Worde, if only because real life 'public' frequently goes against commonsense
I like the different portrayal of the previous major characters; Discworld is _not_ a serial series (if you like those types, go read the Xanth books)... it just happens to use the same characters (most of the time). Otoh, I would *lurve!!!!!!* more about Otto Chriek. He's da man^W..uh, vamp! ;-)
The philosophical-type stuff: no matter how hard children try to become their own person, they will always be influenced by their parents.
is family more important than yourself? which would you rather sacrifice?
This could be the first "everyday man" Discworld hero; William is just a man (albeit one who has had an education and upper-class influence) with no special powers (unlike Rincewind the Wizzard), hereditary (unlike Carrot) or lawfully (unlike Vimes) or influentially (unlike Cohen or the Witches).
I also like how the novel progresses, and the scenery and the action scenes. I also *lurve* the standoff between WdW and the Engravers Guild.
* From: "Hill Tina" ( )
Can you tell me what 'The Thief of Time' is likely to be about? I understand this will be the new book available from May 2001 - which is a long time to wait - I will have to go back to the beginning AGAIN and re read all the Discworld series from the start!
DWM replies: The Thief of Time is about the management of time and will be released in May 2001.
* From: "Musikfolk" ( )
In a recent issue TP was asking people to look out for his missing Legends Limited Edition being one of those issued for the contributors. What does not seem to have been mentioned is that "Legends" was also issued in a Signed Limited Edition for sale to the public. It was a Numbered Limited Edition of 200 only issued in a slipcase. ISBN 0-312-86863-4 with a retail price of US$250.00 or Canadian $350.00 and sold out very very quickly. The only copies seen since then for sale were going at US$750.00 and it is understood that this would now be considered cheap.
This is marginally related to translation in that it's English to American... May I recommend (highly) Nigel Rees' opus 'Not Tonight Josephine A-Z of over 1200 catchphrases and their origins'. This book helped me make sense of a lot of phrases such as "Bob's your uncle", "pull the other one...", "daft as a brush", as well as a lot of other phrases that don't even make it onto the American linguistic radar map. The ISBN is 0-304-357391-1. I got mine from Past Times but it is probably available at other places too.
* From: "Eugenia Andino" ( )
My name is Eugenia. I live in Seville, a biggish city in South Spain with a (to me) unbelievable resemblance with Ankh-Morpork. Let me explain this; in Ankh-Morpork, thieving is legal as long as the thief gives you a receipt to prove that he belongs to the Guild of Thieves. Am I right? Okay.
In Seville, for the last more-than-ten-less-than-twenty years, the whole of the city centre, and some other parts of the city with active businesses, have had men, generally drug-addicts, who would pretend to show you where you could park your car and help you park it. This was all an excuse to blackmail you into giving them some change, because otherwise they would scratch the car or stab the wheels.
This created a lot of tension and the police did nothing to solve it, until someone had the brilliant idea of creating an association of "long-term unemployed men", who would not so blatantly blackmail you and who would hand you a small piece of coloured paper if you gave them exactly 75 pesetas. Ehem. The drug-addicts were called "gorrillas", Spanish for "caps", and the "legal" ones do wear caps. So, I think that the Seville guy who invented the Guild of Caps must have been a big fan of Discworld books!
DWM replies: Letter of the Month goes to Eugenia
* From: "Benjamin Ash" ( )
After reading Sean Wright's letter in issue 45, I thought I'd better defend Mr Pratchett. I think 'The Truth' was one of his more enjoyable books. It's always good when a book focuses on new characters, such as Small Gods and Pyramids (two of my favourites), as the author doesn't have to fit the story around characters whose behaviour and joke possibilities are known. It allows him to come up with new jokes, and ways to resolve the storyline in which existing characters could not.
As for being two dimensional, William de Worde's background was established from the beginning. His self exile from his family, and self induced poverty was the key to resolving the storyline. Saacharissa offered a will they/won't they plot element not seen since Carrot and Angua's courting days.
I'd like to see more novels based on new characters (with a liberal sprinkling of guest appearances). I'm not saying that the Rincewind/Watch/Witches books are getting stale, but variety, as they say, is the spice of life.
Go and buy 'The Truth'. Tell 'em I sent ya.
DWM adds: We all agree with you, Ben.
Simon Greener ( )
DWM adds: For once, the staff at DWM got all of the first 5 right. Unfortunately we didn't get any of the second 5 though.
Section 1: Beginnings and Endings.
Following are quotes from five of Mr Pratchett's finest. The first and last lines of five of his books - the question is... which book?
"In a distant and second-hand set of dimensions, in an astral plane that was never meant to fly, the curling star-mists waver and part...."
"There didn't seem to be any alternative."
"This is a story about memory."
"It's here to stay."
"Now read on..."
"And from the empty hillside, only the silence of the elves."
"They say the world is flat and supported on the back of four elephants who themselves stand on the back of a giant turtle."
" 'Wolves never look back,' he whispered."
"Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree."
"After a while, it began to melt in the sun."
Section 2: Footnotes
The following are also quotes from five more of Mr Pratchett's finest. Again, the question is... which book?
"Some translation is needed here. If a foreign ambassador to the Court of St James wore (out of a genuine desire to flatter) a bowler hat, a claymore, a Civil War Breastplate, Saxon trousers and a Jacobean haircut, he'd create pretty much the same impression"
"The phrase 'Set a thief to catch a thief' had by this time (after strong representations from the Thieves Guild) replaced a much older and quintessentially Ankh-Morporkian proverb, which was 'Set a deep hole with spring-loaded sides, tripwires, whirling knife blades driven by water power, broken glass and scorpions, to catch a thief.' "
"As a, member of the dead community Reg Shoe naturally thought of himself as an ethnic majority."
"Racism was not a problem on the Discworld, because - what with trolls and dwarfs and so on - speciesism was more interesting. Black and white lived in perfect harmony and ganged up on green."
"Of course, Ankh-Morpork's citizens had always claimed that the river water was incredibly pure in any case. Any water that had passed through that many kidneys, they reasoned, had to be very pure indeed."
Answers as always, appear in the final section.
While a lot of people came to the Discworld through Josh's covers, there are also a good number who were and are put off by them - a number of reviewers mentioned that they'd never have bought a book with a Kirby style cover as they found them off-putting, and only first read one (and were converted) as they'd been given a copy to review, so *had* to open the book and read it. That was why Corgi tried the alternative 'Viritruvian Turtle' cover by Stephen Player, to see whether it would make a difference, but the planned arrangement with W.H.Smith to put these in their general fiction areas was ruined by local managers most of whom insisted in putting both versions in the horror/sf/fantasy section, which defeated the whole point of the exercise. Thus there were only 15,800 copies of that version ever sold as against over 750,000 of the Corgi edition with the Kirby cover.
Yes, I'd like to volunteer to help with the proposed DiscworldCon
Mailing Address (please include country):
Here's how I'd like to help:
The story (if you didn't already know) is based around the premise that Sam Vimes is sent as an official diplomat of Ankh Morpork to the coronation of the new Low King (a very important Dwarf figure) and with help negotiates prices for fat supplies (for candles and such like). Obviously nothing goes quite to plan and Sam alternates between playing politician, policeman and lunch.
Stephen's reading voice is very easy to listen to and you soon find yourself drawn into the various voices and accents he uses to help the story along. Carrot and the rest of the dwarves have welsh accents and the Gaspode talks a bit like a street wise barrow boy from a market.
As this is the first novel for a long time not read by Nigel Planer there will be obvious comparisons made by readers - however both have different styles and I found Stephen's slightly more relaxing. I don't remember thinking at any point that a particular voice didn't fit a character.
This is also the first of the Discworld ISIS audio books that needs ten cassettes which unfortunately pushes it up into a slightly higher price band. It will be quite interesting to see how many tapes The Truth fits onto.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to TFE on audio books as I have with all the others I own. The audio books are the closest format conversion from the novel that you will ever get and I feel that they provide many hours of entertainment.
For more information about ISIS audio books contact Peter Johnson on or visit their web site at www.isis-publishing.co.uk
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Book One - Colour of Magic
Book Two - Soul Music
Book Three - Lords and Ladies
Book Four - The Fifth Elephant
Book Five - Hogfather
Book Six - Pyramids
Book Seven - Guards! Guards!
Book Eight - The Fifth Elephant
Book Nine - Witches Abroad
Book Ten - Sourcery
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