Discworld Monthly - Issue 56: December 2001
Table of Contents:
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Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Lemmy's Evil Offspring)
Here's the jacket blurb for the new book by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, due to be published next May by Ebury Press, with a superb cover illustration by Paul Kidby.
Enter the wizards of the Unseen University who, in the best-selling "The Science of Discworld", unwittingly created Earth and our own universe. At the time they quite failed to notice humanity. (Well, we've only been around for a million years, so we're easily overlooked...) But now, at last, they've found us.
In "The Science of Discworld II" science writers Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen join forces again with fantasy author Terry Pratchett to see just what happens as the wizards battle against the elves. The Renaissance, for example, is given a push. London is replaced by a dozy Neanderthal village. The role of fat women in art is developed. And one very famous playwright gets born and writes The Play.
"The Globe" is a unique book, weaving together a fast-paced Discworld novelette with cutting edge scientific commentary on the evolution and development of the human mind, culture, language, art, and science. The result - as the wizards grapple with the nature of Good and Evil, and history is rewritten several times over - is a fascinating and brilliantly original view of the world we live in.
Did you know that LORDS AND LADIES is about to be staged for the first time in the UK (if not the world)? [Are you sure? - Ed] The Southwick Players, a well-known amateur dramatic society based in Southwick, near Brighton, Sussex, will be performing Lords and Ladies at the Barn Theatre, Southwick Street, Southwick, from 5th to 8th December 2001. Performances start at 7.45 p.m.
Not only have we managed to arrange a photoshoot with the great Mr Pratchett himself (at Border Bookshop, Churchill Square, Brighton, on Friday 23rd November) but we have also invited him to attend one of the performances.
For more information call the Box Office on 01273 597094. Tickets are 6.00 GBP, 5.00 GBP and 4.00 GBP and there is a group discount available to parties of ten or more.
On Sunday December 2nd there will be a jolly and festive gathering in the Discworld Emporium; for that star of stage, screen, and the written word, Mr Terry Pratchett, will be there signing books, and anything else that's thrust before him.
There is promised to be a full supporting cast, including that well-known thespian Mr Stephen Briggs, along with the celebrated daubist Mr Paul Kidby.
We have been assured that the Cheerfulness Fairy herself will honour us with her presence, and may be persuaded to lead the community singing. Needless to say, we will be launching just one or two unconsidered little trifles, and there will of course be mince pies, mulled wine, and other festive sweetmeats given free to those who turn up.
We plan to start the proceedings from 2pm and I dare say it will go on for a few hours. Local pubs do lunches, and if you want to make a weekend of it we have a list of good places to stay. The last time Terry came here it was a real gas, and this time it's not only on a Sunday, but there will be more space to spread out in as we are renting the public rooms of a local pub - so queuing might actually be fun.
Anybody turning up in Discworld costume will be given a prize: anybody turning up in a taffeta skirt and wellington boots will be looked on pityingly.
Hope to see you there - it's going to be a real start to the Christmas season!
The Cunning Artificer, 41 High St., Wincanton, Somerset BA9 9JU
Tel: (01963) 824686
Fax: (01963) 824671
Web: www.artificer.co.uk/ Email: Isobel Pearson ( )
Stephen Briggs now has a web site. You can find our more about Stephen at www.cmotdibbler.com The site is still under development but should soon have all the bits in the right places.
Stocks of the Discworld jigsaws puzzles are now fixed for the Christmas period at Out of The Hat. If you wish to purchase any please do so soon to avoid disappointment! www.awin1.com/tclick.php?id=10984&mid=90
A small community theatre company in Australia will be performing 'Wyrd Sisters' early next year. As huge fan of Terry's work they have been lobbying for this for about 2 years and finally gotten their way. The venue is the Boilerhouse Community Arts Centre in Sunbury Vic. For more information email
A simple test has been set up that determines which member of the City Watch you're most like. If you'd like to find if you are more of a Carrot than a Nobbs visit: http://www.selectsmart.com/FREE/select.php?client=bang
Colin Smythe writes: I've been told by James Murray that the University of Leicester has named one of the country's most powerful supercomputers "Hex" after Ponder Stibbons' creation at Unseen University. The Leicester "Hex" is the heart of a new Mathematical Modelling Centre and it is being put to the task of, amongst other things, making gold by colliding stars, and modelling the destruction of Ancient Minoan civilisation.
Naturally, in order to run the machine they have had to find students very much like those from the Discworld novels... and of course the Unseen University's Faculty is very much in evidence too. After graduating "nullus anxietas" from a university in XXXX, James joined the Arch-chancellor (who now lectures stellar evolution), the librarian (recently voted the sixth most popular bachelor in Leicestershire) and the Bursar. Dried frog pills have become a dietary staple for most of the group, especially after lectures in room 3B.
Good Omens will be published by Ace Books in the US in December. The ISBN is 0-441-00861-5 and the book should retail for 13.95 USD.
Please note, DWM has no way of checking the veracity or validity of
any of the items in our small ads section. As always, exercise
caution when giving out your details over the Internet. We
*strongly* recommend parental supervision for younger readers who
follow up any of these contacts.
Cable Street Particulars has changed address and design AGAIN. It's now located as part of Azrael's Domain at members.optushome.com.au/adomain. The helpful thing about the new design and all is that the information will be updated more often and promptly (well, that's the plan). There is also a message board there so please, sign up and post some messages about Discworld or anything at all. If you wish to leave a note on the sad passing of Josh Kirby, please do so.
Leigh Johnson ( ) is trying to locate a pack of Discworld playing cards (if such a thing exists) or the rules for cripple Mr Onion.
Greebo is pleased to announce that he has RETURNED to Room 3B
http://boards.eesite.com/board.cgi?boardset=room3b) bringing with
him several old friends - so let the mayhem begin! And bring the
Janardhan Ramachandran ( ) writes: I read my first Discworld novel "The Last Continent" last year by sheer accident. I have since then become a confirmed a PTerry fan. Apart from TLC I have only read "Lords and Ladies" but I have read both of them more than 10 times. Sadly there aren't many PTerry readers in India. I would sure like to get in touch with fellow Indian admirers of Terry. I am a management student at NITIE, Mumbai.
Lilla Rytwinska ( ) will be spending a few days in Oxford thanks to her company. The trip is of course not for pleasure, but for training. Lillia would like to know where she can buy Discworld gadgets in either Oxford or London.
Michelle Browne ( writes: I'm a 30 year old mother of two and my partner thinks I'm very strange as I have all the Discworld books and read and re-read them again and again. I would love to email others like me who can't quite grow out of Pratchett books (nor do I want to!) I live in Northern Ireland and have honestly never met another fan, I was beginning to think I was very alone in my fascination with Discworld. I have to say that Death is my favourite character - who could be scared of something that loves cats and eats curries!
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Each month the writer of the month's best letter will receive two Discworld badges with Terry quotes on them from Snapdragon Gifts. You can contact Snapdragon Gifts at or www.snapdragongifts.com. Please mention DWM in any correspondence.
* From: "Terry Pratchett" (email address withheld)
David A Harvey more or less has me bang to rights. 19th Century Seattle is a major contributor to Ankh-Morpork; in fact, David missed a bit...
The Seamstresses: I hadn't heard that story, but I did hear one about the time the city fathers ordered a search of one street where 89 seamstresses lived and found one needle. 'Seamstress', though, crops up elsewhere in the West as a polite term for ladies of negotiable affection.
Yep, Seattle had rat farms (and so did Imperial China, I found out; I guess as soon as someone pays a bounty on rat tails, commerce rears its head.)
Involuntary suicide is a bit of a stretch, but (see 'The Truth') Seattle did try the prevent flooding in a low-lying downtown area by raising the streets the height of one storey. Houses built on an extra storey, turning the original ground floor rooms into cellars. It wasn't until later that people got around to raising the sidewalks, which remained at the old level. People had to use ladders to cross the street.
It's a great city. Try the clam chowder at Jack's, in Pike Place.
Hey, I just moved to Rochester NY and in one of the nearby towns is a restaurant called Diballah's (I hope I spelled it right) I hope to be able to submit a picture and review soon. Though I think I will stay away from the sausage in a bun...
* From: "Helen Dent" ( )
I was wondering if you could help me with something that has been annoying me for a while now. In the book 'The Fifth Elephant' there is a continuing reference to Uncle Vanya's Trousers, and although I assumed this was meant to be funny, I just didn't get it. I had never heard of anything even vaguely related to Uncle Vanya's trousers, until I saw a documentary the other night about an actress who starred in a theatre production of ... Uncle Vanya. However, there was no mention whatsoever of trousers so I am still at a loss, so if anyone could enlighten me please...? Am I missing something obvious?
DWM replies: Uncle Vanya is a play by Chekov, the guy off Star Trek.
* From: "Judy Conroy" ( )
In the last newsletter Davida mentioned the term "involuntary suicide" in connection to people falling down a gap between the street and the shop front - anything up to 36 feet. It sounded to me like she was describing something like S B Johnson's Hoho in the Patricians garden: is this another Seattle inspiration or have I got the imagery wrong?
* From: Luke McDonald ( )
I've never been so insulted in ALL my life as by form tutor the other day. Whilst going through my personal statement for uni she noticed that for my hobbies I put that I like to read Terry Pratchett books and that I've read Lord of the Rings. She said that Terry Pratchett was throw away literature and that he was not a man of words, she also said that Lord of the Rings was a kids book. Dont worry my fellow fans I set her straight. I said: THROW AWAY LITERATURE THE MAN IS A GOD, HE WAS APPOINTED OBE IN 98, AND I'M SURE HE GOT AN HONORARY DEGREE OR DR STATUS FOR WORDS, I THEN ACCUSED HER OF BEING THE OFFSPRING OF NOBBY NOBBS AND THAT IF SHE WERE A HEDGEHOG SOMEONE WOULD DOUBLE THEIR EFFORTS TO MAKE SURE THAT SHE COULD BE BUGGERED, AND THAT MISSY IS ALL. At this point I stormed out of the room.
* From: "Davies, Ruth" ( )
Re: Raj's question last month about the origin of the name Politician.
Policeman and politician both come from the same greek 'root' - polis, or people, town, city (roughly speaking). Both therefore 'serve the people'. A policeman does this by protecting them, a politician by representing their interests and/or by leading them. Vetinari is pointing out to Carrot that they really have the same ultimate goal - the protection/betterment of Ankh-Morpork.
DWM replies: Thanks also to everyone else who answered this query.
* From: ARTISTS UK ( )
We have written an obituary of Josh Kirby that is available for you to read on our website at (
www.artistuk.net). If you would
like to send a card to his partner Jackie then send it to me here at
Artists UK and I will send them all on to her with my own
condolences. The address is Artists UK, 106 Melbreck, Ashurst,
Skelmersdale, Lancashire WN8 6SZ. We worked closely with Josh in
publishing the Limited Edition Discworld prints and I spoke to him
only a couple of weeks ago after finishing a publishing project we
had worked on. He was full of life and inspired regarding a new
'Voyage of the Ayeguy' painting he was working on so it was a great
shock for me to hear of his death. He will be very much missed both
here and on the Discworld.
* From: "Heather Mohieddeen" ( )
I just want to write to say how sorry I am to hear of the death of Josh Kirby. The Discworld will not be the same without his intriguing covers. I always find myself studying the covers before reading the books to see which characters will be in the book and what they'll be up to. Then I go back to the cover after I've finished and pick out the references to events in the book which are scattered throughout the cover. The characters depicted on the cover are not how I see the characters inside the book, but they are a group of parallel and much loved people, and I will miss them very much.
I never knew Josh, or even met him, I only knew him through his work. But I am sorry to hear of his death and offer my sincere condolences to his family and friends.
DWM replies: Heather's letter is representative of the many letters we received with condolences for Josh's family. Josh died peacefully in his sleep aged 72 on Tuesday 23rd October 2001. As we've mentioned before in DWM we attended Josh's talk at the Discworld Convention in 1998. The retrospective of his art was enlivened by Josh's witty commentary - we will alway cherish the memory of his efforts to use the projector. Josh's covers formed an integral part of the impact of those early books - I will never be able to look at the covers of the Colour of Magic or The Light Fantastic without feeling a surge of fond nostalgia. Sadly missed.
* From: Farah Shehadeh ( )
I was just wandering when Death SPEAKS LIKE THIS is it like telepathy or is it magic because they say that the people hear him but his voice doesn't bother to go through the ears so I don't get it!
DWM replies: Yes!
* From: "Samuel Vimes" ( )
I am a student in Oxford and was delighted and amazed to find that Men At Arms was being performed at the Old Fire Station Theatre. I was there on the first night, and I have to say that it was one of the most enjoyable nights I have had.
I felt I had to add to the article in the previous issue since, although heaping praise on these fine thespians, it was not enough. In particular the scene between Vimes (in the tub) and Wilikins was superb. One for Vimes' 'ancient geyser' joke and secondly for Wilikins' straight face throughout.
I have to agree though that one of the undoubted stars of the show was young Boffo. An excellent actress, she made the part her own. The chemistry between Carrot and Angua was very good and it was an excellent scene between them which rounded off an excellent production. However there were too many things good about the performance for me to write. Praise to all!
I wait in eagerness for the next Discworld production here in Oxford. (And hopefully someone from the cast will be reading this so they'll put on another Discworld production)
DWM replies: I suspect if you could get to Abingdon you might find a certain Stephen Briggs whose group perform many Discworld plays.
* From: "Stan Flatters" ( )
I received my very first Discworld Monthly this November, excellent stuff! I had managed to reach 55 without discovering Discworld, and only by chance (Fate or the Lady?) found an unread copy of "The Witches Trilogy" in a charity shop for 2 GBP! Now of course I'm hooked and making up for lost time, having managed to collect fifteen of the Discworld series in three months. The piggy bank has been given its pre-med ready for "The Last Hero". I recently made some dwarf bread as per "Nanny Ogg's Cookbook", I gave it a real pounding and it is hard! It is certainly beyond my NHS dentures! Having made it a nice label, it now resides on the bookshelf ready to surprise a burglar! I certainly didn't connect Walter to Frank Spencer ("Maskerade" Matt Carter's letter, Nov.) but of course once it's pointed out....
* From: "Sharla Hardy" ( )
First I want to ask if there is a definitive list of Terry Pratchett short stories. I don't want to die with anything he wrote unread. Then in loose comments to other letters to Discworld Monthly - I can't speak for the US, but I live in northern California and have never heard of "Some Mothers..." I'm going to snoop around and see if I can find someone with something on tape. It sounds like a gap I ought to fill.
And as for "...almost laughed her intravenous drip loose", that may not have gotten letter of the month, but I vote for it to get best sentence. Hope the convalescence is going well.
DWM replies: We're not aware of a definitive list but some of our back issues provide a pretty thorough rundown. Regarding 'Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em', it *really* isn't that great, in our opinion.
* From: Alex_Cowley ( )
With reference to the book Big Kevin Little Kevin.
I've never heard of this book but I suspect I know where this rumour came from. Terry wrote an article for the winter 1993 issue of "The Author" entitled "Kevins". It was a irreverent look at his fans (ie. us). The title is apparently his wife's term for us.
* From: "Pa|la "puppetmaster" Dorfman" ( )
I recently read an unknown short story by PTerry. I want to say now that I am indeed a fan, because the story, entitled "Once and Future", was not only sad, poorly written, and boring, but it blatantly ripped off Larry Niven's "Flight of the Horse".
Pterry's story was based on a theme of a time machine slipping into a parallel fantasy world. Not only did "Flight of the Horse" use this idea 30 years ago, but it did it a whole lot better than Pratchett's weak story.
I'm an American, if you can't tell from my spelling, and I want to know if anyone else has read this. I personally tried to convince myself that someone else had used his name. What else is there to say?
* From: "K J Will" ( )
I have been interested in Norse Mythology lately and in particular, the similarities that many of the gods have with the gods of Discworld (eg Hoki-Loki). I then wondered if PTerry would ever consider making a book about Discworld Mythology, with profiles on the major gods and maybe even some stories/myths about them? What do you think? (An idea for a website at least?) Also, I'm interested in chatting to others who enjoy reading about Norse Mythology. So if you do, or know any good websites about it, plz let me know!
DWM replies: hmm, isn't there enough spin-off books circulating already?
* From: Martin Burke ( )
I have looked into the mystery of Big Kevin and Little Kevin. This point was raised back in DW29 when Karl Urich of Texas mentioned that he'd seen this book by Terry Pratchett on Amazon.co.uk. However, I believe the book to which you are referring is actually "Big Kevin, Little Kevin" which was published in 1999 by Ebury Press and is a cookery book by Kevin Belton, a 6'9" former American Footballer and Kevin Woodford, a 5'7" Liverpudlian chef.
I do not know where the idea that this is a PTerry book has come from, but I do know that Amazon have an area entitled "People who bought this book also bought..." and it is possible that this is where the link between the two came from. Quite why Ottakar picked up on this would be anybody's guess, however. All part of God's ineffable plan, although this does only add weight to the argument that God's ineffable plan has gone a bit awry and he's just making it up as he goes at this point.
* From: "Barbara and Ian Dunsmuir" ( )
Thanks to all those who replied about the book "Big Kevin, Little Kevin". I am now assured that Ottakars had made a slight mistake and had a book listed under PTerry which was in fact a cookery book. An easy mistake and will not stop me and many other PTerry fans trying to find anything which PTerry has his name against.
I look forward to meeting PTerry at my local Ottakars soon when he will be signing copies of his new books - can't wait to read these!
DWM replies: Why not get a copy of Big Kevin, Little Kevin and get Terry to sign that for you as well!
* From: "Elisabeth Meister" ( )
My husband just told me that in Peter F. Hamilton's latest sf-novel, 'Fallen Dragon', which is set in the 24th century, there's a reference to Terry Pratchett. It reads as follows:
"Ring Empires and little green princes on a quest, indeed. Why not
just give them the classics like Pratchett and Tolkien?"
"I don't think they're very relevant to today."
"That's such a shame. They might be archaic, but they're lovely
just thought it was nice ;-)
* From: "Mother - Ann Johnson" ( )
Did anyone see the article about some women having the ability to distinguish a "pinkesh green" color? ... being that this color was described quite clearly by Terry, I thought it would be fun to find more about this research.
* From: "Thelma I. Johnson" ( )
In issue #54, I enquired whether anyone else out there was an over-50 TP fan. Well, the answer would appear to be a resounding "Yes". I have now had 42 replies with more still coming in. Regions represented: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Greece, Germany, Holland, England, Scotland, Wales and the U.S.A. (Whew!) Ages range from a mature 23 to a young 72. Since it's going to take some time to reply individually to all, I have set up a Yahoo group. Anyone wishing to join us oldsters can go to yahoo.ca and enter terrypratchettgroup in the search function and, if a miracle occurs, they may actually get in. Go ahead, take a chance. Many thanks to you for running my request and to all those who answered. Have faith, you will hear from me eventually.
* From: "Derek Fisher" ( )
Well done for the writer of Discworld Monthly, and I own every copy of the Discworld Novels (having just converted to hardbacks when the Fifth Elephant was released). This week, I will buy the "Last Hero" to fully complete the novel collection.
However as I am deaf myself I would love to see a "subtitled" film version of any Discworld Novels. So far I have found just one on DVD format, however it is not subtitled. I felt disappointed, as I was hoping that a subtitled version will be finally released since I found it on VHS a year or two ago.
My only hope is through you, is to find whatever a subtitled version will be released.
DWM replies: It's a shame that the DVD producers didn't include any subtitles on the disc as DVD is capable of handling multiple sound tracks and subtitles on a single disc. Surely it wouldn't have been that difficult to add this as an option? In small way of compensation Derek gets Letter of the Month.
* From: Casey ( )
My first book was the Fifth Elephant, since then I flew through every book featuring the Watch. When I finished them I moved onto Granny Weatherwax and her coven which I like almost as much. I can't believe how good these books are, I wish that I would have started them earlier. If anyone wants to chat about them feel free to email me, I don't know anyone else who likes them.
* From: "Adam" ( )
I just found out that "Ramekin" means "fire proof dish". Our Sybil would need to be with all them dragons around... not so sure about the "dish" bit though, she always seems to be too "air hair lair" to be in that category!
DWM replies: Just don't let Sir Samuel hear you talking about his wife like that.
- Who provided the matches used to set light to the Broken Drum in The Colour of Magic?
- What is Adrian Turnipseed also known as?
- Who said the city wasa, wasa, wasa wossname. Thing. Woman.
- Who was disqualified from the human race for shoving?
- What type of bookworm can eat through a shelf of books so fast that it ricochets off the wall?
The answers can of course be found in the final section of the newsletter.
Each of the diaries provides a lot of background information about the guild and also short introductions from Lord Vetinari. Paul Kidby's excellent artwork is used to illustrate the various introductory texts and adds atmosphere to the diary.
The diary uses a week to a page format and features the now standard eight days to a week. The eighth day usually includes a term or phrase from the guild and a brief explanation of that term.
I am not sure who the diary is aimed at. I am sure many Discworld fans would string a person up for writing in one, so maybe they are to be put on the shelf to complete a Discworld collection, but they could be quite useful as a diary. The witty comments on each page may bring a smile to the hapless diary user.
I don't tend to use a diary myself so my views may be a little biased, but I am not a great fan of the Discworld Diaries. Don't get me wrong, they are as with most Discworld merchandise good quality, it's just they don't seem to fit in the same way as the maps or the plays. The background information about the Guilds is quite interesting, possibly useful and gives some insight into Terry's ideas for the guilds.
If you use a diary of if you just want it for your collection the retail price of the diary is 10.99GBP.
The prints include such subjects as Great A'Tuin, Moving Pictures, Mort, Pyramids, The Wyrmberg and Small Gods.
One of the first things that you notice with Jay's pictures is the vibrancy of the colours and the stunning level of detail. Moving Pictures for example includes an amazing camel that appears to be watching you. You almost get the impression you could reach into the picture and feel the fur on it - of course you wouldn't necessarily want to. Another feature of Jay's work is some of the unusual perspectives he uses. The picture of Rincewind and Twoflower flying on the back of a dragon looks amazing with the top and side of the Wyrmberg visible in the background.
All Jay's prints come on special archival quality 250gms acid free paper. The ink is also archival quality meaning you should get many years of satisfaction from them.
I bought several of Jay's prints at the Clarecraft event and have had them on various walls ever since. I would thoroughly recommend taking a look at this talented artist.
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* Birthday Triva Results *
Q1) Who provided the matches used to set light to the Broken Drum in The Colour of Magic?
Q2) What is Adrian Turnipseed also known as?
A2) Big Mad Drongo
Q3) Who said the city wasa, wasa, wasa wossname. Thing. Woman.
A3) Captain Vimes
Q4) Who was disqualified from the human race for shoving?
A4) Corporal Nobbs
Q5) What type of bookworm can eat through a shelf of books so fast that it ricochets off the wall?
A5) .303 bookworm
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