Discworld Monthly - Issue 73: May 2003
Table of Contents:1. Editorial
3. Readers' Letters
4. May Signing Tour Dates
5. "Eric" - Performing Pratchett Professionally
6. Review: The Truth Live in Australia
7. The End
Bernard & Isobel Pearson are hard at work getting all the final preparations sorted and Bernard has even been able to work on a new building. It currently has the working title 'The Hidden Temple of the History Monks' and was recently featured in 'Night Watch'.
Visit the web site at www.artificer.co.uk for more information about the event.
See you all there.
PS. We would also like to wish Terry a very happy birthday for Monday 28th April.
Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Building Site Manager)
I've only just noticed that issue 100 of SFX (January 2003) has a list of The Top 100 Characters in Science Fiction and Fantasy, in which Susan Sto-Helit is no. 78, Rincewind no. 75, and Samuel Vimes no. 44. Sadly neither Death nor any of the witches got a look-in...
More translation rights news:
Conrad in Brazil, De Boekerij in the Netherlands and Kenneret in Israel have signed up THE AMAZING MAURICE AND HIS EDUCATED RODENTS. Publication dates uncertain.
THE LAST HERO - coeditions are being produced for Proszynski (Polish), Talpress (Czech) and L'Atalante (French).
Proszynski as also going to be publishing a Polish edition of THE UNADULTERATED CAT.
Italian: Salani are issuing Pier Francesco Paolini's translation of PYRAMIDS as a paperback (originally published by Sonzogno).
Karisto will be publishing a Finnish edition of MOVING PICTURES.
Pocket are buying French language pocket book rights in MEN AT ARMS and SOUL MUSIC.
Purple Monkey will be performing "Maskerade" at the Queen Street
Central Hall, Scarborough, North Yorkshire on Thursday 15th May /
Friday 16th May / Saturday 17th May 2003. All performances begin at
Tickets are priced at 4GBP with concessions 3GBP. Concessions are oap's / children / students (NUS card required!!)
More details and booking information can be found at:
We have been told that The Argent Theatre group may be performing "Wyrd Sisters" at Robin Hood Theatre at Averham (nr Newark, Notts.) on June 6th 2003. Unfortunately we do not have any contact information about this and therefore cannot confirm it. If you know anything about this production, please let us know.
The Belper Players will be performing Wyrd Sisters on Wednesday 14 -
Friday 16 at 7.30pm and Saturday 17 May at 2.30pm and 7.30pm at the
Guild Hall Theatre in Derby. Tickets cost 5.50GBP and concessions
5GBP. Details and booking information can be located at:
For further information please contact Catherine Goadby on 07970 371827 or email
Night Watch has been selected as one of the finalists for this year's Prometheus Awards, given by the Libertarian Futurist Society.
The awards were created in 1979 by SF writer L. Neil Smith to honour libertarian fiction. Winners will be announced over the Labour Day weekend in Toronto in an awards ceremony at the World Science Fiction Convention, Torcon 3.
Other finalists include "Dark Light" by Ken MacLeod, "Escape From Heaven" by J. Neil Schulman, "The Haunted Air" by F. Paul Wilson and "Schild's Ladder" by Greg Egan.
It appears that Sergeant Colon may be getting a promotion in the fight against fatty foods. Colon Cancer Concern have created a new computer game character called Captain Colon whose job it is to fight off evil fatty foods in an attempt to high-light the dangers of colon cancer. More information can be found at www.coloncancer.org.uk/
BBC Lancashire will be running a competition to give away five copies of The Wee Free Men from the 28th April. The competition will run for three weeks and to enter you have to answer 10 multiple choice questions.
www.bbc.co.uk/lancashire/competitions for details.
If you want to chat live with other Discworld fans, a lively AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) Chat Room called THE BROKEN DRUM has been created. It starts to get busy from around 6pm (5pm GMT) and continues on until the early hours of the morning. Anyone is welcome to join in. To join the chat you need to have AIM installed, which can be downloaded free from the AOL website at www.aol.com/downloads
Once installed just enter aim:gochat?roomname=The+Broken+Drum into the location box of your browser or press ALT-C on the buddy list window, enter your own screen name on the invitation and set the room name to THE BROKEN DRUM.
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.
Joseph Sugarman writes: Does anyone know if there is any theatre putting on Pratchett plays in the US? If you have any information, please contact me. Also, I'm still looking for a PC version of any of the Discworld games.
The Lady writes: With the enquiry about Aussie Discworld fans in the last issue, I thought I would send in another plug for my Discworld group on msn @ groups.msn.com/AddictedtoDiscworld
We are planning another meet in Melbourne in July, so a heap of us can get together and party, and we would love to have even more members able to show. Of course, we welcome people from all over the world and we have members from the US, UK, South Africa, NZ, Asia, Europe and more. So come on over and check us out. We'd love to have some fresh meat.
Laoagst writes: Anybody in the Auckland area doing a Discworld play? Or anybody in the Auckland area interested in putting up a production of a Discworld play?
dabrowne writes: Two people emailed me a few weeks ago asking me to tell them if I got the TP audio books. Ian kindly sent them to me but I reinstalled Windows and forgot to backup old Outlook messages so I don't have the e-mails of these two people any more. If they are still interested in the audio books can they please email me again - sorry. :))
Robyn E Watts writes: Does anyone know of any theatre groups that run in the Brighton area? I can see that there are a few, but based in places like York. As an avid fan of TP and an enthusiastic drama student, I would love to get involved with something relating to his work. If anyone knows of anything, or can point me in the right direction, please let me know!
Martin Ross writes: Don't know if you remember an old Yahoo Club called the Watch House - well, when they moved us over to Groups, we found the advertising and the spammers unbearable, so we just moved over to our own messageboard system (thanks to phpBB) on www.tpdw.com
Malcolm Relton writes: I have one copy each of the City Watch Diary (1999) and the Assassins Guild Diary (2000) for sale. Both are in mint condition. All reasonable offers with be considered, but could you please use 'Discworld' somewhere in the message subject, or I'll delete it as junkmail!
Libby Main writes: Would anyone be interested in a Discworld Ball around Halloween time? We are the Anglesey Arms Hotel, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, North Wales and thought it would be a bit of a laugh to dress up and eat mad food... Any thoughts or interest please email me.
Yasmin Mazur writes: The Israeli Pratchett fan club site now contains a Discworld theme-songs section, as well as a coat-of-arms and mottos section, and several articles on the Discworld. Everybody is welcome to take a look and offer suggestions at the following address: warp9.to/israelipterryclub
Robert Harris writes: Has anyone got any spare copies of any [Discworld] graphic novels they wouldn't mind getting rid of? I've tried everywhere (well nearly, can't afford the bus fare to Wincanton!) and keep coming up a complete blank.
Andrew Brookes writes: I am looking for a mint English language copy of the 2000 Discworld Diary (Assassins Guild). Any reasonable offer will be considered - and I can't afford the 40 odd quid the last one on eBay went for, so don't bother trying ;)
Also, I *did* receive a copy of the German version of the diary (not accidentally, I thought it would be a novelty of sorts for my collection), but I lost the email address of the sender - so wherever you are, Cathy Seeholzer, thank you!
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 and clean your clock.
It is vitally important that you don't pass off other people's work as your own. If you use information from other resources please let us know so we can give proper credit.
The best letter of the month will receive an A3 print of Death in
the Kitchen courtesy of
Bonsai Trading. Bonsai Trading
is a Discworld store bringing you Clarecraft figurines, Diaries &
Calendars, Thud and much more.
* From: "Kim Hetrick"
My wife, Michele, and I are long time, enthusiastic Discworld fans from the USA. We live in the middle of the North American continent on the bit shaped like a mitten, just under the thumb, where your hand itches after your mitten gets damp from making snowballs. If you haven't a globe, an atlas, or a pair of mittens handy, that would be Dearborn, just next door to Detroit, in the state of Michigan.
As a wheelchair user, I find it hard to locate suitable role-models in the worlds of literature and cinema. Up until now, Professor Xavier in the X-Men has been one of the few who show any real get up and go, so to speak. My charming and devoted wife was delighted when she discovered Mad Hamish, in The Last Hero in the US market. She excitedly brought the book to me, and showed me, the moment she found it.
My feeling is that anything that gets my beautiful wife a) excited, and b) coming to me, is something I want to encourage. Having said this, as background please allow me to ask a question that has been on my mind ever since: Is Terry planning a book about Mad Hamish or, failing that, will he be making an appearance in another book any time soon?
We await your answer with baited breath. I assure you, if he becomes a tall figure in the Discworld, myriad wheelchairjockeys will carve ruts to the doors of booksellers to buy their own copies!
* From: "Neal Buccino"
"Moving Pictures" readers will find some resonance in this quote from Michael Ventura's 1993 book "Las Vegas: The Odds on Anything":
"Four hundred years before Las Vegas happened, Spanish conquistadors kept trying to find it. They were sure that somewhere to the north and west, across the great deserts, would be a city of gold and light, incredible riches, eternal youth, exquisite pleasures -- an intoxicating city of riches and dreams. Expedition after expedition failed to find it, yet they were sure. ... They would never know how right they were -- right that there was such a city, right that it lay in the great western desert. They were just wrong about when. The place itself was generating Vegas-vibe ... but (it) would need 400 more years to generate an actual Las Vegas -- a city of gold ..."
DWM replies: Neal gets this months letter of the month.
* From: "Alexandre Samarco"
The French translator adressed the Death problem by simply ignoring it. We are used to having male words referring to very feminine things (brightest example being le vagin and la verge) and vice versa. So La Mort being a male doesn't really worry us and we call it La Mort. Even so he is a male and the male pronoun is usually used whenever he is concerned, if I remember correctly. But even if they used the female pronoun, it wouldn't be shocking to us since all our words have a gender (male or female) regardless of what they refer to, even objects or abstract concepts such as Death. We are used to calling a male turtle, une tortue. I hope this answers your question.
* From: "LauraJ"
Due to some form of pretentiousness unaddressed by modern medicine, I have been trying to read PTerry in French (Harry Potter was quite good). The Translator of _Mortimer_ puts a footnote on the bottom page of Death's first appearance. "Once and for all, Death on Discworld is of the masculine gender." They should be used to nomenclature difficulties, what with men named Lamartine and women named Lenoir and so on.
I am appalled to hear what happened in the Spanish translation and feel that the publishers ought to have had more shame.
* From: "Mateus Y. R. S. Passos"
Conrad Books have already published the first FOUR Discworld novels (instead of the three you've mentioned on the last Discworld Monthly issue). They expect to release Sourcery in April, I guess.
* From: "Mikko Kuusirati"
Old Man Trouble is the Devil, as encountered in a lot of folklore - a more human, down-to-earth version of the Prince of Darkness: he has grandparents (often more feared than OMT himself) and other family, and is not quite the ever-triumphant Lord of Lies depicted in Faustian literature (he gets regularly cheated by simple but cunning country folk). He's a great sadist and takes immense pleasure in causing accidents, mishaps, and general mischief. He hates music, too, and can't stand harmonious melodies, much the same way people dislike the screech of chalk on a blackboard. A string of accidents (like breaking a glass, cutting your finger, being late from work, denting your car, and stepping on the boss's toes all in one day) is/was often referred to as a visit from Old Man Trouble.
* From: "Barry Etheridge"
For a rather surprising answer to the question of why a tune will keep OMT at bay, try www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/rhythm.htm
Old Man Trouble is a trickster in the tradition of Puck, leprechauns, Mr Nobody etc., whose roots are in the American slave community. Try getting hold a copy of:
Root, Phyllis. Aunt Nancy and Old Man Trouble (Candlewick,1996 ISBN 1564023478. Library Binding, Paperback.) Aunt Nancy knew she was in for a bad day when the spring dried up and she lost her lucky nickel. Sure enough, it wasn't long before Old Man Trouble himself showed up. Aunt Nancy soon gets the best of him, however, by making the best of every bad thing he does.
* From: "Rod"
Following on from the discussion of "liberating" pterry's books from libraries....
I have found that most libraries are amenable to the "what would happen if I lost it?" principle. In essence, you offer to pay the replacement fee for the book. Library staff then try and source a replacement copy, and if one can be found will usually sell you either the original or the replacement at cost. Develop a good relationship with your librarian (especially if he's covered in red hair). Libraries are far better equipped than you or I to find difficult-to-come-by books, but will also offer other services to their favourite members. For example, my librarian always pre-reserves new Pratchett novels for me as first borrower.
But please don't steal library books. Most libraries are more than happy to help you obtain a copy, and appreciate that you aren't depriving someone else of a good read.
* From: "Fabrice Capiez"
There have been a lot of charity works done in the Terry Pratchett - related world. Orang-utans have been saved and so on, but I would like to raise some money for a new cause: to buy a copy of Jingo for every single President/Monarch/Prime minister/Dictator in this world... And if this fails, also consider raising some funds to buy them a nice chair and a pair of handcuffs until they have read it well enough.
* From: "geoff"
I've noticed that Angua hasn't been mentioned for some time. As a member of that group of sad, drooling Angua fans, I just thought I'd rectify matters. Sorry about that, just off for a cold shower and then my medication.
* From: "Noel Nash"
In the last DWM stated that Cromwell was not guilty of ethnic cleansing in Ireland. I agree with his/her point that we can't apply modern moral standards to seventeenth century events but it is clear from the records at the time, including Cromwell's own, that Cromwell's actions in Ireland towards the Catholic population of the Irish towns he sacked (particularly Drogheda) reeked of bigotry and bloodlust. Contrast his actions in Ireland and his subsequent actions towards the Scots. He is undoubtedly one of the most controversial figures in the history of these islands with ample evidence supporting peoples deep respect or hatred for him.
What most amused me was the assertion that 'the Irish are not a distinct racial group'. I would have thought that a different racial/cultural background (Celtic vs. Anglo-Saxon), different languages, different cultures, the fact that Ireland was never a Roman possession, that medieval feudalism never came to be in Ireland, that many Irish saw fit to wage wars of independence from the British crown throughout history (and many more reasons I could go on with ad nauseum) would have qualified us to say we are a distinct racial group on these islands.
DWM replies: We received a lot of messages concurring with Noel's second point, ranging from the amused to the incensed. Apologies for any offence given.
* From: "Richard Cardwell"
In reply to "dhymers2". It was indeed in keeping with the rules of engagement to execute a garrison who refused to surrender, but Cromwell's soldiers killed men, women, and unarmed priests. He said that he had ordered his soldiery to spare all who were unarmed, but during the Mallacht Cromail, no-one was safe. I assume that History teaching on your side of the Irish Sea is different (I live near Belfast), so we'll just have to agree to disagree. Sorry to have a tangential debate.
* From: "Dora Zalavari"
There was a little list in last month's newsletter showing what languages the Discworld novels have been translated into.
Here's another one to add to the list - eleven books have been translated into Hungarian so far (published by Cherubion Kft.):
The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Equal Rites, Mort, Sourcery, Wyrd Sisters, Pyramids, Guards! Guards!, Eric, Moving Pictures, Reaper Man
And another interesting grammatical problem: Hungarian language does not have different personal pronouns for male and female (simpler: no he/she differentiation). There is only one pronoun for the third person singular.
So, it will be difficult to translate the novelty (and the stress dwarfs face) when they have to start addressing some other dwarfs as "she" instead of "he".
I don't know the solution yet, but I keep watching out for the next books translated into Hungarian. (I collect both, English and Hungarian editions; believe me, I go bankrupt.)
* From: "kylee maloney"
I heard "Thief of Time" on Isis Audiobook recently and was amused at the comments regarding the high probability of idiots immediately doing things which they are specifically warned against, just to see what will happen. The opposite sometimes occurs: that people can be quite willing to do just what a sign tells them to, without thinking about it.
Recently, my Lions Club played host to other Lions from my region (Levin, to Wellington, NZ) and I staffed the information desk. Because I am blind, an injunction to "make yourself known to Kylee" was added to the "Information" sign, to prevent enquirers standing by the desk in perplexity, waiting to be served. I was approached by many people, the majority of whom were not requiring assistance. They approached the desk simply because the sign instructed them to make themselves known to me! I wonder if I'd created a brightly- coloured sign saying "Put Your Finger Here" and placed it next to an over-sized power socket, whether these same people would comply!!
Keep up the great work.
* From: "Mette Hoegh"
The trade union of the Danish librarians publishes a bi-weekly magazine, Bibliotekspressen. The latest issue features an article on a new interest group within the union, called L-Space! I have made a rough translation of a few lines from the article:
"We will try not to be quite as nice and compliant as we librarians can tend to be, and we would like to flutter the dovecotes a little - even if it sometimes means that we get a rap on the knuckles" ... the main purpose of L-Space is to create a network which newly educated and newly employed librarians can draw on ...
... After many discussions the interest group has been given the name L-Space, which means Library Space, a space that connects books, libraries, bookshops etc. and comes from the universe of the author Terry Pratchett."
The article is available online, though it will probably only be of interest to Danish readers and fanatically collecting fans, as it is in Danish. www.bibliotekspressen.dk/artikel.asp?id=3994
The complete issue can be downloaded as well www.bibliotekspressen.dk/pdf/2003/2003-07.pdf
* From: "Tom Hauville"
I have a weird sense of deja vu about this, but anyway, I noticed an interesting sentence in Stephen King's "The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition":
'That's going to be quite a day,' Larry said, and thought how nice it would be to sit down in Shannon's or the Broken Drum with a big Fender guitar and an even bigger amp and play something...
This can be found in Chapter 57 of the Uncut Edition -- page 1066 of my copy. Perhaps Master King is a Pterry fan -- although the original edition of "The Stand" was released in 1978, the complete edition, released in 1990, has many updated references, such as mentions of US President Ronald Reagan. So who knows?
DWM Replies: What's REALLY weird is that WB's reading his first Stephen King novel for about 15 years and JA's just bought a 2nd hand copy of The (revised) Stand.
Following Terry's attendance at Penguicon, he will be visiting Anderson's Bookstore, 123 West Jefferson Avenue, Naperville, Illinois 60542, to sign books between 4.00-5.00pm on Monday 5 May.
On the 6th he will be doing a reading/signing at 7.00pm in the Barnes & Noble Bookstore at 675 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
Terry will then begin his UK tour on 13th May.
Tuesday 13th May
12.00 Waterstone's, 65-69 New George Street, Plymouth, Devon
18.00 Ottakar's, 11-12 Boscawen Street, Truro, Cornwall
Wednesday 14th May
12.00 WHSmiths, 34-35 The Guildhall Shopping Centre, Exeter, Devon
18.00 Ottakar's, 37a Middle Street, Yeovil, Somerset
Thursday 15th May
12.00 Waterstone's, 50-54 High Street, Guildford, Surrey
18.00 Event at Guildhall Winchester for Winchester Library
Friday 16th May
12.00 Bookcentre, 120 Crockhamwell Road, Woodley, Berkshire
18.00 Hammicks, 60-62 St Ann's Road, Harrow, Middlesex
Saturday 17th May
12.00 Borders Lakeside, Unit 3 West Thurrock Retail Park, West Thurrock, Essex
Part 1 - Adapting the text.
We knew that we wanted our first production of the season to be a Terry Pratchett play. We also knew that, as our company only ever produces original plays or original adaptations of existing novels, it couldn't be one of the ones already wonderfully adapted by Stephen Briggs. We chose Eric, as its locations are ideally suited to the venue we were negotiating with - Cliffords Tower, a beautiful thirteenth century castle keep in the heart of historic York.
From a writer's point of view, adapting Pratchett for the stage is a reasonably simple and painless task. Unnervingly so at times, one might add. In the past we had found ourselves working with texts that, more often than not, demanded a lot more thought and preparation in the initial planning stages, before we could even contemplate sitting down in front of a blank sheet of paper and writing: 'Act I, Scene I'.
With Dickens' A Christmas Carol, for example, we found, when approaching the original text, a number of problems began to arise. A considerable amount of character motivation, interaction and dialogue within the novel was often sidelined to brief sentences within a descriptive passage and consequently, much of what would be presented in our final stage script would have to be written from scratch.
But with Pratchett, everything is right there on the page, leaving the writer with relatively little to do but make the appropriate edits without detracting in any way from the plot or losing too much of Pratchett's wonderful humour. In fact, the only real problem we had to tackle when adapting Eric for the stage was how we were going to translate some of the more fantastical and outlandish elements of a fantasy novel onto the live stage.
A few of our favourite scenes had to be scrapped - sometimes due to the logistics of making them work in an open-air production, sometimes purely for timing reasons. We also dropped a couple of favourite characters (including the Librarian, who is only in the book for a paragraph or so), but decided to stick to our guns and keep those that were essential to the plot even when they seemed to be almost impossible to realise onstage - a six-inch high demon, a talking parrot, and (of course) the gorgeously surreal Luggage. The parrot, demon and Luggage have not yet been built, and now that the book has been adapted it is this element of the production that is causing us the most sleepless nights. Come and see us in July, and find out how it all comes together - we're certainly looking forward to seeing it, ourselves!
The play is currently being cast, and next month we will tell you all about the casting process - the trials, the tribulations, the laughs, the tears, the bribery, the emotional breakdowns! It's a glamorous life in the theatre, you know!
The production is to be held throughout July at Clifford's Tower - a
thirteenth century castle keep in the heart of York. Full details
about the play can be found on the web site at:
A competition to win tickets to the show (which has had its deadline
extended to Wednesday April 30th) can be found at:
Until the end of April, DWM Subscribers can buy tickets at 20% off!
Full details at
Whodunnit in a wacky Pratchett world
THE TRUTH, Unseen Theatre Company, www.unseen.com.au
Bakehouse Theatre, Angas St, Adelaide, March 28 - April 12, 2003
Pratchett is renowned for his biting parodies. Adapted by Stephen Briggs, The Truth is based on the 25th book in the Discworld series and this time takes a poke at journalism.
Sam Priestly is a solid leading man as William de Worde, editor of the Discworld's first newspaper, who finds himself investigating a murder and learning the difference between what people need to know and what they want to know.
Playing the "Prints of Darkness", Bryan Ormond is a riotously funny vampire photographer afraid of his own flash.
Sean Venning and Nik Hargreaves are delightfully quirky as two criminals in the thick of the murder mystery, and Pamela Munt shines as the zombie lawyer who hired them.
Stephanie Lively can do with more bite as Gaspode the talking dog, taking a few notes off Emily Moncrieff's wonderful mannerisms as fellow canine Wuffles. (There's more to playing a dog then just getting on all fours.)
Several of the enthusiastic cast reprise their roles from previous plays by this company including George Leaman as Commander Vimes, Sally Fudge as dwarf Cheery and Damien White as the Patrician.
With Melanie Munt now in WA, Michelle Cioffi takes over the recurring role of werewolf Sergeant Angua, giving a darker and stronger interpretation of the part.
First time director Danny Sag takes this difficult script in his stride, showing great promise. He keeps the story moving at a decent pace and makes excellent use of the limited acting area.
Blackouts are kept short by an efficient backstage crew and a good selection of songs but, as with most Unseen Theatre plays, a little more imagination could see them reduced further.
Costumes by regular seamstresses Sharman Gilchrist and Tania Prosdocimo are up to their usual high standard.
Good, unearthly fun. And that's the truth.
We prefer information to be sent via email, but can accept information via fax or post at the following addresses:
Post: J Anthony (DWM), 86 Bruce Road, Woodley, Berkshire, RG5 3DZ
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