Discworld Monthly - Issue 76: August 2003
Table of Contents:1. Editorial
3. Readers' Letters
5. "Eric" - Performing Pratchett Professionally Part 4
7. Isis Discworld Audio Books: New Titles, Prices - And A Bonus
8. The End
This month we have arranged, as an experiment, a limited time
special offer on boxed Thud Gamers editions. For more information
Please let us know if you think we should run these sort of offers in the future. Or do you think we should leave the merchandising to the many suppliers of Discworld goodies?
Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Old Greybeard)
The blurb about "Monstrous Regiment" in the new Transworld catalogue covering books being published under their various imprints in Summer 2003 to Winter 2004, reads as follows:
... and now Polly Perks, in her brother's clothes and her hair cut off, has joined up to fight for her country, just like the song says. But who is the enemy? What is she really fighting for? Why does she need a rolled-up pair of socks? War teaches you a lot, she finds, when it turns out that you joined ... the Monstrous Regiment."
and the blurb on the cover of the uncorrected book proof ('not for distribution or resale'):
"Polly Perks had to become a boy in a hurry. Cutting off her hair and wearing trousers was easy. Learning to fart and belch in public and walk like an ape took more time... " And now she's enlisted in the army, and searching for her lost brother. But there's a war on. There's always a war on. And Polly and her fellow recruits are suddenly in the thick of it, without any training, and the enemy is hunting them. "All they have on their side is the most artful sergeant in the army and a vampire with a lust for coffee. Well ... they have the Secret. And as they take the war to the heart of the enemy, they have to use all the resources of ... the Monstrous Regiment."
It appears that your Discworld collection may be more desirable than you might imagine - but to the wrong people. Over the last couple of months we have found out about a number of attempted robberies of Discworld collections. In a recent posting on the Collectors Guild Forums a fan discovered a robber carefully packing her Discworld collection into three sacks. One of them had all her Discworld models wrapped in bubble wrap. It may be time to start cataloguing your collection (with photographic evidence if possible) and making sure your house contents insurance knows about it. www.thecollectorsguild.co.uk/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi
The organizers of Wadfest wanted us to let you know that the winner of the personalised Wadfest baseball cap was Ken Mason. Even if you didn't win, all tickets will be thrown in a hat at the Wadfest event and the randomly selected winner will get a fantastic unique Bernard Pearson piece. At the event you will also be able to purchase a limited edition pewter Wadfest 2003 badge created for Wadfest by Clarecraft. For more information about Wadfest visit www.wadfest.co.uk
Bursar Vixen are releasing two new Discworld beers at the Clarecraft Discworld Event from the 1st - 3rd August 2003.
Bonk Beer (Uberwald Pilsner) and Old Kingdom (Pyramids Ale) will both be available over the weekend. This first edition of the beer is limited to just 500 bottles and is bound to be popular. Both feature fantastic labels incorporating the work of Paul Kidby.
Both beers are ready, bottled and waiting to be consumed.
You can purchase online for dispatch by mail shortly after the official release date or buy the beer and collect it from the event itself.
For full details please visit www.bursarvixen.com and find your way to the beer section. You will need an account to purchase the beer, but this is free and easy to create.
A Discworld Movie is in the makes! Snowgum Films (in Melbourne, Australia) has just gained permission from Terry to adapt and shoot Troll Bridge into a short 20-minute movie. Casting, crewing and location scouting has been completed with the first day of shooting just around the corner. Sure, it may not be Farscape, Mission Impossible, or the Star Wars fanfilm The Broken Allegiance, but these are some of the things some of the crew (the makeup artist, the costume creator, and the director of photography in that order) have worked on in the past.
Oh yeah at least one of the actor was also in Neighbours, but Snowgum Films (not to mention the actor), would rather you didn't know that.
So, if you want to see a bunch of mostly unemployed professionals make the worlds first Discworld film - checkout the website for more information and constant updates: www.snowgumfilms.com
The Stables Summer Youth Theatre, Hastings, East Sussex will be performing Carpe Juglum from Thursday 11th to Saturday 13th September at 7.30 pm and matinee Sunday 14th at 2.30 pm. Tickets cost 8.50 GBP (6.00 GBP for members & under-18s). For more details visit www.stables-theatre.co.uk
Purple Monkey Theatre Company are performing "The Truth" in the
middle of September. All details can be found at
www.purplemonkey.tk under the wondrous "current events"
Also, any REALLY interested Discworlders can follow the rehearsals as they happen (sort of) on the monkeys journal.
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.
Mary Osborn writes: I am a bookseller on the west coast and have just read an advance readers copy of Monstrous Regiment. It says on the back of the book that Terry will be having a 9 city book tour in the US, but I can find NO Reference to this tour anywhere on the internet. I would love to attend one of his stops over here. Has anyone heard anything about this tour? Thanks ever so!
DWM replies: As soon as we find any details of the tour we will let you know.
Caroline Corcoran writes: I live in Ireland and was wondering if there are any TP chat groups in Ireland. I love all his work and I would like to talk to, or meet people who are interested in all things Pratchett. I don't mind if it's by e-mail, post or whatever, I'm just bored here and want something to do. Your help would be greatly appreciated.
DWM replies: There is a lively chat room on AOL's AIM network
called "The Broken Drum". You can get to the Drum by visiting
Link removed as no longer valid
Bethany HARTLEY writes: I have been reading the Discworld books for some time, and I absolutely love them. I have tried to get all my friends to read them, but for some reason they don't like them at all. In an attempt to make contact with other Discworld fans, I have been surfing the search engines for internet forums. However, my searches have not been going very well, so I have set up my own Discworld Forum at discworld.conforums2.com. I would love it if some fans of TP could join, as I feel very isolated at the moment. :-( If not, could someone tell me a good forum tat I can go on to talk to Discworld fanatics like myself? Thanks.
DWM replies: The Collectors Guild has a quite busy forum located at www.thecollectorsguild.co.uk
Tricia 'Moon' Hardt wries: I know that by and large the fan base of Terry Pratchett resides in England. However, there are a few die hard fans stranded out here in the States. If there are any fans looking to get together in the New Orleans, LA area, please drop me an email.
DBC writes: Jedi Princess can you e-mail me if you got the audio books, just so I know they got there?
Kate Read writes: I don't want to enter into bidding and selling things on e-bay, its too much hassle. I just want to sell some pieces of Discworld characters made by Clarecraft so I don't have to put them into storage whilst I move. I've also got 1 copy of all the Discworld diaries so far, for sale (unused and pretty much mint condition as they can be, having only been read once each). The Clarecraft pieces I've got are Rincewind, Death at a party, Dibbler's compass, Death of rats, the Librarian and Carrot.
Robert writes: I have 1998, 1999 and 2001 Discworld diaries for sale if there's anyone out there still looking for them (Unseen University, Ankh-Morpork City Watch and Fools' Guild respectively). They're in mint or near-mint condition. I had a quick flick through them all this morning and the '99 and '01 diaries looked unused. The other had a few entries in pencil. I'm prepared to ship them anywhere, as long as the buyer is prepared to pay for said shipping. Offers?
Sam Vimes writes: My name is Jon Mapp and I am hoping to stage a production of The Truth in September / November this year. Also I am looking for a copy of Discworld One for the PC. And anybody with any information on where I can obtain photos of Mr Pin or Mr Tulip from The Truth.
Kate Buckle writes: I live in Australia and I am having trouble finding the Discworld series. I've looked in book stores and libraries everywhere but overall I can only find about 10 of the series. Therefore, I think it would be a good idea if there was somewhere on the Discworld Monthly homepage that enabled people to read the series on the Internet. If not, even providing links to where this could happen would be a good idea.
DWM replies: We are sure that other Australian readers will be able to point you in the right direction to purchase the Discworld novels. However, there is no legal way you will be able to read the Discworld novels online as this would be an infringement of Terry's copyright. After all, how many books would be sold if they were easily available online?
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 use them to make papier mache monsters.
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 a Kiss the Cook print
supplied by Bonsai Trading. Bonsai Trading, is the Discworld store
that brings you Clarecraft figurines, diaries & calendars, Thud and
* From: "Maggie WILDE"
These are the two events to look forward to this year. Real fun in the sun, (yes, good weather has been booked for both events!) So cheap, so affordable and such fun. We are all getting excited waiting to see Terry at CCDWE (Clarecraft Discworld Event). The afternoon question and answer time, for me is the highlight of the weekend but even Wadfest without Terry is worth the money several times over. Last year's event was great fun, lots of like-minded people meeting up for fun, games and campfires. I heard about it here, on Discworld Monthly. No hot air balloons this year so Thud goes ahead without a hitch and lots of new things planned. Celebrity guests in abundance, including Waddy! and fantastic character costumes and fancy tents. Hope to see all those old friends from last year and meet lots of new friends this year. Wear a badge, Jason, so we know who you are! Be there or be sorry! Mags
* From: "Isabel Hunt"
Just thought I'd say how great I find this newsletter. It's full of the right information for dedicated TP fans. I read all of the Discworld novels (up to "Thief of Time" as no others were out yet) in about 6 months and when I ran out I was very disappointed but the great thing about these novels are that they are very re-readable.
I also want to say how unfair I think it is for the Discworld novels to be grouped casually in the wide category of fantasy. They are so much more! Each one gives us new insights into our own world, and the humour which most are full of (especially "The Last Continent", fantastic) makes comedy also a justifiable genre for them. I was annoyed at my old English teacher when she told me that she didn't like TP books (AND SHE'S NEVER EVEN READ ONE!) and justified her prejudice saying that she didn't like Lord of the Rings or other fantasy books. Now I loved reading LotR, but it is very different to the Discworld novels. Why can't people just open their minds and not be so stereotypical!
* From: "Badon, Karen L."
The New York times recently published an article titled Harry Potter and the Childish Adult. The author, A.S. Byatt, attempts to explain the appeal of HP and references several authors by comparison. Of all the authors Byatt mentions, many of whom I've never heard of, it is TP who earned the most glowing praise. I've included a link to the full article. The sentence about writing amazing sentences is the best part of the whole article.
DWM replies: Remember to copy and paste all the above into one line in your browser.
* From: "GodBen"
In response to last month's letter from Edith Rogers about Vetinari, I must admit that he is also my favourite character from the Discworld. He is dark, deceptive, intelligent and full of surprises. If there is one problem that I find with Vetinari, it is that he appears too much in the recent novels. I preferred him before Men at Arms, when he was a background character. I used to cherish every scene he was in, but now he is in too many and I fear that it has spoiled his character.
* From: "Kamilla Sigriour"
I realise this hasn't anything to do with the Discworld but I assume everyone who reads DWM has a sense of humour and so might want to know about this. Later this summer a small troupe of Icelandic actors will go to London to perform in Shakespeare's own country an acrobatic version of Romeo and Juliet. I saw it in Reykjavik, in Icelandic of course, and loved it. They change a few scenes to fit the nature of the show, but to a mildly enthusiastic reader of Shakespeare it doesn't seem too rude. Maybe reading Wyrd Sisters and Lords and Ladies has broadened my perspective on this issue. How some of the jokes will come off when they need to translate it back into English I don't know, but quite possibly it will be a success. Anyway, thought someone might be interested.
PS. Does anyone know why The Wee Free Men becomes The Brave Free Men in the States? If it has something to do with urine I'll scream with frustration at the stupid, misdirected squeamishness of it.
DWM replies: The Wee Free Men is still called The Wee Free Men in the US. The Brave Free Men appears to be a novel by Jack Vance, probably not featuring wee-wee.
* From: "Samantha Hughes"
I've been receiving your newsletter since about issue 30, and it is always top notch, and a very welcome addition to my inbox!
In the issue which I've just read, someone tells you about an orang-utang escape from Chester zoo. I lived near there until a couple of years ago, so I've been there a LOT. The big orange man in question has been there for years, and knows his way around the enclosures almost as well as the Librarian knows his way around the library!
Having looked him in the eyes quite a few times, and seen the twinkle, he probably felt that he needed recognising in the DWM, so had a bit of a laugh!
Thanks for listening to my ramblings about an old man of the woods who always made me smile when I went to the zoo, and who I think of every time I read about the Librarian!
* From: "Egeltjes"
Last week I happened to watch The Scrapheap Challenge on Discovery Channel. That episode both teams had to build a pull-tractor. One team named its The Great A'Tuin. The comment on the name was that it is the name of a turtle, if you are familiar with Terry Pratchett.
In Dutch its name is just translated as it should be, "De Grote A'Tuin", thanks to our Dutch translator Mr. Venugopalan Ittekot.
DWM replies: On one episode of Scrapheap Challenge they created a boat and called it Binky after Death's horse. Much to the bemusement to of the presenter.
* From: "Leigh Johnson"
My 9 year old son has read all of the Pratchett books suitable for a child of his age, his favourite being 'The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents'. He was reading a book for school the other day when he came across something rather interesting... In the book 'George's Marvellous Medicine' by 'Roald Dahl' there is a passage describing George's idea of producing a new medicine for his Grandmother:
"George's grandmother's usual medicine was brown and she would smell a rat if her new one wasn't, so George added some shoe polish from a tin marked 'Darktan' "
Could it be that PTerry has read some of the works of Roald Dahl, or has my son spotted a huge coincidence?
* From: "- Andy -"
All the way to York to watch that self indulgent crud?
You're off it mate, more money than sense.
Also a year's supply of Fiesta is infinitely better than a hardback of Monstrous Regiment or as it's known on the circuit "Anoraks Bible".
Leave it son, you won't get no takers there, just like yer Binky mini's. Even kids don't want em, otherwise McDonalds would have picked up on it by now.
You stick to reading Dungeons and Dragons stuff and pouring money into the Pratchett honey tree, but yer won't coerce many dudes off the web to join yer.
and i look forward to the next issue.
DWM replies: Andy gets letter of the month - what's Fiesta by the way? ;-)
* From: "Jessica Cannon"
I read the letter by Jon about the discussion of the big five and was angry, but I didn't realise how angry until I woke up today still brimming with righteous infuriation!!!
Now, I've read over half of the books in the Big Read, and thought they were quite an interesting sample of books today. All of the books were voted by people who saw some value in them, and to dismiss books simply because of the "science fiction fantasy" tag is ridiculous, but unfortunately still typical of the literary world. It is uncannily similar to how children's books are so frequently dismissed as well - studying children's literature at uni we can see it's foolish not to care about the importance of our future's cultural learning, but we still tend to push them (children's books and children themselves) away, don't we?
PTerry's books are wonderful because of how cleverly he intertwines so many real world references - something which most writers of 'realism' do not. Every one of his books can be read as easily today as they were when they were published, and if we were capable of time travel, most of them would still be incredibly relevant fifty years before they were published. Again, this is something most books today simply do not possess - permanence because of style or thematic issues. Jingo, to take a typical example has obvious real-world references - Klatch can sometimes be Africa or Arabia, and it's hard to pick what war is being echoed on the Disc. Is there something about Lawrence of Arabia? Is it a part of the Second or the First World War? Will it be the third?
* From: "yasmin mazur"
On your last issue you published a letter about a performance of Eric:
There is a Rincewind play on the market: Interesting Times has came out in a script by Stephen Briggs. I found it in Amazon while updating my site, the ISBN is 0413772195
* From: "Jonathan"
DWM asked in the last (fantastico) issue what the significance of the tortoise falling on Vorbis's head in "Small Gods" was about. As it happens I found this out just the other day (small world etc).
It seems that the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus, according to legend at least, was told by a prophet that he would die from a fall. He took great precautions to prevent such a thing happening, trying always to be as far away from mountains and cliffs as possible. Unfortunately for him, a passing eagle with a tortoise in its claws mistook Aeschylus's bald head for a stone and promptly dropped its prey, killing him. So, he died from a fall but, "hilariously", not his own.
Those ancient Greeks, such a sense of humour.
DWM replies: Thanks to all the other readers who supplied information about Aeschylus.
* From: "Aaron Dick"
For those who remember the small throwaway news item about a band named after PTerry's infamous card game, I have been following up the band for my own interest. They are a fairly heavy band so don't check them out unless you're prepared. Their website contains plenty of biographical information plus lyrics and some sample mp3's and video's. I've really enjoyed them, though they have little else to connect them with the Discworld. Check them out! Plus, they have an EP which they will tell you how to get if you email them at the website. www.cripple.co.nz
* From: "Kieran Green"
Responding to Nathan Rose's question about the Unmentionables (in Night Watch) - what it is they want, and why they agitate against the Watch.
The short answer boils down to "politics". The Unmentionables are a secret police force along the lines of the Gestapo, KGB, East German Stasi or, to a lesser extent, the CIA. With secret forces like these, the lines between policing and politics are blurred, or downright non-existent. They exist, not just as a police force, but as an enforcer for the political regime. One tactic such organizations often employ is to play the role of "agent provocateur". They infiltrate dissident groups and encourage them and egg them on.
- Fill in the blank: ________ Michael
- Which beggar hides Lord Vetinari's dog in The Truth?
- Arnold Sideways is missing a couple of limbs, which ones?
- Which of Altogether Andrews' personalities would the rest of thecrew not like to see again: Jossi, Lady Hermione, Little Sidney, Mr Viddle, Curley, The Judge, Tinker or Burke.
- What name did the crew give Death in Soul Music?
The results, as always, appear at the end of this issue.
For the last few months we have been running articles about The Dreaming Theatre Company's adaptation of Eric. This month to finish the series off I made the 500-odd mile round trip to York to see the production.
The play has been expertly adapted by Scott Harrison and Lee Harris and is being performed in the 13th Centaury Clifford's Tower in the centre of York. This stone tower is built on a small hill and requires 55 steps to reach its entrance.
Whilst this open top tower provides a great location for a play, providing an almost perfect amphitheatre, it does have the disadvantages of all the seats being on the same level. This meant that those of us sitting near the back missed some of the action or at least had to stand up on occasion. It also meant that the closest toilets were several hundred meters away and 55 steps down (a long way to travel during the short intermission) [At least for unfit computer programmer types - WB].
The sets were kept to an absolute minimum, which seems to work really well for Discworld plays. It allows the play to proceed at steady pace without pausing for scene changes etc. The tower itself was used to great effect when Rincewind was being chased around the Dungeon Dimensions, with the actor running full pelt round the walkway at the top whilst screaming his head off (what people outside the tower must have thought is beyond me). Considering it must be nearly 30 metres to the ground from the top of the tower respect is due to the actor involved.
As this is a professional production a vast amount of effort was put into organising a suitable cast. All the hard work appears to have been worthwhile as all the cast were top notch. The lead roles were superbly handled by Lee Ravitz (as Rincewind) and Peter Philips (as Eric Thursley). Lee in particular stole the show for me. Should a Rincewind movie ever be made, Lee Ravitz should be given serious consideration. The rest of the cast were also excellent and some of them are even Discworld fans - I know at least one of them is a subscriber to Discworld Monthly.
The best prop has to be the Luggage that was expertly propelled by Mathew Walker, who also appears as several other characters. A nice touch was having the Luggage covered in stickers from the various places it had visited in its journeys.
Eric (as a novel) is much shorter than most Discworld stories which means more of the key scenes have been kept. It feels more coherent than many of the plays I have seen in the past. I certainly didn't notice many major plot points missing. As a test of the adaptation I took my wife to the production, who is not a Discworld reader, to see what she thought of the play. She was most impressed with the atmosphere of the play and easily managed to follow the story.
In my opinion the adaptation worked really well and the jokes came across with expert timing. Aidan McCarthy, whilst playing Astfgl, put in an almost perfect impression of Basil Fawlty at one stage that had the audience in stitches. The cast were obviously enjoying every minute of the production and it showed. This is one of the best adaptations of a Discworld novel I have ever seen and well worth the 500 mile round trip.
If you want more Discworld productions from The Dreaming remember to
visit their web site at
www.thedreaming.co.uk and let them
know. Here's looking forward to their next Discworld production.
We have arranged a special competition with Bonsai Trading to win one of the characters from Eric - The Luggage. See the next section for details.
- What was the first super-size pewter miniature produced? (the
answer can be found on the Bonsai Trading web site located at
The correct answer was DWP77 The Discworld.
The randomly selected winner of the Death on Binky is Amanda
Williams of North Lincolnshire
If you did not win you can still purchase Death on Binky (DWP79), Death on Bike (DWP80) or Ninereeds (DWP78) from the Bonsai Trading web site for only 16.99 GBP each plus postage. Bonsai Trading also have the bigger Discworld (DWP77) available for 21.20 GBP plus postage. All these pieces being sold at 15% off RRP.
Bonsai Trading (
bonsai.discworldmonthly.org), is the
Discworld store that brings you Clarecraft figurines, diaries &
calendars, Thud and much more.
* New Competition *
This month to coincide with our Eric review we have arranged a competition with Bonsai Trading to win a fabulous Clarecraft DW04 - The Luggage. This piece normally retails for 21.99 GBP plus postage but can be purchased from Bonsai Trading for only 18.69 GBP plus postage.
In order to win this piece send your answer to the following question to by Friday 22nd August 2003. Please also remember to include your town and country with your answer.
- What is Eric's surname?
The randomly selected winner will be announced next issue.
The change in tape prices has come as a result of a general re-pricing of all Isis and Soundings audio books, the first in nearly a decade. On July 1st, all other new and backlist titles increased in price by 1.00 GBP per audio book. The "Discworld" series, however, will lose its "loading" of between 3.00 GBP and 8.00 GBP, which was applied for historical reasons that no longer apply. Hence, the cost of a 6-tape book will decrease from 19.99 GBP to 17.99 GBP; an 8-tape book, formerly 24.99 GBP will now cost 18.99 GBP.
There were no special prices for "Discworld" CD editions, so these will be subject to the modest price rise, costing 1.00 GBP more per book than previously.
On balance, we think this will be a welcome announcement for lovers of the Nigel Planer and Stephen Briggs superb readings of Terry's timelessly wonderful books.
Isis has also released a new batch of titles from the series in compact disc format in recent weeks. The following are now available on the Isis Publishing website, at the new price scale:
|Equal Rites read by Celia Imrie on 7 CDs||23.99 GBP|
|Mort read by Nigel Planer on 7 CDs||23.99 GBP|
|Reaper Man read by Nigel Planer on 8 CDs||24.99 GBP|
|Soul Music read by Nigel Planer on 9 CDs||25.99 GBP|
|Sorcery read by Nigel Planer on 7 CDs||23.99 GBP|
To purchase any of the audio books, or to view further information on any "Discworld" title, please visit the Isis Publishing website at www.isis-publishing.co.uk
Finally, some good news for all those TP fans who have bombarded us with letters asking about The Last Hero: yes, we have finally acquired the rights to record an unabridged audio edition of the book - with the one and only Mr Briggs in the narrator's chair!
The author wished to be satisfied that full justice could be done to a work in which the wonderful illustrations of Paul Kidby did so much to evoke the wonder and drama of the story. The version Isis will record will remain as faithful as possible to the original text and include virtually all of the text that appeared as footnotes or accompanied illustrations.
With The Wee Free Men due to appear in September, and Monstrous Regiment in the final quarter of 2003, The Last Hero will in all probability be published in the New Year.
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
* Next Book Information
Discworld hardback: Monstrous Regiment 0385603401/87
* Latest Book Information *
Discworld paperback: The Thief of Time 0552148407/87
Discworld hardback: The Wee Free Men 0385605331/87
Collaboration: The New Discworld Companion 0575074671/87
* DiscTrivia Answers *
- Fill in the blank: ________ Michael
- Which beggar hides Lord Vetinari's dog in The Truth?
- Foul Ole Ron
- Arnold Sideways is missing a couple of limbs, which ones?
- His legs
- Which of Altogether Andrews' personalities would the rest of the crew not like to see again: Jossi, Lady Hermione, Little Sidney, Mr Viddle, Curley, The Judge, Tinker or Burke.
- What name did the crew give Death in Soul Music?
- Mr Scrub
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