Discworld Monthly - Issue 90: October 2004
Table of Contents:1. Editorial
3. Readers' Letters
5. Review: The Discworld Convention 2004
7. Review: Going Postal
8. Review: ISIS Audio: A Hat Full of Sky
9. The End
I have also been on holiday and went to the Discworld 21st Birthday party in London on Tuesday 28th September; again look out for a review next month.
Now that Going Postal is out in the shops I suggest you purchase a copy as soon as you can as I personally feel Going Postal is one of Terry's best books - ever! And if you don't believe me read Wiliam's review in section 7.
Finally, I would like to thank all the wonderful readers that have sent us financial contributions to help support Discworld Monthly. It all has been very much appreciated.
Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Dark Magician)
Snowgum Films is proud to unveil the *new* website for the Troll Bridge (first ever Discworld live-action) movie currently in post-production!
With a complete visual edit just around the corner (as well as more than a few FX shots under our belts), feel free to come along, have a browse at the new setup, and abuse each other in the forums...
Provided the web-goblins can get the damn things working again.
From 'Spy' the Discworld undercover journalist of Discworld Monthly.
Discworld Stamps have now been around for a month, and already they are being talked of as a bit of a phenomenon.
Spy talked with a rather stout party [Bernard Pearson - Ed] who was desperately trying to hide the fact that he was smoking his pipe in a clearly marked no smoking area in the Royal Society Vaults during a presentation to Mr Pratchett OBE.
The stout party was bemoaning the fact that he was under pressure to bring out a further five stamps before Hogswatch.
He had discussed the matter with Mr Pratchett, who as ever had provided a solution, namely Guild Stamps, but it still left him with a problem. Viz, the Guild Postage Stamp for the Seamstresses.
What should be its central motif, something ambiguous like a butterfly perhaps, from the description of ladies being 'butterflies of the night' or something more vigorous but which would not upset the servants.
Spy offered to solve the problem by asking a 'few' friends for their thoughts and contributions. The stout party, who became both emotional and wreathed in smoke, told him that as a reward the original artwork for the stamp would be awarded as a sort of prize for the chosen suggestion.
Spy suggests you look at www.discworldstamps.com to get some ideas of the iconography involved and drop an e-mail by the 23rd October 2004 to the stout party with your idea.
Please don't mention where this came from though, as SPY as ever is a journalist in the shadows.
The 2005 Clarecraft Event will take place over the last weekend in July 2005. Currently the theme of the event is undecided. If you have an idea for the theme please contact Clarecraft. Details will soon appear at www.clarecraft.co.uk
The Silver Horde's web site has been updated with pictures from the 2004 Convention. For more information visit: www.silverhorde.co.uk/
According to Transworld's web site Terry will be signing at the following locations in September / October. www.booksattransworld.co.uk/
|29th Sep||Talk & Signing organised by Foyle's Institute of Education, University of London, Bedford Way London 020 7437 5660|
|5th Oct||12:00||Borders (Bristol), Borders 0117 922 6959|
|5th Oct||18:00||WHSmith (Swindon), Swindon 01793 531342|
|6th Oct||13:00||Ottakars (Edinburgh, George St), 57/59 George Street Edinburgh 0131 225 4495|
|6th Oct||18:00||Borders (Glasgow), 98 Buchanan Street Glasgow 0141 222 7700|
|7th Oct||17:00||Waterstones (Manchester, St Ann's Sq), 2-4 St Ann's Square Manchester 0161 832 0424|
|8th Oct||11:45||Borders (York), 1-5 Davygate York 01904 653300|
|8th Oct||18:00||Waterstones (Hull), Grand Buildings, Jameson Street Hull 01482 580234|
|9th Oct||12:30||WHSmith (Nottingham), 14-16 Listergate Nottingham 0115 9582919|
This section will contain events that you need to keep in your diary. Entries will remain until they go out of date. New entries will include the word [New] next to them. If this section gets too large we will start pruning entries.
[New] The Brisbane Arts Theatre is continuing their very successful Terry Pratchett series with a production of "The Fifth Elephant" (adapted by Stephen Briggs). It will play Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm, 6th - 23rd October 2004. Arts Theatre's address is: 210 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane, Qld Australia.... bookings advisable phone 3369 2344.
Unseen Theatre Company will be performing the Australian premiere of Night Watch from 15th-30th October as the Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas Street, Adelaide. All performances start at 8pm and tickets cost 15 AUD for adults, 12 AUD for concession and 10 AUD for groups of ten or more. There is also a Thai Hutt dinner deal for 30 AUD which includes meal and ticket.
To book call 82962004 (7 days, 7am to 7pm). More details are available at www.unseen.com.au
The New Stagers Theatre Club based in Wandsworth, South-West London, will be staging Guards! Guards! at St. Ann's Church Hall on Wednesday 20th to Saturday 23rd October 2004 at 7.45 pm. Visit www.newstagers.co.uk for details.
The Woodhouse Players will be performing Wyrd Sisters at the Welsh Church Hall in Leytonstone, East London on October 26th - 30th. Doors at 7.30 each evening, and matinees on 29th and 30th at 2.30. Tickets are 6 GBP (there are also concession prices) and have to be booked in advance (with actual payment on the door) due to the licence set up. For more details and bookings please go to www.woodhouseplayers.co.uk
Stafford Players will be staging Carpe Jugulum from 10th-13th November 2004.
The play will be performed at The Stafford Gatehouse, Eastgate Street, Stafford, and tickets are available from the Stafford Gatehouse Box Office - Tel (01785) 254653.
Ticket costs are 7.50 GBP (6.00 GBP concs.) with a special "3 for 2" offer on the first night.
Further info from
Colsterworth Music and Drama society are performing Wyrd Sisters on 12th and 13th November 2004 at their spacious village hall. Tickets will be on sale in September. You can pre-order tickets by emailing - any other queries can be sent to the same address.
The Longueville Little Theatre Company is producing Wyrd Sisters at
the Jennie Lee Theatre in Bletchley, Milton Keynes from 24th to the
27th November 2004. Tickets are available from the box office tel.
no. 01908 613145, and cost 6.50 GBP each. Further details are
Arena Theatre, based in Christchurch/Bournemouth in Dorset are about to start rehearsing for a production of Maskerade. The dates of the fortcoming production are Thursday 25th through until Saturday 27th November 2004. All shows begin at 7.90pm. Ticket prices are unconfirmed as yet. All ticket enquiries should be made to
Crossfyre Young Theatricals Ipswich, Queensland, Australia, are doing their performance of Mort on 30 November - 2 December 2004. Crossfyre is a drama group for 13-18 year old thespians, linked to the Ipswich Little Theatre. For more information about Crossfyre or Mort, anyone interested can send me an email on this address
Ankh-Morpork Post Office (Wincanton Branch). There will be a grand opening of the Ankh-Morpork Post Office, and Hogswatch Fayre, On Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th December 2004. Events include: Traditional sausage supper, Pin Market, a signing of parts, Games & other seasonal diversions as are allowed in the bye-laws.
Details can be found at www.artificer.co.uk
Unicorn Theatre, in which Stephen Briggs performs and directs, will be presenting the first ever production of Going Postal from 25 to 29 January at 7.30 (2.30 matinee on 29/1) at Unicorn Theatre, Thames Street, Abingdon.
Tickets are 7 GBP from
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.
Tony Haines writes: WANTED!
Gamers to beta-test a new Discworld board game. Featuring many of our favourite DW characters, the game is (we hope!) both easy to learn but full of strategic possibilities. An easy pace at the front end of the game degenerates into fast, frenetic lunacy toward the finish, usually accompanied by many cries of exultation or howls of anguish as you outwit an opponent or pull a sly trick out of your bag. A game lasts about 30 to 50 minutes, and allows you to wander the Discworld trying to be the first to reach Ankh-Morpork (unless some unscrupulous person invokes the 8th Spell). You can "borrow" like Granny, run like the (Rince)wind, discover the effects of Scumble, cheat, steal and laugh out loud.
Although first and foremost a Discworld game, it can be enjoyed even by the uninitiated.
Anyone who has a circle of friends who like to game and would offer constructive criticism without ripping us off, please contact us.
Lee Schwartz writes: I'm just finishing the construction of a new library and was looking for one of the Librarian Pencil Prints (sadly sold out on discworld.com) to hang on the wall.
Would appreciate any help that can be given in locating one.
Dave Owen writes: It hurts me to have to do it but I have got to sell my Clarecraft collection of Discworld figures. Any ideas how someone who is computer illiterate and definitely NOT e-bay acquainted should go about it?
I am prepared to haggle but won't "cut me own throat" and would like to sell as a complete collection rather than splitting it.
All ideas greatly appreciated......!
Elizabeth Davis writes: Following a bookshelf rationalisation episode, I've got the following in need of a good home: in paperback - Eric, Maskerade, Feet of Clay, Hogfather, Jingo, Carpe Jugulum, The Fifth Elephant and The Truth; and in hardback - The Last Continent. All UK editions in reasonably good condition though one or two a bit grubby round the edges. Cost will depend on postage costs, so email if you're interested.
Adam Clarke writes: I'm a student at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. I was wondering if there are enough PTerry and other sci-fi/fantasy fans in the area to make it worthwhile forming a club. If interested please email me.
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 in a vain attempt at sobriety.
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: "Simon Burnell"
I'm sure this has been asked a million times, but does anyone know if they are going to continue this [Leather Unseen University Library] series past the first nine books?
* From: "Juliana Venning"
Just thought we should set a record straight here - New Zealand Aotearoa has its share of TP and Discworld enthusiasts also and my daughter and I have been fans for years: since I fell off my dining room chair and almost had an asthma attack from laughing (and wheezing) and doubling over, at the review of Carpe Jugulum!
Effective and apposite really! Anyway we now have a small, extremely optimistic, keen and overly willing addition to the family named IGOR, a Cairn terrier with a disposition not servile but certainly always anxious to wuff "Yeth Mithtreth!" and to bounce up at everyone who so much as looks his way, happy to realign a body part at the earliest opportunity. He's so much fun I'm considering another, to be named 'Wuffles' - but my daughter threatens to leave if that occurs.
Oh and amongst Igor's dog friends/pals there's Asterix the tall Schnauser - don't ask about the logic to any of this. Speaking of logic, Dunedin and Christchurch are 5 hours drive apart and unreachable the one to the other, because of snow these days, so why did the organisers of the Meet-up think that popping down to a cafe in Dunedin might be feasible for those of us in Christchurch I wonder? Ah well. Will just go startle people locally, with Igor!
* From: "Subbie Idiot"
In response to Thranduil Greenleaf in Issue 89
That was the whole point of the joke! The Stone of Scone (pronounced scoon) was what the kings of Scotland sat on. It is quite well known and anyone who has seen Macbeth should recognise it from there. In any case it is also a very old joke about the Scone (as in tea-cake) of stone. His Supreme Imperial Highness Hydraxan von Hydrax XXIIIrd of Hydraxia
* From: "Norman Dunbar"
In reply to "Thranduil Greenleaf" in issue 89:
I have to say that 'Scone' still is a place in Scotland and it is quite near to Perth in fact. Not only that but the Stone of Scone was indeed nicked by the English - but we got it back quite recently and it is now back in its rightful place.
In addition, Scone is pronounced as 'Scoone' and not pronounced like a small but very tasty bakery product of the same spelling. And the bakery product itself doesn't rhyme with 'stone', it does rhyme with 'gone'.
There, I feel much better now :o)
DWM replies: Norman gets this month's Letter of The Month.
* From: "David A Riffle"
I don't want this to sound morose or anything, but I wish to pass a bit of information along.
I have been a reader of Discworld Monthly for some time and have shared the books and your news letter with my grandfather - you once even posted a message I sent on his behalf. He was severely disabled by a stroke a few years back and found it difficult to communicate so I did most of his typing.
I would spend time reading your news letter to him as well as arranging the audio books to be delivered. He was very insistent on the reading part, Funny, I would stop in to visit and get as far as "How are you" before he would be motioning me to read your latest posting to him.
Well, he passed away a short time ago, peacefully in the night listening to Reaper Man and oddly he had the last printed copy of Discworld monthly I gave him. He still has it if you know what I mean.
Just wanted to say thank you for making his time here enjoyable.
DWM replies: Thanks for this moving letter. Let's hope your grandfather, wherever he is now, is busy converting others to Discworld.
* From: "Kaloyan Bahchovanski"
I am from Bulgaria and here we have most of PTerry's books without the very new ones and those ones which are Discworld but are not - novels: Nanny Ogg's Cookbook, Assassins' Guild & Yearbook Diary and so on.
But here in Bulgari we have no PTerry's short stories which is AWFUL!!!
DWM replies: NESFA Press created a book called Once More * With Footnoes as the Guest of Honour book at Noreascon 4. The book which includes many of Terry's short stories is now available in limited numbers, on-line, at www.nesfa.org/press/Books/Pratchett.html
* From: "Zac"
In response to Mark Cobb's letter about performing Discworld plays. Having read 4 of the plays available I found that Wyrd Sisters is probably the best to do for two reasons. First, it is a good story in itself, and with the obvious parodies to "The Play" it can be enjoyed by anyone including those who have not read Discworld. Second, it does not require a lot of set design or props. Stphen Briggs and his play group were a small play group at the time he adapted Wyrd Sisters, so he wrote it around a shoestring budget. Let us US Discworld play fans know how it goes.
Second, I am the owner of a massively errored copy of of the US Mass Market "Soul Music". The pages 25 through 56 are replaced by 329 through 360. The latter pages are also in the correct places in the book. My current goal know is to get the errors signed by Terry Pratchett himself (somehow I think he'd see the humor in this too). Being in the US makes this goal hard though, as he does not make many US visits. So if anyone knows when Terry is coming to the US again I'd like to know.
- If failure had no penalty, success would not be a prize.
- Well, of course, "human" is just a word.
- If you don't go away, I will personally rip your head off and fill it with snakes.
- I've never seen anyone do that with a scorpion before.
- We're young, we've got all the time in the world. Let's go clubbing.
The results, as always, appear at the end of this issue.
The 2004 Convention took place at the Hilton International Hotel near Hinckley in Leicestershire over the weekend of the 21st to 24th August 2004. Around 700 fans gathered at the Hotel over the weekend. Although the event officially started on Friday morning, the opening ceremony took place much later in the day to ensure as many members as possible could see it. The opening ceremony was a chance to make a few announcements and to explain about the guilds system that was being run. When we signed in we were allowed to choose which guild we wanted to be a member of. We were then able to take part in activities over the weekend to earn tokens that were totalled for each guild.
Apart from the guild work the weekend was packed with events from early in the morning to quite late in the evening. Events included interviews with many Discworld celebrities such as Terry Pratchett, Stephen Briggs, Bernard Pearson, Paul Kidby, Graham Higgins, Trevor Truran and Jack Cohen and non-Discworld guests including Lionel Fanthorpe, Dave Langford, Peter Morwood and Diane Duane; Discworld quizzes; Thud; role-playing and war gaming; Amateur dramatics; Paint your own; storytelling sessions; readings of Going Postal and build your own semaphore.
One of my favourite events was the interview between Bernard Pearson and Lionel Fanthorpe, which proved to be a very entertaining hour. It is always a pleasure to listen to Bernard's many and varied anecdotal stories. My other high point was the session where we got to see some of Josh Kirby's original artwork. It amazed me how detailed and full of life and spirit the originals were and how squashed and sterilized the covers became. It was also great sitting in the bar on Sunday night while Graham Higgins produced an original piece of art for the Wadfest Charity auction. Within the hour he had gone from a blank sheet of paper to a very nice Troll and Dwarf line drawing, which made fascinating viewing.
Throughout the event several dealers were peddling their wares in the dealer's room. There was a lot of wonderful Discworld merchandise on display from many of the established dealers and also many great items from the newer dealers. Wisely the committee gave Dave Hodges his own room.
The charity auction was scheduled to run at the same time as the book signing so only a small part of the main hall was populated. This unfortunately meant that The Orangutan Foundation didn't get as much money as it could have. After the initial confusion where the wrong items were displayed, the auction settled down and some real bargains were obtained.
The four days seemed to fly past and before we knew it we were sitting at the closing ceremony; and the committee were thanking everyone involved in the event. Prizes for the various competitions that took place over the weekend were given out and Terry announced that the 2006 Convention would take place at the same hotel.
After a quick drink in the bar, I said my goodbyes; took to the road and headed back. After much confusion and heading the wrong way down a motorway I finally managed to find my way back home - exhausted but happy.
It was great meeting up with old friends and was a lot of fun making new friends. I would love to thank Pete and Sue for putting me up for the weekend and helping to make the weekend very entertaining. If I promised to mention you and have now forgotten please forgive me - my memory isn't what it used to be.
All you need to do to enter the competition is send the answer to the following question to before 24th October 2004. Please make sure the subject of your email is Nac Mac Competition.
- How much is Bonsai Trading selling Clarecraft's Tiffany with all 5 Nac Mac Feegles for?
The randomly selected winner will be announced next month.
For more information about Bonsai Trading and its massive range of
Discworld Merchandise visit
Quite simply, the best Discworld book for bloody ages. Reading Going Postal reminded me how I'd become a Pratchett fan all those years ago and why I get together once a week with a couple of mates to put out a monthly newsletter. This latest Discworld novel (the 29th!) also made me realise how I've missed the Pratchett magic in other recent books.
Going Postal tells the story of Moist von Lipwig's attempts to resuscitate Ankh-Morpork's post system. Moist doesn't undertake this Herculean task voluntarily. He is given a stark choice by the Patrician: accept the office of Postmaster or die. Vetinari assigns a golem to ensure Moist takes his new appointment seriously and sure enough, within 10 minutes of taking office the new Postmaster has done a runner, only to discover just how tenacious golems really can be.
Moist's gradual acceptance of his fate and his growing commitment to the crumbling, labyrinthine Ankh-Morpork postal system, steeped in centuries of proud tradition and endless piles of dead letters, is one of the threads running through the novel. It's also great to see a golem in a prominent role in the story and to learn more about golem society following the upheavals documented in Feet of Clay.
One of Terry's many strengths is the development of his imaginary universe throughout the Discworld series, with the result that Ankh-Morpork becomes more satisfyingly realised every time we revisit it. One might argue that 'resurrecting the postal service' is not a million miles away from 'revitalising the City Watch' or 'launching a newspaper' but who cares? If Terry can produce more books of the calibre of Going Postal that describe other bits of the city's infrastructure, more power to him!
Moist's task is complicated by rivalry, of a pretty serious nature, from the Clacks company. While a clacks message is extremely quick it's also expensive and subject to technical hitches, whereas the post always gets through. Interestingly, Moist's nemesis at the Clacks is a man very similar to himself - a crook and a liar who depends on other people's greed and gullibility to make a living. Terry builds the tension throughout the story, culminating in wonderful scenes where the two men try to outdo each other in public relations battles, knowing their every word will be captured (and distorted) by the press. Given the author's background in the media I felt his depiction of newspapers and their reporters may be frighteningly true to life.
What really made Going Postal so special for me, though, was the story's setting. The overriding impression the book leaves you with is the Post Office itself, a derelict, rotting, dry old edifice, stripped of its gold ornamentation and stuffed to the rafters with ancient mail. There are so many undelivered letters that they're hazardous, threatening to pour down in a landslide of suffocating paper and dust if they're disturbed. The Post Office is a world in itself with its own history, rites and rituals and I found it a wonderful world to read about.
Incidentally, I have it on good authority that the real Post Office, in the UK at least, is not nearly as attractive.
I was recently sent a copy of ISIS publishing's latest Discworld creation: A Hat Full of Sky.
As with all recent ISIS Discworld productions this audio book was read by Stephen Briggs (who recently received an Audie for his reading of Night Watch - Audies are the audio book equivalent of Oscars).
Stephen once again brings the characters to life in his own charismatic style. Each character is given a unique voice that makes it easy to identify which character is speaking at any time. Apart from the Nac-Mac-Feegles almost all the characters are female, which must have been a bit of a challenge for Stephen, but I guess all those years of amateur dramatics have paid off - I wonder if Stephen ever plays the dame at pantomimes.
It is great fun to hear the voices that Stephen has chosen for the Nac-Mac-Feegles. I feel they work better as characters when read out loud. I guess it is something about their character that they prefer to be free of the written word!
As ISIS audio books are unabridged you never miss out any parts of the original story, unlike the heavily edited Corgi versions. For that reasons alone I would think they are great, but they are also hugely entertaining. There is something special about having the books read to you on your way to work, for example.
A Hat Full of Sky is available direct from ISIS web site located at www.isis-publishing.co.uk
There are, as usual, two versions available. The first is a 7 cassette version which retails at 18.99GBP + P&P and a 8 CD version which retails at 24.99 GBP + P&P.
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
* Latest Book Information *
Discworld paperback: Night Watch 0552148997/87
Discworld hardback: Monstrous Regiment 0385603401/87
Next Discworld hardback: Going Postal - October 2004 0385603428/87
New Discworld Young Adult: A Hat Full of Sky 0385607369/87
Current Discworld Young Adult: The Wee Free Men 0385605331/87
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* Disc Trivia Results *
- If failure had no penalty, success would not be a prize.
- The Staff, Sourcery
- Well, of course,"human" is just a word.
- Mr Pin, The Truth
- If you don't go away, I will personally rip your head off and fill it with snakes.
- Granny Weatherwax, Lords & Ladies
- I've never seen anyone do that with a scorpion before.
- Scrappy, The Last Continent
- We're young, we've got all the time in the world. Let's go clubbing.
- Susan, Thief of Time.
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