Discworld Monthly - Issue 115: November 2006
Table of Contents:1. Editorial
3. Readers' Letters
5. Book Recommendation: Bimbos of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb.
7. Who's Who - Greebo
8. The End
1. EditorialWelcome to issue 115. This month I have the sad duty to report the untimely passing of Karen Methven who died peacefully in her sleep after finally losing her ongoing battle with cancer.
Karen was one of the unsung heroes of Discworld fandom. Karen regularly spent hours manning the Wadfest stall at various Discworld events and has always helped Waddy store all the Wadfest equipment in her home. I doubt Wadfest could have grown into the event it is without her.
Karen was a lovely friendly lady and was always a pleasure to talk to. I am sure you will join us in sending our condolences to Waddy and to Karen's family at this difficult time. She will be sorely missed.
Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (IT Support)
2. NewsVampire Cat writes: I have sorted out a charity scheme with Bernard & Isobel Pearson which will result in the production of a unique version of Bernard's Post Office model which will be silver plated.
This is to be the star item at the Hogswatch auction.
Talking of Hogswatch - The next Wincanton gathering will take place on the weekend of the 9-10 December 2006. The event will be known as The Cunning Artificer's Hogswatch Big Bash and will include the traditional Sausage Supper, Grand Parade, Charity Auction, Thud and Games plus a "Special Hogswatch Magic Lantern Show". Alongside these activities will be a Discworld Beer Festival - can you afford not to go?
For more information visit www.artificer.co.uk or phone on 01963 824686.
News from Colin Smythe (Terry's agent):
Terry appeared on the front page of the Telegraph - Your Money supplement last Saturday, in the front of a crowd of people among whom was a Lady Mayor. Terry was holding his ordinary hat and waving a postman's cap. There was no explanation beside the large photo, apart from the article being about the threat to rural post offices. Inside, on page 2, however, was the story of how a new village post office called Wren's Shop had just been opened, by Terry, and how it is run by a rota of village volunteers.
I'm delighted to say that the Childsplay production of "Johnny & the Bomb" has been nominated for an International Emmy - decision night is 20 November.
Johnny and the Bomb has now secured two BAFTA nominations - one for the show as best drama and the other for the script.
Terry's interview with Mark Lawson [about Johnny and the Bomb - Ed] is scheduled to go out at 9pm on 21st November, on BBC4.
These are Bookscan figures which will form the UK Bestseller Charts for this weekend [5th October - Ed].
Overall List - includes all titles in all genres
No. 1 Wintersmith 32,348 copies No. 2 Thud 30,464 copies (No. 3 James Patterson 26,528 copies)
Paperback Fiction No 1 Thud (No.2 James Patterson)
Children's Chart No.1 Wintersmith (No.2 Dr Who Annual 7,960 copies)
And in the US: WINTERSMITH debuts on The New York Times Bestseller list (Children's Chapter Books) at number 3. That list is one that gets published in the October 15th issue.
The new printing of Clive Gifford's Unofficial Quiz Book - So You Think You Know Discworld? - this one with appropriate acknowledgement (lacking in the first printing) to relevant trademarks - 0-340-91732-6 - is now available from Hodder Childrens Books.
Karisto of Finland are taking Wings and Wintersmith.
Talpress has signed up for a Czech edition of A Tourist Guide to Lancre, and Proszynski for the Polish edition of The Truth.
Talpress are also buying Slovak rights to Wyrd Sisters and Pyramids.
Goldmann will be publishing The Ankh-Morpork Post Office Handbook Discworld Diary 2007 suitably modified for 2008.
Eksmo will be publishing a Russian translation of The Last Hero.
Screen M∧B are buying Korean rights to The Unadulterated Cat.
Salani are buying Italian rights to Moving Pictures.
Karisto are buying Finnish rights to Feet of Clay.
I've just received copies of the Hebrew edition of Men at Arms (Kinneret), a German omnibus, published by Piper, containing The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, and Equal Rites, and a two volume Korean edition of The Wee Free Men (published by Seoul Cultural Publishing Inc.)
And as a footnote: Colin Smythe Ltd. has just reprinted 'The First Discworld Novels' and revised the jacket which now has Josh Kirby's 'Tower of Art' picture featuring the final battle of 'The Light Fantastic' (with Josh's usual artistic licence), on the front cover. This was originally painted for the 2002 Discworld Calendar.
The Shades Pub in Skegness is no more. I have received reports that is has now been renamed "The Variety Bar".
The pub was apparently mentioned in the Discworld Companion so you now have the opportunity to update your copies!
Barrie Wakeford the official Discworld Jeweller is selling pendants and earrings made from teeth from the Hogfather movie. 1 GBP for each set sold will be donated to the Discworld Convention charities.
Look out this issue for a chance to win a set of teeth (a pendant and earrings).
Dave Hodges has recently started a thread on the Discworld Stamps forum to help people get the correct Feegles.
For example, all Dave's Feegles are numbered 25 apart from Fion which is number 27. Naturally Dave wants all his Feegles to have the same number so he wants to swap Fion 27 with Fion 25.
If you have a Feegle with the wrong number visit: www.discworldstamps.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6841
I think around a third of the mail I have received this month was telling me about an amazing Discworld Cake that was made for a wedding. The pictures are amazing (I hope it tasted as good as it looked) so take a look at:
Chris Kietzman has created a new version of his Discworld Reading Order Guide. The new guide should soon appear on www.lspace.org/ but until then you can find it at discworldmonthly.co.uk/gfx/readingorder.jpg
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.
[AU] The Brisbane Arts Theatre, Brisbane, Australia will be producing Night Watch from October 21 to November 4 with a special Halloween Performance on Saturday October 28.
More details at: artstheatre.com.au/
[UK] Moot House Players based in Harlow, Essex, is staging a production of Mort from Thursday 9th November to Saturday 11th November at 8pm.
The venue is Moot Hall, The Stow, Harlow. Tickets cost 6.00 GBP (Concessions 4.50 GBP).
More details at:
[UK] The Thalian Theatre Group - Basildon, Essex will be staging Mort from Wed 29th November to - Sat 2nd December. Contact for more details.
[NE, NEW] Wyrd Sisters will be performed in Rotterdam by ToKiJo1 on December 20,23, 27 and 29. This is believed to be the first-ever Dutch adaptation of Wyrd Sisters.
So far, it looks as though they are booked for four performances by Project Sprookjesstad, an initiative that aims for children to visit the theatre more often. Of course, since it's Terry Pratchett, it's also good stuff for adults!
Telephone: 00-31-(0)636107476 Email:
[AU, UPDATED] Nullus Anxietas: The Australian Discworld Convention Melbourne, February 9-11 2007
Guest of Honour: Terry Pratchett Virtual Guests of Honour: Stephen Briggs, Bernard Pearson, Colin Smythe
Last chance to get discounted memberships for the convention - prices go up at the end of October, but should any DWM readers not get a chance to read this issue until November, we're offering a few extra days grace period - if you mention Discworld Monthly in your membership application, you can get the discounted rates (160/140 AUD concession) until the 5th of November.
If you do sign up with the discounted rates, then you'll go into the draw for the competition to be part of a small group having a coffee and chat together with Terry at the convention.
More details, as always, are out our website: www.ausdwcon.org
[DE] The first German Discworld Convention "Scheibenwelt-Fest 2007" will take place at a real castle near Siegen in Germany from February the 23rd till the 25th.
The organisers claim they will try to entertain you with a broad range of different workshops, shows, guests of honour and other events at this Uberwald-themed festival.
Tickets cost only 47.50 GBP for both days including accommodation in the castle, breakfast and dinner.
You can find the registration and further information at: www.discworld-convention.de
[US, New] Terry will be guest of honour at the MidSouthCon from March 23-25. The Convention takes place in Memphis, TN.
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.
Kate Fenton writes: Following rather slim times in the banking department, I have decided to part with the prototype Thud board that I got at the Thud Launch back a while in Wincanton. The board is set in a four sided box and has been signed by everyone involved in developing/making it. As a prototype, there is only one like it anywhere in the world. I am pained to part with it and would prefer it to go to a good home, but am testing the waters to see how much I might be able to get for it? I and my bank manager would be grateful for any useful ideas.
Sue Wheal writes: I have a rare 1000 piece Spears Games jigsaw from the 1995 set of four for sale. Few were produced, and it is NOT one of the Gibsons puzzles. It features the artwork from Soul Music and has the product code MS 52264. The outer cellophane has been removed but the puzzle has never been done and it is in IMMACULATE condition. I am aware that these are now very collectable and as such I am open to sensible offers (postage and packing would be extra). You can contact me via e mail or on +44 7734 714 759.
3. Readers' LettersIf you have any letters or comments, please email them to
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 & have a few drinks.
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 much more.
* From: "Nicole Matatko"
Am I overinterpreting? I had to translate a text about the "language of science" for university. A hundred times it mentioned Euclid's book "The Elements". Still having that in mind, I started reading "Small Gods". Suddenly Drunah tells Vorbis: "Certainly matters would be easier if there was a lack of stability in Ephebe." (which we know is like Greece what with bearded old men jumping out of their bathtubs and running naked through the streets) "It does indeed harbour certain ... elements." :D Was I still thinking about my text or is this again one of PTerry's subtle ways to show us how great his knowledge is? I admit, had I read it a week later, I probably would not have made that connection.
* From: "Peter Guilliatt"
I was just reading the BBC news website and came across a reference to a riot in Cable Street, East London. In the real world as in the Discworld it was the scene of a battle between ordinary people and the forces of authority. The people were protesting the rise of the fascists and in particular the apparent support of the police by allowing them to march at all. It makes quite interesting reading and just goes to show that even the names of streets in TP's books can't be taken for granted!
The full text can be read at: news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/5405598.stm
* From: "Ian Gascoyne"
I used to feel really smug whenever I bought a Discworld book in England, knowing that I had a beautiful and artistic cover to look at each time I picked it up to read, unlike those poor buggers over the pond in the good old U S of A. Then 3 years ago I moved here, to Salt Lake City, Utah to marry, my now wife, who I had met on the Internet (Hot or Not) and found out first hand what all the American readers had been complaining about for so long..... those boring covers. I was gutted.... not to mention the fact that not all of TP's books are available here without importing them at the cost of my first born, left kidney and several pints of blood. Now if I still lived in England and had free health care I may consider it but living here, even with medical insurance, I don't love Terry that much, so I have to settle for the tat they sell here. If I had previously bothered to read all those whiny letters I would know the answer to this, but seeing as I was living in a British bubble before, and didn't care about anyone else, I don't, so can anyone please, please tell me where I can get these treasures over here in The States? The moral of this tale is always be thoughtful to others and help wherever possible as you never know when you will need the same assistance in return.
Secondly, if there is anyone who would like to write to me to discuss TP then please feel free to drop me a line.
* From: "Chris Bennett"
I recently turned 45, and my fiance was rooting around for a suitable present to mark this potentially life threatening event. As she had seen my collection of Terry's books, (and indeed babysat while I attended a book signing at Truro and met the literary giant himself.. haven't washed my hand since!) she thought I might appreciate a book. Picture the scene. Very early birthday morning, over exited extended family (between us we have 5 teenagers!) and I open my pressies. The usual collection of humorous socks in neon colours, aftershave that doubles as industrial paint thinner, several items of an alcohol related nature (ah better) and then a thin parcel, with a note saying "I hope this is alright". I gingerly opened the wrappings, and discovered not only the one missing book from my collection, but a first edition signed copy! "Is it okay? I think it's a children's book?"
We are getting married in September. Need I say more!
DWM replies: Chris gets this month's Letter of the Month.
* From: "Stan Otterburn"
After an absence of over three years, due to illness, my site for the Lancre Morris Men is back online at:
At present, I am looking for any person(s) in the Durham area who are not only Pratchett fans but also interested in doing a bit of Morris dancing in their spare time. Musicians who can play fiddle or squeezebox would be more than welcome. I had just got a side together three years ago when ill health forced me to stop, but now I'm recruiting again. All the relevant facts are up there if anyone cares to look. I will be also publishing a monthly folky type of newsletter with gigs and folk events for any groups around the country who care to send me the info.
* From: "Louise Shanahan"
I know I have asked if you get strange looks when reading DW books and laughing out loud but where is the strangest place you have ever read his books? The stranger the better.
* From: "Claudia Reichardt"
I was visiting Auckland Museum last weekend where they have just now an exhibition called "Volvo Vikings". Just another way to advertise cars, when you are not really prepared for it. You can also laugh about the fact that I am from Germany originally and flew halfway around the world to learn about something that actually is right next door... Well, as I walked through the exhibition I noticed one piece which was an old Norse game called HNEFTAFL, or the "king's game". As chess it is a game of strategy but it also reminded me strongly of Thud, because one side is in the minority. The attackers' goal is to capture the king. The defenders goal is to help the king escape to safety. To win the battle, the attackers must trap the king so he can't move. I suggest you just google for it to get an idea. Right next to this gameboard they showed to pieces, one a king and the other one a berserk warrior biting in his shield in anticipation. See the parallel? This just shows that you will find Terry everywhere.
* From: "Andrew Frame"
Forgive me Terry, for I have sinned. It has been a year since my last Discworld read and I have been vacant of your wisdom. But now I see with the clarity of Blind Io. I have had a revelation!
After dropping my wife off at her bookshop job, I was struck with an epiphany. Her work changed brands from "Books & More" to "Paper Plus" and the old sign was sitting out by a skip bin. But something was amiss. The "B" from "Books" had escaped the confines of its signage leaving the board with a speech impediment to the untrained eye.
But I was transfixed. Like a banana hurled at the speed of light I realised "IT"!!
After all these years of reading Terry's works and indulging in some literary (not literal) primate love with the Librarian I realised:
He's not saying "Ook" - he's saying "(B)ook"!!!!!!!
Orangutan he may be, but a librarian he is first and foremost.
Great (b)ooks stick in your head no matter what species you may currently be, so it makes the ultimate sense that this one word stayed with him after his fortunate (?) transformation.
I must say at this point I have no proof that primates have trouble pronouncing the letter "B" - which may hurt my theory, but I have never heard an Orangutan say "Deoxyribonucleic acid" either, so it may yet stand.
A verbal bibliography in one word! Dewey decimal references encoded in facial expressions (hard to read, even harder to write) depicting precisely which (b)ook he is referring to, the chapter, page and line so those who share his library would clearly understand.
So go forth brothers, sisters and um... miscellaneous, spread the word of the good (B)ooks for I have seen the light and so, now, shall you all!
* From: "Paul"
As a Discworld obsessive, I have created a guild in a game called World of Warcraft (or WOW).
It is called Unseen University.
If any of you guys play, you will get instant membership to the guild.
The server is ALONSUS.
Hope to see you there.
JA Replies: I've not played WOW but do enjoy spending some time playing Guild Wars. [A lot of time - WB]
4. DiscTriviaThis month I have decided to ask questions about Eric.
- What artist was responsible for the illustrations in the original version of Eric?
- How old is Eric?
- a) 87
- b) 78
- c) 15
- d) 13
- How tall was Quezovercoatl?
- How long did it take Lavaeoulus to get home?
- What title was awarded to Astfgl?
The results, as always, appear at the end of this issue.
5. Book Recommendation: Bimbos of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb.Review by Jason Anthony.
Normally I would never have even picked up a book with such a title but at the 2006 Discworld Convention Mark Ayling suggested that I should give the book a go. I did and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Bimbos of the Death Sun is a story about a small fantasy convention called Rubicon set in the US. It tells a tale of the events that unfold during the convention. It features observations from people that are involved with the convention and also some from external sources such as the police, a university professor and a folk singer who just happens to be staying in the same hotel.
The book provides a fascinating insight into the different type of personalities that attend fantasy / science fiction conventions. Once you have read the book you will never again look at conventions or those that frequent them in the same way.
The book also happens to have a reasonable story and turns out to be a whodunit that is solved by a live action role-play game!
I think this book should be made compulsory reading for anyone that has ever been to a fantasy convention. The book is quite short at only 212 pages and interestingly there appears to be a sequel called "Zombies of the Gene Pool" which I might try and locate sometime soon.
The book's ISBN number is 0-345-48302-2
6. CompetitionsLast month we gave you the opportunity to win some wonderful post office products from Rob Wilkins and Sandra Kidby.
All you had to do was answer the following question:
- How much is the combined total cost of the new post office bag, wallet and mug? (see www.pjsmprints.co.uk for the answer).
The answer we were looking for was 38 GBP excluding delivery. But we also accepted the delivered price as well.
The winner of the Post Office bag is Bill Tait of Lincolnshire.
The winner of the Post Office wallet is Barry Beck of Tyne and Wear.
The winner of the Post Office Mug is Hannah Wright of Birmingham.
For more information about these and all the over wonderful products available on the PJSM prints website visit www.pjsmprints.co.uk
This month we are offering Teeth! But not just any teeth (these are teeth from the upcoming Sky One adaptation of the Hogfather). Barrie Wakford has donated a complete set of teeth jewellery (pendant and earrings) for us to give away.
In order to win a set of Teeth you need to answer the following questions by 20th November. Please send your answer and postal address to .
- How much is a "Set of Teef" from Barrie's website (not including postage)? (See
The randomly selected winner will be announced next month.
7. Who's Who - GreeboBy William Barnett
Greebo has been in the Discworld books as long as his mistress, Nanny Ogg. The fact that Nanny owns a cat whereas Granny Weatherwax is identified as 'an inveterate cat-hater' gives the reader a handy clue as to the differences in the two witches' personalities: Nanny has a human warmth that Granny Weatherwax seldom displays.
It's a bit surprising that Granny Weatherwax is a cat-hater, though. Like most intelligent human beings (e.g., me), Terry seems to be a cat lover and he passes on this attribute to some of our favourite characters - Death springs to mind. 'Cat-hater', on the Discworld and in real life, is usually a pretty reliable shorthand for 'crap human being' but perhaps in Granny's case it's just part of her steely public persona.
Greebo returns in Witches Abroad when (probably with an eye on cat lovers among the readership) Nanny decides to take him with her on the witches' trip to Genua. Her justification for this is that 'He'll miss his mummy if he's left behind, won't he'. It turns out to be a providential decision.
In Genua, the witches manage to transform Greebo into human form. As a human, he's just as much of a menacing predator as when he's a cat. The witches initially complete the transformation without taking into account any clothes, leading Nanny Ogg to remark 'No wonder all the lady cats scream at night.' Greebo helps the witches out and subsequently makes his way to the kitchens, still human-shaped, for a plate of fish heads and a saucer of milk.
Greebo does more travelling, this time to Ankh-Morpork, in Maskerade. This is unlucky for the other people taking the Ankh-Morpork coach that day: Greebo makes a point of jumping on to their laps and making himself comfortable. 'And then, when he was sure they were resigned to the situation, he'd started to smell.' Most of the passengers quit the carriage and ride on top with the coachman instead. Greebo returns to human form a couple of times as well, notably as Granny's escort, Lord Gribeau.
What's great about Greebo is that he captures so much of what we see in our own cats. He's amoral, self-interested, he only loves Nanny because she feeds him, he jeers at his enemies when he thinks he's safe from them (I remember my old cat sitting on one side of a glass door washing himself while a neighbour's dog barked fruitlessly on the other side) and so on. For the non-cat lovers he might not be a particularly interesting character, but to those of us who dote on the selfish beasts ... well, Greebo is clearly the creation of a writer who knows his cats.
Favourite quote: "...pull up a chair and call the cat a bastard." (Nanny Ogg, "Wyrd Sisters")
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* Disc Trivia Results *
- What artist was responsible for the illustrations in the original version of Eric?
- Josh Kirby.
- Who old is Eric?
- d) 13
- How tall was Quezovercoatl?
- Six inches.
- How long did it take Lavaeoulus to get home?
- Ten years.
- What title was awarded to Astfgl?
- Supreme Life President of Hell
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