Discworld Monthly - Issue 1: May 1997
Table of Contents:1. Editorial
2. Contact Information
4. Back issues & our NEW web page
6. Jungle Quest Video
7. What's new?
8. PTerry on British Television / Video
9. Discworld Convention 1998
10. LSpace web
11. Obtaining PTerry's books
12. PTerry's Bibliography
13. Feature: Accidental Death
14. The End
Hello and welcome to the first issue of "Discworld monthly". This newsletter will hopefully take over where the original short-lived "Discworld Review" left off. "Discworld Monthly" will be about Terry Pratchett and his works, including the Discworld, Nomes, Johnny and other books. The aim of this newsletter is to provide news, information and other interesting / entertaining articles. "Discworld Monthly" will normally be sent out in the first week of each month. If an urgent piece of information comes to our attention we may from time to time send out additional bulletins.
Within this newsletter we will usually refer to Terry Pratchett as PTerry, for the same reasons as the newsgroup alt.fan.pratchett. It is in reference to the Discworld book Pyramids where the main characters are called PTeppic and PTracey.
If you have never heard of Terry Pratchett or the Discworld, where have you been? Imagine a very large turtle (sex unknown) slowly swimming though space, so large that it holds four enormous elephants on its back. Upon these elephants is a disc many hundreds of miles wide, "The Discworld".
There are currently 20 books in the Discworld series. The first was "The Colour of Magic" and the latest "The Hogfather". See section 12 for a quick list of PTerry's books.
We need your input: please send us any articles, book reviews, details of events or anything else that other PTerry fans might enjoy. We need to receive all articles no less than a week before the next issue is due. We should receive all submissions for issue two by Saturday 24th May 1997.
Please note our new web address is now - discworldmonthly.co.uk
Finally we would like to say thanks for subscribing and for your support. We were very impressed with the number of countries represented in our subscription database. It is great to see that PTerry's books are so universally enjoyed.
(editor and web / email stuff)
William Barnett (deputy editor / feature writer)
Richard Massey, firstname.lastname@example.org (proof reading / comments)
2. Contact Information
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
3. SubscriptionTo subscribe to this monthly newsletter simply send an email to email@example.com with a subject of "subscribe" or fill-in the form on our web page. You will receive an email confirming your subscription as soon as I can reply (usually within a couple of days).
To un-subscribe from this newsletter simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject of "remove". You will receive an email confirming your removal as soon as I can reply (usually within a couple of days).
NOTE: In order to keep the subscription list current any addresses that bounce will be removed. If you fail to receive an issue, please subscribe again.
We have set up a Web page that explains how to add a "subscribe to Discworld Monthly form" to your Discworld pages. It would be great if you would be willing to display the form on your pages. If you add the form to your pages let us know and we will mention your site in the next issue. discworldmonthly.co.uk
Thanks go to the following for including either an email link or form on their web pages.
Andrew Cameron - The JUMP Gate -
Tobias Ryberg - Great A'Tuin -
4. Back issues & our web pageThis and all future issues will be accessible from the new "Discworld Monthly" web site, where you will also find links to other Discworld pages. discworldmonthly.co.uk
5. QuestionnairePlease note we are not counting any more Questionnaires
As this is the first issue we thought it would be a good time to find out your opinions about the Discworld. Please take the time to answer the questions below and email them to email@example.com. Results will appear in the next issue.
- i) What is your favourite PTerry book?
- ii) Who or what is your favourite character?
- iii) Do you have any ideas for new characters and if so, what?
- iv) Have you played either of the Discworld games and if so what did you think of them?
- v) How many legs has the luggage got?
- vi) What is your favourite quote?
6. Jungle Quest VideoA couple of years ago PTerry went to Bornio and filmed a documentary about orang-utans, which was repeated on British television on Sunday 27th April 1997 at 17:30. There is a group of dedicated fans trying to get this released as a video. www.yrl.co.uk/~philip/jungle.html
7. What's new?PTerry has just finished a book called Jingo (working title?) which involves a war between Klatch and Ankh Morpork. We have no idea of the release date at the moment. PTerry is also working on a new book called "The Last Continent" set in XXXX (Discworld equivalent of Australia?).
PTerry recently posted to alt.fan.pratchett stating that he is going on a signing tour in the UK during the month of May. Could this be the Jingo signing tour?
Steve Jackson Games are producing a Discworld version of GURPS roleplaying game which should be ready by the end of 1997. www.io.com/sjgames
8. PTerry on British Television / VideoThis news apparently comes from the newsgroup alt.fan.pratchett although I didn't see it personally. Please remember to check your television listings to ensure you don't miss any.
On Sunday 27th April 1997 Channel 4 announced that the PTerry documentary will be on the 11th May 1997 with "Wyrd Sisters" starting the week after. I would advise anyone to keep an eye on channel 4 over the next few Sundays.
- PTerry on Television:
- CH4 Sunday 4th May 1997 at 17:25 PTerry documentary.
- CH4 Sunday 11th May 1997 at 17:25 Wyrd Sisters (6 weekly parts)
- PTerry on Video:
- "Soul Music" is being released on Video on Monday 12th May 1997.
9. Discworld Convention 1998Plans for the second Discworld Convention are well underway. Confirmed guests include Terry Pratchett, David Langford, Stephen Briggs and Paul Kidby.
The dates for the convention are: 18th - 21st September 1998
The venue is: The Adelphi hotel, Liverpool England.
For more information, please email Bursar@lspace.org To receive an application form send a SAE (with international postage coupon if required) to the following address.
The Discworld Convention, PO Box 3086, Colchester, Essex, CO2 8TY
Events planned include a Dwarf Opera, Soul Music play performance, Maskerade Parade, Gala Dinner and a whole lot of fun laughter and general madness.
10. LSpace webIf you have not visited "The LSpace Web", then do so now. It has reams of information about PTerry including a detailed bibliography and is also the home of the Annotated Pratchett Files. www.lspace.org/
11. Obtaining PTerry's booksIf you live in the UK you can go to most book shops and pick up PTerry's books without problems. Other countries may find it more difficult. You can order any of PTerry's books over the Net from Amazon (they even provide an on-line currency converter for anyone outside the UK). www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/redirect-home/87
12. PTerry's Bibliography
- Colour of Magic, Light Fantastic, Equal Rites, Mort, Sorcery, Wyrd Sisters, Pyramids, Guards Guards, Eric, Moving Pictures, Reaper Man, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Small Gods, Men at Arms, Soul Music, Interesting Times, Maskerade, Feet of Clay, The Hogfather
- Discworld Extras:
- Discworld Companion, The Streets of Ankh Morpork,
Discworld Mappe, Discworld Portfolio, Various graphic novels,
- Witches Trilogy (first three witches books), Plays, Radio shows, Television shows, Miniatures, Unseen University Challenge & Audio Tapes of the books.
- Truckers, Diggers, Wings
- Only You Can Save Mankind, Johnny and the Dead, Johnny and the Bomb
- Good Omens, The Carpet People, Dark Side of the Sun, Strata, The Unadulterated Cat
13. Feature: Accidental DeathDiscworld Monthly's William Barnett's read all the Discworld books (who hasn't?) & thinks this gives him the right to air an opinion.
All the best things happen by accident. Penicillin, Super Mario Bros, electricity (sort of), 18 years of Tory government ... erm, maybe bad things happen by accident too. The point is, the Discworld series is exactly like penicillin. In that a lot of the best things in it are accidental, not that it's green and grows on cheese.
There are the individual elements in the books that evidently turned out to be a good idea. As a result, PTerry kept them for the rest of the series. The obvious one is the Librarian. In The Light Fantastic he's just a bloke who gets caught in the blast of the magical event that starts the story. An orang-utan is intrinsically funny, right, because of its long, hairy arms and propensity for bananas? The library is crucial in the next book, Equal Rites, which gives PTerry the chance to develop a bit of reader loyalty by keeping the continuity with the previous two books and getting some laughs in the process. The 'oook' thing is funny whether or not you know anything about the Librarian and you get that extra kick of knowing the full story behind it if you've followed the whole series up to that point.
Other characters who look as if they turned out well and so got to stick around include Death, Gaspode the Wonder Dog, the Death of Rats, Lord Vetinari, even Granny Weatherwax. Death and Lord Vetinari are both residents of the Discworld from the start, but the change that comes over them between the first two books and the rest of the series is a dead give-away.
Death, in particular, only comes into his own in Mort - but that's the whole point, isn't it? You chuck in a faintly malevolent Grim Reaper in book 1, it seems to work really well, you develop the idea and use it as the basis for a whole book a bit later on. Mort would be, well, lifeless without the Death we've come to know and love (that's necrophilia isn't it?) and the character goes on to be one of the most enduring and successful elements of the whole series. And the trouble with writing about comedy, by the way, is that everyone starts thinking they're a humour writer.
All the Witches books after Equal Rites revolve around the improved, Mark II Granny Weatherwax. After a last flicker of menace in the life-timer room in Mort Death settles into his role as a really nice guy. The Archchancellor's role stabilises in the form of Ridcully and the faculty relaxes comfortably into place around him (and incidentally, what a bloody brilliant idea to call a character 'The Chair of Indefinite Studies'. The other wizards actually address him as 'Chair' - instant characterisation! Everyone's immediately got a clear picture of what the bloke's like, physically and temperamentally).
Perhaps it's too narrow to concentrate on the changes in the characters, though. Read some of the accompanying blurb about PTerry in the papers or spin-offs like The Discworld Companion and you learn that people actually write to him saying 'you've given me a really satisfying picture of the afterlife'. The view of life in the books coalesces into this fundamentally 'right' place. There's room for cynicism, especially in the humour; poverty, witness Foul Ole Ron, the Duck Man et. al.; and even evil, the gonne, the Duchess in Wyrd Sisters, Teatime in Hogfather. But the evil is always overcome. The closest we've come to real sadness is probably learning of the death of Susan Sto-Lat's parents, Mort and Ysabell, in Soul Music.
What I'm driving at (I think) is that the series started with a couple of satirical fantasy novels. The Wyrmberg in The Light Fantastic was too heavy handed. It was an obvious pisstake of Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels, populated by uninteresting characters and stuff that stretched your credulity too far. Bravd and the Weasel kind of sum this up: they're there to point up the disruption of fantasy conventions by being stereotypes that we don't give a toss about. How many of these direct pastiches do you find as the series progresses, though? Well, probably a few, but the books become more self-sufficient. The Discworld takes on its own identity, which we know is kind of pleasant, occasionally ironic, stoic, erm ... ferric, rhetoric. It didn't start out like that, of course, but how much do you enjoy rereading the earlier books in the light of the later ones? Personally I really miss the essential PTerry view of the world.