Feb. 22nd, 2017

wossname: (Plays)
Ben Hayward of the Imperial College School of Medicine Drama Society writes to say that he will be directing their production of Wyrd Sisters at the start of next month:

"ICSM Drama presents to you its fabulous production of Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett! Running from the 1st to the 4th March, it's sure to be a night of fantasy, comedy, romance, witchcraft, insanity and just plain wyrdness! So mark it down in your calendars! Save the date in your phones!"

When: 1st-4th March 2017
Venue: Union Concert Hall, Beit Quadrangle, Prince Consort Road , London SW7 2BB
Time: doors open 7:00pm; curtain up 7:30pm
Tickets: £6/£8 for student/Non-Student tickets (apart from Friday the 3rd of March which will be a special performance accompanied with drinks and canapes at higher price of £8/£10 (for student/non-Student tickets). "Take a look at our Facebook event for more details (_https://www.facebook.com/events/376900926013238/_) and email eri.aung15@imperial.ac.uk to reserve your tickets now!"


wossname: (GNU Terry Pratchett)
Wossname
Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
February 2017 (Volume 20, Issue 2, Post 1)


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WOSSNAME is a free publication offering news, reviews, and all the other stuff-that-fits pertaining to the works of Sir Terry Pratchett. Originally founded by the late, great Joe Schaumburger for members of the worldwide Klatchian Foreign Legion and its affiliates, including the North American Discworld Society and other continental groups, Wossname is now for Discworld and Pratchett fans everywhere in Roundworld.
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Editor in Chief: Annie Mac
News Editor: Vera P
Newshounds: Mogg, Sir J of Croydon Below, the Shadow, Mss C, Alison not Aliss
Staff Writers: Asti, Pitt the Elder, Evil Steven Dread, Mrs Wynn-Jones
Staff Technomancers: Jason Parlevliet, Archchancellor Neil, DJ Helpful
Book Reviews: Annie Mac, Drusilla D'Afanguin, Your Name Here
Puzzle Editor: Tiff (still out there somewhere)
Bard in Residence: Weird Alice Lancrevic
Emergency Staff: Steven D'Aprano, Jason Parlevliet
World Membership Director: Steven D'Aprano (in his copious spare time)

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INDEX:

01) QUOTES OF THE MONTH
02) EDITOR'S LETTER
03) ODDS AND SODS
04) "TERRY PRATCHETT: BACK IN BLACK" NEWS AND REVIEWS
05) DISCWORLD PLAYS NEWS
06) DISCWORLD MEETING GROUPS NEWS
07) AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE
08) IMAGES OF THE MONTH
09) CLOSE

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01) QUOTES OF THE MONTH

"You might quibble that showing him mostly in the context of his hardcore fans makes him look more like a cult hero and less what he truly was: a novelist for everyone, for all ages and for the ages."
– Frank Cottrell Boyce, reviewing Terry Pratchett: Back in Black

"On the first day of my journalistic career I saw my first corpse, some unfortunate chap fell down a hole in a farm and drowned in pig shit. All I can say is that, compared with his horrific demise, Alzheimer's is a walk in the park. Except with Alzheimer's my park keeps changing. The trees get up and walk over there, the benches go missing and the paths seem to be unwinding into particularly vindictive serpents."
– Sir Pterry on the disease that changed everything

"My heart was in my mouth when I realised Lyn had seen Paul dressed up as Terry before I'd had a chance to introduce them. I thought it might have upset her, but then I saw her having a chat with him and she was laughing. It was kind of wonderful, in an odd way."
– Rob Wilkins, on the filming of Terry Pratchett: Back in Black

"The only journalist who was interested in me was a snotty 24-year-old from an obscure sci-fi magazine."
– Kaye-as-Pratchett, on The Author's first meeting with Neil Gaiman

"It only took twenty years and three dozen novels before the critics finally caved in."
–ibid.

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02) LETTER FROM YOUR EDITOR

Well now, Paul Kaye certainly got the voice right.

Kaye's performance as one TDJ Pratchett, storytelling revenant in Charlie Russell's new BBC documentary Terry Pratchett: Back in Black, was quite something. The look was close, yes, but the voice was downright eerie in its Pratchett-ness. For reviews and other news about the programme, go to items 4 and 8 (the latter being Around the Blogosphere, but that section starts with several blog reactions to watching TP: BiB). For viewers within the BBC catchment area, Terry Pratchett: Back in Black is still available on iPlayer, with 19 days left to watch (_http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08fjlvx/terry-pratchett-back-in-black_). For all other Pratchett fans around the rest of Roundworld, an a, parrot and Clacks connection will no doubt prove to be... erm... helpful.

There is some other exciting news, about an exhibition and a blue plaque, plus all the usual, so let's get to it. On with the show!

– Annie Mac, Editor

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03) ODDS AND SODS

3.1 NEW TERRY PRATCHETT EXHIBIT!

A four-month exhibition on the works and life of Sir Terry Pratchett opens at the Salisbury Museum this coming September:

"The Salisbury Museum, The Estate of Terry Pratchett and Paul Kidby present 'Terry Pratchett: HisWorld', an exclusive major exhibition based on the extraordinary life of Sir Terry Pratchett, the creative genius behind the Discworld series. Follow his journey to becoming one of our best known and best loved writers. This unique exhibition will include artwork by the man himself and treasured items owned by Sir Terry which have never previously been on public display. Also featured will be over forty original illustrations by Paul Kidby, Sir Terry's artist of choice."

When: 16th September 2017 to 13th January 2018
Venue: Salisbury Museum, The King's House, 65 The Close, Salisbury, Wilts SP1 2EN (phone 01722 332151, email museum@salisburymuseum.org.uk)
Time: opening times are Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 17:00, Sundays (9 April - 29 October) 12:00 to 17:00. "Please note that our cafe is closed on Sundays."
Tickets: Adult £8, child £4, family (2 adults/4 children) £20, under-5s free. "Please note that all tickets issued by the museum are ANNUAL PASSES and are valid for one year. This is a condition of participating in the Gift Aid scheme and is offered regardless of whether you opt for the standard or donation admission."

http://www.salisburymuseum.org.uk/your-visit/prices

Tickets are also available online from http://salisbury.merlintickets.co.uk/product/ADME

http://discworld.com/terry-pratchett-exhibition-announced-salisbury/

Editor's note: Richard Henry, curator of the exhibition, told the Salisbury Journal, "The way we are designing it is allowing visitors to follow his journey into becoming one of the best-known authors... It is going to be accessible to all. The aim of the exhibition is to honour his legacy."

http://bit.ly/2l6XyqS


3.2 "...BORN HALFWAY UP A WALL..."

The Bucks Free Press, Sir Pterry's log-ago employers, have some exciting news:

"The life of much-loved fantasy author the late Sir Terry Pratchett will be honoured with a commemorative plaque at Beaconsfield Library next month. The plaque, will be unveiled at the library, in Reynolds Road, where Sir Terry was a Saturday boy and returned to give talks... Former librarian at Beaconsfield Library, and committee member of the Beaconsfield Society, Kari Dorme, welcomed the news, saying it would help make more people aware of the history and heritage of the town. She said: 'I think it is a super idea. He was particularly attached to Beaconsfield Library because he worked there.' Speaking about why she thinks this is good news for the town, she said: “I think it means that people can become aware of the literary heritage of the town, which I think is very important. It is quite exciting. It is good that the initiative has come from the town council. It is good that they recognise that history and heritage [are] important.'..."

The plaque will be formally unveiled at noon on Tuesday 7th March 7 2017. Rhianna Pratchett and Rob Wilkins will be there for the ceremony.

http://bit.ly/2kYmXlS


3.3 PTERRY AND ALZHEIMER'S NEWS

Hilary Evans, Alzheimer's Research UK's Chief Executive, has written a post titled "Sir Terry Pratchett: The Fantasy Author's Legacy To Dementia Research". Some extracts:

"In the interviews after the death of Sir Terry Pratchett, the most common question we were asked is 'what did he mean to Alzheimer's Research UK'? Terry was incredibly generous to us, he donated over $1 million to our research to help reveal the mysteries of his disease. He encouraged our scientists. He became our Patron. He was angry about his diagnosis, outraged that the condition was stealing his abilities and sense of self – he helped us campaign around the disparity in funding for dementia research. As a small organisation fighting a big enemy, he gave us the confidence to think bigger... what we kept coming back to in the days after his death were, fittingly, his words. How he talked about his disease, the language he employed – arresting and evocative – was a new type of conversation around dementia. He began to make it OK to discuss a diagnosis, in the same way that people are now rightly emancipated to talk about their cancer...

"It can be a convenient narrative to pin a turning point in an organisation's history to a single person, and the reality is that many tens of thousands of supporters, scientists and staff make this charity what it is today. But as we lay increasingly important paths towards breakthroughs in research, increased public understanding, greater political will and more funding for our scientists, there is no denying that a lot of those paths lead back to Terry Pratchett."

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/hilary-evans/terry-pratchett_b_14673554.html


3.4 OOK! THE LANGUAGE OF ORANGUTANS

From BBC News:

Scientists who spent years listening to the communication calls of one of our closest ape relatives say their eavesdropping has shed light on the origin of human language. Dr Adriano Reis e Lameira from Durham University recorded and analysed almost 5,000 orangutan 'kiss squeaks'. He found that the animals combined these purse-lipped, 'consonant-like' calls to convey different messages. This could be a glimpse of how our ancestors formed the earliest words. The findings are published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour. 'Human language is extraordinarily advanced and complex – we can pretty much transmit any information we want into sound,' said Dr Reis e Lameira. 'So we tend to think that maybe words evolved from some rudimentary precursor to transmit more complex messages. We were basically using the orangutan vocal behaviour as a time machine – back to a time when our ancestors were using what would become [those precursors] of consonants and vowels.'... There has been very little study of consonants in language research, but as Prof Serge Wich from Liverpool John Moores University, a lead author in the study, explained, they are crucial building blocks in the evolution of language. 'Most human languages have a lot more consonants than vowels,' said Prof Wich. 'And if we have more building blocks, we have more combinations.' The scientists recorded and analysed 4,486 kiss-squeaks collected from 48 animals in four wild populations. With thousands of hours of listening as the apes communicated, the researchers found that the animals embedded several different bits of information in their squeaks..."

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38907681

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04) TERRY PRATCHETT: BACK IN BLACK, NEWS AND REVIEWS

4.1 THE EARS HAVE IT, BUT THE EYES GOT A PRETTY FAIR LOOK-IN: A REVIEW OF TERRY PRATCHETT: BACK IN BLACK

By Annie Mac


The first thing my husband and I said to each other as the end credits for the BBC's "Terry Pratchett: Back in Black" rolled was, "It should've been longer."

The second was, "Let's go back and listen all the way through instead of watching it" – and in my opinion, if you've not seen the programme yet it might actually be worth your while to listen *before* watching it, because it may well have you believing Sir Pterry *did* come back for the filming of it.

Be warned: opening moments are heartbreaking. We see Sir Terry himself, filmed as he tries to tell of his rapidly fading personal memories to his loyal personal assistant and best friend Rob Wilkins. Seeing him in the latter stages of his disease, shrunken and uncertain, little more than a shell of the vibrant, articulate public speaker we knew and loved feels almost almost too private. Too personal. And yet, as painful as this part was for me to watch, I think it is important for so many reasons. It shows the ravages of Alzheimer's. It shows how much of himself he gave, to his art and to all of us, in his battle to continue creating until the last possible moment. And all that follows – a combination of biography, re-enactment of his own words and remembrances, and tributes from famous faces and fans alike – underlines both the awfulness of his battle with the disease that ended him, and the wonderfulness of his life and work.

That "last possible moment" occurred in early December 2014, and is here described by Rob Wilkins in aching detail, right down to his admitting, "I think we probably left this six months too late" as this "man of words" struggles with simple phrases. But Team Pratchett and experienced Pratchett documentary maker Charlie Russell found a way – a highly unusual, yet effective and deeply affecting way, no less – to tell Terry Pratchett's final story. A few scenes from the "rock concert of memorials", held in London in 2016, soon give way to Paul Kaye's personification of Pratchett as he leads the viewer through a visual biography, interspersed with testimonials from his literary agent and longtime friend Colin Smythe, who published his early novels; his Good Omens co-writer Neil Gaiman; Discworld auxiliaries co-creator and Discworld playwright Stephen Briggs, who describes and displays the evolution of the Discworld Companion; daughter Rhianna, of course; Discworld artist Paul Kidby, who first met Pratchett when he attended a book signing with an armload of his illustrations; Bernard Pearson, the "cunning artificer" who also presides over the Ankh-Morpork consulate in its twin town of Wincanton; author Val McDermid, who thinks Pratchett could have been – and in fact was, through his creation Sam Vimes – a brilliant crime writer; and a number of fans and "superfans", some of whom I imagine are familiar faces to Discworld conventiongoers.

Much of the biographical material in the programme will be familiar to Pratchett fans (and Wossname readers!), but seeing it laid out visually by actor Paul Kaye in a world-class display of what is essentially Pratchett cosplay brings an immediacy – a resonance – to all those articles and interviews most of us have read, watched, or listened to. I'm not familiar with Mr Kaye's previous work, but I have to say he patently put his heart and soul into this performance, and the result is so uncannily accurate that there were times when I was unsure if we were listening to the "stunt Pratchett" or the real one... and, due to clever editing, moments when I wasn't one hundred per cent certain about which Pratchett was on the screen.

(The coffin. The typewriter. Broke my heart all over again.)

One thing I took away from Terry Pratchett: Back in Black was increased respect for both Wilkins and Gaiman. Not that the depth of their friendships with The Author were ever in any doubt, but their willingness to let their naked emotion be filmed and broadcast was a precious thing. Also, Rhianna Pratchett gets my Mary Beard "I'm too wrapped up in what I'm doing to bother brushing my hair" award (and that is DEFINITELY a plaudit, not a criticism – I'm a major fan of Professor Beard, both on camera and in text). So open, so heart-warmingly artless in her reminiscences of a childhood spent with private but deeply loving father, that it cannot fail to touch anyone who watches Terry Pratchett: Back in Black.

Props go to fellow Discworld "genrelist" Jason Anthony, who proudly displayed a card sent to him by our favourite author. Jason should take acting lessons, because if they ever make a (coughs) *proper* Discworld film, he would be the perfect Rincewind. After all, as Discworld conventiongoers know well, he already *does* a perfect Rincewind. (Are you listening, Narrativia?). Kudos, lots and lots thereof, go to producer/director/head of filming Charlie Russell, who served in the same capacities for the earlier documentaries in the "Pratchett trilogy", and to editor Gary Scott and director of photography Patrick Smith, plus a special honourable mention to Andrew Ryan who played the parts of Headmaster Tame, the Bucks Free Press editor who was young Terry's boss, and Death.

(Another word of warning: if you aren't already in floods of tears by the forty-fourth minute of the programme, Neil Gaiman's last reminiscence will almost certainly gut you.)

So yes, my final verdict on Terry Pratchett: Back in Black is identical to my feelings about the life of Terry Pratchett himself:

Superb, but should've been longer.


4.2 THE OTHER REVIEWS

By Frank Cottrell Boyce in The Guardian:

"One of the charms of this docudrama is that it largely eschews the usual talking heads in favour of Discworld fans. Even the famous faces that do appear – Neil Gaiman, Pratchett's consigliere Rob Wilkins, the illustrator Paul Kidby – first entered Pratchett's orbit as fans. Whether it was the life-changing offer he made to collaborate with the young Gaiman on Good Omens, or the blessing to Stephen Briggs's attempts to map Ankh-Morpork, or simply Tipp-Exing over an old dedication in a secondhand copy of one of his books so he could 'unsign' it for its new owner, Pratchett showered his fans with favours like a Highland clan chief. It's a clan with its own code of honour: to 'be a bit more Terry' is to be kinder, more tolerant. At first, it feels a little uncomfortable that instead of the man himself, we have the actor Paul Kaye dressed up as him. But then you notice that nearly everyone here is dressed up – as a witch, a member of the Nightwatch or some other character – and of course Pratchett himself was always dressed up as Terry Pratchett, with the iconic hat, big beard and black jackets... In a society that avoids discussing the subject, Pratchett made Death – with his horse Binky – his central creation, and his favourite. Seven of his books were written in the terrible interval between his being diagnosed with Alzheimer's and finally walking away with his most beloved character. In common with so many people now, I have someone with dementia in my family. Watching this, yes, is heartbreaking, but there's also something revelatory in this documentary..."

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/11/terry-pratchett-docudrama-discworld-back-in-black-frank-cottrell-boyce

...and another Guardian piece on the programme, by Nadia Khomami:

"The programme includes footage of the frail-looking author shortly before his death, and features an appearance from Rob Wilkins, Pratchett's long-term assistant and collaborator on the autobiography... In the programme, Wilkins recalls the day in autumn 2007 when he and Pratchett realised something strange had happened. He says Pratchett came into his office saying: 'The "S" on my keyboard has gone … Come on, what have you done with it?' It was in late 2014 that Pratchett realised he was not the same writer he used to be. 'We had a good day working on the biography and he said to me: "Rob, Terry Pratchett is dead." Completely out of the blue. I said: "Terry look at the words you have written today. It is fantastic." And he said: "No, no. Terry Pratchett is dead."' Wilkins said that towards the end of his life Pratchett became increasingly angered by his disease. 'He could see how it was affecting him, how it was tripping him up and I knew we were up against it for time. We had to get the words down and with that white heat, with that white anger driving him to write seven whole novels through the haze of Alzheimer's.'..."

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/03/terry-pratchett-docudrama-author-dead-alzheimers

By James Whitbrook on i09:

"Typically, these sorts of specials about dead celebrities include 'talking head' insight from fellow celebrities, but rarely cover the indelible mark left on seas of ordinary fans. Back in Black does, and it's what makes it stand out as a stunning farewell to Pratchett. There are three layers to Back In Black, starting with footage taken of Terry Pratchett in the final years of his life, attempting to recall his life story and his work for a planned—and ultimately unfinished—memoir before his mind deteriorated too far due to Alzheimer's. It's hard to watch, even if you're only a casual fan of Pratchett's work, as the writer—beloved for his imagination, his wit, his ability to craft beautiful, funny, heartbreaking sentences at the drop of his trademark hat — struggles to speak, to remember a story, or even just correct turn of phrase. It inspires a sort of fury behind the sadness you feel, as the documentary unfolds and the disease that would ultimately claim Pratchett's life gets worse and worse..."

http://bit.ly/2lENGYG

...and a combination review/Rob Wilkins interview in the Daily Mail. Say what you like about that paper's general scurrilousness, it's a fact that the Mail always showed deep love and admiration for our favourite author, and this piece by Jenny Johnston is superb:

"The original idea for the programme had been to use only the real footage of Terry, and Rob had compiled 26 hours of recordings. But the process proved difficult, due to the way the disease had taken hold. Terry's words, always so precise, were hit or miss. Starkly illustrative of what it means to be dying from Alzheimer's, perhaps, but also, says Rob, hard to watch. 'It started as a living will,' he explains. 'And there are some lovely, lovely bits. Heaven knows what we'll do with them, maybe it's one of those things the grandchildren will deal with. But using them as they were, I don't think it would have made a great film. I think it would have been far too upsetting for everybody concerned.' He talks rather movingly of how painful it was to record conversations that should have been so effortless. 'We do show a little of some of them to illustrate what it was like,' says Rob. 'But it was so hard. He'd go to tell an anecdote and he'd struggle with a word. There was one about looking in the mirror and seeing his father – and he couldn't find the word "mirror". Much as everyone would have wanted to watch Terry telling his own story, it wasn't possible. But having Paul involved gave us a solution, if you like. I'd say 90 per cent of the words Paul speaks are Terry's actual words. There's obviously a little bit of artistic licence there.'

"It's an unforgettable film, featuring incredibly moving recollections from family, friends and literary contemporaries such as fellow fantasy writer Neil Gaiman and crime author Val McDermid. The overall sense is an affectionate but at times fittingly surreal portrait of a man who had an imagination that seemed limitless. But it's the journey through Terry's final days that's the most poignant aspect of this programme..."

[Editor's note: if you've not seen Terry Pratchett: Back in Black yet, this piece will give you a fair idea of the emotional power of it. Be prepared to choke up. A lot.]

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4211136/Terry-Pratchett-s-final-fantasy.html


4.3 THE EXTRAS

* A "deleted scene":

"Back to school: Exclusive extra scene from Back in Black: Pratchett, played by actor Paul Kaye, confronts his old headmaster."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4QP5HrMfrryfX00qVj789Ds/

* A behind-the-scenes exclusive:

"We're delighted to release these exclusive photographs from the filming of the BBC documentary 'Terry Pratchett – Back in Black'. The BBC crew filmed in several locations across the country and we followed Rob Wilkins on set."

http://discworld.com/new-documentary-air/
www.pratchetthisworld.com
www.salisburymuseum.org.uk

* Neil Gaiman reading his complete foreword to A Slip of the Keyboard aloud at the Terry Pratchett Memorial in London last year, and receiving The Hat:

http://sciencefiction.com/2017/02/13/the-bbc-shares-neil-gaimans-tribute-to-terry-pratchett/

* The artwork of Discworld:

Presented by the BBC, a selection of Kirby and Kidby covers:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/2KxTw2gj0TR7PZ6lbKQvL4P/fantastic-pratchett-illustrating-discworld


4.4 PAUL KAYE ON BECOMING TERRY PRATCHETT

How actor Paul Kaye became Terry:

"When director Charlie Russell was asked by the BBC to make a film celebrating Sir Terry Pratchett's life, he knew that the standard talking heads documentary just wouldn't wash. How did he know this? Russell had already made three documentaries with Sir Terry himself: Living with Alzheimer's, Choosing to Die and Facing Extinction. 'I got to know him over a long period of time and we came to care for each other. As his illness progressed and it got harder for Terry to do certain things, we had built up a trust and I felt I had developed a real sense of who he was... I knew that he'd hate the idea of a conventional film full of people saying nice things about him. He would have wanted to do things differently, to come back and be in his own documentary and because we couldn't do that the next best thing was to get an actor to play him', Russell explained. With the blessing of Terry's family and close friends, Russell started the process of finding their Terry and although initially they were looking for a Pratchett fanatic in the end they chose a man who had never read a Pratchett book in his life..."

http://bbc.in/2kB2pQY


4.5 STEPHEN BRIGGS ON HIS FRIENDSHIP WITH TERRY PRATCHETT

"Terry was intelligent, irascible, witty and loyal, wryly observing the world around him, taking inspiration from everyone and everything he encountered and pouring wit and imagination into every word he wrote. He had a driven sense of fairness and justice, and was a staunch supporter of the conservation of orangutans, of the research into Alzheimer's Disease and of the right for people with a terminal illness to die with dignity. He loved the natural world, fought to preserve the nation's wildlife and raised goats, chickens, tortoises and carnivorous plants. He and his wife Lyn owned (if that is the right word) many cats. He was a keen amateur astronomer and built his own observatory in the garden of his home. Terry was also an inveterate collector of unconsidered trifles. He adored the strange and quirky things that happen in 'real life', and was fascinated by just about everything. He had what he called a 'pack rat' mind that enabled him to Hoover up snippets from conversations and transpose them into the worlds he created. Terry was an entertaining companion, a keen player of computer games and oh yes, he also wrote books... Speaking about his SF novel Strata in 1981, he said 'I am working on another Discworld theme, since I don't think I've exhausted all the possibilities in one book!' Quite an understatement...

"I met Terry through my interest in amateur theatre. I wrote to ask if I could stage his Wyrd Sisters, and much to my surprise he said yes, so my life was immediately catapulted down a different leg of the trousers of time. We worked together to map his world and Ankh-Morpork, its principle city. We also collaborated on a mini-raft of other publications. Terry was, as I've so often said, funny, loyal and supportive. He was also waspy – a man I could always rely on to say what he really thought about anything I did. Working with him was fast and fun – there were frequent phone calls (pre-internet), and a lot of laughs – we shared a common background in humour. At book signings we'd sometimes drift into Life of Brian... "Crucifixion? Good... line on the left, one cross each..." and then amble off into running entire scenes from memory, much to the confusion of the observing fans. It was masses of fun – and a real privilege to be a part of creating even a small element of his wonderful world..."

http://bbc.in/2kASGtU

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05) DISCWORLD PLAYS NEWS

5.1 PLAYS IN FEBRUARY AND MARCH

* TAMAHER IN CARDIFF (FEBRUARY)

Monstrous Productions' newest production is The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, starting tonight:

"Rats! They disarm the traps, widdle in the flour and charge a very reasonable price to leave town. That isn't how it's supposed to go of course, but then these are no ordinary rats. They are the Changelings, a group of rats who became smart after eating off a magical rubbish heap. With the guidance of the streetwise alleycat Maurice, the Changelings now run a very profitable business posing as a fake plague in unsuspecting towns. All they needed was stupid-looking kid with a pipe who leads them all out of town, for a fee...

"That is; until one last job in Bad Blintz, a starving town with a serious rat problem. They soon realise that this town is not quite as it seems and something darker is hiding underneath. Remember, there are bad things in the Dark Wood... Monstrous Productions have been bringing Terry Pratchett to the stage in Cardiff since 2012. After donating over £20k to Alzheimer's Research UK, Maurice is a new project for them, with all proceeds being donated to the Forget-me-not choir, a local choir for people with dementia and their families. Join them for an evening of storytelling, puppetry and live music."

When: 22nd–25th February 2017
Venue: The Gate Theatre, Keppoch Street, Roath, Cardiff CF24 3JW
Time: 7.30pm (2.30pm matinee on the 25th)
Tickets: £7 (£5 concession), available from http://monstrousproductions.fikket.com/

http://monstrousptc.com/


* WYRD SISTERS IN LONDON (MARCH)

Ben Hayward of the Imperial College School of Medicine Drama Society writes to say that he will be directing their production of Wyrd Sisters at the start of next month:

"ICSM Drama presents to you its fabulous production of Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett! Running from the 1st to the 4th March, it's sure to be a night of fantasy, comedy, romance, witchcraft, insanity and just plain wyrdness! So mark it down in your calendars! Save the date in your phones!"

When: 1st-4th March 2017
Venue: Union Concert Hall, Beit Quadrangle, Prince Consort Road , London SW7 2BB
Time: doors open 7:00pm; curtain up 7:30pm
Tickets: £6/£8 for student/Non-Student tickets (apart from Friday the 3rd of March which will be a special performance accompanied with drinks and canapes at higher price of £8/£10 (for student/non-Student tickets). "Take a look at our Facebook event for more details (_https://www.facebook.com/events/376900926013238/_) and email eri.aung15@imperial.ac.uk to reserve your tickets now!"

Note: the poster for this event is excellent – go have a look at it on the Wossname blog at http://wossname.dreamwidth.org/46314.html


* CARPE JUGULUM IN NOTTINGHAM (MARCH)

The Lace Market Youth Theatre present Carpe Jugulum, "a pastiche of vampire literature playing with mythic archetypes and featuring a tongue in cheek reversal of 'vampyre' subculture with young vampires who wear bright clothes, drink wine and stay up till noon", in March.

When: 22nd–25th March 2017
Venue: The Lace Market Theatre, Halifax Place, Nottingham NG1 1QN
Time: 7.30pm all evening shows; 2.30pm Saturday 25th matinee
Tickets: £11 (£10 concessions), available online at http://bit.ly/2dIKhod or by phoning 0115 950 7201

https://lacemarkettheatre.co.uk/LaceMarketTheatre.dll/WhatsOn

* WYRD SISTERS IN BOLTON, LANCS (MARCH)

Bolton Little Theatre, "a vibrant amateur theatre company run by members" since 1931, will be staging their production of Wyrd Sisters in March.

When: 6th–11th March 2017
Venue: Bolton Little Theatre, Hanover Street, Bolton BL1 4TG
Time: 7.30pm
Tickets: £10 (Monday night 3 for 2 special), available at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/boltonlittletheatre or https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/EFILHL – group bookings of 10+ (£9) should be booked through the Box Office. "You can book at Bolton Little Theatre box office in person or by telephone on Monday night from 7.30 to 9pm and Friday mornings from 10.30 to 12 noon – no extra charge if paying by cash or cheque and you can book during the run of the plays or you can book online at boltonlittletheatre.ticketsource.co.uk ...credit card charges will apply. Tickets can be e-tickets (no charge) mobile phone ticket (50p) standard post (£1.50)."

http://www.boltonlittletheatre.co.uk/terry-pratchetts-wyrd-sisters/


5.2 PLAYS LATER IN 2017

* MASKERADE IN BERKSHIRE (MAY)

The Newbury Dramatic Society will stage their production of Maskerade, directed by John Hicks (possibly with the help of a skull ring?), in May: "In the Ankh Morpork Opera House, a strangely familiar evil mastermind in a mask and evening dress is lurking in the shadows. He lures innocent young sopranos to their destiny, commits occasional murder, and sends little notes full of maniacal laughter and exclamation marks. Opera can do that to a man. But Granny Weatherwax, the Discworld's most famous witch, is in the audience and she doesn't hold with that sort of thing... and the show must go on!"

When: 17th–20th May 2017
Venue: Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 8AE
Time: 7.30pm Wednesday to Friday, 6.30pm Saturday
Tickets: £12.50 (£12 concessions), available online at https://www.watermill.org.uk/maskerade#dates-ttab or ring the Box Office on 01635 46044

https://www.watermill.org.uk/maskerade

* LORDS AND LADIES IN BRISBANE (SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER)

Brisbane Arts Theatre will be presenting their next Discworld play, Lords and Ladies – adapted by Irana brown – next September!

"Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg – the witches of Lancre – are the Discworld's only hope of rescue when elves threaten to take control with their hypnotic 'glamour'. Standing stones, wizards, Morris men, rude mechanicals, country lore and ancient magic all combine in this adaptation of one of Sir Terry's finest. With a full supporting cast of dwarves, wizards, trolls and one orangutan, the hilarious Lords and Ladies delivers an abundance of hey-nonny-nonny and blood all over the place."

When: 16th September – 21st October 2017
Venue: Brisbane Arts Theatre, 210 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane, QLD 4000
Time: 7.30pm Thursdays, 8.00pm Fridays & Saturdays, 6.30pm Sundays
Tickets: Adults $34, Concession $28, Group 10+ $27, Student Rush $15 (10 mins before curtain), available online at
http://sa2.seatadvisor.com/sabo/servlets/TicketRequest?&presenter=AUBAT&event=LANDL

"Subscribers can redeem season tickets for this show. There are no refunds or exchanges once tickets have been purchased."

http://www.artstheatre.com.au/show/lordsandladies


5.3 REVIEWS

* MONSTROUS REGIMENT IN SOUTHAMPTON

The Southampton University Players' production of Monstrous Regiment, reviewed by Hilary Porter in the Daily Echo:

"Director Imogen Higgs has a lively cast and presents a reasonable night's entertainment that should satisfy Discworld fans. Polly Perks (Frankie Payne) binds herself in a male disguise in order to join the Borogravian army as, it transpires, many women have done. And so we meet various endearing characters, including Ellie Rose Fowler as Private Manicle, Gina Hodsman as the 'haunted and damaged' Wazzer Goom and, as the hunchbacked Private Igor, Bridget Wilkinson, heavily disguised but still a discernible character and personality. Stephen Fenerty makes a commanding and amusing Sergeant Jackrum, Christopher Gardener an endearing Lieutenant Blouse and Paul Cresser also scores as vampire recruit Private Maladict. The big Nuffield stage seems bare, two tables and back projections supplying settings and rather too many 'fade outs', but costumes and effects are fine."

http://bit.ly/2k2IoVB

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06) DISCWORLD MEETING GROUPS NEWS: UPDATES AND REMINDERS

The Broken Drummers, "London's Premier Unofficially Official Discworld Group" (motto "Nil percussio est"), still claims on their website to be meeting next on Monday 30th November 1999, but it's more more likely to be on Monday 6th March at the Monkey Puzzle, 30 Southwick Street, London, W2 1JQ.

For more information, go to http://brokendrummers.org/ or email BrokenDrummers@gmail.com or nicholls.helen@yahoo.co.uk

*

Canberra, Australia's Discworld fan group is Drumknott's Irregulars: "The group is open to all, people from interstate and overseas are welcome, and our events will not be heavily themed. Come along to dinner for a chat and good company. We welcome people from all fandoms (and none) and we would love to see you at one of our events, even if you're just passing through. Please contact us via Facebook (_https://www.facebook.com/groups/824987924250161/_) or Google Groups (_https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/drumknotts-irregulars_) or join us at our next event."

*

For Facebook users in Fourecks: The Victorian Discworld Klatch is "a social group for fans of Discworld and Terry Pratchett... run by a dedicated team who meet monthly and organise events monthly." "If you'd like to join our events please ask to join the Klatch."

https://www.facebook.com/groups/VictorianDiscworldKlatch

*

"The Gathering of the Loonies (Wincanton chapter)" is a public Facebook meeting group: "This group, by request of Jo in Bear will continue to be used for future unofficial (not run by the Emporium) fan Gatherings in Wincanton. Look here for information." [Editor's note: this is an active group. If you use Facebook, it may be worth joining!]

https://www.facebook.com/groups/373578522834654/

*

The Pratchett Partisans are a fan group who meet monthly at either Brisbane or Indooroopilly to "eat, drink and chat about all things Pratchett. We hold events such as Discworld dinners, games afternoons, Discworld photo scavenger hunts. We also attend opening night at Brisbane Arts Theatre's Discworld plays." The Partisans currently have about 200 members who meet at least twice a month, usually in Brisbane.

For more info about their next meetup, join up at https://www.facebook.com/groups/pratchettpartisans/ or contact Ula directly at uwilmott@yahoo.com.au

*

The City of Small Gods is a group for fans in Adelaide and South Australia: "We have an established Terry Pratchett & Discworld fan group in Adelaide called The City of Small Gods, which is open to anyone who would like to come – you don't have to live in Adelaide or even South Australia, or even be a Discworld fan, but that's mostly where our events will be held, and we do like discussing Pratchett's works. Our (semi-) regular meetings are generally held on the last Thursday of the month at a pub or restaurant in Adelaide. We have dinner at 6.30pm followed by games until 9pm. The games are usually shorter games like Pairs, Sushi Go, or Tiny Epic Defenders, with the occasional Werewolf session, as these are the best sort of games that work in a pub setting. Every few months, we have a full day's worth of board games at La Scala Cafe, 169 Unley Rd, Unley in the function room starting at 10am. In addition, we will occasionally have other events to go and see plays by Unseen Theatre Company, book discussions, craft, chain maille or costuming workshops or other fun social activities."

The next CoSG event will be the Monthly Dinner and Games at the Caledonian Hotel on 23rd February. For more info, go to www.cityofsmallgods.org.au

*

The Broken Vectis Drummers meet next on Thursday 2nd March 2017 (probably) from 7.30pm at The Castle pub in Newport, Isle of Wight. For more info and any queries, contact broken_vectis_drummers@yahoo.co.uk

*

The Wincanton Omnian Temperance Society (WOTS) next meets on Friday 3rd March 2017 (probably) at Wincanton's famous Bear Inn from 7pm onwards. "Visitors and drop-ins are always welcome!"

*

The Northern Institute of the Ankh-Morpork and District Society of Flatalists, a Pratchett fangroup, has been meeting on a regular basis since 2005. The Flatalists normally meet at The Narrowboat Pub in Victoria Street, Skipton, North Yorkshire, to discuss "all things Pratchett" as well as having quizzes and raffles. Details of future meetings are posted on the Events section of the Discworld Stamps forum:

http://www.discworldstamps.co.uk/forum/

*

Sydney Drummers (formerly Drummers Downunder) meet next on Monday 6th March 2017 at 6.30pm in Sydney at 3 Wise Monkeys, 555 George Street, Sydney,2000. For more information, contact Sue (aka Granny Weatherwax): kenworthys@yahoo.co.uk

*

The Treacle Mining Corporation, formerly known as Perth Drummers, meets next on Monday 6th March 2017 (probably) from 5.30pm at Carpe Cafe, 526 Murray Street, Perth, Western Australia. For details follow Perth Drummers on Twitter @Perth_Drummers or join their Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Perth.Drummers/ – or message Alexandra Ware directly at <alexandra.ware@gmail.com>

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07) AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE

Longtime Pratchett blogger The Bookwitch's reactions to "Terry Pratchett: Back in Black":

"It was the Barbican memorial for Terry Pratchett all over again. In the BBC documentary Back in Black on Saturday we could see an almost Terry. It's enough to see someone wearing black, with a hat like his, and if there is a beard as well, then for a heartstopping moment it is Terry Pratchett. Here it was actor Paul Kaye doing what Terry didn't have enough time to do. He did as good a job as you could ask for, speaking in the style of Terry, while not quite being our much missed author who has gone to be with Death... Much of the rest of the programme was dedicated to alternately bless the world for having produced Terry, and crying because he's gone. I have never before witnessed the seemingly unflappable Neil Gaiman even close to tears. We heard part of their story, some of which was new to me, filmed in the actual (?) place where a very young Neil interviewed a not so well known Terry..."

https://bookwitch.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/terry-pratchett-back-in-black/

Blogger Anna's reaction was mixed, calling it "perfect" but then complaining:

"Everything about the show was perfect. All the names we know and love were there to talk about their memories of the great man from his daughter Rhianna to writer Neil Gaiman, assistant Rob to artist Paul Kidby. They all had wonderful tales to tell and fascinating facts to give. The mixture of Docudrama and Documentary didn't work for me and whilst I didn't mind Paul Kaye as Pratchett I'd rather we had been given a straight Documentary or a straight Docudrama. I think the BBC could make a really wonderful show about the life of Terry Pratchett and even bring to life some of his creations in a most wonderful way but it didn't really work, it made it disjointed and didn't add anything to the over all story. You felt like you wanted to hear more of what other people had to say rather then Paul Kaye wittering on, whilst no doubt the words he was wittering would be Terry's own words taken from the work Terry and Rob were doing for his autobiography before he died it just really didn't need to be there. I'd rather more time be given to fans and the people who knew him best. Paul Kaye ended up at best being a rather out of place narrator rather then bringing the great man back to life. That being said if down the line the BBC wanted to make something like Doctor Who's Adventure in Time and Space I wouldn't say no to Kaye returning to bring him to life... It was a lovely way to remember a man that brought happiness to a lot of people. It had the perfect tone to it too, it was upbeat and full of hope. It was sad, of course it was sad, thinking that we'd never read another story by the man and having to remember he was no longer with us, but at the same time it reminded me that we always have him here with us. He's left such a big body of work full of wonderful characters and a amazing world but most importantly that little bit of anger that he had inside himself at people who told him he'd never be anything and everything else that means he's still with us and will be with new fans in the future.

https://believeingeek.com/2017/02/12/terry-pratchett-back-in-black/

Blogger Chris Hoggins was very impressed by Terry Pratchett: Back in Black:

"What came across in the programme was that a lot of what propelled Terry to be such a prolific writer was a deep seated anger at the injustice of the world. Being written off from an early age, he was determined to prove a point and used all that fire inside to do it. Those who knew him well said that the character in his universe of characters most like himself was the formidable Granny Weatherwax, someone who would do the right thing rather than the nice thing or the kind thing as both the latter often turn out to be a cruelty in the long term. Perhaps the best known and most loved character in the Discworld is that of death itself, who is equally bemused and fascinated by the souls he meets. It is such a cruel irony that Terry met his end much sooner than was fair and in such appalling circumstances where the thing that powered that thriving world of characters disintegrated over the course of a few short years. That righteous fury pushed him to write a further seven books after his diagnosis, a testament to the power of anger used well. I feel a deep sadness that it will probably take another hundred years or so for the world to get the true significance of what Terry Pratchett achieved, a Dickens for our times really..."

http://bit.ly/2l3N2Bp

...and The Blogging Goth found the programme helped him to grieve:

"For me, the most painful moment was the interview with equally renowned author Neil Gaiman. Terry's collaborative partner on the darkly witty Good Omens – soon to receive a TV adaption – Neil has been closely involved with much of the remembrance and memorialisation. I had to leave the London Memorial early sadly, so I particularly appreciated seeing some of Neil's recitation to the audience. In a quiet little restaurant, Neil spoke personally about his grief surrounding the very early passing of his friend. It was very difficult for Neil. He cradled his face in his hands and mourned. He said very honestly, 'I miss him so much.' It was like a punch in the chest and a knife to the brain for me. I'm an Englishman, repressed emotionally, possessed of a stiff upper lip, and uncomfortable around death. To see another, even more archetypal Englishman, publicly display his grief was… liberating, as well as being deeply upsetting. With all the skill every writer longs to muster, Neil connected me to my own grief, helped me experience and evaluate my own sense of loss around a childhood hero, a venerated figure, an idol and example I've tried to follow..."

https://theblogginggoth.com/2017/02/14/the-death-of-discworld/

...while blogger My Library Books found resonance in his forthrightness about Alzheimer's:

"At the time I was finally reading his novels, Pratchett had already been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. I didn't appreciate just how devastating this was. Clearly, for a man who was so renowned for his beauty through words, this was the worst possible diagnosis. In 2014 I finally understood, when my Grandma got diagnosed... Grandma had always been a strong female character in my life. She didn't suffer fools lightly and she didn't take any shit from anyone. Her house was her pride and joy and was always spotless. She was passionate about her past, regaling me with stories of her extensive family history. I shared my love of great food with her. She was one of the finest bakers I've ever met (her and my mum). Alzheimer's destroyed all this. It took away her confidence, her speech, her passion. I hate it. I HATE it..."

https://mylibrarybooks.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/terry-pratchett-back-in-black/

Blogger April of collective Without a Map writes about the influence of Pratchett and his stealth philosophy:

"Most of us, readers especially, can point to a work in our lives that influenced the way we think. We'd prefer it be someone impressive, Nietzsche, Kant, Salinger, Steinem, or Malcolm X. Someone you can genuinely bring up with reverence in intelligent company. There's a range, somewhere from your teens to early twenties where works of literature, film, and philosophy have a greater impact than any other time in our lives. They're introductions to thoughts outside of what we grew up with. What our parents, teachers, and friends taught. What we discover through these works can shape our beliefs in enduring ways. I did not encounter someone pretentious at this age. Instead, I stumbled across Terry Pratchett. To this day, I'm glad I did... I couldn't put it into words then, but now I know that through his works, he made me a humanist...

"I think Pratchett is a great writer to be reading right now. I think, if he were alive, he would be calling bullshit on this current U.S. administration, but he would also remind us that turns out the other side is probably trying harder to be good than we think, and we're a lot less righteous than we think. He'd caution us to be aware that the other side might be right sometimes, and we might be wrong. Even if we come to the conclusion that this is not the case, it's good practice to remind ourselves. Pratchett's books make you glad to be a part of humanity, even when you're fully aware humanity is a bloody, vindictive, irrational mess, and that's a feeling I need to keep close right now. Thank gods I chose him instead of Rand."

https://without-a-map.com/2017/02/17/rereading-pratchett/

Blogger Lukre's longish post sums up much of what it means to be a Pratchett fan:

"I have just finished watching the BBC documentary 'Terry Pratchett Back in Black' and I was reminded of those first books, of hearing about his death and about all the hours of enjoyment I've had over the years reading his books. You might hear people say, well, he's just a fantasy writer, or that he is just a parody writer who who makes simple jokes. To both those types of people I have just one thing to say – you couldn't be more wrong. He is a life-writer. He talks about the greatest of topics and tries to deliver, if not a solution, than at least an option to facing the issue. He presents the good and the bad in people, in societies. He unmasks our prejudices and out[sic] discrimination through characters that are so far removed from us that our sensitive selves are not offended. He reveals the goodness in ordinary men and women. He respects the rule of law but also he shows us that laws are there for the benefit of the people and not the other way around. He show us our own beliefs and questions them. And he does all that with such a mastery of language and idiomatic expressions that is at times mind-boggling. His plays on words could be taught at school. And jokes crop up when you least expect them..."

https://anatomyofreading.wordpress.com/2017/02/12/587/

Blogger Joanne Clapa aka The Bookworm Bistro on Night Watch:

"Here's the thing about Pratchett novels: He has created such a large, expansive world, that it's pretty much impossible to start from the beginning. Terry Pratchett wrote over forty novels in the Discworld alone, not to mention countless other stories. Needless to say I was a little confused about a few things when I picked up my first Pratchett novel, Going Postal. So, going into Night Watch I wasn't too surprised when I didn't understand a few things. Okay, a lot of things. Night Watch is the 29th book in the Discworld, and the 6th book in the City Watch series. It follows the story of Sir Samuel Vimes, commander of the City Watch. Right from the beginning the story is thrilling... Vimes meets a few interesting character from his past…and present… it's honestly a little confusing, even if you've read previous Night Watch novels. Despite being thoroughly confused for about 90% of this novel, I really enjoyed it. The characters are unique, and hilarious. Pratchett's writing style is one that I've never seen duplicated. It's very clear that he invested his entire being into creating this vast world his characters live in... Believe it or not, I think this is a great story to start with if you're new to Discworld. Despite the fact that it's the sixth book in the series, it really gives you an interesting glimpse into the world..."

https://thebookwormbistro.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/night-watch-terry-pratchett/

...and blogger In Shifting Colour, a self-confessed "cat lady", tells of how reading – and listening! – to Pratchett books made her feel less isolated in her perceptions:

"I never believed in grieving for celebrities. How could you miss someone who'd never truly been present in your life? The belief was, as all beliefs are, inherently flawed. Presence is more than a physical proximity. It's more, even, than a direct and personal communication. Presence occurs when your life is influenced, for better or worse, by another being. But I never truly understood this until the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett.... I saw the world in weird and colourful ways; I had a habit of looking at situations sideways and that confused my peers. In social constructs where clinging to 'sameness' was the method of survival, this left me weak... I escaped to places where I could imagine myself as strong, capable, even heroic. There was a freedom I had between pages that I didn't have in my primary school life. Stories were a coping mechanism, a joy, a proof that maybe… just maybe there really was a cupboard out there that would turn my toys to life (The Indian in the Cupboard was another key favourite. Even as indoctrinated in the ordinary magic of books as I was, nothing quite prepared me for my first plunge into Terry Pratchett's Discworld series... Here was someone who had committed their weird view to paper, and who was not ashamed of it..."

http://bit.ly/2md7MGb

Quite a few people seem to discount Eric as a minor work, but blogger Alice Dillon aka Lanterns and Hardbacks gives it five stars:

"Eric is such a perfect specimen of that man's genius, full of witticisms, incisive analysis of our own world, clever parody (this whole thing is a parody of Faust) and moments that really make you think. I had one of the biggest existential crises I've ever had while reading the parts set at the beginning and the end of the universe, both brilliantly thought out. I'm one of those people who loves to hypothesise about such things and so it was a glorious, though obviously disconcerting, crisis. I don't have much more to say about this book, but it's a really quick read and full of everything that made me fall in love with Terry Pratchett's writing in the first place. Pratchett fans, make sure you read this book if you weren't sure..."

https://lanternsandhardbacks.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/eric-by-terry-pratchett-discworld-9/

...while blogger The Idle Woman represents the mainstream opinions:

"Pratchett could never actually be bad, but the simple fact of the matter is that, when compared to the mainstream Discworld books, Eric isn't very good. It's essentially one gag dragged out over 163 pages and it feels less like a story that needed to be told and more like one that was written on commission... Pratchett gamely wheels out the absurdities, but this is situation comedy rather than the character-based comedy in which he excels. Even in what I think of as the 'concept' novels – the books which focus on one theme, like rock music or the cinema or The Phantom of the Opera – he populates the story with engaging characters who have a certain depth to them. We don't really have enough time to get to know anyone here and Eric, although allegedly one of the protagonists, never develops beyond being a lustful, big-headed adolescent..."

https://theidlewoman.net/2017/01/29/eric-terry-pratchett/

Swedish blogger abookwithoutend on Good Omens:

"What if 'Welcome To Night Vale' met the bible? This is the result (For all of you who have no idea what Welcome To Night Vale is, it's a podcast about a town where all conspiracy theories, and more, are true). The plot was confusing in an amusing way, not annoying. You could never understand or expect where the authors would take you next. The writing was so creative, like giving really ridiculous info-dumps and at times taking perspective from the poor stand-bys who only want to go home, not having to deal with scolding aliens or demons that break the speed limit (I can understand that a lot of people are quite negative about multiple p.o.v. because of the confusion that often occurs, but trust me on this one). Anything could be possible. I can just picture in my head how much Gaiman and Pratchett must have been laughing when writing this story... overall, this book was great and I'd definitely recommend this to anyone..."

https://abookwithoutend.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/book-review-good-omens/

Blogger rayunder1996 is starting on "The Pratchett Path" with tCoM:

Here in the Pratchett Path I'm gonna take a look through the work of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series and give a few of my thoughts on them. These won't be full reviews as I'm sure many of you will be familiar Pratchett and his comedy works already, so you don't need me to prattle on about how you should read it. Our time would be much better spent talking about the lovable Luggage, dream powered dragons, and its wonderful way with magic. Luggage is one of the most emotive and iconic creations in the fantasy genre. I think that is something we all have to agree on. From his veracious[sic] appetite for all things...well all things to be honest to his odd adorableness he really does embody everything good about Discworld. Despite his absurdity in concept, within the confine of the world it has reasonably grounded explanation for its existence. That is a key part of its charm if you think about it, that even in a world where the insanity is commonplace there is an internal logic to the world..."

https://thefantasyfayre.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/the-pratchett-path-1/

Blogger pksupernovel found The Long Cosmos well worth reading:

"The Long Cosmos is easily the best book in the whole Long Earth saga. Speculative fiction that about travelling usually ends up presenting a series of increasingly cool and mind-blowing ideas. The one from The Long Cosmos that really stuck with me was the gigantic forest, with trees the size of skyscrapers supported by helium. Their reproduction strategy involves spreading seeds when they inevitably explode during bushfires. I also amazed by the sentient islands that sampled life while moving between worlds, and that ridiculously large computer. The Long Cosmos felt more coherent and less disjointed than the previous books in the series. I can't explain why I feel this way. Maybe it was because the plotlines felt more related, and came to a satisfactory conclusion... The Long Cosmos' genre means that it feels more like a Baxter book than a Pratchett one, although there is a fair bit of whimsy about. And I really don't think it would make much sense without reading the rest of the series..."

https://pksupernovel.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/the-long-cosmos-terry-pratchett-and-stephen-baxter/

Gareth Preston, director of Bolton Little Theatre's forthcoming production of Wyrd Sisters (see item 5.1), blogs his production diary:

"When I started off directing Wyrd Sisters I'd [hoped] to keep a production diary up on this blog. Predictably this ambition was quickly eaten up by the time and energy involved in actually realising the play. So you'll have to look forward to a retrospective article instead. However I can report that we are at an exciting phase where the books are down, the movements are being fine tuned and the set is almost in place bar the painting, thanks to the marvellous efforts of Jeff Lunt and his team. Not to mention a whole wardrobe of costumes which have largely been designed and made from scratch by Francis Clemmitt and her team. I've also been out banging the drum and trying to get people interested in coming. Marketing a play is a job in itself. We're having some publicity photos taken tomorrow which hopefully will excite the local media. I went on Bolton FM radio a couple of weeks ago and I'll be popping up again on their frequency on Monday during the drivetime show in the evening. I've also made a short video promo for promoting the show on social media..."

https://garethpreston.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/downtime-out-now-wyrd-sisters-soon/

Blogger Tea and Tales on Nation:

"There's a reason Pratchett writes 'Thinking. This book contains some. Whether you try it at home is up to you.' This book is so highly philosophical and painful, as two young people survive and are faced by tragedy. Mau has to bury everyone he knows, and lead the survivors in the rebuilding of Nation. But what is Nation? When everyone who lived the culture but one has died, can such a thing as 'Nation' still exist? Also, is there a God(s)? Yet even though the topics this book handles are very sophisticated and incredibly heavy, it does have typical Pratchett humour throughout. He makes fun of religion, the idea of Empire, the English, and succession. That said, he takes Mau, his musings and suffering, and his world very seriously... The writing is witty and poetic, like most Pratchett novels, but unlike most of his other work the tone of this one is heavily philosophical and serious. You feel for Mau, and as you enter his mind you are forced to face the same questions and issues. Can you believe in the Gods when they wiped out everything you knew and loved? Is it possible to rage against them if you do not believe? The chemistry between the characters is wonderful though, and it is not all misery and suffering..."

https://tea-and-tales.com/2017/02/03/nation-terry-pratchett/

Blogger Fiona on The Long Mars:

"Some readers have criticized this series as boring and without much action. It's true that not a lot happens in this book. It reminds me of early sci-fi novels, such as those by H.G. Wells. Instead of being action-packed with exciting events, this book is more of an exploration of ideas. The characters encounter all sorts of exotic environments and life forms in the exploration of the Long Earth and the Long Mars. Those chapters are a thought experiment in the types of life that might be possible. This book also explores what might happen if mankind continues to evolve. What will those people be like? How will the less-evolved people react to them? All in all, I enjoyed the book, though it is a bit of a slow-starter. But there is what seems to me a glaring oversight, and it really bugs me... What really bothered me was the treatment of the 'Next.' Everyone was arguing that they are a danger to humanity because of their high intellect. The danger isn't from their intellect. It's because they are psychopaths..."

https://selfeducatedconservative.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/the-long-mars-a-review/

Blogger katyboo1 aka Making Them Readers on Jingo:

"Jingo is the twenty first Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett that my son, Oscar and I have shared together... Oscar loved this because it is a book about the Watch. He brings to his reading, a wealth of knowledge amassed from the previous books and it suddenly makes him realise how valuable things like back stories are. He is beginning to predict how characters will behave in certain circumstances, and it gives him enormous joy when he is right... it seems to echo a lot of the political landscape in which we are forced to live at the moment, jingoism, xenophobia, racism and casual intolerance are all lampooned on Pratchett's sharpest pen and I was moved to laugh more than once by parallels with current events. Despite the fact that they aren't really funny. Current events that is..."

https://makingthemreaders.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/jingo-by-terry-pratchett-a-review/

Blogger Nordie on The Long Earth:

"This is a relatively slow book, where Lobsang, Sally and Joshua are generally left alone to do their own thing. Occasionally they get to investigate new creatures, some benign, some not, and this allows the authors to muse on what earth may have looked like had evolution taken a little detour from what happened on our version of earth... The focus on the Long Earth for the story made it a bit disconcerting when very late in the book they introduce the idea of the long Mars. Either I was not paying attention in the rest of the book...always a possibility...or this was a very late entry of the idea of alternate other worlds. The fact there is a whole novel dedicated to the long Mars makes me wonder… Whilst overall people like/love the book, there are a number of things said that I tend to agree with.."

https://nordie.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/book-review-the-long-earth-by-terry-pratchett-stephen-baxter/

Blogger Lucinda's tribute to Sir Pterry:

"I've loved Terry Pratchett ever since I was at university. My ex-boyfriend recommended him to me and bought me The Hogfather for Christmas (back when buying paperbacks was a thing). I immediately loved the inventiveness, the humour, the way that the story was a proper adventure. The expansiveness of the Discworld novels never fails to amaze me. At one point in the documentary, they show a map of Ankh Morpork and the level of detail is incredible. Terry literally imagined and remembered a whole world in his head. What a genius. I can't believe that someone with such an expansive mind was so reduced by dementia. From the documentary, I've learnt that there was a certain snobbishness about Terry's work from the professional book critics of the day (back when that was a real thing too). I've heard great stories about mums who would say to librarians 'he's never been interested in reading before he picked up a Discworld book. Now could you recommend some proper literature?' Apparently Terry was really angry about this and he loved to know that people had been put in their place (he referred to librarians as his dirndl army, which I just love)..."

https://lucindaisreading.wordpress.com/2017/02/15/a-tribute-to-terry-pratchett/

Blogger Phil Parker is a rare bird – namely, a Pratchett admirer who isn't a Pratchett reader:

"I've tried but failed to read Pratchett. I ought to love it but I can't find a way in. It doesn't matter, the documentary is brilliant, affecting and a superb celebration of the man. What struck me was that before he wrote, he read. Everything. Well, everything in his local library starting with fantasy and then history, 'Blokes in helmets bashing each other' as he described it. Reading planted all the seeds for the character in his stories... I've said before how my local library was essential for my development. I'm not going to compare myself with Pratchett but to lift a line from the documentary, I'm a human. He is a human. My poo stinks. His poo stinks. I loved my library. He loved his library. He is a writer. I want to be a writer..."

https://nolanparker.wordpress.com/2017/02/15/no-libraries-no-terry-pratchett/

Blogger The Past Due Book Review is back with musings on Sourcery:

"The prevailing theme in Sourcery is self identity; finding out who you are, not what other people tell you that you are or are not, is central to the development of the characters... Goofiness keeps the tone of the book light while dealing with the end of the world (just like in The Light Fantastic...I'm beginning to sense a pattern), and personal themes are more present, bringing the story to another level above general fantasy or simple parody. Sourcery is full of wordplay, satire, and such ridiculous fun that it is difficult to put down..."

https://thepastduebookreview.com/2017/02/15/sourcery-review/

...and blogger Nat Wassell's review this month is Going Postal:

"William de Worde runs a large free press, and here Moist joins their ranks as an equal opportunity employer, visionary thinker and actually quite nice guy, once you get to know him. It is a quartet of characters, along with Archchancellor Ridcully and at least some of the guild leaders who are starting to inspire this real progress. When the corrupt leaders of the clacks company are ousted at the end of the book, you get a real sense of moral outrage from most of the leaders mentioned here. Lord Vetinari may be the tyrant, a fact he still likes to remind people of, but he's also remarkably liberal in his thinking. This liberal approach to politics means that the issues of racism and stereotyping that were present in early novels has basically been eradicated in the city. Moist employs golems, the last race to be integrated into the fabric of the city, without a second thought, and really does want to know how to treat them correctly.

"Adora Belle Dearheart, the human face of the golem employment agency, says that Commander Vimes will employ anyone in the Watch and turn out a solid copper at the end of it. Lord Vetinari employs Mr Pump, another golem, as Moist's probation officer. It's a cynical approach, in many ways, but it also assumes that all races of creature have their own strengths that can be put to use, as long as they wish to work. I think it's an attitude that a lot of real life people could definitely consider adopting..."

https://culturedvultures.com/discworld-discussions-going-postal-2005/

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

08) IMAGES OF THE MONTH

The *real* Terry Pratchett, as photographed in 2013 at Beaconsfield Library and pictured in a recent Get Bucks article:
http://bit.ly/2keP4Sa

...and in 1992, from the same article as above:
http://bit.ly/2lCxrIT

...and another, this one from the Bath Chronicle, where he used to work:
http://bit.ly/2kEe4kq

...and programme maker Charlie Russell with Paul Kaye as Pterry:
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/976xn/p04sd9qm.jpg

...and your Editor's favourite Kaye-as-Pratchett photo:
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/480xn/p04sd5rn.jpg

...and both real and faux Pratchetts, collaged:
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/976xn/p04sdwv6.jpg

Rob Wilkins, Neil Gaiman and Marcus Gipps (from publisher Gollancz) working on the Good Omens telly script:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C44PA3mUYAANF66.jpg

The official Paul Kidby Pratchett bust waxes, now ready for bronze casting, as tweeted by Paul Kidby himself:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C48gRbdXUAArmLu.jpg

A photographic action replay – Fiona Fisher's marvellous Kirby-and-Kidby Discworld art staircase, this time tweeted by the official Kirby Art account:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C4uYpUyWAAEpmW5.jpg

...and a Paul Kidby replay – Discworld Gothic, which will be part of the Terry Pratchett: HisWorld exhibition (see item 3.1):
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C4i7M3KWcAIMfM9.jpg

...and on the subject of action replays, here's a digital cut-out-and-keep, as it were – the Pratchett coat of arms, featuring its ankh and morepork:
http://bit.ly/2kOJCRp

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

09) CLOSE

For all you Pratchett fans out in the USA who might be hoping to attend NADWCON 2017, there's still one week left to order your tickets at a special discount price:

https://nadwcon2017.org/
https://nadwcon2017.org/signup/2017-adult-membership.html

And that's the lot for February. Take care, and we'll see you next month!


– Annie Mac


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The End. If you have any questions or requests, write: wossname-owner (at) pearwood (dot) info

Copyright (c) 2017 by Klatchian Foreign Legion

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