wossname: Clacks rendering of SPEAK HIS NAME to keep Pratchett on the Overhead (Default)
Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
June 2017 (Volume 20, Issue 6, Post 1)

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.

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)






"People have a tendency to take libraries for granted. I don’t think we can take libraries for granted, because there’s a certain section of society that seems hell-bent on eliminating them. I can’t work out why they’d want to eliminate them, except that they’re just nasty people, and shouldn’t."
– much-loved author – and major Pratchett fan – Ben Aaronovitch

"I can't read any of his novels until I have finished my own. I would hate to find that someone else had already had one of my ideas first, and I would not want to be influenced by someone else's writing. But it is something to look forward to reading."
– another much-loved author, the now rather well-known JK Rowling, interviewed by The Bookseller in 1997



There is much kerfuffle (and fooferaw, and doo-dah, and hullabaloo, and isn't our language wonderfully daft!) in the Press and on the internet at the moment about a certain twentieth anniversary. Yes, that one. The Harry Potter series, for anyone who's been living in that place in Slice where the sun doesn't shine. So why am I leading this month's editorial with a mention of a book series that has nothing to do with Discworld? Easy: because there has also been a lot of Discworld-versus-Potterverse kerfuffle, fooferaw and the rest sailing back and forth across the Clacks for years now, and I have never understood it. See, back in the ancient twentieth-century days of the original Bands With Rocks In, there was a similar blather between fans of the Beatles and fans of the Rolling Stones, and it made no more sense to me then than Discworld-versus-Potterverse does in this century – especially the "if you love one of these then you can't possibly love the other" part. How ridiculous to think that one can't love both! Or indeed, that one can dislike both, or be less than enamoured of one for reasons that have nowt to do with t'other. So I hope that all Discworld fans and all Harry Potter fans can put aside any differences and celebrate this anniversary, because between them Sir Pterry and Ms Rowling CH (and how is it that she's not been made a Dame yet?) have done more to advance the cause of youth literacy – and all-ages joy! – than just about anyone else on the planet. Raise your glasses high!

Earlier this month, final year students from the University of Huddersfield's Costume with Textiles BA Hons degree course put on their yearly Costume Graduate Degree Show. This year's exhibition included costumes for "characters from books by Roald Dahl and Terry Pratchett and Edgar Allan Poe". How gratifying is it to see the name of Pratchett bookended by two of the (other) most famous writers of the past few centuries, with the assumption that everyone will recognise all three names equally well! And if you'd like to see the quality of the students' creations, there are some photos of last year's exhibition here: http://bit.ly/2sLNlX5

A bit of a mystery... Unseen Theatre's next Discworld production, coming in October, will be an action replay of one they've performed before... but which one? See if you can guess from this image of the production's first time around: http://bit.ly/2sgYhbB

Right, on with the show!

– Annie Mac, Editor




It's come to my attention that we've been a bit lax in passing along information about new releases. Of course there are no *new* Pratchett books as such, but even those of us who have the entire Pratchett oeuvre already in various forms might want to update or replace old volumes, and of course almost everyone has friends and family who might be lacking a Discworld book or three... I know that in our household we have gradually been replacing our old falling-to-pieces Discworld paperbacks with the beautiful new hardcover releases...

Here be a list of much of what is now available:

"Gift Edition" hardcovers of all the Tiffany Aching books, featuring exquisite new Paul Kidby cover art
"Collector's Library Edition" hardcovers of The Truth, The Fifth Elephant, Carpe Jugulum and The Last Continent,
"Deluxe Edition" limited edition hardcover of The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner
The Terry Pratchett Diary (perpetual, so good for any year)
The Discworld Colouring Book Artist's Edition
A new cover edition of The Carpet People
A new cover edition of Raising Steam
A new omnibus edition of The Colour of Magic/The Light Fantastic
...and there's even The Little Black Book from the Pterry Memorial, a new edition of the Discworld Roleplaying Game, the soon-to-be-released 2018 Discworld Calendar,
and the Ankh-Morpork Post Office Notebook.

There is a choice of three main online sources for these, if your local bricks-and-mortar bookseller lets you down:



September is getting closer... here be the item as originally posted in the February issue!

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."


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



The Southampton City Art Gallery has a very special exhibition, and the Tower of Art is in it:

"This is the first ever large-scale art exhibition on the subject of British castles. Everyone loves a castle: the first sight of a great mediaeval castle such as Conwy, Harlech or Dover can be a spine-tingling moment, they have an exceptional visual wow factor. Steeped in history and legend, these extraordinary buildings exude a powerful and brooding presence. They conjure knights in shining armour, derring-do, evil deeds and deep dungeons, high adventure and royal intrigue. Turner and Constable, Girtin, Cotman, Ibbetson, Sandby, Varley and many others travelled to castles throughout Britain in the search of the Picturesque. Castles, often sited in spectacular locations, were the perfect subject for the Romantic movement of the early 19th century that embraced the heroic past. The Gothic Revival was to spawn a new wave of castle building. Showcasing the finest historic and contemporary castle artists and combining history with art, this exhibition conjures the mystique, excitement and prestige of the castle from Iron Age hill forts to Victorian reproductions and fantasy castles. It will include famous and rarely seen works from public and private collections, including loans from Tate, The British Museum, the V&A, the Government Art Collection and from the collections of major artists. The exhibition will include a fully illustrated catalogue, which has been generously sponsored by the Punter Southall Group."

When: currently running, through 2nd September 2017
Venue: Southampton City Art Gallery, Commercial Road, Southampton SO14 7LP – 5 minutes' walk from Southampton Central Station – phone: 023 8083 3007 (option 3)
Time: Mon to Fri: 10am-3pm,
Sat: 10am - 5pm, Sun: Closed
Tickets: free admission to all exhibitions

Paul Kidby says, "I am delighted and honoured be included in such a prestigious collection."




It seems criminal to throw books away, but some people do exactly that. Luckily, at least one Roundworld hero does something about it. From the BBC:

"A dustbin man in Bogota in Colombia, who never studied further than primary school, has gathered a library of more than 20,000 thrown away books. The collection began 20 years ago, when Jose Alberto Gutierrez fished out a discarded copy of Tolstoy's novel Anna Karenina. He now offers his books to other people as a free community library. "I realised that people were throwing books away in the rubbish. I started to rescue them," he said. Mr Gutierrez, who has gained the nickname The Lord of the Books, began collecting books that had been dumped in the waste bins in wealthier parts of the city. He would take them out of the rubbish and retrieve them for families in poorer areas. His collection of chucked away books is now used by families wanting to help their children with their homework, in a free library called the Strength of Words. 'There was a lack of them in our neighbourhood, so we started to help,' said Mr Gutierrez..."





Nullus Anxietas VI (The Discworld Grand Tour) is completely sold out now, but there is still a waiting list in case some ticketholders have to drop out:


Also worth noting: Adelaide's Roundworld-famous Unseen Theatre Company will be presenting a 'moved reading' (script in hand) performance of "The Trial" for the Discworld Convention on Sunday 6th August.


The ever excellent Emily Whitten's new infopost:

Welcome to the NADWCon blog, where we will endeavor to bring you informative and entertaining missives as we advance rapidly towards the 2017 NADWCon, to be held September 1-4 in historic New Orleans, Louisiana. As a co-founder of the NADWCon, I’m really excited to be working on yet another wonderful fan celebration of Sir Terry’s works – and as incredibly sad as I am that Terry is no longer with us in the Roundworld, I am glad that we will have an opportunity to further honor him at our con this Labor Day Weekend. And in such a setting, too! New Orleans has been called many things – The Big Easy, The Crescent City, the Birthplace of Jazz, the Mardi Gras City, and, of course, the modern portmanteau of New Orleans and Louisiana, NOLA.; but for Discworldians, the most important name for New Orleans is Genua: the Discworld equivalent for New Orleans, in which Granny, Nanny, and Magrat had a grand adventure in Witches Abroad. Terry spent some time in New Orleans years ago, and from that the inspiration for the bananana daiquiri and other Discworldian story elements was born. Visiting New Orleans after reading Witches Abroad (or the other way around) is an especially unique experience for Pratchett fans to have, as the book echoes so much of the feel and culture of that unique place.

Having been there a couple of times now specifically to scout out and find the best locale in which to celebrate - the excellent Sheraton New Orleans, book your stay here, located on Canal Street right near Bourbon Street (but don't worry, also far enough away to offer the option of a quieter environment for those who aren’t in the mood to paaaar-tay 24-7) – I can relay that it is an experience in itself to partake of the food, fun, and atmosphere of the city, and that you can certainly convince yourself, just by looking at things a little bit sideways, that you are actually in Genua after all.

Our hotel is handy to the shops and also to some excellent restaurants and sights. Along with being right near Bourbon Street, which boasts such famous bars as Pat O’Brien’s (the Hurricanes there are a must) and many, many places to procure a bananana daiquiri, around the corner is an excellent breakfast spot very in keeping with the fairytale theme of Witches Abroad, The Ruby Slipper Café; and right across the street from the hotel, for all of your last-minute costuming needs, is a costume and (hem hem) novelty shop that is, amazingly, called “Mr. Binky’s.” (I can hear Terry laughing from here.) I can vouch for the delicious fare at The Palace Cafe also across Canal Street; and there’s also an Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium right down from it that is still on my list of “to-visit” places.

And that’s just naming a few of the places that are right outside the door within walking distance. There are many other amazing, interesting, and historical sights to be seen all over New Orleans (check out our handy list right here!) And, of course, there will be many things to do at the con itself, with excellent programming, guests, and new and old friends to sit down with.

More on that shortly, but for now, if you are signed up for our con, I’d like to say, “Hurrah! Welcome! And we look forward to seeing you!” And if you haven’t signed up as yet, I encourage you to register for a membership, book your hotel room (noting that we have a special hotel rate available from August 24-September 10, should you wish to arrive early or stay a bit longer and explore), and join us for “The Genuan Experience” in beautiful New Orleans.

Cheers from your co-chair!

Emily S. Whitten
Co-Chair, NADWCon 2017


The when, the where and the what of NADWcon 2017: https://nadwcon2017.org/f-a-q

4.3 DWCON 2018 NEWS

The original Discworld Convention has been going for over twenty years now and hardly needs publicity, as it tend to sell out almost as fast as concert tickets for (insert name of latest identikit boyband here). But for those among you who might like a chance to get your foot in the door early, here be an announcement from chairperson Tamara:

"Brethren, sistren, other-ren,

"It's a million-to-one chance, but we all know those come through nine times out of ten... I am very proud to announce The Discworld Convention 2018, a four day celebration of the works of Sir Terry Pratchett, which will be held at the Chesford Grange Hotel on 3rd – 6th August 2018. For the 11th Discworld Convention we are taking our inspiration from the book which introduced us all to the Ankh-Morpork Night Watch and its much beloved members Vimes, Carrot, Colon and Nobby – Guards! Guards! Have a look around to find all the information you need in order to join us in our hunt for Dragons, including when memberships go on sale, how to book your hotel room or camping plot, and what to expect at the Convention. I and the other Elucidated Brethren committee members welcome all of you and hope you will join us next year and help us open the Door of Knowledge Through Which the Untutored May Not Pass (it sticks something wicked in the damp). Whisper not our secret knowings to the uninitiated, lest your figgins be roasted..."

And look – you might have a newer and better foot-inna-door chance owing to a change in ticket availability:

"So, who was it that said a wise Chair never counts their dragons before they hatch? In my last message I said we'd be opening for sales in July. I gave you a date. I was sure. But then THINGS happened. Hex has had some issues and it's all gone a bit quantum. It's fair to say we've run into a couple of snags. The crack ConCom team are ON IT and yes, snags are being ruthlessly hunted down and eliminated. But that's taking a bit of time, and some of ConCom have started muttering about needing sleep. And food. So, in order to ensure that our sales launch goes smoothly and without any issues, we have decided to delay the opening of sales by just over one week. We will now be opening at 19:00 BST on 10th July. Information on the way memberships and hotel bookings will work is on the website now. If you need anything else then please drop us a line at info@dwcon.org. We are grateful for your understanding and support."






Return of the Hat! After their successes with Eric and Mort at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Duck in a Hat theatre company will be back at with their production of Wyrd Sisters in August.

When: 14th-19th August and 21st-27th August 2017
Venue: Paradise in Augustines, (Venue 152) 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL
Time: 6.25pm all shows; running time is 90 minutes
Tickets: £9.50 (concession £8.50), available from https://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/event/775570-terry-pratchetts-wyrd-sisters/ or ring the Box Office on 0131 510 0022



The next exciting Discworld play presented by Monstrous Productions will be Guards! Guards!

When: 16th–19th August 2017
Venue: The Gate Arts Theatre, Keppoch St, Cardiff CF24 3JW
Time: 7.30pm (2.30pm matinee on the 19th)
Tickets: £8 (£6 concessions), available online from https://t.co/vJToGp8O5P



Monifieth Amateur Dramatics (MAD) will be staging their production of Wyrd Sisters, directed by Steven Armstrong, in August: "Stephen Briggs has been involved in amateur dramatics for over 25 years and he assures us that the play can be staged without needing the budget of Industrial Light and Magic. Not only that, but the cast should still be able to be in the pub by 10 o'clock!"

When: 24th-26th August and 31st August-2nd September 2017
Venue: Monifieth Theatre, 72 High Street, Monifieth, Angus DD5 2AE
Time: 7.30pm all shows
Tickets: £9 (£6 concessions), available from Troups Pharmacy, Monifieth; Yorkshire Building Society, Broughty Ferry; and The Bay Diner/Grill, Monifieth. Ring 01382 480043 for details. Tickets are also available online at http://www.monifieththeatre.co.uk/tickets


5.2 PLAYS LATER IN 2017... AND 2018


Brisbane Arts Theatre will be presenting their next Discworld play, Lords and Ladies – adapted by Irana brown – in 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://bit.ly/2tjucfQ "Subscribers can redeem season tickets for this show. There are no refunds or exchanges once tickets have been purchased."



Twyford and Ruscombe Theatre Group will present their production of Mort, "an off beat tale of bacon, eggs and destiny", in October.

"Terry Pratchett's Discworld will once more be gracing the stage at Loddon Hall. We are putting on a production of Mort, which will involve a large cast, plenty of dramatic moments and a lot of laughs."

When: 5th–7th October 2017
Venue: Loddon Hall, Loddon Hall Road, Twyford, Reading, Berkshire, RG10 9JA
Time: 8pm all shows
Tickets: £7, £8, £9 and £10, available online at http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/171598



The Erith Playhouse are staging their production of Mort in October.

When: 9th–14th October 2017
Venue: Erith Playhouse, 38–40 High Street, Erith, Kent DA8 1QY
Time: 8pm all shows
Tickets: £10, available from the Box Office on 01322 350345 or by filling out the form on the webpage (_http://www.playhouse.org.uk/show/mort/_). "Tickets can be posted to you or held at the Box Office for collection prior to the performance."



The Studio Theatre Club have slightly updated their announcement: "Don't tell anyone yet (this is just between you and us), it's still a long way off (2018!), we've only just had the formal permission for a new play and Stephen's still writing it, but he thinks it's about time he tackled another of the novels, and the third in the Moist von Lipwig Trilogy might just be the right one. It's been on his to-do list for a while...he thinks he owes it to Terry... Tickets are not yet on sale. News here when they are!"



Gainesville Theatre Alliance's 2017-2018 season will feature their production of Monstrous Regiment in a "February Festival of Theatre". "GTA is a nationally acclaimed collaboration of the University of North Georgia, Brenau University, theatre professionals and the northeast Georgia community that has yielded state and national awards."

When: 16th–24th February 2018
Venue: UNG-Gainesville's Ed Cabell Theatre, 3820 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood, GA
Time: 7:30pm evening shows on the 16th, 18th, 20th-24th, and 2:30pm matinees on the 17th & 24th
Tickets: $18-20 for adults, $16-18 for seniors and $12-14 for students, depending on seat location, availab le from 1st July 1 online at www.gainesvilleTHEATREalliance.org or by phoning the Box Office at 678 717 3624.




By Pamela Kelt and Samantha Walker in the Bath Chronicle:

"Nadine Comba as clever Granny Weatherwax steers us majestically through the madness, ably assisted by her sisters in sorcery Angela Giddings, hilarious as earthy Nanny Ogg, and Gabrielle Finnegan as the charmingly naive Magrat Garlick. The fool, Iorwerth Mitchell, mastered the art of being funny without appearing foolish. The duke was deliciously bonkers. In truth, the whole cast was sterling, putting together a fast-paced rendition of Pratchett’s magical wit. With accents! Plus a rather super cauldron, courtesy of the Museum of Bath at Work (also responsible for the torture implements). According to Terry’s original notes on the play, ‘a bit of dry ice would be quite nice - I know it’s a swine to deal with, but it gives a good effect ...’ In the intimacy of The Rondo, a smoke machine works perfectly well to fabricate the meta world that Pratchett created. Witty music along with terrific sound and lighting contribute to a satisfying theatrical experience that blends fantasy with subtle views on the madness of life... The Rondo Theatre Company’s stage version of the Wyrd Sisters is a hugely enjoyable recreation of a novel that doesn’t appear to be complicated but is fantastically multi-layered. .."


...and a blog review from "Rachy-Lou":

"Pratchett fans will be relieved to know that the plot isn’t altered from his original novel, loosely based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Following the murder of the Old King, the Lancre Oven Coven (Nanny Ogg, Granny Weatherwax and Magrat) smuggle the infant prince and his crown out of the country to safety... The chemistry between the three is perfect; Nanny Ogg’s (Angela Giddings) comic delivery and Magrat’s (Gabrielle Finnegan) eccentric naivety acting as the foil to Granny Weatherwax’s (Nadine Comba) stern realism. The relationship seems easy and natural, making the audience feel relaxed and engaged. From then on we are treated to some brilliant comedic performances from Iorwerth Mitchell as the Fool and Nic Proud as the Duke in particular, as well as a memorable Sergeant from Richard Chivers. Director Paul Olding (who also made a presumably last minute appearance in this performance as Vitoller due to ill health), utilised minimalist staging to great effect. The props were well chosen and realistic, some provided by the Museum of Bath at Work. The music was witty and lively, and the lighting and special effects timely and appropriate. Costumes were, for the most part, well put together and as I would have pictured Pratchett’s characters to be clothed with the exception of the Duchess. Unless The Queen of Hearts from Wonderland really is moonlighting in this production. Incongruously dressed Duchesses aside, though, I thoroughly enjoyed the Rondo Theatre Company’s production of Wyrd Sisters and any real criticism that I have of it is aimed solely at Stephen Briggs’ adaptation..."




The Broken Drummers, "London's Premier Unofficially Official Discworld Group" (motto "Nil percussio est") will be meeting next on Monday 3rd July at the Monkey Puzzle, 30 Southwick Street, London, W2 1JQ. "We welcome anyone and everyone who enjoys Sir Terry's works, or quite likes them or wants to find out more. We have had many visitors from overseas who have enjoyed themselves and made new friends. The discussions do not only concern the works of Sir Terry Pratchett but wander and meander through other genres and authors and also leaping to TV and Film production. We also find time for a quiz."

As you can see from their latest meet report, the subjects for discussion range well beyond the Disc:

"So, we met Monday night two days after the London Bridge attack. I had wondered if anyone would be put off coming but in the end we had a total of about 15. This shows that Broken Drummers does not bow to terrorism. Early on, a discussion on Jeremy Clarkson became surprisingly heated. I got into a debate with Phil over Clarkson's violent tendencies, which I resolved by punching him in the face for arguing with me (OK I didn't but I did see Have I Got News for You filmed yesterday and wanted to put some satire into the meeting report). In honour of the recent 25th May, I did a quiz on Night Watch. This confused some American tourists on the next table who asked if it was something to do with Game of Thrones. As always, there was a certain amount of heckling. This time, Edmund was a major source of disruption, trying to remember the name of the Night Watch's horse by saying names out loud (no-one got this one so be proud if you know it). Eventually, I picked up one of the drumsticks from our mascot and threatened to hit people for further disruptions, which helped. Chris B won and is now the proud owner of a Dr Who mug that my Dad donated to the quiz. We had two new people arrive just as the quiz started. I think that they were called Karen and Kerry Ann, however I did not get the chance to speak to them properly. Chris J. has returned, now a qualified accountant, so our singing the Accountancy Shanty a few months ago clearly helped." – Helen Nicholls

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."



"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." Future events will include the Hogswatch Express meet (24th-26th November 2017) and the Did You Bring a Beer Along meeting (celebrating 20 years of The Last Continent) in April 2018.



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 Social Meet at the Caledonian Hotel on 29th June (tomorrow!); the next one after that will be on 27th July.

The CoSG also have another identity. Here's the skinny:

Round World Events SA Inc is a not-for-profit incorporated association whose aim is to run fun social Pratchett-themed events for people in South Australia. Our first major event was the Unseen University Convivium held in July 2012. We have also run three successful and booked out Science Fiction and Fantasy themed quiz nights named Quiz Long And Prosper, in 2013, 2014 and 2015! We are also running the next Australian Discworld Convention, Nullus Anxietas VI – The Discworld Grand Tour – taking place in August 2017. You can find more out about it on this very website (_http://ausdwcon.org/_)! The association will run some events under the City of Small Gods banner, but you do not have to be a Round World Events SA member to be part of City of Small Gods. However, we are always on the look out for new members for Round World Events SA to help us organise future events! Membership is $20 a year (for Adelaide locals) or $5 a year (for those not quite so close) and has the following benefits:

A shiny membership certificate all of your very own
Discounted entry price to some of the events we run
A warm, fuzzy feeling deep down in your chest (no, not quite that deep)
For more information, or to join as a member, please email RoundWorldEventsSA@gmail.com



The Broken Vectis Drummers meet next on Thursday 6th July 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 7th July 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:



Sydney Drummers (formerly Drummers Downunder) meet next on Monday 3rd July 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 3rd July 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>



Blogger Rebecca on Small Gods:

I have found through reading Pratchett’s books that they often have some underlying message, often by parodying life and our everyday struggles or alternatively, other literature; Equal Rites addresses the issue of gender equality, Wyrd Sisters parodies the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Moving Pictures is a humorous take on Hollywood and the power of media. Small Gods I think is no exception, introducing the idea that the power of God(s), one or another (there are thousands on the Discworld) are relative to the number of believers they have. In a way can I get behind that idea. I would truly be concerned however if God, Allah, Thor, Loki, Apollo etc all sat in heaven throwing dice and using us mere mortals as pawns for some game we don’t understand the rules of. As well as his ability to address these topics – Pratchett has an extraordinary sense of humour to do it with... This book has some real laugh-out-loud moments, and although I wouldn’t say it was in my top favourites of Pratchett’s Discworld novels, it still holds its own..."


Blogger bookedbybliss on A Hat Full of Sky:

"A Hat Full of Sky is categorized as YA and although I found it to be more straightforward and simpler than the usual Discworld tales, compared to the average (and maybe even more than average) YA books out there, the story was definitely complicated and meaningful. In his usual wry and satirical manner, Terry Pratchett deals with issues that are commonplace to most young people – bullies, rivalry, peer pressure, being the odd one out. It is overall a coming of age novel but it has themes that adults can relate to as well such as taking responsibility for your actions and differentiating between what you want to do and the right thing to do. Tiffany’s interaction with the Hiver also forces us to face some truths about ourselves that we may not be comfortable with. Being a witch turns out to be very different from what Tiffany had imagined it would be and we as readers discover along with her that it’s not all about boiling cauldrons and casting spells and turning people into frogs... I found it interesting to see [Granny Weatherwax] portrayed in a different light here than the other Discworld books, where she’s often shown as a disagreeable and difficult woman in comparison to the more genial Nanny Ogg. In this book she is looked at with great reverence and likened to a leader of the witches..."


Blogger Ryan is back with his thoughts on Wyrd Sisters:

"The book’s parodying of Shakespeare’s plays supplants the usual jabs at the Fantasy genre. This is the first time (perhaps except Mort) that Pratchett has shifted the subject from that genre’s tropes to another that still works in the setting. Shakespeare having written a lot about royalty, it also plays heavily with the legends and beliefs behind the importance of kingship, those destined for it, and the power it grants. In classic Discworld fashion, the book doesn’t pull many punches when making fun of monarchy, especially in the face of the usual romanticizing... The trio of witches play off of each other really well. Granny’s stubborn expertise, Nanny’s jovial rambling, and Magrat’s meek inexperience makes for a lot of great banter, especially the more compromising a situation they’re thrown into... one thing this novel gets into that I really appreciated was the power of words (storytelling) in shaping reality. This not in the literal sense, but reality as perception. There are instances of word of mouth and spin, but this culminates in the use of theatre, which frequently portrays the drama of history. A popular production of a story, of history, becomes the truth in the eyes of the masses, even if the facts are much different. Felmet wants to use a play to turn public favour against the three witches and onto his side. We see how words could change a group of herbalists and healers who utilize the arcane into scheming hags that murder babies and sink ships with sinister powers, in the eyes of an audience. Though the book’s presentation of this is at a microcosmic scale, it demonstrates the realities that fiction can create and how that can be used for good or for ill in swaying perception..."


A quick note from blogger thecorneroflaura about chapters and why Discworld never needed them:

"I’ve just finished reading Night Watch by Terry Pratchett. Like the other Discworld books, this one doesn’t have any chapters. You’d think that this would cripple a book, leaving no convenient place for a reader to leave off for the day and risking confusion when the scene changes. Yet, in Night Watch, it doesn’t diminish my enjoyment at all. Of course, this is mostly down to the late Terry Pratchett’s incredible writing (I think Sam Vimes has muscled his way into my top ten main characters list) but it got me thinking: could other books get away with it? Do you have to be as brilliant as Pratchett to be able to do away with chapters altogether?..."


Blogger cupofjobi, late to the Discworld party, will be partying enthusiastically after having a go at The Colour of Magic:

"I’m not sure why I’ve never read any Terry Pratchett before, especially since I’ve known about his series and heard nothing but high praise for it since I can remember, but this book is absolutely amazing. I cannot wait to read more of the Discworld series. It’s hard for me to even convey how much I loved this book. I will admit to being a little lost at first as to what exactly was happening but before I knew it I was whisked away on an adventure with Rincewind the wizard and Twoflower the tourist as the sapient pearwood luggage chest follows them all over Discworld. So many authors I read on a regular basis have sung such high praises for this series and now I know why. It is simply put, one of the best books I have ever read. I found it hard to put down even with the Pacific Ocean lapping at the seawall outside of our rental house. My only complaint about this book was that each of the chapters was extremely long, I believe there were only 4 in the entire first book, and I vastly prefer shorter chapters. But honestly who the hell cares how many chapters there are or how long each of them is when the writing, characters, and story are as amazing as what Terry Pratchett put onto the page. RIP Terry Pratchett, I feel ashamed for not finding your truly fantastic series of books before now..."


Blogger Jeroen returns with thoughts on Tiffany Aching and The Wee Free Men:

"The Aching books are commonly labeled as young adult, but Pratchett is such a treasure that these books should not be overlooked. We are now in the final stretch of Discworld novels, in which Pratchett’s struggle with Alzheimer slowly becomes apparent. But the Tiffany Aching novels see Pratchett still on top of his game and are one of the jewels in his crown... What I admire greatly in Pratchett’s writing is how this story is about common shepherd people in a medieval fantasy setting, and how he grounds these people so strongly in the land and the communities they live in. During Tiffany’s adventure, we get flashbacks to her memories of her grandmother, 'Granny Aching', who wields this great influence over the community while all she does is sit still and smoke tobacco. Her “witchery” is being smart and silent, similar to the 'headology' of Granny Weatherwax in other Discworld novels. These characters are simply a stroke of genius... Unfortunately, the plot suffers from a number of tired tropes. Tiffany is trying to rescue her brother, who is stolen away by the fairy queen, and so Tiffany has to cross over to fairyland. It’s a dream-world where people’s dreams and mythological monsters become true, blablabla. I suspect that an adventure on Discworld itself would have been a lot more interesting than another rendition of the land of Oz..."


Blogger Jonathan Feinstein is back with thoughts on the Snuff audiobook:

"This is another great story that is a part of an all-around great series. The Discworld stories can be mistaken for mere parodies of fantasy tropes and, indeed, that is how they started out, but they stand on their own and are frequently good serious stories, wearing only a mask of satire. Snuff is a good solid story with some good solid social messages but delivered in a clever and entertaining manner. It is also an excellent example of how to mix a police procedural story with fantasy. Best of all, I think it makes sense even if you have not read all the stories that precede it which is hard to accomplish in such a long-running series. As usual, I very much enjoyed Stephen Briggs’ reading. He does occasionally resort to funny voices for some of the characters, but in most cases I think they are well chosen, especially for non-human characters, although I was slightly annoyed by the pubescent, breaking voice of the young “Chief Constable” out in the country. The character was much younger than Vimes, but I did not think he was that much younger. However, that was my only real criticism so all in all, he did well. Briggs has read many of the Discworld novels so it was very much a matter of coming back to a familiar friend..."


Blogger The English Student has had a re-think about Moving Pictures:

"Pratchett’s line is in interrogating the narrative structures that underlie our culture and our expectations of reality. In that respect, he is actually surprisingly formally innovative – surprisingly, that is, for such an unabashedly popular writer, though his fans have been pushing people to his work for years. Moving Pictures is an excellent case in point, though it’s not really a fan favourite – perhaps because it’s missing the savage flashes of explicit social criticism some of his works exhibit. (From Guards! Guards!: “we were dragons. We were supposed to be cruel, cunning, heartless, and terrible. But…we never burned and tortured and ripped one another apart and called it morality.”) It’s a veritable tissue of structural irony, packed with a plethora of narrative levels. At its heart, it’s a tale that twists Hollywood sidelong by transplanting it into a fantasy world; asks us to look afresh at the silent-movie tropes that are by now embedded into our own cultural consciousness... It’s a hugely playful novel, one which also takes its characters seriously enough to have real warmth... the Discworld novels are a lot cleverer than I think I’ve given them credit for in the past. In fact, I think Pratchett might well be the Dickens of the twenty-first century: a popular writer who deals in kindly caricature and savage humour, who’s doing some real work beneath the densely detailed surface of his fiction..."


Blogger butiliketurtles loved Witches Abroad:

While enjoying my time road tripping through Uruguay, weeks ago now, I decided to start this little gem. Terry Pratchett has long been a soft spot for me and I don’t intend to grow out of fantasy any time soon, particularly this brand of silliness. Within a few pages I was hooked and I spent a lot of a ferry back to Buenos Aires in stitches and pestering my mate so I could read him snippets... I am quite a fan of Granny Weatherwax. I really enjoyed seeing a little bit of character development, a little bit more than all of those pointy edges and seemingly callous deflections. That outer layer is actually just hiding something a little more tender underneath. I could just boil this novel down into a talking mirror and witches not letting a young girl kiss a frog. But I could also boil it down into some very entertaining old ladies wrecking utter havoc on the general public. This is a melting pot of a lot of well loved fairy tales turned upside down and stitched together in a new pattern that I believe works very well..."


Feminist blogger Eve S Rafter finds much of interest in a long post on Equal Rites:

"Contemporary gender studies would probably discuss this in terms of gender roles and socialization. Boys are encouraged to grow up with a particular mindset, girls with another. Boys who may show inclinations classified as feminine are pushed – or punished – away from them. Likewise with girls who show masculine inclinations. Granny Weatherwax’s reference to 'jommetry' echoes something my mother believes – that men have brains better suited to logic and mathematics, and that female brains are better suited to emotional or empathetic fields. Wizards’ magic is 'out of the sky' – a parallel can be drawn here to physics; while witch magic is out of the ground. It’s no coincidence that more women gravitate towards biology... The magic of men, if allowed to progress in an unrestricted fashion, will result in complete destruction of the universe. They are therefore not allowed to use their magic except in cases of absolute necessity (like when another wizard or set of wizards have already set about destroying the universe, and need to be stopped.) The wisdom and greatness of wizardry lies in doing nothing, which is why the greatest, strongest wizards do nothing but eat a lot and nap a lot. The magic of witches on the other hand is perpetually in use. For the most part, witch magic is nothing but knowledge of herbal medicine, gossipping around a pot of tea, and what Granny Weatherwax refers to as 'headology.' The witches are perpetual servants of society – they are midwives and healers, dispensers of justice, veterinarians. They tend to the elderly, the ones who have no one else to look after them. They take up the jobs no one else want, precisely because they can be so much more, and their power requires constant reminders of why it’s important to stay grounded..."


...and finally, Cultured Vultures blogger Nat Wassell considers the darkness of I Shall Wear Midnight:

"The first thing that strikes you reading ‘I Shall Wear Midnight’ is that it is dark. Dark by Discworld standards anyway, and especially dark by Tiffany Aching standards... There is a darkness to ‘I Shall Wear Midnight’, although it is not lacking in the other elements that make up a good Discworld novel. Most importantly for me is the brief sojourn that Tiffany makes to Ankh-Morpork, the first time we have seen her visit the city. There she meets Mrs Proust, who runs the infamous Boffo shop, and whilst on this visit, Tiffany shares a page, albeit briefly, with Sam Vimes. She is, in fact, a little bit intimidated by him, when she is so often not intimidated by anyone, and I loved that idea. We don’t see Sam interact with any of the other witches at any point, and although I’d pay ridiculous money for a Vimes vs Granny Weatherwax novel (I think they would be best friends in the end), I’ll take this short scene and be appreciative of it..."




You may recall a certain famous dinner in Ankh-Morpork, when the Canting Crew were convinced to give up their footwear to be turned into new "exotic" dishes (with avec) at a posh restaurant. Here in Roundworld, a homeless man gave up his footwear so that someone else could *eat* in a posh restaurant! One Akbar Badshah found himself barred from his wife's birthday dinner because the sandals he was wearing failed to meet the restaurant's dress code:

"He turned to nearby rough sleeper John, who said he would be 'happy' to help and lend him his boots. Mr Badshah, who also wanted to break his Ramadan fast, told BBC Radio 5 live: "The [staff] said, 'unfortunately we have to turn you away - do you have any spare shoes?' I said, 'I don't, I've driven an hour to get here, I'm starving, I've not eaten all day.'" He and his wife Rozmin – who had previously suggested her husband should wear shoes – left the restaurant and later struck up a conversation with John, who had recently received a new pair of boots from an outreach shelter. "We had a little chat and I just asked John, 'What shoe size are you?'," Mr Badshah said. "He said, 'I'm a 14,' and I said, 'I'm a size 9, I'm in a bit of predicament... can I borrow your shoes?' "He goes, 'Yes certainly, I'll be happy to lend you my shoes.'" The couple went on to enjoy their meal as planned, then returned the boots to John, who told Mr Badshah he had just wanted "to help another human being out". Mr Badshah said John only accepted a £10 note in thanks "on the third attempt". Another man, who overheard the conversation between the pair, then gave John a £50 note, which Mr Badshah said was "good karma". Mr Badshah said he now hopes to return to the restaurant with John for a meal."


You may also recall a certain ill-starred wizard at Unseen University – Virrid Wayzygoose, the Archchancellor-elect who fell foul of Coin the Sourceror's staff. You probably also laughed at the silliness of his name, but did you know that in using that name Sir Pterry was yet again proving his stellar worth as a picker-up of inconsidered trifles? The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that a wayzgoose (note spelling) was originally "an entertainment given by a master-printer to his workmen to mark the beginning of the season of working by candlelight", and later "an annual festivity held in summer by the employees of a printing establishment, consisting of a dinner and (usually) an excursion into the country" which was traditionally held in late August to coincide with the feast of St Bartholomew, the patron saint of bookbinders. But as to *why* a wayzgoose was so called, no-one is the wiser. The origin of the term is unknown! It's possible that it comes from the word waygoose, which might have meant a goose fed on field-stubble after harvest time, or possibly from wake-goose, an old printing house holiday, but there the trail goes cold. Still , the OED is determined to get to the bottom of this weird word. You can read the full article here:




NADWcon 2017's excellent Witches banner, a composite of Agnes, Magrat, Granny, Nanny and – I think – Tiffany:

Some of the main cast of Milton Follies' recent production of Wyrd Sisters in Fourecks, looking very Lancrastian:

...and the Lancre Witches of Bath, as seen in the Rondo Theatre Company's recent production (see item 5.3):

Lord Vetinari, who sometimes cosplays as Stephen Briggs, has a message for us:

The inimitable Paul Kidby, working on some new Nac Mac Feegle sculptures:

...and on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the release of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, My Kidby's amazing Band with Rocks In tribute "album cover" is always worth another viewing:



Fans of the Ankh-Morpork Post Office might be interested to know that legendary Roundworld stamp collecting concern Stanley Gibbons – the source of our beloved Assistant Postmaster's name, Stanley Howler – is up for sale:

"The company has identified the Middle East and Asia as new markets for potential growth, but said expansion would require further investment. It said that it would therefore examine its options, which could include the sale of part or all of the business. The firm was set up by Edward Stanley Gibbons in 1856 and is the world's longest established rare stamp trader. It opened its first shop in 1891 on The Strand in London where it continues to trade from today. It also has overseas sites in Hong Kong and Singapore. The company also sells coins and antiques, but is best known for its rare stamps business..."


In closing, let it be noted that the organisers of the Scheibenwelt (German Discworld) convention want you to know there are "only 827 days left" until the next convention...

And that's the lot for June. Take care, and we'll see you in July!

– Annie Mac


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

Copyright (c) 2017 by Klatchian Foreign Legion
wossname: A Clacks rendering of GNU Terry Pratchett (GNU)
Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
June 2016 (Volume 19, Issue 6, Post 1)

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.

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)






"'I believe the countryside creates folklore in the same way that the mists rise in the evening. I think it just happens. People get feelings. The chill you feel when you walk in this place and all these things, and because we want this. We don't want the world to be too inexplicable and we stand and salute Richard Dawkins as he goes past and would shake hands with Mr. Einstein, but we just like to think that's not the end of it. I rather suspect there are people that would give up belief in God rather than belief in luck."

Terry Pratchett in conversation with Jacqueline Simpson, 2010

"It's not usually the original artist that's gone back and changed it from a full colour painting into black and white line – and I was keen to do that, because I wanted to keep the characters clearly identifiable."

Paul Kidby, describing his process for creating the Discworld Colouring Book



Greetings, O Readers! You'll notice that the June issue has arrived in your inboxes in the merrie month of, er, July. This is due to illness (mine), but while it's not the first time Wossname has gone out late, I think it pretty much is for the years of my being head honcho (honchess? honchette?). So let's get on without further delay...

As the number of Discworld plays being performed around Roundworld continues to rise, the Discworld Plays News section seems like the best place to put a feature on staging Discworld plays – from the digital quill of "Lord Vetinari himself". Do have a look at item 5.13 in this month's issue!

Journalist David Astle, writing about "internet laws" in the Sydney Morning Herald, mentioned Asimov's Laws of Robotics early on. Then at the end, he writes, "The final law was foreseen by another sci-fi giant, Terry Pratchett. Known as the law of exclamation, this applies to online shouters. In short, the more exclamation marks you use, or capital letters you bash out, the more flawed your view." I mention this in passing because of the casual way he calls Pratchett "another sci-fi giant". Which he was – and ever will remain. Consider the Johnny Maxwell books. Consider Night Watch. Consider his fantastic short story # ifdef DEBUG + "world/enough" + "time"... and more. So yes, it warms the cockles of your Editor's heart to see The Author's name up there on the Great and Terrible List of Giants. Especially as, unlike Asimov, Clarke et al, who were strong on ideas but weak on wordcraft and the art of believable character creation, Pratchett's science fiction has the lot.

Remember, the fifth and final Long Earth book, The Long Cosmos, is now available in hardcover (Penguin Random House; see various reviews under item 3.1). And if you've been collecting the series in paperback, The Long Utopia (book four) is also now available. As is the paperback edition of The Shepherd's Crown, at last! And more of The Bromeliad. Also, this is a good time to pre-order the Paul Kidby Discworld Colouring Book and The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner. And furthermore... all right, look, the best way to keep up with the myriad of new releases is to check on http://discworld.com/ and http://www.discworldemporium.com/ in their books sections.

Lastly, here is the only feature Wossname is going to offer about Brexit. Because the marvellous Evening Harold gave the least "WHUT?" commentary about it all:

"The UK is under new leadership this morning following a coup by the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, Lord Havelock Vetinari. 'Coup is a needlessly dramatic word,' Lord Vetinari told reporters. 'I can hardly be said to have violently thrown a government from power when you don't have one, or an Opposition. Both sides seem entirely preoccupied with what one might call "internal matters". Indeed barely anyone noticed as I walked into Number Ten and installed myself in the best office and Drumknott in an suitable alcove nearby. The only person to do more than raise an eyebrow was Theresa May who I must say kicks like a mule and has a command of the baser aspects of the English language that is entirely formidable.' Until yesterday Vetinari was the tyrant of Ankh-Morpork the largest and most powerful city on Discworld. A place known to us through the life-enhancingly brilliant reporting of much-missed travel writer Sir Terry Pratchett. Today Lord Vetinari says he's the man to lead the UK through the Brexit crisis. 'A firm hand is all it takes,' he said calmly..."

Do go read the entire piece. It's a thing of beauty:


And now, on with the show!

– Annie Mac, Editor




In The Guardian, by Jenny Colgan:

"If it is pulse-racing narrative you're after, you should know that the Long Earth books are not so much stories as travelogues. New worlds are intricately described – the corn fields, the ice belts – and there is jeopardy, but never anything terribly concerning, even when nuclear war wipes out half the Datum (the name given to the original Earth). Fans, of whom I am one, love them for their gently immersive properties: it is extremely relaxing to travel so many worlds from home in a luxury airship, 'stepping' with every turn of the page. The Long Cosmos doesn't meddle with this template: journeys are made, quite slowly; strange creatures emerge and vanish; things that were lost are found again. Even the more horrific aspects, such as the lollipop heads – humanoids with brains so enormous that they are literally spilling out of their skulls – turn out to be more or less benign. The charm of these books lies in the way they weave the worlds together: they're not funny, and nor are they designed to be, unless you find trolls who say 'hoo' intrinsically hilarious. For The Long Cosmos specifically, a good working knowledge of the film version of Carl Sagan's Contact is useful, as the book often plays out as a homage, while long-term fans will be excited to learn that as well as going east and west, we finally step north. Not all our questions are answered, but Baxter's scientific grounding will make you dwell once more on that chilling quantum idea that to exist is to be observed, as well as on more quotidian reflections about what is important in life..."


In The Telegraph, by Tristram Fane Saunders:

"It is impossible to read The Long Cosmos without a pang of melancholy... Although the familiar protagonists have reached their late sixties, the atmosphere is still one of childlike wonder. The hero, Joshua, watches the hive of activity around a newly-built spaceship, as if it were 'to be powered, not by any kind of technology, but by a surge of shared enthusiasm'. The Long Cosmos may be a bit slapdash in construction, but it, too, hums with shared enthusiasm, reading like a roll-call of the authors' favourite things. Whereas the Discworld novels favoured the wink, here the allusions are far more open: the spaceship is christened the 'Uncle Arthur', after Arthur C Clarke (with whom Baxter wrote three novels). Pratchett fans sifting through Baxter for a gem of Sir Terry won't quite come up empty-handed... There are a couple of nods to Discworld (including a simian librarian), but only one vignette has Pratchett's particular spark: the story of wandering teacher Johnny Shakespeare...

"Like many travellers of the Long Earth, Joshua is a fan of 'ancient' sci-fi films. As another character – a different nun – remarks, no-one can remember the Pope, but everyone knows who Captain Kirk is. And so we meet a 'baby elephant with a mask like a Star Wars stormtrooper,' while a song Joshua hears sounds 'like samples of an opera in Klingon.' But these allusions distract from the world of the novel... Although it nods toward 20th-century fiction, the Long Earth's true parent is 500 years old this year – Utopia. Amid the recent wave of YA dystopias, it's rare to find an optimistic vision of the future, but The Long Cosmos is exactly that..."


In The Independent, by David Barnett:

"It's a very different beast to those used to Pratchett's humorous Discworld fantasies - a hard, high-concept science fiction series based around the central conceit that our world is but one of an infinite number of parallel Earths, strung out like a multi-dimensional string of pearls... Although there are a core cast of well-rounded characters, including central protagonist Joshua Valiente, one of the first to learn how to “step” between the worlds, and Lobsang, a Tibetan motorcycle repairman who has been reincarnated as an artificial intelligence computer (one guesses that to be a very Pratchettian touch) the series has always seemed less about the people and more about the sense of wonder of good, old-fashioned science fiction. More than that, it's about exploration and discovery, and even rediscovery - if we found an Earth identical to our own but uninhabited and unspoiled, would humanity do things differently, or just make the same old mistakes?..."


In the Daily Mail, by Ned Denny:

"The inspired concept at the heart of Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter's Long Earth series is an immense series of Earths – receding, perhaps endlessly, like the images in two facing mirrors, but all of them other than our home planet (‘Datum Earth') empty of human beings. These books are less tongue-in-cheek than Pratchett's solo work and have something of the poetry and visionary wildness of an author such as Jeff VanderMeer. This final instalment – in which humans, Neanderthal-like trolls and a race of supposedly higher beings known as The Next try to fathom this cosmic invitation – is enthralling and thought-provoking in equal measure."


On Flickering Myth, by Tony Black:

"Originally sketched out as a trilogy, The Long Earth saga ultimately needed extra room to breathe and this fifth and final entry was completed by Baxter upon Pratchett's untimely death. He does a fine job in bringing to a conclusion what could have been a jarring juxtaposition between two very different writers; Pratchett, one of the masters of comic fantasy, and Baxter, one of the giants in speculative science-fiction. The Long Cosmos, however, much like the previous four books, manages to fuse these two disparate talents together in an enjoyably imaginative, often lightly and comfortably jovial way, shot through with plenty of pop-culture references and fascinating scientific concepts... Even with Baxter's penchant for hard science (which is far more apparent here than Pratchett's acerbic droll, only popping up occasionally), what never becomes lost in the stepping and conceptual scientific ideas is the warmth of heart built into The Long Earth story and it's characters. There's a wistfulness about this book, a sense of ending, perhaps not just for Joshua but Pratchett himself, and a sense of looking back on a world unrecognisable and searching for constants, for memories, for as the trolls call it 'remember'. It's a story about family, about the loss and rediscovery of family, the importance indeed of maintaining those relationships and that humanity in the face of so much ‘other', and in the end about finding a family with those you are thrown together with, across divides equally in terms of background and race... While these two writers make this happen with a redoubtably British tongue in cheek, they do so equally with a true sense of comforting, innocent wonder and hope, and it makes for lovely, spirited reading..."



On Den of Geek by Aliya Whiteley:

"It's a beautiful book, and it showed me that Mort is as much a fairy tale as a fun read. It sinks deep roots into traditional ground, and this classic hardback version suits the more meaningful aspects of this story very well indeed. For Mort is a young apprentice, and he has a lot to learn, and challenges to overcome, before he learns some wisdom and finds some happiness. And that makes for a really old kind of story, and a satisfying one, featuring all the recognisable aspects such as love, moral dilemmas, crushing responsibilities, and a race against time. Also, what kind of apprenticeship story would this be without an exacting master? This one has the best – Death himself. Although Death is busy having an identity crisis and could, on occasion, murder a curry. It's the surprises I always liked. That curry, those footnotes, the unexpected lists of foods that are served in Ankh-Morpork or the sudden appearance of an orang-utan. But this time around it was Pratchett's propensity to bring a scene to life in classic style that struck me. He could make it all seem so real before inviting you to laugh at it, and see through it... Those are good lessons to learn by holding this new and beautiful version of Mort in your hands, with a brilliant illustration by Rayyan on the cover that will remind you of woodcut art from Grimm's Fairy Tales and the like..."





"The prestigious Locus prizes, which are voted for by the American speculative fiction magazine's readership, have been running for more than 40 years, and have gone to authors including Isaac Asimov, Gene Wolfe and Ursula K Le Guin in the past. This year, Pratchett took the prize for best young adult novel for his final Discworld book, The Shepherd's Crown...."


The full list of winners:



In the Irish Times, Martin Doyle interviews Colin Smythe and author Lisa McInerney about their favourite Pratchett quotes. Here be an extract:

"Colin Smythe, the Trinity College Dublin graduate who published Pratchett's first five books and has been his agent since 1987, admitted: 'I can't remember Terry telling me any jokes. Both poor memory and because he must have kept them to put in his books. Over the last decade, I think we talked about facts, research for the book he was working on, that sort of thing.' In his tribute to his friend in The Irish Times, Smythe wrote: 'It is hard to look at a future without Terry, his humour, wicked bubble-pricking comments, his amazing inventiveness, his style, the deftness of his puns, and the deep moral sense that pervaded all of the books, without being obtrusive.' So what is his favourite Terry Pratchett quotation? 'Too many to choose from. But how about...? "Susan... it wasn't a good name, was it? It wasn't a truly bad name, it wasn't like poor Iodine in the fourth form, or Nigella, a name which means ‘oops, we wanted a boy'. But it was dull. Susan. Sue. Good old Sue. It was a name that made sandwiches, kept its head in difficult circumstances, and could reliably look after other people's children.`It was a name used by no queens or goddesses anywhere. And you couldn't do much even with the spelling. You could turn it into Suzi, and it sounded as though you danced on tables for a living. You could put in a Z and a couple of Ns and an E, but it still looked like a name with extensions built on. It was as bad as Sara, a name that cried out for a prosthetic H." Far too long, I know. How about a talking raven on a battle-field, looking for eyeballs and other scraps, saying "Carrion regardless. That's what I say."? Or the cleric in a band that went off with all its takings, and was arrested. "And what did they do with that felonious monk?"...'..."



You may remember a mention is last month's main edition of a special interim course, on the works of Pratchett, being taught at the University of Alabama. I have since had a conversation with the gracious Mark Hughes Cobb, whose piece in the Tuscaloosa News gives additional detail and insight. Do have a read! A few bits:

"Terry Pratchett's books sprawl all over the kitchen, the bathroom, by the bed, everywhere. Those have been read, are being read, and will be read again. 'With Pratchett, you kind of live with it,' said Barton, an instructor in the University of Alabama English department, teaching an interim course on his work, titled 'Special Topics in Literature: Discworld.'... Pratchett subverted fantasy tropes to reflect human follies and foibles about gender, war, religion, technology, racism, xenophobia, and more. 'He creates this entire universe of characters you would want to know,' Barton said, 'and people who just seem very genuine, seem who they are. At times it's almost a kind of muted, almost dry, very quiet kind of funny, and at other times, it's just broad hilarity.'... Barton used Gaiman's elegy as an introduction for the class. 'It's almost like he knew what I was going for,' she said. They're also looking at recurring, developing characters. Pratchett drew Sam Vimes close to his heart, a gutter-poor child who grew up with fists, knees and elbows in the mean streets. Through unbending will and innate decency, Sam rises to command the watch, and become Duke of Ankh-Morpork, a bluntly honest antithesis to the effete, the snobs and white-collar criminals... 'Vimes resists classicism, resists superiority,' Barton said. 'If you want to make who you are, you have to put your boots on and walk the streets. You have to, as he does in "Night Watch," create yourself.' Other texts they'll study include novels 'Thud,' 'Making Money' and 'Raising Steam.'..."



Here be a short, fascinating video about how Mr Kidby turned his Discworld paintings into a black and white colouring book. Watch it!



From The Science of Discworld to the wider world, with its own extensively footnoted page on Wikipedia:

"Scientists Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart first discussed the term in their non-fiction book, The Collapse of Chaos: Discovering Simplicity in a Complex World (1994). They elaborated upon this concept in their non-fiction book: Figments of Reality: The Evolution of the Curious Mind (1997). Cohen and Stewart further delved into a discussion of the issue with author Terry Pratchett in the book The Science of Discworld (1999). The term subsequently gained traction by academics and has been since discussed within the framework of teaching methodology. British author David Langford said his favorite theme within Discworld was the lie-to-children trope. Andrew Sawyer included the subject itself in his article titled: 'Narrativium and Lies-to-Children: Palatable Instruction in "The Science of Discworld"'. Tim Worstall wrote for Forbes that lie-to-children was ubiquitous across multiple academic disciplines... The definition given in The Science of Discworld (1999) is as follows: 'A lie-to-children is a statement that is false, but which nevertheless leads the child's mind towards a more accurate explanation, one that the child will only be able to appreciate if it has been primed with the lie'. The authors acknowledge that some people might dispute the applicability of the term lie, while defending it on the grounds that 'it is for the best possible reasons, but it is still a lie'. This viewpoint is derived from earlier perspectives within the field of philosophy of science.

"In a 1999 interview, Pratchett commented upon the phrase: 'I like the lies-to-children motif, because it underlies the way we run our society and resonates nicely with Discworld.' He was critical of problems inherent in early education: 'You arrive with your sparkling A-levels all agleam, and the first job of the tutors is to reveal that what you thought was true is only true for a given value of "truth".' Pratchett cautioned: 'Most of us need just "enough" knowledge of the sciences, and it's delivered to us in metaphors and analogies that bite us in the bum if we think they're the same as the truth.'..."





Duck in a Hat are coming back to Edinburgh with another Discworld production!

"Mort doesn't know what to expect when he starts his new job: apprentice to the Grim Reaper (scythe, hooded cloak, and all). But things slip out of his control when he saves a princess destined to die, tearing apart the fabric of reality. With the help of Death's adopted daughter and a mysterious manservant, can Mort thwart destiny, save the princess, find true love and have his own happily ever after? Presented by the team behind the 2015 sell-out Terry Pratchett's Eric, this is a hilarious new adaptation of Pratchett's beloved tale of life, death and destiny."

When: 15th–28th August 2016 (excepting 21st)
Venue: Paradise in Augustine's, 41–43 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EL
Time: 7.35pm all shows
Tickets: £9.50 (£8), available from https://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/event/590050-terry-pratchetts-mort/ or by phone 0131 510 0022

https://twitter.com/duck_in_a_hat (for updates)


"Come and join Chameleon's Web Theatre Company for a fun-filled show suitable for all ages from 4-104. Although we can guarantee the quality of the performance we cannot guarantee the British weather so please bring appropriate clothing for an outdoor performance! Please bring rugs, low backed chairs and picnics but be warned – the residents of Lancre are very partial to a sausage roll or two!"

When: 5th, 6th, 7th, 13th and 14th August 2016
Venue: various; see below
Time: various; see below
Tickets: £11 (£9 concessions; family ticket £34), available from http://www.chameleonsweb.co.uk/www.ticketsource.co.uk/chameleonsweb or bookable by phone on 0333 666 3366 (local rate, £1.50 booking charge which includes postage of tickets)

Venues are:

5th August: The Amphitheatre, Park Drive, Promenade Park, Maldon, Essex CM9 5HX at 6pm
For more info: http://www.visitmaldon.co.uk/promenade-park/

6th August: Tollesbury Community Centre, East Street, Tollesbury, Essex CM9 8QD at 7pm (indoors)
For more info: http://bit.ly/299hVmL

7th August: Beth Chatto Gardens, Elmstead Market, Colchester, Essex CO7 7DB at 6pm
For more info: http://www.bethchatto.co.uk/events/theatre-performance-in-the-gardens.htm

13th August: The Whalebone, Chapel Rd, Colchester, Essex CO5 7BG at 5pm
For more info: http://www.thewhaleboneinn.co.uk/

14th August: Dedham Vale Vineyard, Green Lane, Boxted, Colchester, Essex CO4 5TS at 6pm
For more info: http://www.dedhamvalevineyard.com/

Tour Information Line - 07936067657 (please note tickets cannot be purchased from this number)



Greasby Players, who produced a run last year of Wyrd Sisters, will be staging Guards! Guards! this month!

When: 13th -16th July 2016
Venue: Westbourne Hall, Westbourne Road, West Kirby, Wirral CH48 4DQ
Time: 7.30pm
Tickets: £8.00 (£6.00 concessions). To book, ring 677 9187 or visit Greasby Players' Facebook page (URL below)



Darlington Theatre Players' production of Wyrd Sisters, which started on the 17th of June, is still going!

When: to 9th July 2016
Venue: Marloo Theatre, 20 Marloo Road, Greenmount, Western Australia (phone 08 9255 1212)
Time: 8pm evening shows; 2pm Sunday matinees
Tickets: adults $22, concession/child $20, family ticket $70, available from Gwyne Marshall (Bookings Officer) at the Marloo Theatre Box Office (phone 08 9255 1783). To purchase online, go to http://www.marlootheatre.com.au/wyrdsisters nd click on the Buy Tickets button



The Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society aka RADS will be staging their production of Wyrd Sisters in July. RADS chairman Mike Walker writes, "For anyone who hasn't visited the Georgian Theatre Royal, it is an experience in itself, being Britain's oldest working theatre in its original form; a Grade 1 listed building and an accredited museum. It is an 18th century 'courtyard' theatre which seats just over 200 people, the furthest seat being only 10.7m from the stage! I do hope Terry Pratchett fans will be interested in seeing Wyrd Sisters in this fascinating setting."

When: 28th–30th July and 4th–6th August 2016
Venue: Georgian Theatre Royal, Victoria Road, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL10 4DW
Time: 7.30pm all shows
Tickets: £6.50 to £12.50, available online at https://tickets.georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk/ or ring the box office 01748 825252



We Are Theatre will be presenting their production of Mort in July. Getting closer now...

When: 21st and 22nd June 2016
Venue: Joseph Rowntree Theatre, Haxby Road, York YO31 8TA
Time: 7.30pm all shows
Tickets: £10 (£8 concessions), available from the York Theatre Royal box office (phone 01904 623568). For group bookings, contact wearetheatre@googlemail.com or ring 07521 364107



Colnbrook Amateur Stage Theatre aka CAST will stage their production of the Stephen Briggs adaptation of Carpe Jugulum in July!

When: 13th-16th July 2016
Venue: CAST, Colnbrook Village Hall,. Vicarage Way, Colnbrook, Berks SL3 0RF. Phone 07944 215487 (Secretary)
Time: 7.45pm all shows
Tickets: TBA. Normally £8 (£6 concessions), eventually available online at http://www.cast-online.org.uk/box-office/



Theale Green School will be staging Stephen Briggs' adaptation of Mort in July!

When: 13th July
Venue: Greek Theatre, Bradfield College, Bradfield, Reading, Berks RG7 6BZ (13th)
Time: 7pm
Tickets: £7 (£5 concessions), available to reserve from Nicki Cowen via email: ncowen@thealegreen.w-berks.sch.uk


The People's Theatre, "the premier amateur theatre company in the North of England", will stage their production of Lords and Ladies, adapted by Irana Brown, in July. "We're no strangers to Discworld and this funny and fast-moving adaptation of (the much-missed) Sir Terry's fourteenth novel sees the welcome return of Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg to our stage. It promises to be lots of fun, so book early to avoid disappointment!"

When: 19th-23rd July 2016
Venue: People's Theatre, Stephenson Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 5QF. Phone: (0191) 275 9875
Time: 7.30pm all shows
Tickets: £13.50 (£11 concessions). Box Office on 0191 265 5020 or email tickets.peoplestheatre@email.com. (Box Office is open weekdays 10.30am–1pm and Mon, Wed, Fri evenings 7.30–8.30pm). To book online, go to the inappropriately-named Intelligent Tickets, and be prepared to jump through a truly daft series of hoops:



The Monstrous Productions Theatre Company, who specialise in staging Pratchett plays and have so far raised – and donated – over £18,000 for Alzheimer's Research UK, are taking on the Ankh-Morpork Post Office for their next project!

"Moist Von Lipwig is a conman, forger and all-round confidence trickster, always on the look out for the next big game. Until one of his many personas has a run-in with the law and is hanged to within a inch of his life. And so begins the biggest game of all. He must restore Ankh-Morpork's defunct post office to it's former glory or else have a second shot at dancing the hemp fandango. On his side he has the Disc's oldest junior postman, Stanley ('ask me about pins!') and his pottery probation officer, Mr Pump. It's a mighty task, made mightier by competition from Ankh-Morpork's newest technology, the Clacks, and its piratical owner, Reacher Gilt."

When: 17th-20th August 2016
Venue: The Gate Arts Centre, Keppoch Street, Roath, Cardiff CF24 3JW
Time: 7.30pm evening shows (doors open at 7pm); 2.30pm matinee on the 20th (doors open 2pm)
Tickets: £8 (£6 concessions), available from http://7889269b08cd.fikket.com/ – also by email (monstrousproductions2012@gmail.com, pay by cheque or bank transfer)

Also, if you are local to the Cardiff area (or fond of travelling), the Monstrous company works to a great model: "We announce auditions for upcoming productions about a month before casting. We have a laid back audition process and people travel from all over the South Wales area. No experience is necessary, our only stipulation is that members must be over 18 and younger than 70. Membership is £10 per year. We rehearse twice a week over the course of a few months, with some social activities thrown in."



The Brisbane Arts Theatre takes on yet another Discworld play later this year, in October and November.

"From the legendary author Sir Terry Pratchett comes the eighth novel in the Discworld series and first featuring the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen, The Noble Dragon has appeared in Discworld's greatest city. Not only does this unwelcome visitor have a nasty habit of charbroiling everything in its path, in rather short order it is crowned King (it is a noble dragon, after all). With some help from an orangutan librarian, it is the task of the Night Watch to overpower the secret brotherhood and restore order to the kingdom in this fantastical Discworld adventure."

When: 8th October through 12th November 2016
Venue: Brisbane Arts Theatre, 210 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane, QLD 4000. Phone: (07) 3369 2344
Time: 8pm Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays (except 10th November); 6.30pm Sundays (16th & 30th October)
Tickets: Adults $31, Concession $25, Group 10+ $25, Group 75+ $20, Student Rush $10 (10 mins before curtain), available online at http://bit.ly/1QGbXBF



Bolton Little Theatre, "a vibrant amateur theatre company run by members" since 1931, will be presenting their production of Wyrd Sisters next 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 boltonlittletheatre.ticketsource.co.uk – 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)."



Here be some samples of his advice and instructions. But do go read the page itself, because it has all sorts of important things on it. And a scorpion pit. No, really:

"We have licensed hundreds of productions in over twenty countries and, although, by and large, everything works on a fairly informal and good-natured basis, we are dealing with material which is copyright and with areas from which some people earn all or part of their living, so there do have to be rules. It's the lesson of bitter experience; for every fifty groups that are happy to 'play the game', there are one or two who'll 'try it on'. If you're in any doubt about anything – ask first! At the foot of this page (just below the scorpions!) is a Dropbox link to the info about, and application to stage, the seven of my plays which I administer for the Orangutan Foundation... Discussions are also in hand to publish my dramatisations of Lords & Ladies and Terry Pratchett: the Shakespeare Codex...

"All requests for permission to licence amateur dramatic or professional productions in English or in translation of Terry Pratchett's novels adapted by Stephen Briggs, and published by Corgi and Oxford University Press, should be sent to me.

"Other adaptations of Terry Pratchett's novels are published by Methuen Drama (part of the Bloomsbury Group), and by Samuel French, details of which follow. For requests to perform the Methuen titles: Going Postal, Jingo, Monstrous Regiment, Night Watch, Interesting Times, The Fifth Elephant & The Truth and for their application form and contact details, see http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/company/permissions/permissions-performance-rights/

"The Samuel French publications are
Making Money: https://samuelfrench-london.co.uk/books/making-money (adapted by Stephen Briggs)
Carpe Jugulum: https://samuelfrench-london.co.uk/books/carpe-jugulum (adapted by Stephen Briggs)
Maskerade: https://samuelfrench-london.co.uk/books/maskerade (adapted by Stephen Briggs)
Lords and Ladies: https://samuelfrench-london.co.uk/books/lords-and-ladies (adapted by Irana Brown)
Samuel French control the amateur dramatic rights in these plays in the English language, but for professional stage rights and translation rights contact me. To contact Samuel French, see https://samuelfrench-london.co.uk/contact

"If you were thinking of writing your own adaptation of any of Sir Terry's novels, please contact me immediately – before starting any work, or committing any financial or other resource. There is now much more TV and movie interest in Terry's works, and this greatly complicates the previously fairly liberal access enjoyed by amateur groups. The rights to Terry's works are closely controlled, and you should not assume permission will be forthcoming. If you fail to get permission up front, your production will be halted – regardless of the stage it has reached..."

To read the full page, go to http://www.stephenbriggs.com/terry-pratchett



Here be the transcript of a conversation between Sir Pterry and folklorist Jacqueline Simpson at the 2010 UK Discworld Convention. The recording was done by Katie Brown and Julie Sutton, so I imagine one or both of them did the transcribing. Some extracts:

"TP: I'm interested in the history of London which is absolutely superb because it's impossible to believe things that happen in the biggest, richest city in the world, in Georgian England all the way up to the death of Victoria. That kind of interest is also a kind of folklore because many of the things that happened then get an aura of folklore about them, and it turns out that it isn't folklore. Have you heard the song Knees up Mother Brown?

"JS: I believe so. And so small that it became possible to imagine that she had been turned into minced meat and put in a tin. Right, did you know that Knees up Mother Brown was actually originally based on the terrible murder of Mrs. Josephine Baxter in Bow in 1870, and she was not only killed but dismembered by her husband? Rather similar, have you heard of Sweet Fanny Adams and what happened to Sweet Fanny Adams? Well she was chopped up, apparently by her boyfriend, was that the case?

"TP: In fact what I just told you about Knees up Mother Brown is entirely an invention, but the point is, it's how I work... it's very easy as it were to make up folklore, I would hesitate to say that's because it's made up anyway... I was reading about the folklore of Ireland and I'd got hooked on Lord of the Rings, so you'd read anything that had runes in it or fairies or anything. I was coming across folklore which was really very interesting and possibly that might have been where the whole thing really began. You start off with the fantasy and then you find out that the fantasy may be not exactly as unreal as you thought and that becomes very exciting that there are people alive at that time who knew people who had known , the Witch of County Clare, around which a folklore has gathered rather similar to that to Robin Hood, who I suspect was a real person but who wound around himself, because of the way folklore works, tales of other bandits at the same time. That really fascinated me. Going through the book there's a type of folkloric creature called the Phouka, which can take many shapes. And there was one story that was passed on by a farm labourer who was, early evening, digging away at his potatoes, and he heard this sizzle and he saw coming across the uneven landscape, something like a carpet but made out of silver, and as it passed over the humps and hollows in the ground it took the shape of them. And when I read that a chill went down my spine because I thought, this sounds electrical, this sounds like something real. Fairies, that sounds like something Guinness, about three pints of Guinness I would have thought. But the sizzle as it travelled, I couldn't help thinking, ‘that was something'. I'd loved to have known what it was..."


"JS: One of the things I like about folklore in Discworld, is that it's not only rural, ok it's all over Lancre, it's all over the Chalk, but you also have urban folklore in Ankh-Morpork itself. You have children's games, you have beliefs that have sort of worn down and got distorted but are still there.

"TP: The rhyme that I made up for Wintersmith... 'Iron enough to make a nail', was it ‘phosphor enough to make a match'?

"JS: You asked me about that at the time and I've never found a source for it, but like you I'm convinced that it was real or at any rate something very like it was real. I think I remember it being in a sort of science for kids book back in the ‘30's.

"TP: I know I invented the last two lines 'Hands enough to hold a child'.

"JS: Oh yes, that wouldn't have been, no, that's you, definitely you.

"TP: Ah, and what was the other one, 'Time enough for love', or was it 'Heart enough for love'?

"JS: 'Heart enough for love,' I think.

"TP: And that's why the Wintersmith couldn't quite make a man because he didn't understand the last two lines.

"JS: When I was saying about the folklore in Ankh-Morpork, I was thinking of things like when Vimes goes back to Cockbill Street, is it, where he was brought up, and sees the kids playing hopscotch?

"TP: Oh yes, in the school yard, if you were unlucky it was your name as well! But in the running gutters of Ankh-Morpork they play pooh sticks.

"JS: Yes, I loved that! That was one of the occasions when I disgracefully laughed for ten minutes in a public place..."

For the full transcript, go to http://bit.ly/1WM8I4d

[Editor's note: the entire piece is a good read!]



The Broken Drummers, "London's Premier Unofficially Official Discworld Group" (motto "Nil percussio est"), meets next on Monday 4th July 2016 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: "We are a newly established Terry Pratchett & Discworld social group in Canberra called 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 all 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."


"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!]



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 on Terry's latest, craft, chain maille or costuming workshops or other fun social activities."

The next Games Day will be held on 24th July; the next Monthly Dinner and Games at the Caledonian Hotel, on 28th July. For more info, go to www.cityofsmallgods.org.au


The Broken Vectis Drummers meet next on Thursday 7th July 2016 (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 5th August 2016 (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 but is now looking to take in some new blood (presumably not in the non-reformed Uberwald manner). 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:



Sydney Drummers (formerly Drummers Downunder) meet next on Monday 4th July 2016 at 6.30pm (probably) 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 4th July 2016 (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>




* The BU t-shirt!

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Round-neck BU t-shirts are available in all sizes from Small to Extra Extra Large; Ladies Skinni Fit are only available in Small (UK 8-10) or Extra Large (UK 18).

Each Bugarup University tee is priced at £15. For more information, and to order, go to:

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"For this design we use AWDis Hoodies which are 280gsm in weight. They have a double-fabric hood with self-coloured draw cord, front pouch pocket, ribbed hem & cuffs and set in sleeves. Twin needle stitching detail to armholes, hems & cuffs. 80% cotton / 20% polyester."

The BU hoodie is available in sizes from Small (36" chest) to Extra Extra Large (50"/52" chest) and is priced at £28. For more information, and to order, go to:

* The Element Octarine collection!

Element 117 has been officially named, and neither Discworld fans not Motorhead fans got their wish. But for those of you who either 1) remain in the Roundworld equivalent of a certain river in Djelibeybi or 2) are in possession of the healthy sense of the ridiculous that every Discworld aficionado should have, here's your chance to own some very special items...

The Octarine 117 button badge. Priced at £1 each. For more information, and to order, go to:

The Octarine 117 coaster. Priced at £2.50 each. For more information, and to order, go to:

The Octarine 117 magnet. Priced at £2 each. For more information, and to order, go to:

The Octarine 117 chopping board. Priced at £15 each. For more information, and to order, go to:

* Gorgeous postcards!

The Check Mort postcard! "Created as a part of the Terry Pratchett Memorial goodie bag, this postcard features artwork painted by Paul Kidby to commemorate the life of Sir Terry Pratchett."

Each Check Mort postcard is priced at £1.50. For more information, and to order, go to:

The Raising Steam postcard! "Created as a part of the Terry Pratchett Memorial goodie bag, this postcard features a photo of Terry taken on a tour during the promotion of Raising Steam."

Each Raising Steam postcard is priced at £1.50. For more information, and to order, go to:


* The Summoning Dark necklace!

"Solid silver Summoning Dark pendant and chain - a precious gift for Vimes fans! Wear your affinity with the demon of darkness and Sir Samuel Vimes with our beautifully crafted supernatural symbol from Terry Pratchett's bestselling Discworld novels Thud! and Snuff. Hand cast in solid silver and stamped with the official silver + Discworld hallmarks. Presented in a Discworld Emporium gift box."

Each Summoning Dark pendant and chain is priced at £35.00. For more information, and to order, go to:

* New Royal Bank of Ankh-Morpork stamps!

"Featuring artwork by guest artist David Wyatt, The Royal Bank of Ankh-Morpork $1 issues comprise two designs; chairman of the bank and top dollar Dog, Mr. Fusspot, and the elegant fiscal facade of the Royal Bank itself. Both issues are available to collect as a set of two individual stamps, or on one beautiful whole sheet. Stamp measures 47 x 32mm, Sheet measures 275 x 165mm. Spot the sport! One stamp on every sheet contains a 'deliberate' mistake or variation - only included on whole sheets or in lucky LBEs."

A set of two single stamps (RBA-M building and Chairman Fusspot) is priced at £1.60, and a sheet of 20 at £12.80. For more information, and to order, go to:

* A bag of Ankh-Morpork money!

"Treat yourself to a sausage-inna-bun or two with an authentic bag of five half-dollars from the streets and pockets of Discworld's mercantile metropolis. Featuring the profile of Ankh-Morpork's esteemed tyrant Lord Havelock Vetinari, with Morporkia on the flip side, each coin has been hand-cast and individually worked to achieve a suitably distressed appearance with an antique patina. Lead-free pewter, each coin has a diameter or 29mm."

Each bag of A-M half-dollars is priced at £10. For more information, and to order, go to:



This is an extended comment – a blogpost in itself – left by "Anne" in the Hubward Ho! blog's comments section of their Hogfather pot:

"Losing teeth is a physical reality, but adults create a fantasy structure around the process to...do what, exactly? Add an element of magic and whimsy to childhood? Revel in the absurdities children of a certain age will believe in? And why, exactly, would a child who knows that the Tooth Fairy is not real grow up to be a parent who perpetuates the myth? ... For me, even as a child, the Tooth Fairy seemed a particularly nonsensical entity. Why take teeth? Why leave money? Why the facade of fairy at all – I would have been just as likely to believe that my teeth turned into money through some kind of pillow-triggered alchemy. We (meaning "humans") build relationships through shared experience. Each family has its own stories and traditions, but the Tooth Fairy enforces the relationships among people within the cultures that go through that shared ritual. Even if you, as a parent, decide to forgo the trappings of the Tooth Fairy in your family, your child will come home from school one day with the learned story from her friends, and no amount of rational explanation will be enough to justify why Jeremy got $5 for a lost tooth and she didn't...

"Hogfather is a book about children and belief and the value of that belief. Without belief in the Hogfather, the sun will not rise. Believing in things like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy prepare us, as Death says, to believe in the greater myths of Truth and Mercy. Like the current incarnation of Santa Claus, the modern incarnation of the Tooth Fairy is cheery packaging over an older tradition that no longer matches with our modern sensibilities. Early Norse records include references to a 'tooth-fee' (thanks, Wikipedia!), where a child's first lost tooth was exchanged for money. Other practices included burning or burying a child's lost teeth to protect her. In Northern European cultures, the loss of baby teeth is marked by this kind of small ceremony. You don't just leave lost teeth lying around – they're special. They have power. These are the traditions that Pratchett plays off of in Hogfather, combining the childish trappings of the Tooth Fairy's realm with the darker magic at the heart of Teatime's plan. I would argue that there is a metaphor to be found in the role of the tooth-money exchange and its relationship to belief.

"Children do not only go through a physical transition into adulthood, but also a cognitive one. There are all sorts of studies about how children think and how that thinking changes as they age. Infants can't recognize themselves in a mirror – 'Theory of Mind' refers to the cognitive development a child goes through to understand that she is an individual mind, and, importantly, that other people have their own individual minds that are not the same as hers... In Western studies, the last big changes in this development take place between third and fifth grade (ages 7 to 10). Which, interestingly, is around when children lose their baby teeth. In the absence of revelation from an older sibling or schoolmate, children will 'grow out' of believing in childhood myths. They simply are no longer capable of thinking in the way that they did when they were younger. The exchange of teeth for money is a cultural metaphor of the exchange of a child's perspective on the world to an adult's. But, as we see in Hogfather, the teeth, the child's perspective, is still powerful, still valuable. It is the foundation upon which we understand ourselves and our relationship to the world, even if it is in contrast to what we once believed. A full Theory of Mind may be the end goal, but it is only through working through the process that one gets there. And that, I believe, is why we grow up to be parents who tell our children of the Tooth Fairy – we know it is not true, but we also know that children need it to be true, if only for a while."


...and the post itself:

"General sentiment seems to be that Hogfather is a delightful comic romp through Yuletide tropes. I've also heard it remarked that it's a wonderfully polished book, and I can't disagree: note, for instance, how the Bogeyman that fuels the novel's twist appears first on page one. For a rhet/lit guy, that's deliciously well crafted storytelling. But what I like best about Hogfather is its philosophical complexity, class critique, and examination of myth, belief, and justice. The book is so much more than a jovial winter comedy. In fact, I would also tender the notion that Hogfather may be the, or one of the, axial turning points in the whole Discworld series, and that its importance to the saga has to do, in fact, with how it approaches the idea of myth. So let me ask the Big Question for today's entry: What does myth, legend, and deep history look like when your characters walk in the grass under sun alongside the myths themselves – gods, demons, and wizards? It seems to me that the question has implications for what kind of universe the Disc is... Pratchett gives only hints about the Discworld's mythic past – The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, and Sourcery tell us a little about a world of surplus magic, ice giants, wizard wars, and common people bearing the brunt of the fallout. In terms of meta-history, these stories are not terribly concerned with a real-world historical past so much as they are with a mytho-fantastic one that includes pulps, swords-and-sorcery flicks, and a host of high fantasy novels... From the first page of Hogfather, Pratchett begins to revise his mytho-history. Immediately, we get the ice times, when there were only small people and not children. We get the Bogeyman. We get seasonal pagan rites about the sun. We get the sober admonishment that all stories are, at root, about blood – even when the fact has been forgotten... Hogfather is the first book since Sourcery to reconfigure the history of this world significantly. It's a palimpsest for the latter half of Discworld. The ice times weren't just an epoch of giants – they were the time in which common people struggled to survive against nature itself. Likewise, the recent past wasn't just an age of barbarians or wizardly wars – it was a time in which, again, common people struggled to see another spring. More so than Sourcery's high fantasy past, and with more finesse than the tonal mismatches of Reaper Man and Soul Music, Hogfather's grim, hardscrabble mytho-history encapsulates the kinds of stories Pratchett is telling at this point..."




It seems certain Discworld dwellers aren't the only ones fond of a meal of tasty rat:

"On 7 March every year, in a remote village in the hills of north-east India, the Adi tribe celebrates Unying-Aran, an unusual festival with rats as the culinary centrepiece. One of the Adi's favourite dishes is a stew called bule-bulak oying, made with the rat's stomach, intestines, liver, testes, foetuses, all boiled together with tails and legs plus some salt, chili and ginger. Rodents of all kind are welcomed in this community, from the household rats often seen around the house to the wild species that dwell in the forest. The rat's tail and feet are particularly appreciated for their taste, says Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow, at Oulu University, Finland, who interviewed several members of the Adi tribe for a recent study into rats as a food resource. Rodent meat is the most delicious and best meat they can imagine The answers he got revealed a different view of the pesky pests. The respondents told Meyer-Rochow that rodent meat “is the most delicious and best meat they can imagine. 'I was told: "No party; no happiness if there is no rat available: to honour an important guest, visitor or relative, to celebrate a special occasion; it can only be done if rats are on the menu."'... Little is known about when or how the Adi people developed their taste for rats, but Meyer-Rochow is certain it is a long-held tradition, and not formed due to a lack of other choices of game. Plenty of animals such as deer, goat and buffalo still roam the forests surrounding the village. These tribes simply prefer the taste of rodents. '[They] assured me that "nothing beats the rat",' he says..."

Apparently rat is also, or has been, a favourite food in many other Roundworld places: in parts of Cameroon; among the Dalit caste in India; in China during the Tang dynasty (7th through 10th century); in areas of the south Pacific including New Zealand; and, it seems, quite often in Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Thailand, Ghana and Vietnam, according to the International Rice Research Institute.

"In Nigeria, for instance, the African giant rat is a favourite among all ethnic groups, says Mojisola Oyarekua, from the University of Science and Technology Ifaki-Ekiti (Usti) Nigeria. “It is regarded as a special delicacy and it is more expensive than equivalent weight of cow meat or fish..."

Includes many iconographs. You have been warned!




A whole load of witchery – the Colnbrook Amateur Stage Theatre's coven, ready for their July production of Carpe Jugulum:

A small but perfectly formed – and wonderfully whimsical – photo of Sir Pterry at the TCD Science Gallery, from the Irish Times article above (item 4.2):

The Check Mort postcard. So beautiful. Buy some! (See item 8.1 above):



In The Independent, a cheerful "top ten" list of Shakespeare adaptations includes Wyrd Sisters, of course: "Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett's sixth Discworld novel, throws the same three plays, Macbeth, Hamlet and Lear, 'into a cauldron and stirs, with the Bard reimagined as a Dwarf', says Tom Joyce." The list is worth reading, and can be seen at http://ind.pn/1Y0GjYY

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

– Annie Mac


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

Copyright (c) 2016 by Klatchian Foreign Legion
wossname: (Plays)
After the triumph of The Wee Free Men, Adelaide's Unseen Theatre are next tackling Feet of Clay! The play will run from 21st October to 5th November 2016, but auditions for the production will take place in ten days' time:

When: Sunday 26th June 2016
Where: Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas Street, Adelaide
Time: 3pm

Rehearsals will commence on Sunday 17th July, and then continue on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings.


City Watch:-

Commander Vimes – Head of the City Watch (a seasoned, world weary, no nonsense Cop)
Captain Carrot, (a square-jawed hero, play it by the book type Cop)
Corporal Nobbs, (a grubby street dwarf cop)
Colon (plodding sergeant)
Cheery Littlebottom (apparently a non-gender implied male dwarf, but actually female)
Angua (a female werewolf cop – Carrot’s love interest)
A Golem – A robot-like creature made of clay who is controlled by written words in his head
Dragon King of Arms – read “head of the College of Heraldry”
Pardessus – Assistant to King of Arms
Lord Vetinari – Patrician of Ankh-Morpork
Drumknott – Assistant to the Patrician


Things you need to know about auditions:-

Auditions are usually held as "cold" group readings of excerpts from the script – so no need to prepare anything, and no need to make an individual audition time. However – you must notify the Director via email of your intention to attend the auditions so that we know how many people to expect. It is to your advantage to read (before attending auditions) anything by our usual author Sir Terry Pratchett so that you are familiar with the genre of the play. If you would like the Director to also hear a prepared monologue please notify the Director at the time and stay after the group reading for her to listen to it.

Rehearsals are held 3 times per week – usually Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings for a period of 10 weeks before the performance dates.

To view on the Unseen website, and for further information, go to http://unseen.com.au/
wossname: Clacks rendering of SPEAK HIS NAME to keep Pratchett on the Overhead (Default)
Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
June 2015 Main Issue (Volume 18, Issue 6, Post 2)

WOSSNAME is a free publication offering news, reviews, and all the other stuff-that-fits pertaining to the works and activities 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.

GNU Terry Pratchett: Sending Home, forever (and secreted in Wossname's own server)
Never forget: http://www.gnuterrypratchett.com/


Editor in Chief: Annie Mac
News Editor: Vera P
Newshounds: Mogg, Sir J of Croydon Below, the Shadow, Wolfiekins
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)






"Things that try to look like things often do look more like things than things. Well-known fact."

– Granny, in Wyrd Sisters

"To reiterate – No I don't intend on writing more Discworld novels, or giving anyone else permission to do so. They are sacred to dad. I will be involved with spin-offs, adaptations and tie-ins, but that's it. Discworld is his legacy. I shall make my own."

– Rhianna Pratchett

"I wanted to give the cover design of 'The Shepherd's Crown' a fresh spin and reboot the look to build excitement for this last novel, while still staying true to the spirit of Pratchett's Discworld series. Complementing each story with a bold iconic cover felt like the best way to distill the lush, complex and detailed narratives."

– Jim Tierney, USA cover art designer for The Shepherd's Crown

"To keep someone alive against their wishes is the ultimate indignity."

– Professor Stephen Hawking on the right to die



A packed issue this month! But before we begin...

Reader Rob McColley sent a query: "I see that Harper/Isis produced a Stephen Briggs version of 'Thief of Time.'
I assume that means the original version (Harlan Ellison, Stefan Rudnicki, Christopher Cerf, et al) will live on forever, but only on increasingly dusty cassette tapes...?" After some enquiries on Rob's behalf I found out some details about the older versions: Thief of Time, read by Christopher Cazenove and Karesa McElheny, was released by Fantastic Audio on 23/4/01 and consisted of 8 cassettes (1-57453-431-9). Night Watch, read by Stefan Rudnicki, with Gabrielle De Cuir, and Harlan Ellison, was released by Fantastic Audio on 1/2/03 (1-57453-534-X). Fantastic Audio's license expired and as they didn't renew, these versions won't be republished. Apparently the audiobooks weren't popular – not surprising since there was little to no promotion for them. If anyone who owns these originals, especially ToT, is willing to send Rob a copy, let me know!


Last month's main issue featured a Q & A by The Guardian's Sam Jordison with Science of Discworld co-author Jack Cohen. Now it's Ian Stewart's turn. See item 4.3.


Stephen Briggs will be the voice of the unabridged UK and USA versions of The Shepherd's Crown. For a glimpse of his studio technique, go to item 14.


Remember Steve and Vanessa, who were doing a sponsored fundraising bungee jump earlier this month in aid of Alzheimer's Research UK and the Orangutan Foundation, and also in honour of Sir Pterry? The good news is that 1) everything went smoothly on the day and 2) they have so far raised £340.00 via their JustGiving page, which is 113% of their team target of £300.00. Well done the pair of'em! And if you happen to find some spare change down the back of your settee, O Reader, and are at a loss about what to do with it, their page is still active: https://www.justgiving.com/teams/StevenVanessaBungee


You may have heard of a high-profile Alzheimer's awareness telly advert starring Sir Pterry and a number of other well-known media people who have lost (or are losing) dear ones to the Embuggerance. I finally caught up with it and I have to say that I found it less than impressive, not least due to its being coloured by some rather out-of-date stutter-edit techniques that give it – for me, at least – an uncomfortable "your grandparents trying to be hip" feel, and in my opinion Alzheimer's UK would have done better to get a film visionary of the quality of Danny Boyle on board to give the message maximum punch. But if it this advert makes any difference at all to the wider world's awareness of Alzheimer's and to supporting research into treatments, then it will have been worthwhile. See item 8.1 for the story of the advert.

And now, on with the show.

– Annie Mac, Editor



The Long Utopia, fourth instalment in the Long Earth series by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, is now available in hardcover (Random House RRP is £18.99). The Guardian has reprinted the first chapter by permission:

"In February 2052, in the remote Long Earth: On another world, under a different sky – in another universe, whose distance from the Datum, the Earth of mankind, was nevertheless counted in the mundanity of human steps – Joshua Valiente lay beside his own fire. Hunting creatures grunted and snuffled down in the valley bottom. The night was purple velvet, alive with insects and spiky with invisible jiggers and no-see-ums that made kamikaze dives on every exposed inch of Joshua's flesh.

"Joshua had been in this place two weeks already, and he didn't recognize a damn one of the beasts he shared this world with. In fact he wasn't too sure where he was, either geographically or stepwise; he hadn't troubled to count the Earths he'd passed through. When you were on a solitary sabbatical, precise locations kind of weren't the point. Even after more than three decades of travelling the Long Earth he evidently hadn't exhausted its wonders. Which was making him think. Joshua was going to be fifty years old this year. Anniversaries like that made a man reflective. 'Why did it all have to be so strange?' He spoke aloud. He was alone on the planet; why the hell not speak aloud? 'All these parallel worlds, and stuff. What's it all for? And why did it all have to happen to me?' And why was he getting another headache?

"As it happened, the answers to some of those questions were out there, both in the strange sideways geography of the Long Earth, and buried deep in Joshua's own past. In particular, a partial answer about the true nature of the Long Earth had already begun to be uncovered as far back as July of the year 2036, out in the High Meggers..."

To read the full chapter, go to http://bit.ly/1FNYSSo

To buy The Long Utopia directly from the publisher, go to http://bit.ly/1LDy91W and click on the Buy Now button.

To buy from Waterstones at a special UK price of £14.99, go to http://bit.ly/1Ina7pU and click on the Add to Basket button; Waterstones also offer a "click and collect" option on the same page.



A rather large assortment of them this month!


By Patrick Sawer in The Telegraph:

"During her lifelong career as a teacher Janet Campbell-Dick would frequently say that if she managed to influence just one of her pupils for the better it would all be worth while. Well, given that one of those pupils went on to sell 85 million copies of his fiction worldwide, she can safely be said to have more than achieved that heartfelt ambition. That pupil was the young Terry Pratchett, who, after leaving her care, went on to become one of Britain's most popular writers... The Telegraph revealed last month that the teacher was in fact Janet Campbell-Dick, known to many as May. Much of the school's archives were lost when it changed name in 1970 and underwent extensive rebuilding. Although there are a few teachers at the school who remember her – and were able to tell this newspaper her name – all of Mrs Campbell-Dick's contemporaries are either dead or long retired. Now, however, we have managed to piece together details of her career after tracing her widower, Alistair. 'May was an enthusiast and she inspired the ones who had some spark of interest,' he said. 'It comes as no surprise that she commented favourably on the writing of the young Terry Pratchett and encouraged him to write more. She would have been so gratified to know that he happily remembered the inspiration she gave him.'...

"This newspaper revealed last month that Sir Terry used some of his teachers as inspiration for the characters in his bestselling Discworld fantasy series, including Mr Ward, who served as headmaster between 1958 and 1983. He became Evil Harry Dread from the Last Hero, the 27th novel in the series... Mrs Campbell-Dick left Wycombe Technical high School in 1961, going on to a number of other schools before retiring from teaching 1965. She died in 1985, at the age of 76, unaware of the profound influence she had had on Pratchett..."



By Andrew Tridgell for The Register:

"The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission is in good shape after the final test flight of our Vulture 2 spaceplane's avionics – dubbed PRATCHETT – soared to 31,050m (101,870ft) above Colorado on Saturday. Our US allies at Edge Research Laboratory piggybacked the PRATCHETT payload onto their own EDGE 22 flight, carrying kit for the ongoing 'Balloon Enabled Atmospheric Conditions Observation Network' (BEACON) project. On board for PRATCHETT was a Pixhawk autopilot avionics rig with the newly-attached 900MHz ultra-long-range radio. The plan was to do a second test of the former, to ensure the batteries and servos really were up to the job, and to connect to the avionics via the latter – allowing autopilot brain surgeon Andrew Tridgell to monitor the flight live from his sofa in Australia... The flight launched from Colorado Springs East Airport early on Saturday afternoon - later than normal to allow Andrew to tune in at a reasonably plausible hour of the morning Down Under... After a slight delay while Tridge and Edge's David Patterson fiddled with the radio rig (see details below), the flight got into the air without mishap, due no doubt to the team appeasing the stratospheric gods with the traditional "mighty orb worship" ceremony... Thanks to to light winds at altitude, the payloads came down just 25km from the launch point, having hit a heady 101,000ft (roughly, in old money) before balloon burst... It's worth noting that the custom "Pixhawk Avoidance of Nearby Tree System" (PANTS) arboreal avoidance algorithm worked a treat, because despite the presence of potentially magnetic trees in the landing area..."

The entire article is five pages and includes video, photographs and diagrams. Great fun!



An announcement from the Royal Society:

"The Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books has today announced the judges for this year's Prize. Award-winning author Sarah Waters will be one of six judges chaired by mathematician and Royal Society Fellow Ian Stewart, widely known for the Science of Discworld series, which he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett and Jack Cohen... The Prize has worked with many eminent judges over its illustrious 28-year history, among them Ian McEwan, Terry Pratchett, Brian Cox, David Attenborough, Tracy Chevalier and Michael Frayn. Founded in 1988, (and previously known under various banners including the Royal Society Prize for Science Books, Aventis Prize and Rhone-Poulenc Prize), the Prize celebrates outstanding popular science books from around the world and is open to authors of science books written for a non-specialist audience. Over the decades it has championed writers such as Stephen Hawking, Jared Diamond, Stephen Jay Gould and Bill Bryson..."


Sam Jordison of The Guardian chaired a recent Q&A with Professor Stewart. Some extracts:

Sam: What were the most interesting things you learned while writing the Science of The Discworld books?

Ian: That dinosaurs don't fly – well, not horizontally... No, actually, what all three of us learned was 'what science is'. When we did SoD2 we decided to have a pair of chapters in the middle where the wizards found out what science was. Believing this to be routine, we left those until the rest of the book had been written. Then Terry asked: "well, what is science then?" and we realised it wasn't going to be at all routine. Eventually Jack and I got round to the idea that science is about proving yourself wrong - or better yet, proving some other scientist wrong. I said I always told my PhD students that I knew they'd got their thesis on the right track when they discovered something I'd told them, or better still published, was wrong. Then I mentioned my current research on animal locomotion - trotting horse, off the ground sometimes? (Yes). And some old experiments with insects walking on a rotating cylinder covered in soot, to leave tracks. Well, Terry decided this was the way to go. So we had an Ephebian philosopher who had argued on 'pure thought' grounds that a trotting horse never left the ground entirely, and a student who desperately wanted to prove the great man right. So he (deep breath) DID AN EXPERIMENT which was like the insect one but using a horse. Running on a beach. Suspended form a frame on rollers. The beach rolling past underneath on a conveyor belt... And, of dear, it turned out the Great Man was wrong. So the student walked into the sea and drowned himself. At which point we could say: THAT'S NOT SCIENCE!!! A true scientist would give their right arm to prove their PhD supervisor wrong! We also realised that if we'd thought of this scenario earlier, the whole book would have been different.

Underminer: Discworld was fiction: why did you decide to get involved in writing about its Science? As a SF/Fantasy series, it didn't really have to follow any scientific rules other than those of Sir Terry's and I wonder whether writing about its Science restricted the way Discworld developed thereafter.

Ian: Very good question, and it was what Terry asked! Part of it was a growing vogue for 'science of X' books (X = Star Trek, X-files...) and we felt we could do at least as well. Part was the fact that although there's no science IN Discworld, there's a lot BEHIND it. Ponder Stibbons is a science nerd in wizard's garb, for example. HEX is a computer – of sorts. But on DW they think differently. It was only when we figured out that the wizards could invent Roundworld, and the science could all happen inside that, that we decided the idea would work.

Jericho999: Do you think that writing the Science Of the Discworld books changed the way Terry Pratchett thought about the Discworld? Did you notice any of the ideas you talked about cropping up in any novels, for instance?

Ian: Sometimes! It started before we got together on the SoD books, in fact. When Greebo is shut in a box and everyone discovers there are THREE states for a cat in box: alive, dead, and absolutely bloody furious –- Jack and I had been talking to Terry about Schrodinger's cat and quantum theory. He'd clearly run with the idea and found his own variation. Every so often we'd see something in one of the DW books and think "ah! I know where that came from!" Terry has often said (and recently written) that writers steal (oops, sorry, pay homage) ideas from everyone they know. We stole some of his and he paid homage to a few of ours.

To read the whole session, go to http://bit.ly/1KmU3F0


A special report for Wossname, by Dana Linhartova:

On Sunday, May 17, 2015 the newly translated Discworld novel Raising Steam was christened in a very stylish way. Publisher Vlastimir Talas (Talpress), translator Jan Kanturek, Terry Pratchett Club members and other friends of Terry's work went to the Railway Museum in Luzna near Rakovnik.

The trip to the museum was of course taken by train. Originally the steam train "Parrot" should have taken us, but unfortunately for all involved, the day before the locomotive rolled out steam from the wrong places, so we had to settle for a trip to with ordinary diesel locomotive.

But no-one was disappointed in the end, because we used another steam locomotive, "Kremak", for an hour's ride from Luzna to Sochov and back. Besides watching the hitching of locomotives, many of the attendees also enjoyed the ride by leaning from open car windows and observing how the train blows clouds of steam while puffing towards its destination.

Enthusiasts who were hanging out from the windows, although not covered in soot like those in the book, had no lack of settled coal-dust in their hair after the ride.

After the arrival of the steam train back to Luzna, the new Discworld book was christened quite unconventionally – Vlastimir Talas baptized it with water emitted from steam locomotive by its engineer. The Terry Pratchett Club then handed Jan Kanturek a belated birthday present, a ship-shaped bottle full of his favorite drink – rum.

The trip back to Prague was accompanied by singing, first several Discworld songs and then a selection of campfire songs. During one Discworld blues song Jan Kanturek even used his "whiskey voice" and for a while played guitar. Due to the fact that we sat in the car without a separate compartment intended only for invited fans of Terry Pratchett, a good vibe lasted until the end of the ride.

Despite the initial ill fortune of a faulty steam locomotive, it was an excellent and unique event, which was attended by around 80 fans of Terry Pratchett and steam trains.

[Editor's note: the next big Czech Terry Pratchett Fan Club event will be the "Mrakoplas kontra Alzheimer" (Rincewind versus Alzheimer's) fundraising concert on 7th October 2015, and after that a fundraising charity costume ball on 13th November 2015. All proceeds from these events – more than matched by Sir Pterry's Czech publishers Talpress – will go to the Alzheimer's Disease Centre there. Watch this space for details...]


In the London Evening Standard:

"Thousands of people shared pictures of Jim Vision and Dr Zadok's mural in Brick Lane when it was in its early stages. The artists started work on the mural shortly after the acclaimed fantasy novelist died from Alzheimer's disease in March... The artwork also serves to commemorate artist Josh Kirby, whose drawings adorned Pratchett's book covers before his death in 2001. It covers the walls of the underground Pillow Cinema – by the former Shoreditch Station – with characters such as inept wizard Rincewind and magic matriarch Granny Weatherwax. The dry-humoured Death, and The Luggage – a travelling case with dozens of tiny legs – also make an appearance. 'It was very inspirational reading [Pratchett's] books growing up," Vision told the Standard last month. "They present a pretty anarchic world. It's all pretty fantastic – it takes things from our world and twists it into something quite incredible. It's really important to commemorate people's lives, especially somebody who brought so much to UK literature.' The response to the mural – pictures of which were shared across the internet after the Standard featured it before Easter – was a surprise, he added. 'We didn't do it expecting it to be shared,' he said. 'We're doing it for personal reasons – but it's fantastic when people appreciate what you do.' Both painters work under the banner End of the Line, a street art collective operating out of a workshop in east London..."


In This Is London:

"The mural features a montage of characters from Pratchett's books, including Rincewind the wizard, the Luggage and Death, alongside a portrait of the man himself. After creating a buzz on social media during its early stages, the completed tribute has continued to receive 'great feedback and people are still sharing images of the mural on Instagram and beyond', said a spokeswoman for End of the Line..."


...and here be a fine three-minute video of End of the Line founders Jim Vision and Matilda Tickner-Du, talking about the why and how of bringing the mural to the world. Includes photos of the finished mural:



If you liked Philosophy and Terry Pratchett and crave more Pratchett- and Discworld-centric academic philosophy essays, or if you've not managed to get hold of the book but are interested in the subject matter, here we have some pieces in gender forum [sic], an online, peer reviewed academic journal dedicated to the discussion of gender issues, which offers "a free-of-charge platform for the discussion of gender-related topics in the fields of literary and cultural production, media and the arts as well as politics, the natural sciences, medicine, the law, religion and philosophy." The four essays are long but well worth a read.

Lucas Boulding: "I can't be having with that": The Ethical Implications of Professional Witchcraft in Pratchett's Fiction – http://bit.ly/1FNQRvT

Audrey Taylor: Trapped: Fairytale in Pratchett and Lackey – http://bit.ly/1IAQls8

Katherine Lashley: Monstrous Women: Feminism in Terry Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment – http://bit.ly/1G9sVGL

Imola Bulgozdi: "Some Genetics Are Passed on Via the Soul:" The Curious Case of Susan Sto-Helit – http://bit.ly/1S0PiU5


By Genevieve Valentine in The New York Times:

"Though Pratchett's tongue stays firmly in his cheek, that's not entirely self-deprecation; many of these stories are by their nature slight, and serve more as markers than as works in themselves. For every interesting foray into hard science fiction, there's a formulaic comedy about the author whose character comes to life, or a brief, surreal thought experiment about what it must be like to be trapped inside a Victorian Christmas card. Some are darker than one might imagine from the man whose Discworld seems like such fun, though readers who have kept up with those novels will recognize many of these early exercises of Pratchett's satirical eye. And if it's Discworld you've come for, 'A Blink of the Screen' has some charmers, gathering a brief but enlightening collection of short stories and ephemera from fairly far afield — including a 'national anthem' written for BBC Radio, a reminder of Pratchett's breadth of pop-culture influence. (Similarly, one of the non-­Discworld pieces comes from an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.) The Discworld stories, unsurprisingly, are the collection's gems. In particular, an outtake from 'The Sea and Little Fishes,' which centers on Pratchett's hall-of-fame combination of Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, bureaucracy and magic, feels like a familiar page in the album full of beloved faces..."



On Flickering Myth, Villordsutch reviews The Long Utopia:

"Returning to The Long Utopia however, which is the latest in the line of the books written by Sir Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, and it's here we land at the penultimate chapter of this saga and it does certainly have the feeling that this universe is all slowly coming to a close. The main characters are all maturing and as with life everything is aging, people are taking their own path and separating or even more brutally…dying (or perhaps not). Don't be dissuaded from The Long Utopia believing it's all doom and gloom – you don't need to be listening to Radiohead's The Bends to tap along with this book. At the core of this book there is still have both a rather excellent science fiction story and also a life story – with some very witty warm humour – threaded throughout this book courtesy of the amalgamation of Baxter and Pratchett. Now who should be buying the book? Is this for the fans of Stephen Baxter or for fans of Sir Terry Pratchett? This is clearly a sci-fi book and it isn't a Discworld novel, however neither was Good Omens, and both gentleman have worked well together here with Sir Terry bringing his unique observant humour – warm/cutting/subtle – and his life travels to Mr. Baxter's expertly crafted fictional universe. There is warmth to where there should be cold steel and there are space elevators to where the Wizards should have failed in an attempt to be a beat a Clacks Tower. It really does work surprising well..."



Remember those clever chickens who evolved in Sir Pterry's short story "Hollywood Chickens"? It seems that hedgehogs can evolve, too:

"The last hedgehog colony in London has been found – and is thought to have survived thanks to a fear of crossing roads. There are 15,000 hedgehogs, killed on UK roads every year. Numbers have dropped from 30million in the 1950s to about 1million. Now radio tags have shown that this group, in London's Regent's Park, have not ventured out of the park. Tagging revealed they cover up to a mile a night on the hunt for worms, beetles, slugs, caterpillars and other tasty titbits. Males travel particularly far in May, when they are courting. There is also no shortage of food in the park, with the typical weight well above average. Park staff have changed grass-cutting routines, to provide some wilder areas suitable for foraging and nesting. Clare Bowen, of the Royal Parks Foundation, said: 'All this would suggest they steer clear of busy roads.' The hedgehogs were counted by volunteers who went out with torches during the night. After the creatures froze in the bright light, they were examined and some were tagged. About 30 hedgehogs were counted but it is thought there could be up to 50 living in the park..."


Forget the Discworld's .303 bookworm – Roundworld has book scorpions! Read about them on the Scientific American blog:

"Properly known as pseudoscorpions, these tiny, tiny creatures have a fondness for old books, because old books also happen to contain delicious booklice and dust mites. And they're really not book scorpions… at all because they can't hurt us, and they've basically been performing a free pest control service since humans started stacking excessive numbers of dusty, bound-together piles of paper along our walls and nightstands. This arrangement works because old book-makers used to bind books using a starch-based glue that booklice and dust mites love, so without a healthy population of book scorpions patrolling your collection, those gross parasites are probably having a horrible, silent field-day chewing them all apart. Of the 3,300 or so known species of pseudoscorpion, the most commonly encountered is Chelifer cancroides. Found all over the world and growing to no more than 4 millimetres in length, C. cancroides looks just like a scorpion, thanks to its enormous pair of long, pincer-like claws called pedipalps. C. cancroides's pedipalps are twice as long as its legs, but it still manages to carry them right up in front of its head or out beside it like a nice warm thin, spiky and uncomfortable hug. When they're not patrolling old books or supporting oversized appendages with their tiny heads, book scorpions are having weird sex..."



The Orangutan Foundation is proposing a "Sir Terry Pratchett 'OOOK' Award For The Conservation Of Orangutans And Their Habitat". Read it here:

Award Proposal: Founded in 1990, the Orangutan Foundation is the foremost orangutan conservation organization, actively working to save orangutans by protecting tropical forest habitat, working with local communities and promoting both research and education. The Foundation's approach goes beyond that of purely protecting orangutans. It recognizes that orangutans are essential to their habitat, which is unique in its rich biodiversity and is crucial for local communities, who are as dependent on the forest as the orangutans are.

In tribute to the long-standing commitment of Foundation trustee, the late Sir Terry Pratchett, the Orangutan Foundation aspires to launch the 'Sir Terry Pratchett "000k' Award for the Conservation of Orangutans and their Habitat'. Sir Terry's love for orangutans was apparent from his famous characterisation of the orangutan 'Librarian' vocalised only by '000k' – which was featured throughout his Discworld book series. This award created in his name will therefore be aimed toward aspiring researchers in the field of orangutan conservation.

Through this award scheme, research students of any nationality will be able to apply for the grant through submitting a research proposal to our board of trustees. Our aim is to give an annual award of 5,000 EUR to a chosen research student. Since the Foundation is approaching its 25th year, we are hoping to pledge for 25 more years of vital conservation work.

The award can only be launched with the help of the general public. For this we are hoping to get the support of not only Foundation members, but also Sir Terry's fans, including the Discworld community. If our fundraising is successful, we can contribute toward important field research, and thus help to make great steps in the world of conservation, zoology and the environmental sciences.

The Foundation wishes to maintain Sir Terry's presence in the conservation community and to keep his legacy with the Foundation alive. The launch of this award has graciously been endorsed by Sir Terry's family, and we do hope that, as his most dedicated fans, the Discworld community will help to make this award a reality.

Thank you."

Any donations can be sent:

By cheque: Orangutan Foundation, 7 Kent Terrace, London NM1 4RP

By phone: +44 (0)20 7724 2912

Via our JustGiving page dedicated to Terry's memory:

Via our website


The Discworld & Beyond touring exhibition will be at Wardown Park Museum, Wardown Park, Old Bedford Road, Luton, LU2 7HA (Tel. 01582 546722) from 25th July–1st November 2015. Entry is free!

"'Discworld & Beyond' features interesting and colourful artwork created by Paul Kidby for Sir Terry Pratchett's popular comic fantasy series as well as a range of work from his own projects, including the recently published book 'The Charmed Realm'. Drawings, oil paintings and watercolours will be on display."




Good Omens co-author Neil Gaiman recently gave the Reading Agency's annual lecture, talking about the future of reading and libraries with particular regard to on young people:

"I was once in New York, and I listened to a talk about the building of private prisons – a huge growth industry in America. The prison industry needs to plan its future growth – how many cells are they going to need? How many prisoners are there going to be, 15 years from now? And they found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based on asking what percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds couldn't read. And certainly couldn't read for pleasure. It's not one to one: you can't say that a literate society has no criminality. But there are very real correlations. And I think some of those correlations, the simplest, come from something very simple. Literate people read fiction... There were noises made briefly, a few years ago, about the idea that we were living in a post-literate world, in which the ability to make sense out of written words was somehow redundant, but those days are gone: words are more important than they ever were: we navigate the world with words, and as the world slips onto the web, we need to follow, to communicate and to comprehend what we are reading. People who cannot understand each other cannot exchange ideas, cannot communicate, and translation programs only go so far.

"The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them. I don't think there is such a thing as a bad book for children. Every now and again it becomes fashionable among some adults to point at a subset of children's books, a genre, perhaps, or an author, and to declare them bad books, books that children should be stopped from reading. I've seen it happen over and over; Enid Blyton was declared a bad author, so was RL Stine, so were dozens of others. Comics have been decried as fostering illiteracy. It's tosh. It's snobbery and it's foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different. They can find the stories they need to, and they bring themselves to stories. A hackneyed, worn-out idea isn't hackneyed and worn out to them. This is the first time the child has encountered it. Do not discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is a route to other books you may prefer. And not everyone has the same taste as you...

"Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you've never been. Once you've visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different. And while we're on the subject, I'd like to say a few words about escapism. I hear the term bandied about as if it's a bad thing. As if "escapist" fiction is a cheap opiate used by the muddled and the foolish and the deluded, and the only fiction that is worthy, for adults or for children, is mimetic fiction, mirroring the worst of the world the reader finds herself in. If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldn't you take it? And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with (and books are real places, make no mistake about that); and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real..."

To read the full transcript of Gaiman's lecture, go to:



In which the BBC joins us in saying hail and farewell to Sir Christopher Lee, who died at the great age of 93 after a long and wonderful career spanning a range from a Prince of Darkness (Count Dracula) to another Prince of Darkness (the voice of Discworld's Death, in several animated and live productions) by way of James Bond villainry, JRR Tolkien wizardry, and yes, award-winning heavy metal:

"Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was born on 27 May 1922, in the upmarket Belgravia area of London. Coincidentally, the year of his birth also saw the first screen appearance of the vampire in F W Murnau's silent classic, Nosferatu. Lee's father was a Colonel in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps while his mother, Contessa Estelle Marie Carandini di Sarzano, was a noted Edwardian beauty whose image had been painted and sculpted by a number of artists. His maternal ancestors had been given the right, by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, to bear the arms of the Holy Roman Empire. He spent part of his childhood in Switzerland, where his mother had taken him following the breakup of his parents' marriage, but later returned to England where he attended Wellington College in Berkshire.

"In 1939, he volunteered to fight for Finland against the invading Soviet army but he saw no action and returned home to join the Royal Air Force. Prevented from training as a pilot, due to poor eyesight, he became an intelligence officer, finishing the war as a Flight Lieutenant. His parents believed he was too foreign looking to succeed as an actor but, thanks to some help from the then Italian Ambassador, his mother's second cousin, he signed a seven-year contract with the Rank Organisation. It was to be a long road to stardom; he set out to learn his craft in a string of minor theatre appearances, small film roles and even as a singer where he was able to demonstrate his fine baritone. He already had 50 film appearances under his belt when, in 1957, he was signed by Hammer Films, which was embarking upon a series of re-makes of classic horror yarns..."


[Let us also not forget Sir Christopher's amazing song-and-dance turn in The Return of Captain Invincible, a film very, very beloved by Sir Pterry. If you have never seen it, enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9MuEA2eF8c – Ed.]



Here be an authorised reprint of Colin Smythe's tribute in Locus Magazine, for those of you who may not have had access to the magazine:

"I have lost an old and long-standing friend and author, having known Terry since 1968, he then just under 20, me 26: we signed our contract for The Carpet People in January 1969, although it did not get published until November 1971 because I had asked him to illustrate it, and that took some time. Colin Smythe Ltd was hardback publisher for his first five books (from The Carpet People, to the first two Discworld novels, The Colour of Magic, and The Light Fantastic) and then from 1987 I was his agent, so we've worked together for nearly 50 years, most of both our lives. And during that time he made sure to keep me on my toes – he told me he wanted me to be his agent as I was the one he distrusted least. And at the end of the second Discworld Convention in Liverpool in 1998, he confided to me that he could not find anything about my performance there – my first ever Con – to complain about. Such were his compliments. Later, he made me promise that I would outlive him. Sadly, I have kept that undertaking.

"It is hard to look at a future without Terry, his humour, wicked bubble-pricking comments, our discussions on every subject under the sun, his amazing inventiveness, and no longer to have the pleasure of reading every new work almost before everyone else, to be amazed by his style, the deftness of his puns – how can one resist a criminal cleric who steals the altar gold from the Temple of Offler and has it made into a golden trumpet to enchant the world until the god caught up with him and ... would that felonious monk be remembered?... not a pianist, but perfect. What light-bulb cross-wiring produced that link, one of only two occasions he used 'felonious' in his books? I asked him when I first read that passage in Soul Music how it came to him and he could not say what created it. It arrived, without pre-planning.

"Every time I finished reading a new book, I did so with a sense of immense satisfaction and gratefulness at having read yet another work by a master, the tremendous feeling of superb craftsmanship in every book, this amazing skill that produced a work that can be read again and again over the years without ever feeling a loss of admiration, and usually discovering some historical or literary reference or joke that had passed me by on earlier readings. I miss him, but my sorrow takes second place to the relief I feel that he has been freed from the clutches of a horrible disease."

[Many thanks to Tim Pratt, editor of Locus, for giving us permission to reprint in full – and to Colin, of course! – Ed.]


Neil Gaiman on Sir Pterry's anger, again, by Rebecca Hawkes in The Telegraph:

"Gaiman was speaking about Pratchett, who died on March 12 after a long battle with Alzheimer's, during a talk at this year's Hay Festival, chaired by the Guardian's Claire Armitstead. 'You'd know you were talking to someone who had never met the real Terry Pratchett when they started telling you what a sweet man he was,' Gaiman said. 'He was a thousand glorious things. He was so much more interesting than "a sweet man".' Paying tribute to his late friend's drive and anger, Gaiman added: 'He once said to me that anger, for him, was an engine. It was something that drove him. [He had] this amazing, seething anger. You could see that there were people who had pissed him off when he was 11, that he hadn't yet forgiven. And not only had he not forgiven them – he'd stored it up. He knew exactly why he hated them, exactly why they were wrong ... and he'd put it in a Discworld book.' Speaking about the years Pratchett spent working for Alzheimer's charities, and raising awareness of the disease, Gaiman said: 'What was lovely with Terry was that he would take that rage and he would do something with it ... He thought that people were good. He thought people were worth saving, worth investigating, worth understanding. He thought that people should not be lied to and tricked. He thought that people were worth it, and I think that was the driving force behind Terry's rage, and his books, and the work he did for Alzheimer's.'..."



By Graeme Neill ("Pratchett Job"), in The Guardian:

"Since October, I have been reading Pratchett almost exclusively, and I have found out that my younger self had decent taste in books. When I first picked them up in the early 90s, I was attracted by the humour, the inspired puns, the fantastical and apocalyptic nature of the books (four of Pratchett's first five Discworld novels have a world-ending threat), and the sense that I was reading something a bit adult. It turns out I missed a lot first time around: the literary allusions, the Macbeth homage that underpins Wyrd Sisters, or his sustained attack across several novels on a ridiculous figure known as Bloody Stupid Johnson (I still don't know what he had against the author of The Unfortunates). I was unaware, too, of his love of craftsmanship and his pride in 'a job well done' – not a surprise for a man who churned out two excellent Discworld books a year until only about 10 years ago.

"The development of his writing style is similarly fascinating. His debut, The Colour of Magic, was a collection of vaguely related comic set pieces rather than a novel, but he quickly dropped the farce of early books and discovered the delight of a good plot. This gave us books such as Pyramids, Small Gods, Night Watch and The Fifth Elephant, novels that juggle thoughtful ideas with a compelling structure. The novels also became creepier in the wake of his collaboration with Neil Gaiman on Good Omens. The threat of the evil multidimensional elves in Lords and Ladies, for example, is delightfully spinechilling... His books are fuelled by a deep-seated moral anger about the stupid things humans do: Pratchett was so furious because he was adamant we are all capable of so much more. His Watch novels deployed trolls and trans dwarves to rail against racism and social constraints, but did so by showing how we all have some degree of prejudice. By placing the tyrannical genius Havelock Vetinari, one part Steve Jobs to two parts Lex Luthor, as head of the city of Ankh-Morpork, Pratchett challenged us to embrace a dictator. And we do, because he makes the city work. Vetinari is my favourite Discworld character. I worry what this says about me..."




According to Stephen Briggs, it's about wearing a reminder badge – and, probably, never treating people as things. In his own words:

"How did it all start? Well, Rob and I had had two badges made, to remind us that, now that Terry has gone, we needed to be more like him in the things we do on Discworld ... to do things the way he'd approve. And then the Sydney Convention happened shortly after Terry's passing, so we took a bag of the badges for the conventioneers. Then I wore the badge at the Oxford Story Museum ... and a LOT of people showed an interest... So – now you, too, can have a badge. All you need to do is to send me:

A £1 coin for the badge (a £2 coin for two badges), inside a stamped, self-addressed envelope (sturdy enough to transport a button badge!)
And I'll mail one straight back to you.
Send your coin and envelope to me at:
Be More Terry Badges
PO Box 1486
Sorry – this is UK addresses only."




The gorgeous Discworld covers collection by French illustrator Marc Simonetti continues to grow, and what a fine crop they make! Simonetti's chosen style is somewhere in the middle ground between Josh Kirby's comics extravaganzas and Paul Kidby's more serious but no less loving treatments. I especially love Simonetti's interpretation of the Nac Mac Feegle – check out the A Hat Full of Sky cover, where the Feegles on Tiffany's shoulders look every bit as dangerous as they truly would be! – and of the less human-shaped characters such as The Librarian and Greebo. He has also cleverly inserted images of Sir Pterry himself into several of the covers. Feast your eyes here:





From the Press Association:

"Sir Terry Pratchett is posthumously starring in a hard-hitting TV ad campaign waging war on Alzheimer's – the disease which he died from in March this year. The author and several other famous faces including Hollywood actor and charity ambassador Seth Rogen and James Nesbitt, have joined forces for Alzheimer's Research UK's Fightback campaign. Rogen, whose mother-in-law is living with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, said: 'Alzheimer's disease is a global challenge and it doesn't respect ethnicity or wealth, and with a rapidly ageing global population, it's one of our biggest threats. Alzheimer's Research UK's campaign is a bit of a wake-up call to the scale of the challenge, but also a call to arms for us to back research to beat it. We shouldn't think of Alzheimer's as different to other big diseases, at its root are brain cells dying and this is a physical process that scientists can put a stop to, given the resources to do the job. I hope this campaign gets folks talking about the disease and moves us towards a place where we really start to fight it, I'm proud to be part of it.'..."


From The Guardian:

"Novelist Valerie Blumenthal, who is living with the same rare form of Alzheimer's that took Pratchett's life in March, said: 'I became an expert at bluffing to my friends and family to cover up why I no longer did the things I enjoyed so much, like playing the piano, reading and painting. 'When Sir Terry Pratchett passed away earlier this year it brought home the condition to me. This campaign will help people to accept that Alzheimer's is a disease, and a disease we can tame. We need to fight the perception that dementia is an inevitability, and recognise that research is our weapon against it.' This is the first time in Alzheimer Research UK's 21-year history that it has launched a national advertising campaign. The campaign will run on TV and in cinemas across the UK throughout June. The advertisement has been created using archive footage from news and television programming from the past 30 years..."


From the Belfast Telegraph:

"James Nesbitt is starring in a hard-hitting TV ad campaign waging war on Alzheimer's. The Co Antrim star of The Missing is seen with Sir Terry Pratchett, who died from the disease in March, and Hollywood actor and charity ambassador Seth Rogen. Nesbitt was filming The Hobbit in New Zealand in 2012 when his mother May died after a 10-year battle with Alzheimer's. He later revealed his heartache over how sometimes she didn't recognise him. Since her death, Nesbitt has campaigned for greater investment in research. 'We have to get behind the scientists and push for a dementia breakthrough,' he said..."


Editor's note: To view the video, go to https://youtu.be/f0YLcLxB77Y


The press release:

"A new way of treating Alzheimer's disease with ultrasound has been demonstrated in mice, clearing the amyloid plaques in 75% of the animals. Researchers at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), part of Australia's University of Queensland, have shown that non-invasive ultrasound technology can be used to treat Alzheimer's disease and restore memory in mice. This innovative, drug-free method breaks apart the neurotoxic amyloid plaques that result in memory loss and cognitive decline. 'The Government's $9 million investment into this technology was to drive discoveries into clinics, and today's announcement indicates that together with the Queensland Brain Institute, it was a worthwhile investment,' said Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk. 'I want my Government to encourage more of this type of innovative research. Our Advance Queensland initiative aims to increase research and discoveries like this and to put this state's research at the forefront internationally by supporting local researchers and helping to keep them in Queensland. These exciting findings will hopefully be of benefit to all Australians in the future.'

"Professor Jurgen Gotz, study co-author, believes the new method could revolutionise Alzheimer's treatment: 'We're extremely excited by this innovation of treating Alzheimer's without using drug therapeutics. The ultrasound waves oscillate tremendously quickly, activating microglial cells that digest and remove the amyloid plaques that destroy brain synapses. The word 'breakthrough' is often mis-used, but in this case I think this really does fundamentally change our understanding of how to treat this disease, and I foresee a great future for this approach.'... The next step will be to scale the treatment to higher animal models (sheep), followed by human clinical trials beginning in 2017..."


...and as it was reported to the public:

"Australian researchers have come up with a non-invasive ultrasound technology that clears the brain of neurotoxic amyloid plaques – structures that are responsible for memory loss and a decline in cognitive function in Alzheimer's patients. If a person has Alzheimer's disease, it's usually the result of a build-up of two types of lesions - amyloid plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles. Amyloid plaques sit between the neurons and end up as dense clusters of beta-amyloid molecules, a sticky type of protein that clumps together and forms plaques. Neurofibrillary tangles are found inside the neurons of the brain, and they're caused by defective tau proteins that clump up into a thick, insoluble mass. This causes tiny filaments called microtubules to get all twisted, which disrupts the transportation of essential materials such as nutrients and organelles along them, just like when you twist up the vacuum cleaner tube. As we don't have any kind of vaccine or preventative measure for Alzheimer's – a disease that affects 343,000 people in Australia, and 50 million worldwide – it's been a race to figure out how best to treat it, starting with how to clear the build-up of defective beta-amyloid and tau proteins from a patient's brain. Now a team from the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at the University of Queensland have come up with a pretty promising solution for removing the former..."





Greasby Players will present their production of Wyrd Sisters next month, as a fundraiser for Glaucoma Research and for Save William (a local child suffering from Duchenne's disease).

When: 9th, 10th and 11th July 2015
Venue: Westbourne Hall, West Kirby, Wirral CH48 4DQ (phone 0151 625 0344)
Time: 7.30pm all performances
Tickets: £7 (£5 concessions). To book, ring 0151 677 9187


ARENAarts' latest Discworld production is Maskerade. The company has previously presented Wyrd Sisters, Lords and Ladies, Carpe Jugulum, Monstrous Regiment and Going Postal, but this current production, which opens in early July, is a special tribute to the author. "I like to describe Terry Pratchett novels and stage adaptations as The Lord of the Rings meets Monty Python," said director Simon James. "There's a depth of sci-fi and fantasy writing infused with a really wicked sense of humour. With his recent untimely death this production has become very important and very personal for folk at ARENAarts. I contacted people who were involved in our past Pratchett productions from 2001 onwards and, even though they hadn't done anything with ARENAarts over the past 10 years, they leapt on board to do this one."

When: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 16th, 17th and 18th July 2015
Venue: Latvian Centre Theatre, 60 Cleaver Terrace, Belmont, Western Australia
Time: 8pm all evening shows; 2pm matinees on 5th and 12th July
Tickets: $20 ($16 concession) To book by phone: 9399 9947. To book by email: arenaarts@hotmail.com.au To book online, go to www.trybooking.com/HRRP


There are a fair few cast photos in costume on this page about the production, including an excellent one of Christine and Agnes:


The Duck in a Hat theatre company will premiere their adaptation of Eric, adapted by Tim Foster, at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

"All amateur demonologist Eric wants is the usual three wishes: to live forever, to rule the world and to have the most beautiful woman fall madly in love with him. Instead he gets Rincewind, Discworld's most incompetent wizard, and Rincewind's Luggage, Discworld's most dangerous travel accessory. This brand new adaptation of Terry Pratchett's hilarious parody of the Faust legend is an outrageous romp through time, space and Hell that will leave Eric wishing once more – this time, quite fervently – that he'd never been born."

When: 8th-22nd August (all dates excluding the 16th)
Venue: The Studio, Paradise in Augustines, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL (phone 0131 510 0022)
Time: 7:15pm all shows
Tickets: £9.00 (concession £7.00, family £28.00)


Duck in a Hat rely on the support of sponsors. Here be their page:


The Broadclyst Theatre Group will present their production of Wyrd Sisters in August. "Witches" from the cast recently took a high-profile part in the Broadclyst Family Fun Day, handing out race medals, taking part in the dog show and, well, taking one for the coven by sitting in the stocks whilst being pelted by wet sponges – scroll down to the Images section for iconographs!

When: 13th, 14th and 15th August 2015
Venue: Broadclyst Victory Hall, The Green, Exeter, Devon EX5 3DX (phone 01392 467161)
Time: 7.30pm all shows
Tickets: £9 (£6.50 for under-14s), available from Broadclyst Post Office or online via ticketsource.co.uk/broadclyst



The Uppingham Theatre Company will present their production of Wyrd Sisters in October, but before the play opens there will be food. Very special food! Starting on the 18th October through to 31st October, to help Uppingham Theatre Company raise money for Rutland Reminders (50p from the price of each plate), a special Discworld menu to accompany the production, devised by the Uppingham Theatre Company's Vikki Shelton and approved by Colin Smythe, will be served at The Vaults restaurant, The Market Place, Uppingham LE15 9QH.

The special menu will include Slumpie, Klatchian Curry, Knuckle Sandwiches, the Sir Samuel Vimes BLT, the CMOT Dibbler Sausage Inna Bun Student's Platter, and Archchancellor Ridcully's Burger, with desserts including Nanny Ogg's Strawberry Wobbler and Gooseberry Fool.

To enquire about booking a table for a pre Wyrd Sisters meal, or for more information, contact Tom on 01572 823259.

To view a facsimile of the menu in greater detail, go to


The Brisbane Arts Theatre's latest Discworld production will be Mort!

When: 22nd August-3rd October 2015
Venue: Brisbane Arts Theatre, 210 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane, QLD 4000 (phone 07 3369 2344)
Time: 8pm Thursdays (except 27th August), Fridays and Saturdays; 6.30pm Sundays (6th and 20th September)
Tickets: Adults $31, Concession $25, Group 10+ $25, Group 75+ $20, Gold Members $15, Members $25, Student Rush $10 (10 mins before curtain). Members can redeem their included season tickets for this show. There are no refunds or exchanges once tickets have been purchased. To purchase tickets online, go to http://bit.ly/1Imz2tJ



By Raulmaigi, kindly translated for Wossname by Gloria Llona, who spend her early childhood in Catalonia and hopes her Catalan isn't too rusty:

Last night, for the first time, I had the opportunity of hearing Terry Pratchett in Catalan, yes, in Catalan. The theatre group L'espiga de les Corts was giving the first performance of "Bruxes", a Discworld story. Based on the adaptation of the book "Wyrd Sisters" made by Stephen Briggs in 1990, it was Briggs' first theatrical version from a Pratchett work. Wyrd Sisters, the sixth Terry Pratchett book, was translated into Spanish as "Brujerias" in 1992 but had never been translated into Catalan until the translator Marta Armangel Royo: "For a long time I was thinking about the idea of setting up something by T.Pratchett, and there was always somebody who jumped up telling us that we have to make 'Mort'... I decided I would try 'Wyrd Sisters', because the Discworld Witches' Saga is one of my favourites and because of a practical reason too: in our theatre group there is a majority of actresses and scripts with a majority of female roles are really scarce."

Last night the modest auditorium at Sociedad Coral L'espiga De Les Corts (with a maximum capacity of no more than a hundred people) was the scene of a real "fiesta" "no cabía un alfiler" (literally: there was no place for a pin). Ironically, Sir Terry Pratchett's death last March transformed this performance into an admiring posthumous homage, although it wasn't the idea when the theatre group began to set up it. "We felt an immense sadness," Armengal admitted. "It happens that during the negotiations it was established that the company had to reserve two free tickets for the author and the adapter. I had a spark of hope that they would come. In any case, I would like to say that this performance was a love letter to Pratchett and the Discworld and what it means to his readers," the director said. And she added: "It's a project made with lots of love and it has in it, we hope, all the humor and humanity of his novels."

The plot, as all the Pratchett fans know, began with the murder of the King of Lancre (Verence) by his cousin, the Duke Felmet. The crown and the heir, a baby, arrive into the arms of the Witches who decide give him in adoption to a troupe of wandering actors. The difficulties in the governance of the kingdom led the Duke to demand a play that praised his exploits. The interference of the three Witches – making time advance 15 years – will ensure that the company, where the young heir Tomjon is, will play for the Duke.

"Bruxes" was brought to life thanks to the passion of its director and translator that combined with the enthusiasm of a troupe less familiar with the works of Pratchett than she was. They also had to take into account the state of the amateur theatre in our country, that combines in equal portions austerity and voluntarisim with big doses of enthusiasm and illusion. The audience got their money's worth; what's more, one of them won a prize: a lot of Terry Pratchett's books donated by the [Penguin Random House subsidiary] firm "Debolsillo". Despite the limitations of an amateur company, this initiative has to be applauded because it has brought to Barcelona an unabridged text in Catalan that deserve all our recognition. As it is known that his broad literary work has never been translated into our language, nevertheless Marta Armangel's adaptation seems to not have been the first: in 2013 the group La Esfera played "Mort" at El Casal des Joves de Les Corts, direction Miqel Vilanova Marques. About this dearth of translations, Armangel says she is "delighted" as "another fantastic series had lived perfectly together in Catalan and in Spanish. I understand that an editor can be respectful when thinking about the contract of a series of 41 books, but I thinking that it's a shame, because, in my experience, when I was translating them,I found that the Discworld flows in Catalan very well. I don't lose the hope that someone dares to do more of them!"

The original review, in the Catalan tongue, can be found at:


By Matthew Jeffrey

A stimulating night at the theatre will be had for all those who are fortunate enough to see Terry Pratchett's thought provoking work 'Small Gods' performed by the 'Unseen Theatre Company' in the intimate surroundings of the Bakehouse Theatre. The work itself asks some tough questions about the nature of belief, faith and the abuses religious institutions can perpetuate on believers and nonbelievers alike. Pratchett does tend to lean towards oversimplification and reverts to stereotypes for effect. However, that's the idea or it wouldn't be a satire.

The performances are first class. Alicia Rabig plays the bewildered Great God Om( mediated through a rather innocuous turtle) with much poise. Adeodatus McCormick(Decon Vorbis) plays a callous calculating bastard the way one should play a calculating callous bastard and with just hint of redemption at the end. Timothy Tedmanson ( Novice Brutha) was a study of confusion, doubt and self discovery as well as saving the table rather adroitly the night I was there. I could go through them all but just two more mentions. A fellow by the name of Philip Linton who had a voice that made me just want him to get up and say 'friends Romans countrymen lend me your ears' it was a voice that crackled with character.

Theatre goers a bright new star is on the horizon. Aimee Ford (who has accompanied your correspondent on the piano) played several parts and propped up the show. Aimee delivered her lines with aplomb and gusto and her medium pitched scream when she was killed was just the right decibel for a theatre so small I felt close to marrying the lady in front of me. Even when her face was covered Aimee ford had presence. Well done to all concerned.




T-shirts, Micro Arts Studio miniatures, and books!

"'Through the fathomless deeps of space swims the star turtle Great A'Tuin...' Clothe yourself in a brand new T-shirt featuring Joe McLaren's magical illustration of the Discworld itself. Joe illustrated the covers for the sublime Discworld Collector's Library editions from Gollancz and we knew he'd be perfect for a new lyrical take on A'Tuin! Also available in a Ladies' fitted style for those who prefer a figure-hugging fit!"

The Great A-Tuin "classic fit" t-shirt is priced at £15.00 and is available in men's sizes S through XXl. For more information, and to order, go to http://www.discworldemporium.com/GreatATuinTee

The Turtle Moves ladies' fit t-shirt is priced at £15.00 and is available in sizes S through XXL. For more information, and to order, go to http://www.discworldemporium.com/GreatAtuinTshirtLadies

[Editor's note: Joe McLaren is also the illustrator for the forthcoming 2016 Discworld Calendar. Watch this space...]

The Discworld Collectors' Library now includes twenty-one titles, from The Colour of magic through to Jingo, plus a bonus edition of Good Omens. Each volume is priced at £9.99 (with the exception of Good Omens, which is priced at £10.99). For more information about the Discworld Collectors' Library, and to order, go to http://bit.ly/1FsTgvx

Micro Arts Studio metallised Discworld mini-busts:

"We've finally got around to listing Micro Art Studio's metallised Discworld busts on our site. Based on the artwork of Paul Kidby, these sublime miniature figures are now available in a handsome metal effect with a wooden base, and are also available nude for those who like a challenge with a paintbrush!"

Currently available: Death as Hogfather, Rincewind, and Vimes.

The Death bust is priced at £39.00 and stands 135mm tall. For more information, and to order, go to

The Rincewind bust is priced at £35.00 and stands 135mm tall. For more information, and to order, go to

The Vimes bust is priced at £35.00 and stands 111mm tall. For more information, and to order, go to

"And lastly, there's another precious chance to get a fix of Pratchett wordsmithery with the publication of The Long Utopia. The fourth book in the Long Earth series from serial sci-fi collaborators Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter is available now in glorious hardback! '2045-2059. After the cataclysmic upheavals of Step Day and the Yellowstone eruption humanity is spreading further into the Long Earth, and society, on a battered Datum Earth and beyond, continues to evolve. Now an elderly and cantankerous AI, Lobsang lives in disguise with Agnes in an exotic, far-distant world. He's convinced they're leading a normal life in New Springfield – they even adopt a child – but it seems they have been guided there for a reason. As rumours of strange sightings and hauntings proliferate, it becomes clear that something is very awry with this particular world.'

The Long Utopia hardcover is priced at £18.99. For more information, and to order, go to

"All the best ye scunners!"

And there's more! To view more of the Discworld Emporium's latest wonderful things, go to


"We will soon be taking another wonderful journey into the fantasy universe of the Discworld to meet once more with young Tiffany Aching, Terry's hugely popular junior witch and star of four previous books. To celebrate, we're offering you the chance to win beautiful signature embossed copies of the first four Tiffany Aching novels."

Pre-order for your chance to win: http://pjsmprints.com/index.html

"The Shepherd's Crown will be published on 27th August and we will have copies exclusively embossed with Terry's signature and his own coat of arms on a satin gold wafer. This is the official stamp approved by Terry himself, you simply can't buy these anywhere else. When you pre-order this stunning book from us you will be entered into a draw to win all four embossed paperback copies of the first Tiffany novels, a stunning addition to any collection."

The Shepherd's Crown is priced at £20. To pre-order, go to http://pjsmprints.com/index.html and press the "preorder now" button – it's the one with an image of The Luggage on it.

"Live the magic with Tiffany all over again! Now is the perfect time to catch up or refresh yourself with Tiffany's adventures before the release of The Shepherd's Crown this Autumn. Why not immerse yourself in some Tiffany magic and start the journey all over again. You can follow Tiffany as she grows from a nine year girl in The Wee Free Men to a mature sixteen year old in I Shall Wear Midnight through all her trials and tribulations. It is with mixed emotions we await this final Tiffany novel but know it will be a fitting and lasting tribute to one of the world's greatest and most loved authors."


"And while you're waiting we're also delighted to announce the upcoming publication of The Long Utopia which completes Terry's collection of more than 70 books. Co-written with sci-fi author Stephen Baxter, the fourth work in The Long Earth series is set in a universe of infinite parallel Earths. We are thrilled to be able to supply this title with Terry's official signature seal. Pre-order your copy here!"

The Long Utopia is priced at £20. For more info and to order, go to http://pjsmprints.com/index.html#utopia

"And just in time for the holiday season Slip of the Keyboard has now been released in paperback so you can tuck it in your suitcase for that perfect poolside read. This work brings together the best of Terry's non fiction writing on his life, his work, and on the weirdness of the world. With his trademark humour, humanity and unforgettable way with words, this collection offers an insight behind the scenes of Discworld into a much loved and much missed figure – man and boy, bibliophile and computer geek, champion of hats, orang-utans and the right to a good death. We will miss him."

A Slip of the Keyboard is priced at £10. For more info and to order, go to http://pjsmprints.com/index.html#slip


The Tiffany Necklaces are back! Tiffany's White Horse Pendant (silver): "Based on Paul Kidby's original design, this is an absolutely stunning piece of sterling silver jewellery from Tom Lynall and is a faithful reproduction of the pendant worn by Tiffany Aching in A Hat Full of Sky." The pendant measures 55mm from tail to head and comes with an 18-inch chain.

Tiffany's Hare Pendant (silver or gold): "Redesigned and looking absolutely stunning, the hare has leaped back into stock just in time for Hogswatch. A breath taking reproduction of Tiffany's hare pendant, the elegant boxed necklace is available in both silver and gold plate. The perfect gift for all would be witches. Designed exclusively for PJSM Prints by Tom Lynall." The pendant measures 50mm across and comes with an 18-inch chain.

The Tiffany White Horse and Silver Hare are priced at £45 each. The Gold Hare is priced at £55. To order, go to the "For the Tiffany in your life" box on http://pjsmprints.com/index.html and press the appropriate Luggage-decorated button.

To read these offers on the web, go to http://pjsmprints.com/index.html


From the workshop of Paul Kidby, the famous Discworld Massif:

"This is a unique collectors print featuring 77 favourite characters from the realms of Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Each print is hand signed and numbered and the edition is limited to only 2000 copies worldwide. Dimensions: 714mm x 475 mm. Prints will be despatched rolled in tissue in a postal tube."

The Discworld Massif print is priced at £50 for UK buyers, £55 for the rest of Europe, and £60 for the rest of the world. For more information, and to order, go to http://bit.ly/1xxHLmP


Marvellously talented miniatures sculptor Andreas Bergman submitted a fantastic Granny bust to Micro Arts Studios and:

"They approved :-) Which means that I have to say my farewells to Granny and ship her over to Poland for casting and distribution, which is just... awesome beyond words. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Jan Cieslicki and the awesome people over at Micro Art Studio for this opportunity and for their patience, and to Mr. Paul Kidby who took time to give me feedback during the whole process. My biggest thanks goes to Sir Terry Pratchett who's fantastic books I've been listening to while sculpting this lovely lady who is now, without a doubt my favourite fantasy character of all times. You are sorely missed. Waily, waily, waily, enough with the sentimental blabber, here she is, the Hag O' Hags, Mistress Weatherwax."

Mr Bergman consulted with (and got the approval of) Paul Kidby during the process. Have a look! This is Andreas' Facebook page about it, with multiple photos:


[You don't have to be a member of Facebook to see it – I know, because I can and I'm not – Ed.]




When: Saturday 11th July 2015
Venue: Wollaton Hall Deer Park And Gardens, Wollaton, Nottingham NG8 2AE
Time: 2pm start for picnic meeting; 5pm meal hunt; 7pm meet up again in the Trip To Jerusalem pub up by Brew House Yard Museum

The organiser is Elaine Boot (freddyboot@yahoo.co.uk), who says, "Come in fancy dress if you wish. Having something or wearing something Discworld will help us identify one another and using the phrase 'The turtle moves' will help too. People do not have to attend both park and the pub, they are welcome to attend just one. Both of the places can be reached easily by public transport and an all day bus ticket costs £3.50. If you travel in groups of 2 to 4 on Nottingham City Transport Bus (NCTX) you can get a group rider for £4.50. There are plenty of places to stay, there is even Travelodge Maid Marion Way."




Hosted by organisers The Pratchett Partisans:

"Take a step sideways and enter the alternate universe of the Discworld where magic abides. You'll find Discworldians celebrating Hogswatch (like our Christmas, but not quite) at a local fete. Enjoy the cultural entertainments, sample the local cuisine and partake in authentic Discworldian activities. There will be a market, a petting zoo, free kids crafts, bake sale, Morris Dancers, C.M.O.T. purveyor of fine meats (also known as a sausage sizzle), Assassins for hire (don't worry, all approved by the Assassins Guild), competitions for all ages, a games tent, cosplay, baking and costume competitions, food and coffee vendors and if that wasn't enough, to top it all off there will be a visit from the Hog Father Himself! This year, we will get to know Discworld's most mysterious character, Death! So come along incognito, or pick up some local outfits on the day. Be sure to bring the family for this fun day out."

When: 25th July 2015
Venue: Hardgrave Park, Petrie Terrace, across from the Brisbane Arts Theatre
Time: 10am–4pm
Free entry



Canberra, Australia has a new Discworld fan group, Drumknott's Irregulars! "We are a newly established Terry Pratchett & Discworld social group in Canberra called 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 all 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."


There is a new public Facebook meeting group, "The Gathering of the Loonies (Wincanton chapter)":

"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. Next event Loonies Christmas Party. Same weekend as Hogswatch would have been. ie 27/28/29 November."



The Broken Drummers, "London's Premier Unofficially Official Discworld Group" (motto "Nil percussio est"), meets next on Monday 6th July 2015. For more information, go to http://brokendrummers.org/ or email
BrokenDrummers@gmail.com or nicholls.helen@yahoo.co.uk

The Broken Drummers' June meet report:

"Monday night was the busiest non-Christmas Drummers meeting we've ever had. Larry and Judy's son Marc was over from the USA with his wife Erin. It's the first time we've seen Marc since he moved to Texas about five years ago. We also had another visitor from the USA, Malinda.

"Early on I saw a gentleman in a tricorn hat approaching and just knew it was someone for Drummers. His name was Robin and he was a friend of Chris'. Later another of Chris' friends, Tracy, appeared. Sadly, I didn't get the chance to speak to her as it was so busy. Sim has also been recruiting; her friend Mike came along. He already knew Robin. It's a small world.

"Malinda asked about the history of Drummers. I told her about the time Jack turned up to a Meet-up that consisted of him and a journalist writing an article on Meet-ups and decided he would take control and start a group. Within a short time I heard a cry of, "there he is!" I turned to find over glorious founder standing behind me looking very smart in his suit.

"All evening people poured in – including Bill, who came to Drummers on his birthday - and we gradually commandeered more and more tables. It was a very lively evening, about 22 in total. I'm told that after we left things descended into card tricks. Sim will not confirm or deny starting it but says she didn't end it. Whatever happened next I suspect Bill was involved. Next meeting is Monday 6th July. Jessica is doing a quiz, which I believe is on superheroes."


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. Our recent 'Murder In Morpork' mystery party was a great night out. With 26 people attending, we had 24 suspects, our special guest – Vetinari, and one dead mime! It was a fun night of food and murder and we are planning another Murder in December so stay tuned. We also attend opening night at Brisbane Arts Theatre's Discworld plays." The Partisans currently have about 100 members who meet 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. For more information on their upcoming activities, go to www.cityofsmallgods.org.au


The Broken Vectis Drummers meet next on Thursday 2nd July (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 July 2015 (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 but is now looking to take in some new blood (presumably not in the non-reformed Uberwald manner). 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:



Sydney Drummers (formerly Drummers Downunder) meet next on Monday 6th July 2015 at 6.30pm (probably) 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 July 2015 (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:
– or message Alexandra Ware directly at <alexandra.ware@gmail.com>



Why are train drivers called engineers in the USA? Here's the answer. Ned Simnel would definitely understand:

"Although it sounds odd to British ears today, train drivers were for some time known as engineers in 19th Century Britain. The original meaning of engineer, as someone who designed or built engines or other machinery, goes back to the 1300s and has held to this day in both the UK and the US. But it can be applied to someone who operates equipment as well as the one responsible for its design, says British lexicographer Susie Dent. From the 1730s 'engineer' in North American English was being used as a synonym for 'engineman', she says, applied specifically to the driver or operator of a fire engine, then later to drivers of steamships and steam-powered locomotives.

"The Oxford English Dictionary cites this use in the UK in 1816 from the Asiatic Journal: 'A locomotive engine was exploded at Newcastle, and several people lost their lives, from the folly of the man (calling himself an engineer), locking down the safety-valve, that his machine might go off in style!' This use travelled across the Atlantic where, Dent says, the Americans are merely applying a more literal sense of "engineer". The suffix -eer usually indicates an 'agent noun', she says, describing a person who performs the action of the verb, in this case operating/acting on an engine. The term engineer as driver is rarely used in the UK today, although a trade union representing train drivers is called the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (Aslef), founded in the late 19th Century. An Aslef spokesman said the name reflected the meaning of the time.

"Americans would never call the operator of a train a driver, always engineer, says Jesse Sheidlower, the former US editor-at-large of the OED. "It's a longstanding feature of American English. It's been in American use since the early 1830s, and included in dictionaries of Americanisms since the mid-19th Century.'..."




Another round of Graeme Neill's (aka Pratchett Job) reviews...

Eric: "I feel sorry for Rincewind, as he has been the victim of Pratchett's imagination. He was a fun protagonist for The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic, both of which I enjoyed. But I barely mentioned him in my write-up of Sourcery and when you place him alongside Granny Weatherwax, Death or Sam Vimes, he hardly compares. After appearing in almost half of Pratchett's nine novels to date, after Faust, Eric, we don't see Rincewind for another four years and eight novels. Now that he has a better playground to have fun in, it's no wonder Pratchett has tired of his cowardly wizard. As he told Neil Gaiman: “If I'd had to write 25 years of Rincewind novels I would have cut my throat.” Ouch. But Faust, Eric is actually pretty good. Now that Pratchett has embraced the wonder of a tightly plotted novel, this is another well written, deceptively complex story. I'm going to continue my occasional habit of speculating on the author's motivations and with Faust, Eric, you get the impression that this was a spot of fun. A nice idea that wasn't necessarily as ambitious as the three previous novels, but something that would be enjoyable to write. And while it is a good read it's also frustrating because we are back in Sourcery territory – if this had been one of the first Discworld novels, I would have been applauding his ambition, his tight control of story structure, the puns and the Zelig-esque nature of Rincewind as he experiences the Trojan War, the beginning of Odysseus' decade long trip home and the birth of the universe... This sounds like I didn't like the book. That's not true.It's just...slight..."


Jingo: "For an author so set on exploring humanity, what makes us tick and why, it is somewhat curious it took Terry Pratchett more than 20 Discworld books to tackle war. Jingo was published in 1997; four years shy of 9/11 and all that followed, but close enough to the British Army's involvement in both Northern Ireland and what was Yugoslavia that an experience of his nation at conflict would have been easy to recall... It wouldn't be like Pratchett to just take a typical ‘war is bad' stance and build some jokes around it. Because, as the war that ripped Yugoslavia apart showed, there can sometimes be strong arguments for countries to enter conflict... Jingo is sadly not Small Gods with rifles replacing religion. It's a bit of a mess but strangely one of Pratchett's funniest. I was laughing out loud at numerous points – Vetinari, Nobby and Colon's ‘secret' mission in Klatch, or Carrot organising a football match between the factions at the end of the novel, echoing the famous Christmas Day Truce of the First World War, are two highlights, among many..."


Wintersmith: "The Tiffany Aching novels have been an unexpected delight. Not for any idiotic snobbery about grown-ups reading YA fiction, as one of the Discworld's endearing strengths is that of a deeply accessible series. I love how it is open and can be loved by anyone – comedy fans, fantasy fans, satire fans or, dare I say it, people who like those three genres and more. However, I felt this meant it was somewhat unnecessary for Pratchett to write a dedicated YA series. I'm glad my unspoken, irrelevant old opinion was never listened to... At the heart of Wee Free Men was a story about growing up and choosing to be responsible for your siblings, not seeing them as a threat. A Hatful of Sky was about not becoming self-absorbed as you grow older (remember how Tiffany defeats the hiver that takes her over and forces her to be selfish). Wintersmith builds on these by extolling the virtues of maturity and responsibility. And throws boys into the mix for good measure... It has been an impressive feat of writing to have Tiffany stand alongside the likes of Weatherwax or Vimes after only starring in two books but she is a wonderful creation. Proud, caring, loyal and a little bit too full of herself, Pratchett treads a thin line between mocking her and lauding her expertly... It is the depth to Tiffany's character that means that Pratchett can spin a morality tale without being too preachy. Pratchett is aided in this by the gleefully chaotic existence of the Nac Mac Feegle – Tiffany's loyal drunken protectors. Our teenage witch is fallible and frequently makes mistakes, like deciding to have a boogie with an elemental force. Like any one of us, Tiffany wants to live a proper life but that doesn't mean she won't mess up from time to time..."


Thud!: "One unfair criticism of Terry Pratchett is that he can lay his social commentary rather thickly. I found this particularly strange during my rereading because I had trouble finding any real evidence for it. The only thing that was hammered home repeatedly was the importance of thinking. This gave us the likes of Small Gods, where Pratchett angrily argued against fundamentalism while also examining the benefits of belief, or Men at Arms, which attacked racism but shone a light on all of our prejudices... At its core, Thud! is a criticism of fundamentalism and the danger of leaders using their own interpretation of history for their own ends. This is typified in the demagogue Grag Hamcrusher, whose murder sparks the events of the novel. He preached the superiority of dwarf over troll, and that the duty of every dwarf was to follow in the footsteps of their forefathers and remove trollkind from the face of the world. It was written in some holy book, apparently, so that made it okay, and probably compulsory... The trolls don't quite have the same range the dwarves have, which is probably why the novel feels less challenging than others. Trolls within Ankh-Morpork have largely slotted into society, although at the dregs. The (underused, in my opinion) crime boss Chrysoprase and drug addict Brick are two such characters. We hear of trolls who are as set on conflict as the dwarfs but the reader has less of a handle on them as their rivals. The reader is told of this, rather than shown. The politics of integration are handled much better, particularly the excellent scene where Vimes meets Mr Shine, the troll “king” made of diamonds. He runs a club where trolls and dwarfs play Thud!, the titular board-game where both species face off against one another. He forces each species to play as the other and is responsible for the quote that opens this post. That way each gains an understanding into the other and is able to progress, both in the game and in wider society..."


Going Postal: "Havelock Vetinari is my favourite Discworld character. The Patrician of Ankh-Morpork has never been the main character of a novel. He's always at arm's length, so when he is used, you are excited to see what the despotic tyrant of the city is scheming. That's part of the character's power; he is always behind the scenes, messing around with something to his ends. But (probably wrong speculation about the intentions of an author alert!) you could imagine Pratchett getting frustrated. He has created a brilliant character but has to use him sparingly in order to make the most of him. Enter the solution. Enter Moist Von Lipwig, a natural born criminal, a fraudster by vocation, an habitual liar, a perverted genius and totally untrustworthy. Moist is placed in charge of the decrepit Ankh-Morpork Post Office by Vetinari after The Patrician saves him from the gallows... With Moist comes one of Pratchett's most enjoyable books. The Discworld has done screwball before – aside from the blatant comedy of The Colour of Magic, there has been Moving Pictures, elements of Hogfather and Jingo – but this is a step above. I couldn't help but be reminded of some of my favourite films, whether it was the long con of The Sting or the hoodlum gone straight journey of Jake in The Blues Brothers. When I flicked back through my hardback before turning my attentions to this post, I kept chuckling as I reminded myself of one of Pratchett's most fun, rollicking plots. Anyone who was as prolific as he clearly loved writing but with this book, you can tell he had a blast putting everything together... Moist bridges the old and new worlds, someone who uses modern methods to reinvigorate monolithic organisations without turning to (literally) murderous capitalism. He hacks the clacks to bring down the operation that owns them. In doing so, he joins a lawman with a tenuous grasp of the rules of the realm, a witch who seems to act largely out of a desire to prove herself right, and a dictator running Ankh-Morpork successfully. A conman now stands alongside Sam Vimes, Granny Weatherwax and Vetinari among Pratchett's strongest characters..."


Mort: "There's plenty to like in Mort and it's all centred around Death. After some increasingly funny and deft cameos in the first novels, he's thrust at the reader and is established as someone you hope you will encounter in many more novels to come... There are some wonderfully visual passages throughout the novel. While Pratchett has lent heavily on the apocalypse in each of the books to date, it hasn't really felt real or threatening. In Mort there are some incredibly evocative scenes- Death's room full of hourglasses, the aforementioned sun rising over the cesspit that is Ankh Morpork or the Grim Reaper propping up a bar are all wonderful. Mort's first piece of work experience – shepherding the witch Goodie Hamstring into the afterlife – is a brilliant scene and really hard to do justice here. It's very simply written and the everyday subtlety of it makes it surprisingly moving... Like Equal Rites, this *feels* like a proper Discworld novel and there is plenty to like. But as Pratchett's skills at writing novels get better, criticism requires much more thought. It's not really sufficient to say ‘well, it was funny but a bit of a mess. I liked the jokes but the ending was a bit poor..."


A Hat Full of Sky: "In his two YA books to date, Pratchett has taken classic folk tales, dismantled them and fitted the constituent parts back together with a lot of darkness and not inconsiderable intelligence. They have been among Pratchett's most neatly plotted and satisfying reads among the entire Discworld series, so I was anxious to see what came next. While Wee Free Men dealt with Tiffany growing up and realising her responsibilities as an elder sister, A Hatful of Sky forces her to confront the darker side of her nature. This is The Dark Phoenix Saga, Luke being tempted by the Dark Side, Clark Kent slugging it out with evil Superman in a scrapyard. These books are morality plays but the existence of the chaotic Nac Mac Feegle, a blue army of drunken riotous pixies, keep them from being too much like serious tracts... Tiffany mistakenly sees herself as a really nice person, even though she is filled with contempt for the local people she helps with Miss Tick. We are in deep Spider-Man territory here, with great power requiring great responsibility. Tiffany fails to see this and the parasitic hiver awakens her evil self, killing(!!!!!) one of Miss Level's bodies and cruelly humiliating her junior coven. The murder of one of Miss Level's selves is dealt with in such a matter of fact way, it feels all the more horrific. The reader knows at the start of the book that hivers don't just target anybody. We cannot guess what frightens a hiver, but they seem to take refuge in bodies that have power of some sort – great strength, great intellect, great prowess with magic. We know Tiffany has all three so her evil self coming to the fore is worrying... Also brilliant is his description of how the Nac Mac Feegles can enter Tiffany's mind, to free her from the influence of the hiver. They just can. So deal with it. Knowing when to elaborate and when to hold back is the sign of a great writer. Wee Free Men hearkened back to Lords and Ladies with an icy tinge to the narrative. A Hatful of Sky follows in this vein, with the hiver seeking sanctuary in someone else because they literally cannot cope with reality. The quote that opened this post underlines what Pratchett sees as one of humanity's strongest and weakest traits – that they can process the chaos that is everyday life through storytelling and boredom..."


Monstrous Regiment: "Pratchett has had a firm grip on structure since he realised the advantages of good plotting around the time of Wyrd Sisters. A few exceptions aside, he never really looked back. Monstrous Regiment is probably the closest he comes to a plot crashing and burning in the third act. He genuinely snatches victory from the jaws of defeat; a strangely postmodern thing given how the book is about a plucky underdog taking on a more powerful neighbour... At face value, the novel is about femininity and gender roles; we learn quite quickly that all of the soldiers in the Monstrous Regiment Polly joins, comprising trolls, vampires and humans, are women. We later learn a great deal of the senior soldiers who led Borogravia to war are also women, as is Sergeant Jackrum, the slightly Kurtz-esque figure leading the regiment. There are some interesting nods to Thief of Time and its musings about form dictating content, in how the ethereal Auditors of Reality changed and acted like humans when they had physical bodies. This was something they couldn't help. Pratchett explores these issues again, by looking at the transgender soldiers... You are embedded with the regiment throughout the book, aside from occasional steps outside to visit Vimes, here on diplomatic business, or William de Worde, here on newsgathering duties. This zooming in on the conflict has a similar effect as to Night Watch, where you viewed a city-wide revolution through the prism of one neighbourhood. You feel part of the squad and are drawn towards Perks, her loyalty towards her fellow soldiers and her single-minded mission to find her brother. While Monstrous Regiment works as a character study, I felt the polemics grew a bit tiresome. The intentions were valid but it was far from subtle, and therefore not as effective. Then it goes absolutely haywire in the final quarter of the book when you discover that many of Borogravia's great military leaders are women and the carpet is pulled from underneath you..."


Guards! Guards!: "Lord Vetinari, the Patrician of the city. With his basic black garb and supervillain intelligence, to me he's Steve Jobs playing Lex Luthor. Like Pyramids, the complexity of Guards! Guards! is that the Patrician is the best ruler for Ankh-Morpork, regardless of his scruples (or lack thereof). He's ruthless, cynical, power hungry but fiercely intelligent, pragmatic and someone who can distill the chaos and lunacy of Ankh-Morpork into something that could be a workable city. Like Pyramids' Dios, he's another villain who doesn't think he is the bad guy... Pratchett's use of cliche and tropes is very clever as it hides another well worn story in plain sight. The reader is so busy giggling at Casablanca references and the like that they fail to notice that Carrot has been hidden as the one true heir of Ankh-Morpork throughout the novel, even though HE'S AN ADOPTED BLOODY SON AND PARAGON OF SODDING VIRTUE TRAVELLING TO A CITY TO SEEK HIS FORTUNE. At least I did anyway. But there are flaws. Vimes' journey from drunken wretch to hero is glossed over somewhat. He suddenly ditches the bottle and decides to serve the public trust, protect the innocent and uphold the law. He's a wonderful character – anyone who comes up with the line If there was anything that depressed him more than his own cynicism, it was quite often it still wasn't as cynical as real life and who is constantly disappointed with himself will strike a chord with any reader – but the novel is erratic in his plotting. Vimes cleaning up his act happens much too quickly, but the book grinds to a halt about two thirds of the way in and infuriatingly spins its wheels before the plot kicks back in for its conclusion. Ankh-Morpork breathes here, at least as much as a shitheap city where the river is technically full of solids, rather than liquids, can do. Like any great crime novel, which Guards! Guards! ultimately is, the city is as much a character as its dramatis personae..."


Small Gods: "The highlight, in what is an astonishingly powerful novel, is a four and a half page segment. A boat chock full of hired goons under the control of the nefarious Vorbis is destroyed according to the whims of the gods. The crew, now all dead and having being raised in a country and culture that does not allow any sort of afterlife, debates what heaven they should explore. And then decide to set sail for that of a rival God. I wish I could convey how much brilliance Pratchett squeezes into a few pages of...even describing them as minor characters would be overblowing their role in the book. But I reached the end of those few pages mentally screaming WHERE IS THIS BOOK? I WANT TO READ THEIR STORY!!!! That's how good Small Gods is – a concept some other authors would have hung a fantastic book on is dealt with in a couple of pages. Which is ok, because the rest is wonderful, challenging, thought provoking and Pratchett at his very best... Pratchett has been great at writing odd couples – Rincewind and Twoflower, the Archchancellor and the Bursar, Gaspode and Tugelbend (Gaspode and anyone, to be honest) – and Om and Brutha are no different. There's the classic dramatic arc, where Om's cynicism helps unlock the questioning nature of Brutha's brain and Brutha's innocence and religious devotion makes Om realise he too has a duty as a God. The word journey has been utterly sullied by waaaay too many weepy-eyed montages on The X Factor but Small Gods boasts two fascinating and hilarious protagonists with very different characters and motivations – their respective journeys are brilliant..."


Moving Pictures: "On the surface, the book is the usual comic take on the fantasy…and so on. Given its focus is on the movie industry, Pratchett stuffs the novel to breaking point with countless references to films, including The Blues Brothers, Casablanca or The Wild One. But when I read it, I got this wonderful sense of dread from the off. Pratchett makes it clear that Bad Things are going to happen and is happy to park the comedy to just remind you that something dreadful is occurring in the background. And he does this brilliantly – by encouraging the reader to spot the references to some of Hollywood's best films, you feel you should also be able to work out the crisis that will land in time for the third act. And you can't (at least, I couldn't). That makes the threat worse because you are trying to parse through the hints dropped into the plot and are disappointed in yourself that you can't. Which makes Moving Pictures one hell of a compulsive pageturner. Screwball Stephen King, if you will... This book took a while for me to sift through. While the comedy of the main plot is excellent, it's not actually pushing at the boundaries of the average reader. The satire of Holy Wood is weak and obvious and is only rescued by the volume of references and nods to the industry. But saying Holy Wood is self-absorbed is like bears wearing funny hats or the clergy defecating in the woods. Tugelbend and Withel are also rather forgettable as protagonists and seemingly exist to service the plot and nothing more. Gaspode, the talking dog, is better, given he is going through an (r)existential crisis of trying to find a place for himself where he is not the wild wolf he wants to be and is horrified by the life of domesticity of the average hound. So if the protagonists are weak and the satire somewhat lazy then why do I like Moving Pictures so much? Aside from the unsettling tone and corresponding tug on the reader as they try to work out what the hell is actually happening, it's the Wizards who make this..."


...and The Colour of Magic: "On the surface, the novel is four, rather (actually, really) crudely stapled together quest narratives taking their lead from various iconic science-fiction and fantasy authors – whether it's Lovecraft or Tolkien – and taking the piss out of them. But underneath that is an author, so the story goes, realising that this was probably his last best hope of becoming a success and throwing everything into it. And it worked. Throughout the book, imagination is celebrated and cherished and a line is clearly drawn between the power of magic in the Discworld and the power of thought and creativity in this. Or as Pratchett puts it: A spell is still a spell even when imprisoned temporarily in parchments and ink. It has potency. To go a bit Chris Traeger from Parks and Rec, books are literally magic... The flimsiness of the book is its main flaw and the plot is basically ‘double act goes here, then here, then here'. Only the first part of the book – where Rincewind and Twoflower escape the city of Ankh-Morpork, its thieves and assassins, and accidentally invent insurance fraud in the process – rattles along with a degree of urgency and momentum. Nevertheless, The Colour of Magic remains a tremendous amount of fun, with Pratchett overloading pages with jokes, comic asides and deftly written set-pieces – the proto-Reservoir Dogs stand-off in The Broken Drum pub between our heroes and some of Ankh-Morpork's most insalubrious is my highlight... While some have argued this isn't a *proper* Discworld book, there are some strong hints of what will come in the series. The reluctant hero Rincewind craves a bit of order and structure to his life and feels magic may not be all it cracked up to be. Rincewind often suspected that there was something, somewhere, that was better than magic. He was usually disappointed. When Pratchett begins talking about science in later books, this theme is grasped in earnest..."




The cover of The Shepherd's Crown, framed, and accompanied by the artist:

A scary Discworld tattoo from Rosie Parsons. Don't make her angry in the dark:

The Luggage in beadwork, by Donna Sanders:

Wonderful take on Rincewind and Twoflower, by "Where's My Cow?" illustrator Melvyn Grant:

Origami Discworld! By Annalisa. In addition to the photographs, the page includes how-to links for all the components (Star Turtle, Elephants, and Disc), should you wish to try making one:

Nyssa Towsley's Golem tattoo:

Amy Simmonds' fantastic rendering of the Eater of Socks:

A superb imagining of the Wyrd Sisters by Sharksden at Deviantart:

Wincanton's newest street signs, iconograph by Nicole Ouwerkerk:

Some lovely iconographs of Unseen Theatre's recent much-lauded production of Small Gods...

The cast: http://bit.ly/1K2vNYv
"There's good eating on one o' them!": http://bit.ly/1K2vRY4
"Nobody expects the Ommish Exquisition...": http://bit.ly/1RiKcQS
...least of all our hero: http://bit.ly/1FsUHds

Speaking of Discworld plays, here be photos of the Wyrd Sisters taking a ducking to promote the Broadclyst Theatre Group's forthcoming production of the play (see item 5.3):
http://bit.ly/1LPvoYi and http://bit.ly/1Jsj0jw

Here be Paul Kidby's drawing of the Balancing Monk, originally done in 2007 for Lu-Tse's Yearbook of Enlightenment:

This is Santan, one of the gorgeous orangutan family at Melbourne Zoo, where no expense has been spared to make their environment as close as possible to the natural wild:

Rhianna Pratchett posted this photo on Father's Day:

...and this last is a photograph of a charming "ratcatcher" by the Ragged Victorians, an award-winning group of historical cosplayers who have been featured before in Wossname. When Dodger makes it to the stage, these are the people theatre groups will want to contact for tips on period accuracy!

[Note: for more about the Ragged Victorians, go to http://www.raggedvictorians.co.uk/ – Ed.]



I wonder what the A-M Post Office's Head of Stamps, Stanley Howler – or indeed, the Cunning Artificers of Wincanton's Discworld Emporium – would make of this: "The world's first stamp made entirely from cork was issued in Portugal on Wednesday, November 29, 2007, in a ceremony intended to show how the cork industry is finding new ways to use cork in the world of metal and plastic screw tops. The stamp is made of extremely thin 'paper cork', just 0.35mm thick. The first print run was of 230,000 stamps. And like snowflakes, every stamp is unique since cork is a natural product and has a cellular makeup. The cork stamp was designed by Joao Machado, a Portuguese engraver. Its face-value is one euro and it has a picture of a cork-tree on a hill. The debut ceremony took place at the Lisbon parliament."


...and that's it for June...

...almost. Being Editor of Wossname, I have an editorial comment to make – or rather, I would like to call upon the late, very great playwright-poet Ben Jonson to make it for me. With the announcement of the official blurb and release dates for The Shepherd's Crown has come a vast chorus of "O waily waily, this is the last Discworld novel, I can't go on with the dreadful world-ending weight of this fact" around the internet. While I am no less gutted by the loss of my favourite author than anyone else, I do find this a bit too much of a muchness since he bequeathed us so many wonderful novels. So here is a quote from a poem written by Jonson in 1623, for the publication of the Shakespeare First Folio. That was nearly four centuries ago now, but if you add an "s" to the word "book", it makes a most appropriate reminder:

"Thou art a monument without a tomb,
And art alive still, while thy book doth live,
And we have wits to read, and praise to give."

Speak his name, over and over, that he may remain in the world.

See you next month!

– Annie Mac


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

Copyright (c) 2015 by Klatchian Foreign Legion
wossname: (GNU Terry Pratchett)

When: 13th, 14th and 15th August 2015
Venue: Broadclyst Victory Hall, The Green, Exeter, Devon EX5 3DX (phone 01392 467161)
Time: 7.30pm all shows
Tickets: £9 (£6.50 for under-14s), available from Broadclyst Post Office or online via ticketsource.co.uk/broadclyst

wossname: (what duck)
The Duck in a Hat theatre company will premiere their adaptation of Eric, adapted by Tim Foster, at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival:

"All amateur demonologist Eric wants is the usual three wishes: to live forever, to rule the world and to have the most beautiful woman fall madly in love with him. Instead he gets Rincewind, Discworld's most incompetent wizard, and Rincewind's Luggage, Discworld's most dangerous travel accessory. This brand new adaptation of Terry Pratchett's hilarious parody of the Faust legend is an outrageous romp through time, space and Hell that will leave Eric wishing once more – this time, quite fervently – that he'd never been born."

When: 8th-22nd August (all dates excluding the 16th)
Venue: The Studio, Paradise in Augustines, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL (phone 0131 510 0022)
Time: 7:15pm all shows
Tickets: £9.00 (concession £7.00, family £28.00)

"If you would like to support Duck in a Hat please see our sponsors page."




wossname: (GNU Terry Pratchett)
The UK version, which will be released on 27th August:

The USA version, which will be released on 1st September:

wossname: (Anthill inside)
Greasby Players will present their production of Wyrd Sisters next month, as a fundraiser for Glaucoma Research and for Save William (a local child suffering from Duchenne's disease).

When: 9th, 10th and 11th July 2015
Venue: Westbourne Hall, West Kirby, Wirral CH48 4DQ (phone 0151 625 0344)
Time: 7.30pm all performances
Tickets: £7 (£5 concessions). To book, ring 0151 677 9187

wossname: (Anthill inside)
First – some upcoming events of the Czech Terry Pratchett Fan Club...

12th June: a trip to the new premises of the Alzheimer's Disease research centre (the Club contributes financially to their support)

13th June: a "meeting" with the Club's adopted giant turtle at Prague zoo

All information about activities and club itself can be found at http://www.discworld.cz/novinky.php (a new page, with info also in English, is in the works). Committee members are reachable at klub@discworld.cz.

And now, for a special report for Wossname, by Dana Linhartova:

On Sunday, May 17, 2015 the newly translated Discworld novel Raising Steam was christened in a very stylish way. Publisher Vlastimir Talas (Talpress), translator Jan Kanturek, Terry Pratchett Club members and other friends of Terry's work went to the Railway Museum in Luzna near Rakovnik.

The trip to the museum was of course taken by train. Originally the steam train "Parrot" should have taken us, but unfortunately for all involved, the day before the locomotive rolled out steam from the wrong places, so we had to settle for a trip to with ordinary diesel locomotive.

But no-one was disappointed in the end, because we used another steam locomotive, "Kremak", for an hour's ride from Luzna to Sochov and back. Besides watching the hitching of locomotives, many of the attendees also enjoyed the ride by leaning from open car windows and observing how the train blows clouds of steam while puffing towards its destination.

Enthusiasts who were hanging out from the windows, although not covered in soot like those in the book, had no lack of settled coal-dust in their hair after the ride.

After the arrival of the steam train back to Luzna, the new Discworld book was christened quite unconventionally – Vlastimir Talas baptized it with water emitted from steam locomotive by its engineer. The Terry Pratchett Club then handed Jan Kanturek a belated birthday present, a ship-shaped bottle full of his favorite drink – rum.

The trip back to Prague was accompanied by singing, first several Discworld songs and then a selection of campfire songs. During one Discworld blues song Jan Kanturek even used his "whiskey voice" and for a while played guitar. Due to the fact that we sat in the car without a separate compartment intended only for invited fans of Terry Pratchett, a good vibe lasted until the end of the ride.

Despite the initial ill fortune of a faulty steam locomotive, it was an excellent and unique event, which was attended by around 80 fans of Terry Pratchett and steam trains.

Some images from the event:

wossname: (Anthill inside)
The simultaneous UK/USA publication date for The Shepherd's Crown, final Tiffany Aching novel (and last of all the Discworld novels), has been moved forward by a fortnight, from 10th September to 27th August. The publishers have also officially released the UK and USA cover art. Very exciting news!

Here be the UK cover, by Paul Kidby of course:

...and here be the USA edition cover:

Furthermore, UK booksellers Waterstones have their own announcement about this and some very special offers to go with it...


You can pre-order The Shepherd's Crown for a special price of £10.00 – a saving of fifty per cent on the recommended retail price! Day-of publication delivery is for UK only. To ensure UK delivery on the day of publication, please select "Courier" or "Free Delivery to shop" at the checkout.

To pre-order, go to


and click on the pre-order button on the right, about one-third of the way down the page.


"The Waterstones Exclusive Edition is a stunning real cloth slipcase, limited to just 5,000 copies. The cloth for the book itself is sophisticated grey glitter, and will feature a gold bee motif on both front and back covers. Each copy is individually stamped and numbered, and features the article 'Doing As You Would Bee Done By', written by Sir Terry Pratchett in 1975 – a witty insight into Terry's beekeeping experiences. Silver bee-printed endpapers – with different designs for front and back – complete this beautiful, must-have package. The perfect gift for any Pratchett fan. A brand new Discworld novel from the man himself, the late, great Sir Terry Pratchett. Completed in the Summer of 2014, The Shepherd's Crown features the much-loved teenage witch, Tiffany Aching, the hugely popular character (also one of Sir Terry's own favourites) who appeared in The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, and most recently, I Shall Wear Midnight. A hugely anticipated book in an iconic series, which will appeal to both adult Discworld fans and to younger readers."

The Slipcase Edition is priced at £35.00. To pre-order, go to


and click on the pre-order button on the right, about one-third of the way down the page.

The UK publisher is Random House, and the ISBN for The Shepherd’s Crown is 9780857534828

82 days to go until the publication date. Start counting...

An editorial note: this doesn't count in any wise as spoilage, since I'm as much in the dark as you are, O readers – but upon first seeing the UK cover art I was struck by a thought that filled my eyes with bittersweet tears, because there seem to be hints of... well... all I can say is that I hope Sir Pterry was wise enough and brave enough to write the event that is implied, to me at least, by certain presences in Paul Kidby's cover art. And if what I think may be implied turns out to be true, I hope we legions of Discworld fans are wise enough and brave enough to accept it.
wossname: (Anthill inside)
NOW HEAR THIS! Adelaide's well-loved Unseen Theatre, who have been presenting excellent productions of Discworld plays for almost fifteen years now, do occasionally - very occasionally! - present a non-Discworld play or two.

Since Unseen Theatre has given the continent of Fourecks so much Discworld love, and since their standard of production is so high, it seems only right that Wossname encourage you XXXXian theatre-goers to support Unseen's upcoming non-Discworld production.

And thanks to a brief special offer, you can do it at a discount price! Unseen's Pamela Munt, director of so many great Discworld plays (including the current triumphant run of Small Gods), says:

Anyway, here's the offer:- 2 for 1 tickets (based on the Adult ticket price) for any Wednesday or Thursday night of the show below.

Just book in as per usual, but enter the promotional code "unseen" in the box provided on screen. That will reduce your ticket price to half the adult price = $14 for a professional show!

Only catch is that this offer expires on June 5, so you need to get in quickly with your bookings.

Great theatre company, great offer... what's to lose? To take advantage of this offer and purchase tickets online, go to


Here be details about the production...




By Neil LaBute

Love should be blind, shouldn't it? What is your reason to be pretty?

Our obsession with physical beauty is confronted headlong in this perceptive and exhilarating comedy. It is the third in Neil LaBute's trilogy of plays that examines the male/female relationship in honest, arresting and hilarious detail. It follows The Shape of Things and Fat Pig.

Fat Pig was a resounding success at the Bakehouse Theatre in 2013. It was nominated for 'best show comedy' and was winner of 'best male performance' (Daniel McKinnon) by the Adelaide Theatre Guide Curtain Call Awards.

The Bakehouse Theatre celebrates the return of award winning Director Joh Hartog (who also directed The Shape of Things) in this brutal examination of the male/female relationship .

In a story that reminds us all of how we project on to each other what we expect, hope or want to be there, four young friends are about to find out if their relationships can survive a dose of harsh truths. When Carly reports to Steph that her boyfriend Greg has described her as 'regular' looking, there begins an examination of all of their relationships, with unexpected twists, turns and complications as La Bute explores our endless capacity for manipulation.

Directed by: Joh Hartog (winner of Best Ensemble – Worlds End – Curtain Call Awards 2009)

Produced by: Pamela Munt

Clare Mansfield (nominated for best female performance – East of Berlin 2013/2014)
David Hirst (Boys Life – nominated for best comedy 2010, Bred to Perfection)
Nic Kreig (Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Innocence, State of Affairs)
Krystal Brock (winner of Neil Curnow Award 2010)

WHEN: Previews: Thurs. 11 and Fri. 12 June. Opening Night Saturday 13 June.
Season continues Wed. to Sat. at 8pm until June 27
WHERE: Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas Street, Adelaide.
TICKETS: Adults $28; Concession $25; TREv $23; Group (6+) $20; Previews $20; Students $15
BOOKINGS: www.bakehousetheatre.com or at the door (subject to availability)

We do not take phone bookings, seating is general admission, latecomers will not be admitted.

Original message Copyright © 2015 Unseen Theatre Company, All rights reserved.
wossname: (GNU Terry Pratchett)
Cover, cover, who's got the cover... or is it? Time will tell...

Also on Thursday 4th June: the release of Corgi's paperback edition of the adorable Dragons at Crumbling Castle. Just the thing for your wee'uns' summer reading - or yours!

Dragons at Crumbling Castle is priced at £6.99. For more information, and to buy (in-house 'Buy' button is located on the page), go to

wossname: Clacks rendering of SPEAK HIS NAME to keep Pratchett on the Overhead (Default)
Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
June 2014 (Volume 17, Issue 6, post 1)





"I have been blessed with good fortune in my life. I've turned a passion into a profession."

– Terry Pratchett, on accepting his first non-European honorary doctorate

"I'm sorry. I know that I am a small, weak man, but I have amassed a large library; I dream of dangerous places."

– AE Pessimal in Snuff (p. 186, Doubleday hardcover)



All my life, I've taken my job seriously. Whether the work was paid (e.g. career) or unpaid (e.g. WOSSNAME), I always applied myself to the best of my ability. That application had much to do with why I did well in my former career, and I've continued doing my best to *do* my best as editor/publisher of the WOSSNAME newsletter even though my physical health is dodgy, my financial situation dodgier, and my mental health generally a Don't Arsk. But although I took on WOSSNAME as a favour to Joe-the-founder and have kept it going with less and less volunteer "staff" since his death a few years ago, my promise to Joe isn't the only reason I carry on here – I do WOSSNAME as a thank-you to Terry Pratchett, the man and the brand, for bringing so much delight and so much satisfaction to my life through his writings and for being one of the most awesome and influential popular philosophers of our time.

When I tell people Terry Pratchett ruined me for almost all other authors' work, I am not only dead serious but am also making that claim on the basis of a vast amount of comparative study: I've read many thousands of books over the decades. No, really. I taught myself to read at an early age, have ever been a fast reader with comprehensive, long-lasting content retention, and truly did spend much of my childhood inhaling every library I could get my eyes on (most of the rest of my time was spent marathoning and nature- watching; I may not have been the world's only child XD runner with a rucksack full of books, but I suspect we're a fairly rare occurrence), so by my early teens I had all the seminal and mid- period science fiction and fantasy "giants", long lists of other genre fiction, forests-worth of big-L Literature and vast mountains of pulp – not to mention far greater amounts of nonfiction – under my reading belt. And unsurprisingly, as the years went on and the list of authors sampled grew, my expectations rose with the height of my Already Read That pile.

And then came Terry Pratchett.

I used to think Wodehouse was the pinnacle of jaunty wit – until Pratchett. I used to think Tom Sharpe was the apex of trenchant social satire – until Pratchett. I even used to think Robert Rankin rather rocked – until Pratchett. And so on. I fell in love with the Discworld series and grew more and more wide-eyed as the power of Pratchett's writing kept on increasing, as he slipped more and more powerful characterisations and observations into the novels without ever losing the weirdly innocent charm of the Discverse itself. And then he wrote Night Watch, and pretty much blew away all the other science fiction writers. And then he wrote Nation, and moved me so with its story – and most of all with its magnificently real characters – that I cried myself sick on my first three readings of it, and yearly re-readings still choke me up something rotten. And then he wrote Dodger, and transported us to the muck and magic of nineteenth-century London in the most rollicking picaresque since Fielding's Tom Jones romped across the public imagination some 250-odd years ago.

Terry Pratchett's ability to draw us a living, breathing character in the space of a sentence or two continues to amaze me. Even the most secondary characters, from long-ago Mended Drum owner Hibiscus Dunelm to minor Agatean bureaucrat Six Beneficent Winds, from "Bill Door"'s fellow farm labourers to the least memorable member of the Silver Horde, from Tawneee the unworldly stripper to "winkle-stall queen" Verity Pushpram, spring instantly into fully realised 3-D on the mental screen. Consider Roland's father, dying Baron of the Chalk: we hardly got to "see" him in the Tiffany Aching books, yet his presence was so vibrant, so *alive* – and his death so filled with light and hope and welcome resolution – that it gutted me. Consider Angua's mother: sketchily drawn yet real enough that we could see in her the sources of so much of Angua's personal anxieties and Wolfgang's over-indulged arrogance. Consider goblin Billy Slick's great-grandmother, the alcohol-soaked but needle-sharp Regret of the Falling Leaf. Consider Brick the foundling troll, overwhelmed by life in the big city, drug-addled and none too bright yet sensitive enough to recognise the subtle distinctions of moral conflict. Consider Mrs Colon, never seen but easily pictured. Or Miss Healstether. Or the Smoking Gnu. Or Kelda Jeannie. Or the rat- catchers in TAMAHER, real enough to smell and far more menacing than any throwaway comedy villains have a right to be. Or... the list goes on and on. Pratchett's greatest strength, and many agree with me on this, lies in his ability to present all those living, breathing, utterly sympathetic characters in a way that feels effortless, straight out of his imagination into our hearts.

And then I read The Long War, and Terry Pratchett's writing brought me to tears again, but this time for a very different reason.

All of the above is my long-winded way of saying that I simply cannot, in conscience, write a truthful review of The Long War because I can't find anything good to say about it, despite having promised last month to include a review in the June issue. I feel awful about this. I feel like some kind of traitor. I feel like I'm biting the hand that's fed my Happy Reading Place for almost thirty years. But I can't squeeze out enough juice to make the proverbial lemonade, because The Long War feels nothing like Terry Pratchett's writing and nothing like a book I'd wish to recommend to friends or strangers. I found it even drier and more lifeless than The Long Earth. I found the characters even more cipher-like, with not the slightest touch of the *aliveness* that pervades all the rest of Pratchett's creations. And no, it's not a matter of different genres, as I suggested in my review of The Long Earth two years ago, nor is it a matter of time and PCA changing the author's style – as far as I'm concerned, Snuff and Raising Steam and all the rest of his recent work still fills my world with shining, sparkling wordcraft.

So I've bowed out of this one, Readers, even though it breaks my heart. I've decided to repost my review of The Long Earth, as just about every criticism I offered in reviewing the first book of the series holds for the second, and have passed reviewing duties for The Long War over to one of WOSSNAME's few remaining staff members (see item 7).

Dear Sir Pterry and Team Pratchett, please don't hate me, 'k? I shall continue to do my best to pay respects to that enormous body of awesome work. The flame still burns!


And the flame *does* still burn, in the form of WOSSNAME's review of Jack Dodger's Guide to London. It's a bit of a love letter from the heart, and no lemons required squeezing in its making. See item 5...


As an ever greater number of amateur dramatic companies and student drama projects choose to present Discworld plays, the quality of the productions continues to rise. I normally present Discworld plays without concentrating on any particular productions, but I have to say that Australia's "Unseen Theatre" company deserves an extra nod of appreciation for their presentations, and now, to judge by reviews and other reactions, the Lifeline Theatre of Chicago deserves a nod as well for their current staging of Monstrous Regiment. Do be sure to read the reviews for that production and for Unseen Theatre's recent production of Thief of Time, below in section 6!

And speaking of Unseen Theatre, auditions are continuing for their forthcoming production of The Last Continent. Many roles were filled during yesterday's auditions, but not all of them. Director Pamela Munt writes, "Unfortunately we didn't quite fill all of the roles that we have for "The Last Continent" at auditions today. So we will be holding a second round of auditions next Sunday 7th July. We do have enough females. We are now just looking for a couple more males. If you would like to audition please contact Pamela by email at pamela@unseen.com.au This time you will need to make a specific appointment for your audition."

If you're an aspiring Fourecksian luvvy, and want more details, go to:



This seems a good time to remind everyone that the gorgeous Gollancz Discworld Collector's Edition reissues of earlier Discworld novels are almost all, erm, reissued! Still to come in July are the rest of the Lancre Witches books (Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade), and in August, the reissues finish with The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic. These smaller-format hardcovers are still priced at £9.99 each, and so worth it – I don't know about you, but my own early Discworld paperbacks are now several steps beyond dog-eared, foxed, badgered, wolved and Things from the Dungeon Dimensions-battered. As these reissues remain unavailable for purchase in USA/Canada due to the frustrating niceties of the publishing industry, but there's always that handy internet whatchmajig that might prove helpful... according to the official Gollancz blog, "Many of you are asking whether the series will continue after Jingo. The short answer is: we don’t know. The slightly longer answer is that we do not control rights in any of the Discworld books after Jingo; they are published by Transworld. At the moment, we know of no firm plans on their part to continue the Collector’s Library, but if that changes we’ll certainly note it on the Gollancz blog."

For a full list of the published and about to be published reissues, go to:


And now it's on with the show...

– Annie Mac, Editor




"2040-2045: In the years after the cataclysmic Yellowstone eruption there is massive economic dislocation as populations flee Datum Earth to myriad Long Earth worlds. Sally, Joshua, and Lobsang are all involved in this perilous work when, out of the blue, Sally is contacted by her long-vanished father and inventor of the original Stepper device, Willis Linsay. He tells her he is planning a fantastic voyage across the Long Mars and wants her to accompany him. But Sally soon learns that Willis has ulterior motives ...

"Meanwhile U. S. Navy Commander Maggie Kauffman has embarked on an incredible journey of her own, leading an expedition to the outer limits of the far Long Earth.

"For Joshua, the crisis he faces is much closer to home. He becomes embroiled in the plight of the Next: the super-bright post-humans who are beginning to emerge from their 'long childhood' in the community called Happy Landings, located deep in the Long Earth. Ignorance and fear are causing 'normal' human society to turn against the Next - and a dramatic showdown seems inevitable

The Long Mars has been released this week in the UK. The hardcover version is priced at £9.00 on amazon.co.uk:


...or at £12.99 via the far less morally grey Waterstones:



"A generation after the events of The Long Earth, mankind has spread across the new worlds opened up by Stepping. Where Joshua and Lobsang once pioneered, now fleets of airships link the stepwise Americas with trade and culture. Mankind is shaping the Long Earth ? but in turn the Long Earth is shaping mankind ...

"A new 'America', called Valhalla, is emerging more than a million steps from Datum Earth, with core American values restated in the plentiful environment of the Long Earth ? and Valhalla is growing restless under the control of the Datum government...

"Meanwhile the Long Earth is suffused by the song of the trolls, graceful hive-mind humanoids. But the trolls are beginning to react to humanity?s thoughtless exploitation...

"Joshua, now a married man, is summoned by Lobsang to deal with a gathering multiple crisis that threatens to plunge the Long Earth into a war unlike any mankind has waged before."

For more information, and to order:



By Beth Wyatt on London 24:

"The Long Mars, the third in a bestselling series by fantasy genius Terry Pratchett and science fiction star Stephen Baxter, follows the subsequent years through a variety of narrative threads. US Navy commander Maggie Kauffman leads her crew along the Long Earth on two airships, in an attempt to surpass the Chinese record set five years previously of 20 million 'stepwise' Earths. An expedition is also to be had for Sally Linsay, who is contacted out of the blue by her father Willis, the inventor of the original Stepper device, with a tantalising offer to go where none have dared dream of – the Long Mars. But will they find anything worth discovering? And what are Willis' motives? Meanwhile, Joshua Valiente is alerted to the existence of a new civilisation of super-smart humans and becomes pulled into the resulting conflict. Each of the threads, which eventually begin to pull together at the end of the novel, are equally as gripping. The discoveries made on the expeditions are jaw-dropping and, as you would expect from a science fiction novel, are intelligently explained rather than just shoehorned in... Pratchett's trademark playful wit combines with Baxter's science fiction expertise later on with creatures such as a dog-human species, a murderous crustacean and a flying reptile. Not many other writers could introduce such wacky creations and make them believable... With a collaborative novel, there is a worry that the tale may not flow, but Pratchett and Baxter's voices blend seamlessly..."



Stephen Baxter discusses his collaboration with Sir Pterry on the Long Earth books:

"It quickly emerged that we had quite different writing styles. The Long Earth (as it became) is a kind of extended landscape which you could map, and as the series went on it evolved a history spanning decades, so from the beginning I showed up with sketch maps and timelines, all subject to revision but settings for the stories we would tell. This was 'hard SF' after all, SF of the kind I'd always written, where you stick to the laws of physics (given the odd tweak such as the existence of the parallel worlds in the first place) and you convince the reader through internal consistency. Whereas Terry likes to find his way into a story by following the people: give him two characters sitting in a room and the story will come, he says. As it's worked out, the tensions between the two methods have basically been constructive... I remember a moment when it came together. We sat before his voice-recognition computer system and worked through a revision of Terry's early material, as our Daniel Boone-like hero Joshua Valiente is summoned to the presence of the mysterious artificial intelligence Lobsang for the first time. Terry veered off unexpectedly into a flashback to Joshua's past, when he was a troubled thirteen-year-old on 'Step Day', the day when the Long Earth suddenly opened up for mankind. Terry likes to drill down into the heads of his characters; I think young Joshua had something in common with Tiffany Aching. We had Joshua saving other, less capable kids who got lost in the forests of the parallel worlds – and then I took over, thinking of my world mappings, and had Joshua go off alone deeper into the Long Earth... I think we became confident that this had worked; we had put Terry's characterisation, humour and wisdom together with my sense of the hard-SF structure necessary for establishing the universe of the Long Earth..."





Nice coverage of that newest honorary degree:

"UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd, who presented the award to him in the United Kingdom, says Terry Pratchett is a clear example of someone who has stayed true to his passion. 'Terry brings his immeasurable talent and intellect to doing what he loves – he has produced an enormous body of work that continues to delight and inspire millions of readers and writers around the world,' Prof Lloyd says. 'His contribution not only to literature, but also to the causes about which he is passionate, is enormous and has been rightly acknowledged in literary prizes, through sales and in awards such as this one.' Prof Lloyd says the University is delighted that Terry has accepted the title of Honorary Doctor, his first award of this type from outside the UK and Ireland. 'This brings Terry into the UniSA community in a more personal way and brings our students and the wider University closer to the life of a great writer and a great man,' Prof Lloyd says..."



Reviewed by Kate Padilla on Authorlink:

"What a treat for a book reviewer to receive a book in a genre not normally sought and embark on a literary journey. English author Terry Pratchett, who created the Discworld Series (40 volumes with sales up to 85 million copies) has just released, 'The Folklore of Discworld,' co-written with British folklorist Jacqueline Simpson. It is a detailed reference book of legends, myths and customs from 'planet earth' that Pratchett links to his fantasy world... The sensational core of the series are characters who live on Discworld — dwarfs, witches, vampires, gods and other creatures... I discovered Discworld can lead you along a path of laughter and a trip into a joyful magical mystical world."



Does Iceland need to put up Dancers? They certainly have Lancre's gnarly ground...

"Plans to build a new road in Iceland ran into trouble recently when campaigners warned that it would disturb elves living in its path. Construction work had to be stopped while a solution was found... Surveys suggest that more than half of Icelanders believe in, or at least entertain the possibility of the existence of, the Huldufolk – the hidden people. Just to be clear, Icelandic elves are not the small, green, pointy-eared variety that help Santa pack the toys at Christmas – they're the same size as you and I, they're just invisible to most of us. Mainly they're a peaceable breed but if you treat them with disrespect, for example by blasting dynamite through their rock houses and churches, they're not reticent about showing their displeasure.

"Iceland's rugged landscape is no bucolic idyll – the very ground boils and spits irrationally, the surrounding craggy, black mountains fester menacingly and above, the sky is constantly herniated by the iron-grey clouds it strains to hold up. It's a visceral, raw and brutal beauty which makes Heathcliff's Wuthering Heights look like a prissy, pastoral watercolour. "You can't live in this landscape and not believe in a force greater than you," explains Professor of Folklore Adalheidur Gudmundsdottir..."



"We spoke briefly about her father, Terry Pratchett. Did having such a famous author as a father influence her at all? 'I'm not sure how much he influenced me to go into writing. He certainly didn't actively encourage it. I guess it was just in the blood.' Indeed, the relationship between Rhianna and her father is much more complex than a literary dynasty: 'I'm immensely proud of what my father has achieved in his career, but I see him as being my dad first and foremost, not 'Terry Pratchett' [the] famous author. He's the man who built me Moomin Valley out of papier-mache, taught me how to milk goats and who took me out of bed in the middle of the night to see glow worms and Halley's comet...'"



A University of Edinburgh study has shown that learning a second language, even in late adulthood, might delay the onset of dementia by several years:

"The findings indicate that those who spoke two or more languages had significantly better cognitive abilities compared to what would have been expected from their baseline test. The strongest effects were seen in general intelligence and reading. The effects were present in those who learned their second language early, as well as later in life."

So... hands up, all you over-40s who want to learn how to speak fluent Nac Mac Feegle!

If you wish to read the full article, it's here: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-27634990



By Annie Mac

I'm not sure what astonished me more about Jack Dodger's Guide to London – the realisation that I never got around to posting a review of it in WOSSNAME, or the discovery that hardly anyone else out in the wider world appears to have reviewed it. Oh, woe! And waily waily! And I can't be having with this! So...

As we sit in our comfortable homes with all the "mod cons" we take for granted now – well-caulked roofs, good insulation, hot and cold running water, mains gas and electricity, working flush toilets – and our easy access to effective medical treatment, fresh food and clean clothing (and let's not forget the vital work of the refuse collectors, street-sweepers and all the other municipal toilers who make even relatively low-income neighbourhoods far more salubrious places to be in than anywhere anyone but the richest, most powerful people could manage two centuries ago), it can be hard to imagine just how dirty and dangerous London life was in the days of Dodger and his contemporaries. Jack Dodger's Guide to London, filled with historical facts, legends and anecdotes and enlivened by frequent quotes from Sir Jack Dodger himself (based, it says on the cover, on his "original notes"), goes a long and entertaining way towards showing the differences between then and now. The book's 138 pages and twenty-four chapterlets cover many areas of everyday life amongst the high and low of Victorian London: coin of the realm, street vernacular, the Ragged Schools, the Royal Family, underwear and outerwear; details of shopping and housekeeping, crime and the law, and what it was like to live in the slums; transport, public works, entertainments of the time; and various other aspects of Victorian London – including of course the lives of sailors, Seamstresses, dock-workers... and toshers. Special highlights for me were extracts from the actual works of the real Henry Mayhew, and reprints of news items of the time (none of them, sadly, written by Charlie Dickens).

Apart from its oodles of info, Dodger's Guide is a visually delightful piece of art in its own right, styled to match the previous entry in the series that now includes Where's My Cow? and The World of Poo. From the old-fashioned, gilt-decorated matte covers and equally old-fashioned-looking (and Greenpeace approved) renewably sourced paper to the new illustrations by Paul Kidby plus a wealth of reproduced 19th century images and beautifully varied layouts and fonts – as it says at the front of the book, "Considered trifles courtesy of The Discworld Emporium, Wincanton, Somerset... Text design by Lizzy Laczynska... Picture research by Liane Payne" – the book is worth owning for its aesthetic qualities alone, never mind the fun and cheerful faux-Victorian stylings of its content.

The penultimate and final pages of Jack Dodger's Guide to London offer a bibliography and list of internet sources for those of you who might like to take your 19th-century London researches further. I would also recommend some books I own and websites I visit, that provide contemporary-to-us sources of London images and information that fit in nicely with the theme of Dodger's Guide – particularly Geoffrey Fletcher's exquisite short book The London Nobody Knows, which was first published at the end of the 1950s and gives a very good picture, via Fletcher's descriptions and sketches of the remnants of Victorian and Edwardian London, of what life was like in times closer to Dodger's era; Paul Talling's Lost Rivers of London (Talling also runs the excellent if heart-rending, at least to us former London residents, website Derelict London); the website http ://the-east-end.co.uk/and its Twitter account, @The_East_End; and Catharine Arnold's very engaging factual histories of London, including "Necropolis (London and its Dead)", "City of Sin (London and its Vice)", and "Bedlam (London and its Mad)". Another related group of interest is the Ragged Victorians, a sort of social-history Peeled Nuts who assemble in costume, "Using original resources, and the works of Henry Mayhew and Charles Dickens..." to "achieve the most authentic impression, of what life was like in the 1840/50s"; their website can be found at http://www.raggedvictorians.co.uk/

Jack Dodger's Guide to London is a Small but Perfectly Formed(TM) gem of the first water. It shines like golden sovereigns embedded in a tosheroon. If you haven't read and collected it yet, I suggest you do so without delay!


Here be a review of Dodger's Guide on SFF World, by Mark Yon:


...and one at concatenation.org by Peter Tyers:





"Our next play, (by popular vote) will be a return to "The Last Continent" which was a world premiere for us back in 2009... It's actually quite appropriate as it turns out that we are doing a play about Ecks, Ecks, Ecks because Terry has been awarded an honorary doctorate from UniSA."

When: 19th September through 4th October 2014
Venue: The Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas Street, Adelaide, South Australia 5000
Time: TBA
Tickets: Pricing TBA



More reviews of Unseen Theatre's latest production...

By Benjamin Orchard for Adelaide Theatre Guide:

"Pamela Munt, in adapting the novel for the stage, provides newbies like myself with just enough world-building exposition to get by… but only just. I found the first ten minutes or so of this play to be a bit of a jumble, and I would have appreciated a somewhat more detailed explanation as to the intricacies of this world. Fortunately, once the main plot kicks into gear, the play becomes somewhat easier to follow and Munt's script captures Pratchett's greatest strength as a writer, namely his gift for dialogue that is at once gleefully absurd and bitingly witty. This sublime wordplay is buoyed by an impassioned cast, ensuring that many scenes are hilariously entertaining to watch, even if they don't completely make sense and serve no purpose in driving the narrative forward.

"The talented ensemble assumes multiple roles, Monty Python style, with chameleonic finesse, but a few performances stand out more than others. Leighton James is endearingly adorkable as both the naive clockmaker, Jeremy, who is unwittingly recruited by malevolent otherworldly beings to construct a doomsday device and as novice monk, Lobsang, who is entrusted with the daunting quest of preventing the apocalypse. Philip Lineton has laconic charm to spare as Lobsang's aging mentor, Lu-Tze, whose sage wisdom is often filtered through bizarre 'Karate Kid' style housework metaphors. Hugh O'Connor is surprisingly amiable as Death, and together with the other Four Horsemen (Lewis Baker, Tony Cockington, Daniel McInnes, Samuel Creighton) generate an off-kilter chemistry reminiscent of an over-the-hill rock band on a reunion tour. Amelia Lorien is deliciously snarky as Death's granddaughter, Susan, and the filmed narration by Melanie Lyons is a hoot, her relaxed, casual tone adding an extra layer of humour to many life or death situations in the story..."


By Peter Bleby on aussietheatre.com.au:

"Pamela Munt and The Unseen Theatre Company are to be commended on even attempting to bring this world premiere to the stage. It is not their first either, but this 26th novel in the Discworld series is a particularly difficult one, perhaps especially if you have not read several of its predecessors. Pratchett's writing, though very popular, is not necessarily everybody's cup of what-you-will. But there is always genuine humour, serious inquiry, and crazy fantasy, and these elements are well portrayed in this adaptation... Naturally, this play is surreal, disjointed, quirky and full of non–sequiturs, which must have made learning the lines a bigger challenge, which this cast has mastered well..."


By Stephen Davenport for Indaily:

"As usual, the production combines all the best elements of the company to produce a satisfyingly paced piece that ranks among Pamela Munt's, and her players', best episodes. It is an enjoyable romp. Discworld fans – and many round-world patrons – will find it an absolute treat. This is an impressive play with a good deal of aptitude in the troupe; and each performer is truly striking. It's surprising what substance in presentation can do to bring complex plots, entire continents, and even the whole of space and time, to life. Of course, the play is a quest with comical heroes, sagacity, and satire, but this time, it comes with an unusual philosophical outlook, that fortunately doesn't detract from the hilarity. Much of the success is due to the hearty direction by Munt who's adaptation gives the piece a suitable depth and yet doesn't ignore the essence of Pratchett's humour. She delivers a fairy-tale for adults, utilising the author's astonishing work of imagination to yield fastidious absurdity and soul in every particular, impeccably produced scene..."



Rave reviews – quite savvy ones as well!

Kelsey Jorissen in the Chicago Reader:

"Hainsworth has done a fine job of translating Pratchett's amiable cynicism into sharp theatrical language. His adaptation is witty on its own account and only slightly overlong at two and a half hours. But it's Theis's ensemble that bring even the undead to vivid, entertaining life. Starting out jet-set smooth and uber-vampire confident, Michaela Petro suffers amusingly when severe caffeine deprivation brings Maladict this close to breaking his blood- temperance oath. Justine Turner acts her way through thick layers of gray foam costuming to create a droll troll. And Katie McLean Hainsworth steals a whole slew of scenes as Igor the, uh, Igor. Robert Kauzlaric builds an engagingly clueless lieutenant out of air quotes, while Christopher M. Walsh supplies unexpected nuance and a large measure of heart as the squad's tough, genial NCO. Sarah Price's Polly is as plucky as she needs to be — and yet her main virtue isn't heroism or even likability, but the way she invites us into her adventure..."


By Barbara Vitello in the Chicago Daily Herald:

"Taking its title from John Knox's 16th-century tirade against female sovereigns ('The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women'), in which he argues gender makes women unsuitable leaders, the play satirizes gender roles. It also serves as a caustic rebuke of war, blind patriotism and persistent stupidity – all of which make this 'Regiment' resonant... Facing defeat and with their ranks depleted, army recruiters seek out young soldiers willing to enlist in Borogravia's latest struggle against neighboring Zlobenia. Among them is Polly Perks (Sarah Price, a winningly winsome waif), who cuts her hair, dons a pair of breeches, changes her name to Oliver and joins the army to find her wayward brother (also a recruit) and bring him home. She's assigned to a ragtag regiment, whose recruits are as green as she is. Among them is aristocratic vampire Maladict (Michaela Petro, all refined menace), who swore off blood in favor of coffee; Igor (great work from Katie McLean Hainsworth), a hunchback medic with a talent for stitching together bodies; and the slightly dim troll Carborundum (the affable, amusing Justine C. Turner), who enlists under the army's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. This motley band of "brothers" includes Melissa Engle's pious Wazzer, a Joan of Arc-like character who hears the voice of Borogravia's revered Duchess... Rounding out the regiment dubbed monstrous is the self-contained Lofty (Mandy Walsh) and the defiant Tonker (passionately played by Kim Boler), who expresses in simple terms the frustration of the powerless... Leading the untrained, poorly outfitted regiment is the gruff, battle-hardened, unfailingly decent Sgt. Jackrum, played with equal parts compassion and ruthlessness by Christopher M. Walsh. Walsh brings real pathos. Also on hand is Jackrum's weaselly corporal Strappi (John Ferrick) and their commanding officer, the dapper, befuddled Lt. Blouse (the hilarious Robert Kauzlaric), a dandy eager for glory... At two and a half hours including intermission, the play is overly long and needs trimming. But that's a minor point in what is a major delight from a company renowned for its page-to-stage translations..."


By Kerry Reid in the Chicago Tribune:

"I've yet to get my literary passport stamped for Terry Pratchett's "Discworld." But after seeing Lifeline Theatre's marvelous production of "Monstrous Regiment," the 31st novel in Pratchett's hugely popular series about life on a flat planet whose inhabitants' foibles are suspiciously similar to our own, I'm ready to book passage on the S.S. Pratchett... As I've not read the source novel, I can't vouch for how much adapter Chris Hainsworth had to leave on the cutting-room floor, but from reading online summaries, my guess is 'a lot.' My judgment is that it doesn't matter. As a Pratchett newbie, I had no problem entering into this topsy-turvy world for two-plus hours and following the ins and outs of its backstory... The best thing about Hainsworth's script and director Kevin Theis' crackerjack staging is that it manages to fully inhabit the realm of the ridiculous while tipping its hat to Pratchett's essentially humanist/feminist concerns. Somehow, as Iraq falls into even greater sectarian violence, a play rife with grotesque absurdity (soldiers dining on horsemeat and clothed in the blood-soaked uniforms of dead comrades) about a never-ending war waged on behalf of the probably- dead duchess of the aforementioned Borogravia seems wholly apropos... The anti-war and anti-violence sentiments in the script, updated by Hainsworth with references to 'shock and awe' and 'don't ask, don't tell,' are handled with offhanded aplomb that keep them from feeling like cheap sloganeering... If there has been a more accomplished comedic ensemble on a Chicago stage this year, I've not seen it..."


By Mary Shen Barnidge for the Windy City Media Group:

"Those familiar with the literary career of Terry Pratchett (who commands his own yearly international conference in the UK) know to expect sly social commentary in the guise of a mock-epic fantasy structured with the slapdash glee of a Dungeons and Dragons tournament. For those encountering the exhaustive Discworld series for the first time (like me), Chris Hainsworth's adaptation deftly avoids becoming bogged down in arcane backstories from previous volumes to locate us firmly in the present, the Balkanesque conflicts providing a canvas for discussion of war's eternal stupidity. This is no windy allegorical polemic, however. Under Kevin Theis' direction, this motley band of, uh, brothers emerges as a gang of live-action cartoons, with smart, slapstick antics always grounded in individual personalities... The wordplay likewise brims with the delight of an author who obviously loves his language, replete with puns and allusions inserted so unobtrusively as to register without stopping the flow of the action, as well as a dry humor ('I've starved before,' Sgt. Jackrum warns his troops, 'There's no future in it') refreshingly devoid of the juvenile snark too often infecting sword-and-sorcery satire. The swift physical pace would mean nothing without verbal agility as well, but Lifeline's dream-team ensemble never misses a step..."


Also, a piece about the genesis of the production, by Myrna Petlicki for Sun-Times Media:

"Kevin Theis had never heard of Terry Pratchett's Discworld fantasy novels when Lifeline Theatre asked him to direct 'Monstrous Regiment.' 'I only became a fan of the series as a result of working on this play,' the Oak Park resident said. Theis read the source novel and one other book in the series and was drawn to the author's humor. 'He's a really, really funny writer,' Theis said. 'The world he's created is so freeing to an author. He basically says there are no rules. In Discworld if you believe in something strong enough, it comes true... Chris Hainsworth, who did the adaptation, is a big fan,' Theis noted. 'He has read all the Discworld books and is a repository of all Discworld knowledge...' Theis believes that this satire on war is especially relevant to our situation in America. 'We're about to come to the end of our longest war in history,' he said of the combat in Afghanistan. 'And the idea that we must stop this war is a huge theme of 'Monstrous Regiment.' Satire is an important element in the books of Discworld and there's lots of humor in this play but Theis insists that the show goes deeper than that..."



The Monstrous Regiment production has created such a sensation that its season is being extended into August due to demand! Read all about it in Broadway World:

"To accommodate extraordinary ticket demand, Lifeline Theatre announces ten added performances of its Jeff Recommended, critically-acclaimed world premiere adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment, by ensemble member Chris Hainsworth, directed by Kevin Theis (two-time Non-Equity Jeff Award nominee)... Monstrous Regiment now runs through August 3 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. (free parking and shuttle; see below). Performance times are Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 4 p.m. Note: there is no performance on Friday, July 4."


When: now, and up until 20th July 2014
Venue: Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N Glenwood Ave, Chicago, IL, 60626 Telephone 773-761-4477
Time: evenings at 7.30pm on Thursdays and Fridays and at 8pm on Saturdays; matinees at 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The production runs two and a half hours with one intermission. The book will be on sale in the lobby.
Tickets: $40 for regular single tickets, $30 for seniors, $20 for students (with I.D.), and $20 for rush tickets (available half hour before show time, subject to availability). Group rate for 12 or more is available upon request. Tickets may be purchased at the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477, or by visiting www.lifelinetheatre.com


A review of Mort at The Little Theatre by the Park, Chesham, by Rita Carpenter for the Bucks Free Press (Sir Pterry's old workplace):

"With a great many fairy tale characters, some superb costumes and strong performances the play went along at a cracking pace. Produced by Katherine Coburn and directed by Jonathan Coburn the group is very family orientated and this was evident by how many family members were taking part. The lighting and sound effects were superb and with 26 scenes it was amazing how well everything flowed. With a minimalistic set the scenes were depicted by clever lighting and props which appeared and disappeared swiftly adding to the magic of the production. There were not many youngsters in the audience indeed there were more on stage and I would have liked to have seen more but the ones I spoke to during the interval all agreed that they were really enjoying the play..."



Last month's Jadis Shadows production of Wyrd Sisters at Old Joint Stock, Birmingham, reviewed by Selwyn Knight on The Public Reviews:

"As with many of Pratchett's stories, themes from this world are skilfully placed into the Discworld to provide entertainment and comic effect. In The Wyrd Sisters, there are several Shakespearian themes, most noticeably from King Lear, Hamlet and Macbeth, though Pratchett superbly debunks the witches' scenes as the older, more experienced witches play down any need for melodrama when invoking magic... This is quite a wide ranging story and there are some potentially questionable directorial decisions: it's made clear that all female characters in the travelling players' troupe are traditionally played by men, but it's not obvious what the director hoped to achieve by casting a male duchess alongside female witches. The set is also very busy with unused items littering the back wall, some of which only make a single appearance, but remain in vision throughout. Indeed, the scene changes lack fluidity, and, unless it is mentioned in conversation, it is rarely obvious in which location we find ourselves. This lack of fluidity is a factor in the show's main weakness – it is simply too long... The finest performances come from the three witches, with Granny Weatherwax maintaining her sardonic demeanour exceptionally well throughout, Nanny Ogg giving every indication of enjoying the drunken life of loose morals and Magrat remaining idealistic and naive, even as she and the Fool take their first tentative steps towards romance. Indeed, the Fool is a lynchpin of the whole piece and clearly rather more intelligent than first meets the eye..."





By Annie Mac

A few weeks ago, I went to see The Avengers, the Joss Whedon- scripted and directed superhero film. I like superhero films as a rule, I grew up reading and loving Marvel comics, and I have been in awe of Joss Whedon's writing and directing skills for many years now, so my expectations were fairly high. And here's a funny thing: I said, as my friends and I watched the closing credits, "That may well be the definitive superhero movie"; I was sufficiently impressed to go back to see it again (with mostly different companions) two weeks later; I intend to buy the DVD of it and watch it repeatedly over the years... and yet my one-sentence summary of The Avengers was "Joss Whedon is such a genius that he *almost* managed to make a silk purse." – because for all its clever writing, fantastically witty dialogue and exquisite direction, cinematography, editing and special effects, it simply did not touch my heart as completely as the X-Men films have done.

So what has this to do with The Long Earth?

Well. In a brief mention in last month's issue, shortly after my first reading of the book, I described The Long Earth as "a fast, exciting piece of storytelling" containing "fascinating ideas, great imagery, and some very memorable characters". All of that is true, but The Long Earth also is not without its flaws, and those flaws mean that this unquestionably well-crafted and clever novel ultimately failed to lift and fill my heart in the way that Terry Pratchett's other work always does.

Before I go any further, Reader, I'll stop right here and acknowledge that some things I perceived as flaws may not be considered flaws by some of you – read on to the section about characters – but no, it isn't a matter of The Long Earth being in a different genre. There has been much trumpeting here and there along the lines of "Terry Pratchett's writing is taking a new direction: he's doing science fiction now!"; but for many of us, this announcement sounds daft, because we know that Terry Pratchett has been writing – and releasing – some fine, fine science fiction novels and shorter pieces for decades, among them The Dark Side of the Sun and Strata (early-career but promising), the Johnny Maxwell trilogy (especially the first and third books), Night Watch (science fiction plus Literature-quality sociopolitics and psychology, cleverly disguised as a fabulous Discworld novel), and one of my own all-time favourite science fiction short stories, *#ifdef DEBUG + "world/enough" + "time"* (which I rate at least as highly as Robert Heinlein's classic "By His Bootstraps").

Let's be honest: there's no way to critique a new Pratchett novel, in any genre, without comparing it to his extant body of work – or, for that matter, without comparing it to any previous Pratchett collaborations – and by that yardstick The Long Earth doesn't quite measure up to most of the author's previous brilliance. But given what we already know of Terry Pratchett's mighty writing-fu, I cannot help but lay the blame this time at the feet of co-writer Stephen Baxter.

Baxter's strong suit has always been the Big Idea, most notably that of a technological advance that effectively rewrites human society at a fundamental level, and he does it well, but he suffers from the typical science fiction writer's weakness when it comes to putting flesh on the bones of the story. A good example would be The Light of Other Days, another collaborative novel (written, or at least co- created, with Arthur C. Clarke): fabulous ideas set down masterfully but let down somewhat by flat, poorly realised characters. In the case of Baxter and Clarke, you have two bone-dry ideas men with little grasp of how to create living, breathing characters, so this is unsurprising. In the case of Baxter and Pratchett, you have a bone-dry ideas man and a master of character depth, character motivation and sparkling dialogue exchanges – and yet the end result lacks that depth and sparkle that I expect from anything Terry Pratchett has a hand in.

But that doesn't mean this review is a negative one. It really doesn't. So let's start with the general and the positive, shall we? To wit:

The Long Earth is a science fiction novel, very much so, well into the realm of ideas-driven "hard" science fiction, and it delivers the aforementioned fascinating ideas and great imagery. It gives excellent new twists to well-trodden speculative concepts. It also presents what has to be one of the most, if not the most, bizarre accoutrements to interuniversal travel and demonstrates likely social and political changes in a well-thought-out manner. The actual wordcraft is miles above almost all other science fiction (not that we would expect any less here). In short, it does what it says on the tin, and on that level it works very well indeed.

Plot is not a particularly strong point, but this is often the case with ideas-driven fiction. As most of you already know from The Long Earth's long promotional run-up, the story revolves around a homemade device, freely and anonymously released on the internet, that allows its user to "Step" to and from alternate Earths in alternate universes, and the ways this simple technology changes, well, everything. We are shown the chaos, terror and joy of "Step Day", the attempts of various nations' authorities to deal with the opening of this ultimate frontier, the ways in which human nature asserts itself in the same old manner even in the face of the new, and the desolation of those who for unexplained reasons are physically unable to Step. Beyond that, The Long Earth is the story of two entities who set out together on an exploring trip to the furthest reaches of the "High Meggas", a million or more Earths beyond our own "Datum Earth" – Joshua, a hyperintelligent, talented, methodical and rather obnoxious young man who was born under very unusual circumstances, prefers his own company to the extreme, and craves the Silence (no, not what you Doctor Who fans are thinking), and Lobsang, an even more intelligent, talented, methodical and rather obnoxious AI who is legally human (and yes, he has a certificate of sorts to prove it; now where have we read that one before, hmm...) – and whom and what they find along their way.

There is humour, though much of it feels slightly out of place and does not meld as well as it could have with the rest of the "feel" of the narrative. There is drama, though precious little of it. Some guns of the Chekhov variety (Anton, not Pavel, in case you wondered) are drawn but never fired – though in fairness, this is the first of a multi-volume tale, so the reader has no way of knowing whether the unfired guns are an oversight or merely a long-term, teasing set-up for later parts of the story arc. Oh, and the book ends on a cliffhanger. A big cliffhanger. A really big cliffhanger. Argh!

Speaking of guns, there aren't any on the alternate Earths, at least not until settlers construct the necessaries to mine and refine metals. But guns are hardly the only source of danger amongst humans. The Long Earth seemed to have an unrealistic dearth of violence – yes, the idea of having one's own unspoilt and possibly untenanted (by humans, at any rate) planet would charm many, but human nature is illogical at best and "I was here first!" would surely take precedence, with people preferring to fight for *this* or *that* Earth rather than to move along to the next empty planet. There are mentions of crime at first, but not many; instead, we get a "room and privacy solve everything" scenario that rings a bit false for me.

When it comes to fiction reading, I expect – demand! – characters I can take into my heart, or at the very least figuratively invite home for a cuppa, whether they are likable people or not. The Lancre witches, the various Watchpersons and denizens of Ankh-Morpork, Johnny Maxwell and his cohorts, Maurice and the Clan, Mau and Daphne, almost all the characters in Good Omens... I cared about them all. The characters in The Long Earth, on the other hand, *should* have engaged me but never did. Creating characters worth caring about can be done in science fiction. Larry Niven did it, in his Known Space stories and even more so in his tales of the Warlock and decline of magic as a natural resource. Neal Stephenson does it almost all the time. I tried to find a reason to care about any of the characters in The Long Earth, but did not succeed, and this lessened my enjoyment of the story.

On a side note, Pratchett readers are already familiar with the humble potato as an object of power (as seen in The Truth). This time around, having your potato doesn't help you safely reach the next life... or no, wait, it does. The easy to assemble Stepper is strangely personal. Each would-be traveller has to finish assembling their Stepper with their own hands; otherwise the device will not work, unless you are one of the small but measurable number of people who can "Step" without mechanical assistance (again, a teaser that is not resolved in this first volume). Any sort of potato will do, apparently – which to this reviewer's mind is itself a figurative can of worms that could have been addressed or at least mentioned. For instance, does the freshness of the potato count? Does it matter if it's cooked? Is it possible to travel to an alternate Earth with a Stepper powered by, say, a nice hot bag of chips? Did the authors gather around a pub table at some point discussing exactly those questions? Enquiring minds want to know, for after all, science fiction is all about enquiring minds... also, I think we finally know who came up with the weird nuns in Good Omens. That part (weird nuns in The Long Earth) worked, even though we never actually met the most unusual of them.

In summation:

Is The Long Earth a good book? Certainly! Am I looking forward very, very eagerly to the next instalment? Definitely! The Long Earth does disappoint in some crucial areas, but that doesn't change the fact that, when it comes to hard science fiction – or what-if fiction – created in collaboration, The Long Earth is as good as it gets.

Final verdict 1: it's not a Discworld novel, but we already knew that, so don't expect it to be.

Final verdict 2: a very good book that I feel should have been a great one.

Final final verdict: flawed but compelling, and therefore highly recommended.


By Steven D'Aprano

In "The Long War" (TLW), Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter pick up ten years after the events of "The Long Earth". In that time, many significant changes have taken place, any one of which could have been the major plot of a novel: Datum USA is controlled by a mildly fascist government hostile to the steppers; at least two more intelligent species have been discovered, the humanoid kobolds and the dog-like beagles; the Long Earth colonies have not only established peaceful relations with the trolls, but have become dependent on their labour; Joshua and Lobsang have fallen out, and the protagonist Joshua is married and has a son of school age. I was greatly disappointed that the authors failed to show us any of these events, instead they just told us they had happened, violating one of the most important rules of good fiction: show, don't tell.

I normally don't like to give away significant plot points when reviewing books, but from time to time I come across something so remarkable that, spoiler or not, no responsible reviewer should fail to mention it. In TLW, Pratchett and Baxter set up the possibility of no fewer than three possible wars: Datum USA versus rebellious stepper colonies, Datum Earth extremists versus the steppers, and humankind versus assorted non-humans. And then... nothing. There was no Long War at all, not even a Long Battle, or a Short Police Action. There was a detachment of Marines who took a firm-but-friendly stroll down the main street of one of the colonies to show the flag, but it was over in eight pages without any real sense of tension or jeopardy, and the chapter ends with "the Long War was over". One might have added "without ever starting, or even being noticed".

I cannot help but contrast this unfavourably with Pratchett's "Jingo". When the threatened war between Ankh-Morpork and Klatch is averted at the last minute (but not before a few clashes between the opposing forces), it was because the protagonists struggled hard to avert the war. There was a real and ever increasing sense of tension due to the the near-certainty of war. But in TLW, the threat was nothing more than a mild sense of trouble brewing as the story progressed, just one of many things going on, and barely noticed by the characters. If not for the novel's title, it would have been barely worthy of a mention, just another of the oh-so-many disconnected and minor events taking place.

I find it difficult to believe that an author of Pratchett's stature could have such an inappropriate and misleading title foisted on him against his wishes, so I can only imagine that Pratchett, at least, was happy with it. So what happened to the war? I wasn't expecting this to be a Tom Clancy novel by any means, but neither was I expecting such a blatantly inaccurate title. It was as if I had bought a book titled "Sherlock Holmes In New York", only to discover that Holmes was not in New York and barely appeared in the book at all. Ironically, if I had known that there was no war in The Long War, I might have bought the book much sooner.

I'm a great admirer of Pratchett's writing, so it is disappointing that so little of his style shows in TLW. I don't just mean the lack of comedy – there were attempts to include some Pratchettesque humour in "The Long Earth", such as the magic potato that powers the stepper boxes, but they felt completely out of place and tacked on. So the lack of humour in TLW is actually a positive development. But even more so than the prequel, TLW does not feel like Pratchett writing: the style is bland and unengaging, not terrible by any means – I've read far worse by some demi-gods of the science fiction genre – but it lacks Pratchett's usual wit and sparkle. There's little sense of plot or pacing, and far too much happens off-stage.

One of the things keenly missed is the lack of Pratchett's skills with characterisation. A few manage to feel like decent secondary characters, fleshed out enough that you know they're real people, but not enough to really come to know them well. Perhaps the closest to Pratchett's usual standard is Sally, and what we come to know her as is mostly taciturn.

Joshua Valiente, I think, suffers badly from this lack. He's curiously passive for somebody intended as the protagonist, and even Rincewind the wizard, Pratchett's oldest and least fully-rounded protagonist, feels like more of a person than Joshua. Part of the problem is that we're told how skilful and clever Joshua is, but we aren't shown it. The authors take the time to tell us that he is a skilful hunter, butcher, artificer, blacksmith, smelter and teacher, but none of these are relevant to his role in the book, and we see hardly any sign of his skilfulness and cleverness. We're shown him having to be rescued himself after he goes to the aid of a crashed airship. As is typical for the series so far, the episode is rushed through in a handful of pages. Another time, Joshua comes to the aid of someone being attacked by elves, screws up badly, but nothing of any consequence comes from his mistake. Yet another time, he finds himself in a very similar situation as Sam Vimes in "The Fifth Elephant", being hunted by hostile, intelligent non-humans. Unlike Vimes, who survives by virtue of his grit, determination, skill and intelligence, Joshua survives because the hunters have a sudden, unexpected and unexplained spirit of mercy.

It seems to me that TLW's lack of detailed characterisation is a symptom of a larger problem with the series: there's too much going on, so everything gets short shift. We're briefly told that something is happening, dark hints of a serious problem brewing are dropped, the characters seem barely aware of the danger, and then the climax of the event is rushed through in a few pages. I get the feeling of "Whew, well that's another disaster averted, good job chaps, anyone fancy a cuppa?"

Pratchett's previous career as a newspaper writer has given him the ability to fit the maximum heart and soul of story into the minimum amount of novel, but TLW shows no sign of this tight focus. It's a long, rambling book, with too many side-shows and too little main feature. There are so many things happening that it's hard to care about them, and the story lacks drama or tension. Joshua being hunted was one of the few exceptions, and that was over in five pages. And like its prequel, TLW ends with something which in real life would be of incredible significance, but like the terrorist's nuclear attack on Madison, it feels like yet another side-show, an afterthought, glued on and with no real connection to anything else. It's not a cliffhanger, its an anti-climax.

Some of the perplexing mysteries of "The Long Earth" remain unanswered. Why do stepper boxes fail to work unless assembled by the person who will use it? That sounds like magic, completely out of place in a hard science fiction novel. What is the significance of the potato? Why was a minor character in the first book given the same name [Percy Blakeney – Ed.] as The Scarlet Pimpernel? TLW doesn't answer any of these, or even hint at answers. Perhaps the authors have wisely dropped them as bad ideas to be ignored rather than mysteries to be solved. One can hope.

When all is said and done, TLW isn't an awful novel, but even as an ideas-driven story as opposed to a plot-driven or character-driven one, it fails to engage. It's hard for me to see why I should bother to continue with the series, especially given that the next book is set on Mars. Billions upon billions of Earths, and there's not enough of interest to explore without moving the story to Mars? I feel this does not bode well for the rest of the series.




"Greetings Discworld devotees! We've a delightful crop of additions to our bookshelves this week, as new editions from publishers Gollancz and Transworld further expand the Terry Pratchett collection.

"The latest books in the Discworld Collector's library have arrived – Feet of Clay (_http://tinyurl.com/lxyubor_) and Jingo (_http://tinyurl.com/ntvey79_) are the final instalments in the City Watch collection, and have some of our favourite covers yet! ... The next books from the Collector's Library will be Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, and Maskerade – coming to a Discworld Emporium near you on July 3rd!

"The Ankh-Morpork Post Office has colluded with the honourable Guild of Thieves to produce the latest releases from Discworld Stamps. The Thieves' Guild 3p (_http://tinyurl.com/laab9vm_) features a stunning illustration of the famous Guild Hall with its iconic Thieves' Kitchen – a hive of licensed crooks and ne'er do wells. Being an enterprising bunch, the guild have also introduced a surcharge stamp (_http://tinyurl.com/p79rxsz_) that, for a small fee, will protect your letters and parcels from pilfery. Both issues are available to collect as single stamps or as beautiful whole sheets.

"Both new issues are also available in every one of our latest Little Brown envelopes. The Thieves' Guild 'LBE' (_http://tinyurl.com/lzfjyrd_) contains an assortment of current Discworld stamps, plus the chance to find 'sports' and rarities. If you're unlucky enough not to find anything rare then your envelope may well have fallen victim to an opportunistic robber – of course a discerning thief will always leave a receipt, and an array of dockets for all manner of pinched items await the unfortunate!

"The second issue in the Wonders of the World Minisheet Collection has also arrived – the Light Dams of The Great Nef minisheet (_http://tinyurl.com/pl8y8or_) celebrates the 'illuminating' constructions of Goldeneyes Silverhand Dactylos and local tribes in Discworld's dryest desert. Each sheet features six illustrated stamps, and is accompanied by an explanatory post card.

"For more information about the wonderful world of official Discworld Stamps, and to discover how it all began, visit the Discworld Stamps bit of our website where you'll find a beginners guide, glossary and current issues from all over the Disc:


"For all our latest wares and releases have a browse through our New Products page – it's mostly harmless!"




9.1 NADWCON 2015:


9.2 WADFEST 2014

"This year's theme is heroes and villains. This means you get the chance to dress up as the hero or villain that you have always wanted to be. You can take your inspiration from comics, films and cartoons, or invent a new character for yourself. There will be trophies for the best dressed villain and best dressed hero, so get your sewing machine out and give it a go! If you're no good at sewing and you don't have anyone to help out, you can always hire a costume for the weekend. As well as special themed hero and villain games there will be all your usual Wadfest favourites, including smack the penguin. If it's your first time at Wadfest, why not take a look through the photos of Wadfests past to get an idea of what to expect?

"The X-Men's blackbird? Batman's batmobile? Green Goblin's glider? If you're feeling really adventurous why not turn your vehicle into the kind of transport a hero or villain would have? Perhaps you're more interested in a permanent base like Superman's Fortress of Solitude or He-Man's Castle Greyskull? If so, why not dress your tent up as your lair? There will be a prize for the best one. There are no limits to what you can do with your costumes. Be as inventive as you like or faithfully recreate your favourite character's costume."

When: 15th to 17th August 2014
Venue: Wood Green, The Animal Charity, King's Bush Farm, London Road, Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire, PE29 2NH
Tickets: £25.00 per adult for the weekend including Camping and Events. Children under 16 go free when accompanied by a paying adult. To purchase tickets online, go to http://www.wadfest.co.uk/page2.html


9.3 AUSDWCON 2015

Nullus Anxietus V is coming! Some early details:

When: 10th to 12th April 2015
Venue: Novotel, Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia
Tickets: current ticket prices are $80-$140 per Attending Member, $400 per Family, $30 per Supporting Membership. To purchase at these rates, go to http://ausdwcon.org/shop/

"Previous Conventions have had Guilds. For Nullus Anxietas V the Guilds are replaced by the Studios of Holy Wood and Convention members (who choose to join a "guild") will be randomly assigned to one of the five studios for activities. Can't sing? Can't dance? Can handle a sword a little? Then Holy Wood beckons, and the clickies want YOU." – Daniel Hatton, Guildmeister

"The date of the convention is still too far distant for us to start negotiating room rates but we will have the upper hand if we can go into the discussion with an estimate of how many we would likely need. We'd like to convince them to be the cheapest rate in all of Parramatta and make their money by booking every room rather than them charging a lot for a few rooms. If at all possible, please give us an indication if you will be booking accommodation at the venue and what sort of room you would like. You do not need to be registered to fill in the survey, we would just like an idea of how many rooms we will need for the weekend. Rest assured we will not hold you to this – it's just an estimate. Your name will only be used to ensure you're not on the spreadsheet twice. You will still need to book your own accommodation." – the organisers



Cabbagecon 3, the third Dutch Discworld Convention, will take place in June of next year. Among the special guests will be Venugopalan Ittekot, Dutch translator of the Discworld novels.

When: 27th and 28th June 2015 Venue: Tulip Inn Hotel Val Monte in Berg en Dal (near Nijmegen) Tickets: Membership of Cabbagecon 3 for the whole weekend is priced at €40,00, with a €5 discount for children, seniors and students. For the Saturday only or the Sunday only, the price is €25,00, with the same discounts as above applying. To book online in advance, go to http://www.dutchdwcon.nl

Apparently Cabbagecon 2 was a great success on the fun front. The organisers say of next year's event, "It will be a happy occasion for fans of Sir Terry Pratchett from the Netherlands and abroad to meet each other again and have fun. We hope to see you too!"

9.5 IDWCON 2015

""Hear ye, hear ye, lads and lasses. We're pleased as punch, and so very proud, to announce that the 4th Irish Discworld Convention will be held from the 2nd to the 5th of October, 2015... We hope to see you all at the Cork International Airport Hotel..."

Confirmed guests so far include Bernard Pearson (the Cunning Artificer himself), Isobel Pearson, TSoD co-author Jack Cohen, folklorist (and Discworld myth-checker) Jacqueline Simpson, and the ever-excellent Colin Smythe.

The new IDWcon webpage is truly gorgeous! Go have a look and a wander, in the meantime, here's an internal memo from Captain Shivers of the A-M City Watch, Irish Precinct:

To: Potential New Recruits
Re: The Theme!
People of Roundworld, we're very pleased to announce that the theme of the Irish Discworld Convention 2015 will be the Watch Open Weekend. Watch this space for further details! If you would like to know more about the Convention, please see our FAQ page. And if you would like to know more about what happened last time, please see the Previous Conventions section. If you have ideas for events you'd like to run, or see us run at the convention, please email: programme@idwcon.org. If you have any other questions, feel free to email us on: info@idwcon.org.




The Broken Drummers, "London's Premier Unofficially Official Discworld Group", meets on the first Monday of every month at the Monkey Puzzle, 30 Southwick Street, London W2 1JQ: "We welcome anyone and everyone who enjoys Sir Terry's works, or quite likes them or wants to find out more. We have had many visitors from overseas who have enjoyed themselves and made new friends. The discussions do not only concern the works of Sir Terry Pratchett but wander and meander through other genres and authors and also leaping to TV and Film production. We also find time for a quiz. The prize is superb. The chance to set the quiz the following month."

Next meeting: Monday 7th July 2014, from 7pm onwards.

The Drummers' most recent meet report:

"We did indeed meet on Monday 2nd. Apologies for the late report. We've just moved and only got the phone line sorted out yesterday meaning we've had to survive without a home internet connection for a few weeks. It has been tough. However the lack of temptation meant that I finally finished writing the Wadfest murder mystery yesterday. I'll send profiles out to those who have signed up. Meanwhile, I'm still looking for another two cast members (three would be even better but not essential). The two remaining characters are the leader of a pressure group that opposes superheroes (this character is a woman) and a parody of Superman (this one has been written as male but could become female if necessary). Anyone interested please buy a ticket to Wadfest and send me your ticket number. Anyway Drummers met this month. I came late as I had another meeting first. I can't remember much now beyond the fact that the Monkey Puzzle made sure I got a meal even though the kitchen was closing as I arrived."

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


The Pratchett Partisans are a new fan group who meet monthly at either Brisbane or Indooroopilly to "eat, drink and chat about all things Pratchett". For more info about their next meetup, go to http://www.meetup.com/Pratchett-Partisans/ 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 regular monthly dinner and games nights, longer games days, plus play outings, craft-y workshops, and fun social activities throughout the year. For more info and to join our mailing list, visit":



The Broken Vectis Drummers meet on the first Thursday of every month from 7.30pm at The Castle pub in Newport, Isle of Wight.

Next meeting: Thursday 5th June 2014, probably, but do email to check.

All new members and curious passersby are very welcome! For more info and any queries, contact broken_vectis_drummers@yahoo.co.uk


The Wincanton Omnian Temperance Society (WOTS) meets on the first Friday of every month at Wincanton's famous Bear Inn from 7pm onwards. "Visitors and drop-ins are always welcome!"

Next meeting: Friday 4th July 2014 (probably).


The Northern Institute of the Ankh-Morpork and District Society of Flatalists, a Pratchett fangroup, has been meeting on a regular basis since 2005 but is now looking to take in some new blood (presumably not in the non-reformed Uberwald manner). 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:



Sydney Drummers (formerly Drummers Downunder) meet on the first Monday of every month in Sydney at 3 Wise Monkeys, 555 George Street, Sydney,2000.

Next meeting: Monday 7th July 2014 at 6.30pm (probably). For more information, contact Sue (aka Granny Weatherwax): kenworthys@yahoo.co.uk


Perth Drummers meet on the first Monday of the month, subject to holidays.

Next meeting: Monday 7th July 2014 (probably).

"Please note we have moved to Carpe Cafe from 5.30pm Carpe Cafe, 526 Murray Street, Perth, WA. Meeting at a cafe means we are under-18 friendly!"

For details follow Perth Drummers on Twitter @Perth_Drummers and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/Perth.Drummers/ – otherwise message Krystel directly at khewett@live.com


Western Drummers (that's two groups for the Sydney Pratchett fans now) meet at The Rowers, Bruce Neal Drive, Penrith at 6.30-7.30pm for food, 7.30pm for games, quizzes and chat.

Next meeting: TBA. The latest meeting took place on 24th June.

For more information, contact Nanny Ogg – lewis_oz@bigpond.com – or visit their Facebook page:




From pop-up shops and restaurants to pop-up book benches – Paul Kidby is among the illustrators who will be making London a more magical place to read:

"Bloomsbury is set to play host to a range of literary classics, from Peter Pan to The Wind in the Willows, as a series of painted 'BookBenches' will soon pop up all over town. The benches will feature images from novels dating back to the 19th century, including Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, right through to modern favourites such as How to Train your Dragon by Cressida Cowell. Renowned artists and illustrators will be picking up a paintbrush and bringing some classic characters to life, including Ralph Steadman who famously worked with Hunter S Thompson, will be replicating characters from his 1973 children's classic take on Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Paul Kidby who designed the images in Terry Pratchett's Discworld..."




Lynsey from Transworld says: "Raising Steam in paperback has a whole new cover look! Coming your way in the UK on 9th October 2014!"


And the new cover image: http://tinyurl.com/nv8zvjw


My Independent Bookshop site itself:

"There's nothing more magical than a bookshop. A bookshop is more than just a shop – it's a gateway to brand new worlds. It lets you visit places you'd never normally go, live lives you'd never normally live and feel things you'd never normally feel. And now you can create your own virtual bookshop, discover new books and be inspired... There's no end to our rewards. With My Independent Bookshop, you'll get the first word on the latest giveaways, competitions and exclusives from some of the best authors around... We love bookshops, and we know you do too. That's why we've teamed up with hive, to ensure that for every book you buy, a percentage of the sale is shared with a local, independent bookshop."

How to make your own virtual bookshop:






You may recall French illustrator Marc Simonetti's stunning art for the cover of Turtle Recall. Now he is offering the world his first collection in book form, titled "Coverama". With 63 days left on his crowdfunding page, "Coverama" has already surpassed its goal total of $10,000, but that's no reason to stop supporting it. Discworld fans dug deep for Snowgum's "Troll Bridge" crowdfund appeal, and we all know how successful that drive was!

Crowdfunding for "Coverama" ends on 15th July 2014...




FOUND AT LAST! Photo of Sir Pterry dressed as Just William for the Oxford Story Museum:


The Long Mars cover facsimile:


Another great shot of Archchancellor, that is, Vice Chancellor David Lloyd giving Sir Pterry his honorary degree from the University of South Australia:


The Lifeline Theatre's excellent-looking cast of Monstrous Regiment:




Nice ink:


...and finally, a photo of the cast of TAMAHER: the Musical, as performed by the ACT Youth Theatre this week in Carlisle and Penrith:




A few bits to finish with...

Fourecksian fans of Pratchett – and all manner of fantasy, science fiction, crime and the rest – might want to make a trek to Canberra's Gaslight Books in the coming weeks:

"Gayle Lovett, who opened Gaslight Books in 1989, said she was closing up shop after 25 years. The bookshop – which has operated from the same spot in Fyshwick since it opened in 1989, aside from its six years in Woden – has specialised in crime, mystery, science fiction, fantasy and horror. It has hosted many talks and signings by Australian and international genre writers including Terry Pratchett, Ian Rankin, Peter Corris, Ed McBain and Kerry Greenwood. 'Terry Pratchett was so popular we had people out the door waiting in the queue,' she said of the British creator of the Discworld series. 'He was a delightful man to talk to.'... For the month of June all stock – new and secondhand – will be 25 per cent off with further discounts in July. No more books will be bought, no more newsletters will be sent out and current gift vouchers and valid credit notes should be used by June 28. The store will close on August 2... Although she had not worked out all the details, Lovett said she intended to maintain an online presence selling first editions, signed books and collectable paperbacks and magazines... She said she had more than 8000 books in stock, most of them secondhand. So perhaps the only mystery now is: how many will she be able to sell before the shop closes?

"Gaslight Books is at 10/83 Wollongong Street, Fyshwick. Opening hours are Thursday-Friday 10am to 5.30pm and Saturday 10am to 3pm. Website: gaslightbooks.com.au"



Magdalena Schamberger, of the charity Hearts & Minds, suggests five ways to engage with a relative or friend with advanced dementia:

"1. Take time and just be: be in the moment, make gentle eye contact and allow for silence, stillness and breathing together. Spend time with no pressure, no agenda, no tasks (such as dressing, clothing or feeding), no judgment and no expectations. Allow the person to be who they are now.

"2. Don't ask questions: questions can be distressing at the best of times and can put pressure on people. But repetition can be good. As a way of creating a connection, repeat the name of your relative or friend gently to a well-known melody or song that they love. They can feel and may realise that you mean them.

"3. Focus on physical activity and memory: remember physical activities you used to do together, such as baking, gardening, storytelling or DIY. If the person is physically still able, try to do them together. Even though they may not remember these activities later, they may well remember the physical experience and the positive feelings they had when they were doing them.

"4. Be kind, caring and compassionate: physical contact is important. Although people with dementia may seem distant or confused at times, they have emotions and feelings. Hold their hand, give them a hug. Show them compassion and care.

"5. Look at the person, not the illness: remember to laugh, sing and dance together. Get out of the daily routine. Explore fresh things and create shared moments together."


And that's the lot for June. Enjoy your summer sunshine – and the residents of XXXX can join me in digging out winter wear, as winter seems to have arrived at last... see you next month!

– Annie Mac


The End. If you have any questions or requests, write: interact (at) pearwood (dot) info
Copyright (c) 2014 by Klatchian Foreign Legion


wossname: Clacks rendering of SPEAK HIS NAME to keep Pratchett on the Overhead (Default)

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