Discworld Monthly - Issue 4: August 1997
Table of Contents:1. Editorial
2. Contact Information
4. Back issues & web pages
5. Discworld Monthly Subscribe Forms
6. Clarecraft Competition Result
8. The Orangutan Foundation International
9. Readers' Letters
10. Who's who on the Discworld
11. Obtaining PTerry's books
12. Feature: PTerry's Short Stories - Part 2 - NIGHT DWELLER
13. The End
*The Turtle Moves*
Michelle Sumner (who "in between doing strange things with tape and razor blades, occasionally gets accused of working for BBC Local Radio in Newcastle") found the following story in a recent news bulletin on the station and thought you might find it amusing.
The search is on to find Timothy, a 50 year old pet tortoise who's been stolen from his Gateshead home for the second time in a year... More details from Jane Dreaper:
Timothy the tortoise has been a member of John Lawley's family since he wandered into his garden in London 45 years ago... He was already an adult then and it's believed he must be about 50 years old now. Timothy moved with the family to the North-East three years ago. Mr. Lawley left him tethered in his garden in Glenbrooke Terrace in Gateshead on Tuesday evening, but an intruder cut his rope - and he's not been seen since. Timothy disappeared in similar circumstances last year but was found safe and well.
The above was transmitted in the 2pm bulletin and by 6pm there was good news to report in the following copy:
Timothy, the 50 year old tortoise stolen from his owner's Gateshead home, has been found safe and well. A local man heard Radio Newcastle's appeal and realised the pet he'd bought in good faith was in fact Timothy who'd been taken on Tuesday. Timothy is now back with his owner. Police inquiries into the theft are continuing.
De chelonian mobile eh?
Thanks Michelle for that rather bizarre tale of Timothy the tortoise. We suppose we have only got ourselves to blame - after all we did include the hedgehog saga last month.
*Request for input*
We need your input: please send us any articles, book reviews, details of events or anything else that other PTerry fans might enjoy. We need to receive all articles no less than a week before the next issue is due. We should receive all submissions for issue five by Sunday 24th August 1997.
Jason Anthony, firstname.lastname@example.org (editor)
William Barnett (deputy editor)
Richard Massey (sub deputy editor)
Post: J Anthony-Rowlands (DWM), 20 Cambrian Place, Pontarddulais, Swansea, SA4 8RG
To un-subscribe from this newsletter simply send an email to email@example.com with a subject of "remove". You will not receive any further correspondence unless you subscribe again.
NOTE: In order to keep the subscription list current any addresses that bounce will be removed. If you fail to receive an issue, please subscribe again.
Tim Attwood's Discworld page -
Kate's Weird & Cool Home Page - members.aol.com/Jvkvyborny/index.html
Discworld Intro -
World Wide Welling -
The answers to the questions are:
Q1: What was Rincewind's room number when he was a student at Unseen
Q2: What colour is magic?
Q3: Which Clarecraft figure stares at Death from the opposite end of
a book shelf?
We are proud to announce that the winner is Bobbi Moore from Leeds in England. Your prize should be wending its way to you as we speak.
For a catalogue of Clarecraft products contact Elton at Sales@clarecraft.demon.co.uk Please quote reference (DWM) in any correspondence.
PTerry will be going to Worldcon "The Science fiction Conference" from 28th August 1997 to 1st September 1997 at San Antonio, Texas, USA. www.io.com/~lsc2/
Orangutans are a species under continual threat of extinction in the wild due to habitat loss as forests of Borneo and Sumatra are being converted for human use. The mission of the Orangutan Foundation International is to support the conservation and understanding of the orangutan and its rain forest habitat. The foundation also cares for ex-captive individuals as they make their way back to the forest. Furthermore, OFI promotes the dissemination of information about the orangutan and its plight. OFI hopes to galvanise the public and policy-makers towards an appreciation of the ape's value and current dilemma so that it might be saved from extinction.
The UK branch of the foundation also provide free slide-shows and workshops for educational establishments and community groups, provided travel costs are covered. For more information contact Lisa Mather (Education Officer) at: The Orangutan Foundation, 7 Kent Terrace, London, NW1 4RP, ENGLAND
Admirable aims. PTerry has acknowledged the Librarian's role by supporting the OFI, witness his "Jungle Quest" documentary.
The Orangutan Foundation International can be contacted by phone: (310) 207-1655, fax: (310) 207-1556 or write: OFI, 822 S. Wellesley Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90049, USA or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The OFI web site includes a list of local departments and details of how to make donations or become members of the Orangutan Foundation. www.orangutan.org.uk
We assume any correspondence is eligible for use in the newsletter unless otherwise stated. We may also edit your letters for reasons of clarity or space.
* * From: Matty email@example.com * Thank you for an excellent read. I enjoy the Discworld immensely, and look forward to the upcoming books which you tell us about in your newsletter.
A little suggestion for future issues, would it be possible to put in some Discworld type humour? I'm talking about real life experiences which put you or any readers in mind of the stupidity of some of the characters in the Discworld. Perhaps you could put out a request on the web page for contributions.
A particular example follows:-
Being a submariner, I'm not used to hatches being open when the boat is dived, so when Swerv <nick> was heard to ask if one of the hatches was open, everyone was perplexed. He claims he could smell fish.........
* * From: bradbury firstname.lastname@example.org * Could you please put a section for characters in your magazine and write a description about a different character every month?
JA replies: We have been thinking along these lines already - see section 10 for the first installment.
* * From: "Bob Massey" R.Massey@virgin.net * Received Issue 3, thanx, wonderful stuff, my congrats to all concerned.
However (didn't you just *know* there was a however coming?) ;-)
I think maybe a small correction is in order in Section 9 - News from "The Wizards Knob" magazine.
Whilst Phil Penney is performing a *wonderful* role in running "The Guild of Fans & Disciples", and whilst he does contribute a Guild column, he is *NOT* directly connected with The Wizards Knob magazine. (Now, incidentally, renamed TWK.)
Phil's brother John founded TWK and edited the first four issues, Steve Dean ( Thewizardsknob@btinternet.com ) took over the reins and has edited since issue 5. I've been font wrangler since Issue 3.
Issue 8 is currently at the printers and should hit the streets by mid July, it features a hefty autobiography by/about Paul Kidby, an amusing article about the Discworld's more famous barbarians, the fifth instalment of 'Flipside' and the usual mix of trivia, news, reviews and letters.
Just thought I'd clear that one up.
Keep up the good work, and I'll probably bump into you at Mrs Flitworths farm..
(and no, I'm not aware of any connection with Richard Massey - small world eh? )
* * From: Sandor Blasko email@example.com * Is it true the hedgehog can never be buggered at all?
Unfortunately, no, in my experiences. Ten years ago I had a female dachshund, who did not know the song. So she attacked all hedgehogs who dared to enter the garden. She managed to kill one or two, not bothering with her wounds.
Now I have an Alsatian, who allows the hedgehogs to eat from his bucket! This is no surprise for me, he is good "father" of three cats, nursing them from young age. He was five years old when the kittens came into the "family". And they say that dog and cats can live together only if they are young... He hasn't got the hunter instincts that the dachshund had. Or maybe he heard the song somewhere...
Thank you for the Discworld Monthly, Sandor
* * From: "Hussain Ismat" firstname.lastname@example.org * Hey I just subscribed to your newsletter!!!!!. I read it over and I like it a lot!!!!! Keep up the good work!!!.
Hey could you guys do a survey of all of your subscribers? Not many of my friends like PTerry. (Not many of them read but that's another story) I was wondering what the average discworld reader is like.
WB replies: Of course, we all know what PTerry has to say about multiple exclamation marks...
Death has appeared in every Discworld book and even makes a cameo appearance in Good Omens. He soon developed into the most popular (according to our readers) character the Discworld has seen. Why is Death so popular? Is it because we all hope that when our time comes death will be like the Discworld Death? Or is it because HE TALKS LIKE THIS?
The mechanics of his role are a little hazy: he seems to be ultimately responsible for all death on the Discworld, but presumably doesn't personally despatch each individual. In the early books this is formalised: Death appears to royalty (who get the sword, not the scythe), wizards, witches & other mystically inclined types, and the odd "special" case. This setup soon goes out the window, though, when we see Death turning up for every Tom, Dick and Harry whose passing will lend some comedic effect to the story.
Perhaps the only problem with Death is that by making him so likeable PTerry has removed any possibility of real tragedy from his books. How can you get upset about a character dying when he's still there chatting away after he's shuffled off this mortal coil?
An assistant demon turns up to top Rincewind at the end of The Colour of Magic, a fate which the perennial survivor avoids on the grounds that he merits Death himself. In Reaper Man we learn about Azrael, the ultimate Death of the universe (or something). Azrael not only shares Death's capitalised speech, although on a titanic scale, but also seems to have Death's concern for humanity at his core. And that concern is more or less the whole point with Death..
Death's weaknesses make him seem human. He can also be relied on to put things right when it really comes down to it, though. You've got this kind of parent figure in the background - perhaps, for the reader, he fulfills the role of a benevolent god, a job the Discworld deities have rejected.
William: For my money, is that sequence in Lords and Ladies when, after a big, totally sober build-up, Death says THANK YOU. I MUST SAY THESE ARE VERY GOOD BISCUITS. HOW DO THEY GET THE BITS OF CHOCOLATE IN?
Jason: For me it's the bit in Mort, just after Death has offered Mort a job. I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU, he said, BUT I COULD MURDER A CURRY.
Richard: It has got be from The Light Fantastic. "I Said I Hope it is a good party," said Galder, loudly. AT THE MOMENT IT IS, said Death levelly. I THINK IT MIGHT GO DOWNHILL VERY QUICKLY AT MIDNIGHT. "Why?" THAT'S WHEN THEY THINK I'LL BE TAKING MY MASK OFF.
Two years after his first remarkable short story was published in "Science Fantasy" magazine, PTerry's second short story appeared in "New Worlds SF" (number 156, 1965). At this point, PTerry was 16 and had just joined the "Bucks Free Press" as a journalist where he was to review books by the small publishing house "Colin Smythe Books". But that is another story.
"Night Dweller" is a serious science fiction story set on a space craft hurtling away from Earth on the fringes of the solar system. Some un-named evil lurks in wait for them, and their suicide mission is to seek and destroy. The crew have various reasons for going on a mission of certain death - two would otherwise be on Death Row, one is terminally ill and a fourth is a religious man. The story focusses on the psychology of the situation.
The lack of humour in the story is disappointing. Whilst technically well written, "Night Dweller" fails to engage the reader - or this reader anyway. Just as things start to get interesting and they finally reach their destination, the story ends, so you're left with a vague build up of tension without any release. Maybe hardened sci-fi fans would feel differently.
As you'd expect, copies of the original magazine are rare, especially since the story has never been re-printed. But whereas I paid 28 UK pounds recently for a copy of the magazine which contains Terry's first published story, 10 UK pounds secured a reasonable copy of "New Worlds". In fact, I picked up a ragged but intact copy in Manchester just a few weeks ago for just 50 pence!
The next short story I'll review appeared some 22 years later in Time Out magazine. In the intervening time, I'm certain PTerry wrote some more stories, but no one seems to know for sure. And PTerry's keeping quiet.