Discworld Monthly - Issue 6: October 1997
Table of Contents:1. Editorial
2. Contact Information
4. Back Issues & Web Pages
5. Discworld Monthly Subscribe Forms
7. Readers Letters'
8. Who's Who on the Discworld - Rincewind
9. Obtaining PTerry's Books
10. The Discworld MUD
11. Feature: PTerry's Short Stories - Part 4 - "INCUBUST"
12. The End
Welcome to issue 6. In May this year, when we started this newsletter, I don't think any of us expected it to be the success it has been. I thought I'd talk about how this newsletter came into being in the first place, and how it almost happened over a year earlier.
I first created my Discworld Review web page in March 1996, when the first issue of Discworld Review came out. I got in contact with Chris Ewan the editor of that newsletter and offered to create a web based home for Discworld Review. Shortly after Chris agreed and the Discworld Review Web page came into being. Unfortunately, short term work commitments got into Chris' way and he could not produce the newsletter after issue two. I offered to take over writing the newsletter but Chris was sure that he would be able to get back to writing it, which of course never happened.
Then around February this year someone suggested that I start writing my own newsletter. I ignored this for a while because I didn't think I had the necessary skills. When I mentioned this a few weeks later to my friends Richard and William we decided that we would give it a go.
I contacted PTerry and asked if he minded us creating the newsletter and he wrote back and said it was alright. We then started producing issue 1, setting the release date as early May 1997, giving us around six weeks to produce the first issue. The first issue was ready in about four weeks which meant we had to wait for two weeks before we sent it out.
In the mean time I started changing the web page from Discworld Review to Discworld Monthly. And mailed alt.fan.pratchett heavily until people started to subscribe. When issue 1 went out, we had around 250 people on our subscription list - now, six months on, we have over 2300.
Thanks go to all the people that have helped us create the Discworld Monthly, especially those that have added forms to their pages that have encouraged more Pratchett fans to subscribe, to Phil Penny for his excellent series on PTerry's short stories and finally to all the subscribers that read the newsletter - after all, what is the point if no one reads it?
Next month we have arranged a great competition with Waxworks, more information about the Discworld Convention and a new trivia section.
*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 seven by Tuesday 21st October 1997.--
Jason Anthony, firstname.lastname@example.org (editor)
William Barnett (deputy editor)
Richard Massey (tea boy)
Post: J Anthony-Rowlands (DWM), 20 Cambrian Place, Pontarddulais, Swansea, SA4 8RG
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John Little's Home Page -
Caffeines MUD -
Fantasy (in German) -
Discworld Bibliography Project -
|November 6, 1997
|12.00 - 2.00pm
4.30 - 6.30pm
|November 7, 1997
|12.30 - 2.30pm
4.30 - 6.30pm
|Hammicks, Oldham, Manchester
|November 8, 1997
|11.30 - 1.30pm
|November 12, 1997
|12.15 - 2.15pm
5.00 - 7.00pm
Red Lion Books, Colchester
|November 13, 1997
|12.00 - 2.00pm
5.00 - 6.00pm
Methvens, West Sussex
|November 14, 1997
|12.00 - 1.00pm
4.30 - 6.30pm
|WH Smiths, Portsmouth
Volume One, Basingstoke
|November 15, 1997
|12.00 - 2.00pm
|WH Smiths, Bath
|November 20, 1997
|12.00 - 2.00pm
5.00 - 7.00pm
|Paperback Exchange, Hereford
Peters Bookshops, Telford
|November 21, 1997
|12.00 - 2.00pm
4.30 - 6.30pm
Dillons, West Midlands
|November 22, 1997
|11.30 - 1.30pm
|Ottakar's Bookshop, Banbury
We assume any correspondence is eligible for use in the newsletter unless otherwise stated, including the sender's e-mail address. We may also edit your letters for reasons of clarity or space, or if there are too many exclamation marks in them.
One of the most frequently asked questions is "How do I get past this part of the Discworld game?". For complete walkthroughs of the games goto L-Space and follow the link for games. www.lspace.org/
From next month, the writer of the month's best letter will receive a free badge complete with Discworld quote from Snapdragon Gifts. You can email Snapdragon Gifts on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.snapdragongifts.com. Please quote DWM in any correspondence.
* * From: "jsurman" email@example.com *I'd just like to put in a question 4 the next time PTerry has an interview:
Q: How the hell did you avoid actually answering most of the questions from the issue 5 interview? you could have been a great politician (please don't take offence :-)
WB replies: Fair point, but bear in mind that the poor guy was probably typing out his answers in a hotel room in Australia after a long day's signing session and 2 or 3 Banana Dacquiris (maybe).
* * From: "Jill Churchill" COZYBOOKS@delphi.com *Jason, another great issue. I was getting desperate for a 'fix.'
But I beg you, no fan fiction. Pleasepleaseplease!!!
Thanks again. I know from experience how much work, nail-biting and love goes into an effort like this. Jill Churchill
WB replies: In alt.fan.pratchett, PTerry has said:
Unfortunately, DWM is posted on our Web site as well as going out by e-mail so, for the time being at least, we will not be carrying any fan fiction. However, for anyone interested (God help them) send an email with the following in the body to firstname.lastname@example.org
* * From: Kevin Redman email@example.com *In the fifth issue of Discworld monthly I saw in the readers letters section a letter that mentioned differences between US and English releases of Discworld books. I just wanted to clarify. It sounds to me like they are saying that not only are the covers different, but that if you bought Soul Music in New York, and then in London, that they wouldn't be word for word the same book. That there is some sort of "translation" going on between the countries. Please let me know if this is the case. Up until now I have been patient and waited for the US release of Discworld books instead of ordering them from England. I might change my mind if turns out they are being edited. Thanks for a great publication, Kevin Redman
JA replies: Can anyone show us any examples were there are changes between the British and American versions of the books? We have access to both the US and English versions of the Colour of Magic, but our busy schedule prevents us from doing the necessary line by line comparison.
* * From: "Elizabeth Wadsworth" LizTick@aol.com *This probably has been done before, but I thought it might be of interest to the readers of "Discworld Monthly" to print some of the many versions of "The Hedgehog Song" which have been sent to Mr Pratchett by fans over the years. Failing this, perhaps you might consider a lyric-writing contest for your subscribers, with the winning entries to be printed in a later issue. My next question would probably have been better addressed to the "ultimate interview"; it concerns the collaborative efforts such as "Good Omens." While Neil Gaiman's name appears first on the title page (at least in the U.S. edition), the style seems to me to be pure Pratchett, and I have wondered for some time how the actual writing was divided up between the two authors. Did one think up the plot while the other did the writing, or did they pass chapters back and forth in a kind of "round robin" situation?
JA replies: As the entire "Hedgehog Song" is available from L-Space and many other internet resources, there's no need to repeat it here. As far as your collaboration question is concerned, we could ask it when we do our Neil Gaiman interview :)
* * From: "an" firstname.lastname@example.org *The only part of Mastermind I missed last week was the bit with the Discworld questions. I wondered whether anyone had seen it, if so what were the questions like?
JA replies: We missed this ourselves. In the introduction to Discworld University Challenge, PTerry stated that he had been told that the BBC had wisely forbidden people taking Discworld as a subject in Mastermind. Shows what he knows.
* * From: "Brice B Fialcowitz" email@example.com *I don't know how British copyright law differs from American but it has been my experience that copyright holders are often willing to allow reproduction when the reproducer is not getting any money for it. In fact, they're often impressed you bothered to ask.
JA replies: Phil Penny (who has been writing for Discworld Monthly about PTerry's short stories) had the following to say about copyright on PTerry's stories:
* * From: "Lord Vetinari" firstname.lastname@example.org *Thanx for putting my letter in the Discworld Monthly :)
If you want neat stuff on Vetinari, you might wanna check out my sight, home.fuse.net/amillitz
Again, for all you people who like PTerry, check out Robert Anton Wilson of www.rawilson.com
JA replies: Just to prove we are really nice people, we have included this letter as well.
Jason: Rincewind's problems started when he made the mistake of opening the Octavo (the great magical book of eight powerful spells). One of the spells from the book jumped into his mind and scared out all the other magic and refused to leave. Whenever Rincewind is stressed the spell tries to cast itself. Having this spell in his head has saved Rincewind's life at least once.
I think one of Rincewind's most endearing features is the way he thinks there is some power that is better than magic. For me it's the direct opposite of the reader's view, where we would like to have an alternative to fussy PC's and slow dial-up connections.
If you haven't read The Colour of Magic or The Light Fantastic for a while, I would strongly recommend that you become acquainted with Rincewind once again.
Quote - From the Colour of Magic: Rincewind began to feel really wretched. "I don't know," he said. "A better way of doing things, I suppose. Something with a bit of sense in it. Harnessing - harnessing the lightning, or something." The imp gave him a kind but pitying look. "Lightning is the spears hurled by the thunder giants when they fight," it said gently. "Established meteorological fact. You can't harness it." "I know," said Rincewind miserably, "That's the flaw in the argument, of course."
William: For anyone new to the series, Rincewind personified the Discworld ethos through his cowardice, cynicism, ineptitude and growing world-weariness. At the end of The Light Fantastic I felt genuinely sad to think that I'd seen the last of him, quite an achievement for a supposedly comic novel. Then, with Sourcery, PTerry blew it.
Reintroducing a favourite character is a really easy and cheap way of getting more mileage out of one's work without putting much effort in. I've no doubt PTerry received sackfuls of requests for Rincewind's return, but he should have exercised some artistic integrity and left the guy in a special place in our hearts and minds. Instead Rincewind returns as a caricature of his former self - cowardly, cynical, inept, world weary, and that's it. No development, little compassion, lots of reworking of old jokes, particularly concerning the Luggage. The only redeeming feature is the end of the story, and that mainly because it seems to clearly shut Rincewind away for us to remember what a great guy he is.
Eric - don't make me laugh. Oh, hang on, it didn't. Talk about taking liberties with one's intellectual property. And so to Interesting Times. I hate to harp on the same theme the whole time (that's a damn lie - Ed.), but I felt this didn't do Rincewind any sort of justice either. A lot of the reason for this, I suspect, is because he has such a hard time throughout the story (as is the case in Sourcery, too, for that matter). I feel he deserves better, especially after what he went through in the first two books to entertain us. And a bloody good job he made of it too.
Quote: No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat.
Richard: When PTerry first became successful he was often referred to as fantasy's answer to Douglas Adams. If this is the case then Rincewind must be the Discworld's incarnation of Arthur Dent. It is through Rincewind that we first learn about the magic of the Discworld. Any fantasy reader who has played a role-playing game (and there can't be many who haven't) will be comfortable with the eight levels of wizardry, but the idea that each spell or magic item has a life of its own (rather than only the super-powerful swords or rings) is excellent. Rincewind once accidentally acquired one of the spells from the Octavo (or was it the other way round?) and this may account for his difficulty in learning any more - other spells are just too scared to stay in his head. Despite his ineptitude, Rincewind knows in his heart that he is a wizard, and two points in his favour are that he can see Octarine and he can see Death. In fact he's seen rather a lot of Death, so much so that when Death decided he needed a hobby (back in the days when the Reaperman was still someone to be scared of) it was to do away with Rincewind.
John William Godwin email@example.com has the following to say about it.
You can start by enjoying a drink at the Drum, then how about taking a stroll down Filigree street to the Assassins Guild gates (which are, of course, always open) and signing up for the course? Remember that you will have to complete the "run" one day. Of course you could go to Lancre and visit Granny Weatherwax to become a witch (males need not apply) or find your way to sign up at the Unseen University gates in Sator Square (females need not apply). Take a leap off the Tower of Art, or buy a sausage from CMOT Dibbler while you're not expecting it. Join the Thieves Guild (you'll have to fulfil your quota of course). Travel to Klatch, to KLK or the Pyramids of Djelibeybi and the desert of Ephebe. You could visit scenic Sheepridge, or take the Lancre carriage to Badass. Explore Dwarven caves, kill Herrena, take a trip to Holy Wood to see the set for the filming of Blown Away - they may even let you act (expect no pay) - meet Cohen the Barbarian at the Fighters Guild, but no unlawful killing of Watchmen who don't deserve it or you'll get thrown in jail by Constable Detritus or even Captain Carrot. Visit the Fresh Start Club for a new lease on afterlife, or go and pray at the temple of Gufnork - you can even be a priest of many of the small deities.
But best of all chat with all the people on line (usually around 50 at any given time) and make some great friends.
To enter the MUD you need to telnet to discworld.imaginary.com on port 4242. Or visit the discworld web pages at discworld.imaginary.com:5678
PTerry wrote "Incubust" in 1988 for a collection called "The Drabble Project". A "drabble" is a story of exactly 100 words - the idea originated at the Birmingham University SF Society in the early eighties. The book was published to raise money for "Books for the Blind" and it contained 100 such stories from the likes of Brian Aldiss, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Dave Langford and Phil Drabble(!) You can read more about the project at Rob Meades' web site:
The two editors of "The Drabble Project", Rob Meades and David B. Wake, have been kind enough to allow me to include the whole piece in this article. I'd like to thank them and also Terry Pratchett for giving his permission.
[The email version of this newsletter contains the full 100 word story, which for copyright reasons we can't reproduce here. If you would like to subscribe to DWM see section 3. - Ed]
I'm sure it must be incredibly difficult to write a 100 word story, especially when you're used to developing plots and characters, and not many of the stories in the book are quite so nicely balanced as PTerry's contribution. His journalism background must surely have helped him.
Beccon Publications printed 1000 numbered copies of the book (ISBN 1-870824-12-1) and needless to say they have long since sold out. The cover price was 5 UKP - 100 shillings - but you'd be lucky to come across a copy for less than 20 UKP these days. I've found 2 copies in my searches, both in excellent condition and both in this price range. I didn't ask if the book sellers profit on the book was going to the charity...