Discworld Monthly - Issue 10: February 1998
Table of Contents:1. Editorial
2. Contact Information
4. Discworld Monthly Subscribe Forms
6. Readers' Survey
7. Readers' Letters
8. Review: MORT in Reading, England
9. Review & Competition: Discworld Beer
10. Obtaining PTerry's Books
11. Feature: PTerry's Short Stories - Part 7 - "#ifdefDEBUG + 'world/enough' + 'time'"
12. The End
Please find the time to enter our Readers' Survey found in section 6. All entries received before Saturday 21st February 1998 will be entered into a prize draw to win a copy of the Soul Music CD.
We're STILL receiving quantities of mail about 14 year old fans. Hopefully we've covered this exhaustively by now, so we haven't included any letters on this subject in this issue. We apologize to anyone who was hoping to vent their frustrations this month. Further correspondence should be sent to "14 Year Old Discworld Fans Weekly" at firstname.lastname@example.org
A lot of the mail we receive is of such a high standard we feel that it could easily be converted into an article for the newsletter. Before you send your letter please consider if it would be better as an article. Should we choose to include your article we will send you a Discworld badge for your efforts supplied by Snapdragon Gifts. You can contact Snapdragon Gifts at email@example.com or www.snapdragongifts.com. Please mention DWM in any correspondence.
*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 eleven by Saturday 21st February 1998.
Jason Anthony, firstname.lastname@example.org (editor)
William Barnett (deputy editor)
Richard Massey (Lichfield II)
Post: J Anthony-Rowlands (DWM), 20 Cambrian Place, Pontarddulais, Swansea, SA4 8RG
Current circulation ~5200
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Mr Jawa's Home Page -
Iwan Lambles - Discworld Page -
The Ultimate Pratchett Fan Site - hem1.passagen.se/josa99/terry.htm
Hero's Lair -
Einar Einarsson - www.hi.is/~einaein/
Tony Kemp's Discworld Page -
PTerry fans with access to English television may want to watch BBC1 at 9.30am on Sunday 1st February 1998. PTerry will be talking about life, the universe and everything on THE BIG QUESTION.
* South Africa Signing Tour *
PTerry will be doing a signing tour of South Africa from the 2nd to 7th of February. See PTerry's post on alt.fan.pratchett.announce for more information.
* Snippets from Phil Penny *
PTerry's short story "Sea and Little Fishes" will appear in the anthology "Legends, Masters of Fantasy" edited by Robert Silverberg this October.
"A Tourist Guide to Lancre" will be published on 7th May and will have text by Stephen Briggs and PTerry and a map by Paul Kidby.
Plans for Discworld mugs have been put back by "Blue Cat". The Josh Kirby and Paul Kidby decorated mugs won't appear until summer at the earliest.
June's issue of SFX will have a free Discworld poster of the Last Continent with Rincewind in the foreground. Artist Paul Kidby is still working on the project and it will appear in the shops on May 15th.
Discworld GURPS by Steve Jackson games is heading for a May release. Co-written by PTerry and Phil Masters, the game book will include a 32 page insert (GURPS Lite) designed to make the GURPS gaming system more accessible to Discworld fans. For more details, visit Steve Jackson Game's web site: www.sjgames.com/ and follow the link for "New Releases" and "On the Horizon".
* PTerry's Birthday *
To celebrate PTerry's 50th birthday. Wallbro and Waxworks will be producing a new beer and Toby Jug with PTerry's face on it (Would that make it a Terry Jug?). This new celebration pack should be available around May 1998. Wallbro will also be selling Death's clock, teatowels and leather drinking mugs from some of the Disc's most disreputable taverns (based on mugs recovered from the Tudor ship the Mary Rose).
* PTerry's Games *
It appears that PTerry has a lot of time on his hands as we recently discovered a post to the alt.games.tombraider newsgroup from the man himself. Apparently it's the split second jumps that make Tomb Raider 2 so hard.
Perfect Games will soon announce details of the new Discworld III computer game, according to their web pages www.perfect.uk.com/
* GOFAD *
The Guild of Fans and Disciples is branching out into the USA. If the Counterweight Continent Branch gets enough subscribers it will soon be in operation. For an application form contact Joe Schaumburger at firstname.lastname@example.org
* PLAYS *
* Mort *
The Whitgift School, Croydon, Surrey, England will be playing MORT on February 24th at 7.30pm. It will be performed by a student body of 11 to 15 year olds. Tickets are complementary but please contact CZR154@aol.com for further details.
* Wyrd Sisters & Men at Arms *
The award winning Arena Theatre Group is staging performances of Wyrd Sisters and Men at Arms from 10th to 14th March at the Regent Theatre in Christchurch, Dorset, England. More details are available from
* Guards! Guards! *
Dream Makers Ltd and Fleighton Productions Ltd present the first professional stage presentation of a PTerry novel. GUARDS! GUARDS! will begin a national tour starting at The Grand Theatre Blackpool on Wednesday 18 March 1998. Staring Paul "Avon from Blake's Seven" Darrow as Captain Vimes, the script was workshopped last year in London where it broke all box office records.
Full tour dates:
Grand Theatre, Blackpool 18-21 March; Hackney Empire, 23-28 March; Theatre Royal, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 31 March - 4 April; Theatre Royal, Norwich, 6-11 April; New Theatre, Hull, 14-18 April; Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage, 20-25 April; Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, 27 April - 2 May.
Further dates to be announced. www.uktw.co.uk/info/guards.htm
- Are you male or female?
- How old are you? 0-10/11-13/14/15-20/21-30/31-40/41-50/51-60/61+
- What nationality are you?
- What is your occupation?
- What is your favourite PTerry book?
- Who / what is your favourite PTerry character?
- What is your favourite part of Discworld Monthly?
- What is your least favourite part of Discworld Monthly?
- What other authors do you read / recommend?
Pluto Music Limited, Freepost NWW 15259, Tarproley, CW6 9DJ, England
We assume any correspondence is eligible for use in the newsletter unless otherwise stated, including the sender's email address. We may also edit your letters for reasons of sanity or space.
Each month the writer of the month's best letter will receive two Discworld badges with PTerry quotes on them from Snapdragon Gifts. You can contact Snapdragon Gifts at email@example.com or www.snapdragongifts.com. Please mention DWM in any correspondence.
* From: "Robert Best" < firstname.lastname@example.org >
God knows I'm gonna get hate mail (or is that supposed to be "hat e-mail?) over this, but am I the only one who thinks the great one has fallen in a bit of a rut? The last 8 books have just been Rincewind, Death, the Witches and the Watch, and then back again. Don't get me wrong, PTerry's the best author I've ever read, and I personally have every one in hardback, plus a fine collection of Discworld statues, but... it would be nice to get back to the days when PTerry wrote single stories, and not a "franchise" of books like the Witches etc.
* From: "Bart van Velsen" < email@example.com >
As I live in Holland I don't know much about the different spin offs, except for the occasional Unseen University Diary (which I bought immediately of course) but in the last lines of your comment you implied that you find the Discworld games a really bad example of the spin offs. If this is the case I have a little comment:
A little while ago my girlfriend advised me about the Discworld game (#1), which I bought ( a bit late, I know ) and really enjoyed, then she told my that the game is based on the books of PTerry, and I started the search for a bookstore that had the English versions in stead of the Dutch translations ( I am Dutch but I like to read books in English because I find that the translations lose a lot of their original impact during the process of translating, especially with books like the ones from the Discworld-series).
The point I am trying to make is, that the spin offs do bring some new fans to the Discworld, if there hadn't been any games (or my girlfriend for that matter), I would never have heard about the novels.
* From: "Clive Spraggs" < Clive.B.Spraggs@BTInternet.com >
I would like to say how we agreed with a lot of your points in article 6, but the hint in the last line that you are not keen on the computer games.
As a family we spent many a happy hour trying to solve these two games which we did do in the end. (We are now re-playing them as individuals trying to remember what we done together the first time round!!). These games we feel take the atmosphere of the Discworld and bring it to life as far as is possible with the limitations of modern computer equipment. (Oh to be in PTerry's head when he writes the books!).
RM replies: Maybe it was a bit rash of me to suggest a criticism of a computer game on an Internet newsletter.
* From: "Ellen" < firstname.lastname@example.org >
You were talking about spin offs in the January newsletter. I'd just like to say that in November I saw the end of the animated version of Wyrd Sisters, and then the beginning of Soul Music and it got me interested. I decided to get a Terry Pratchett book, to see if I liked it and I was hooked. Now I'm reading every one of his books I can get my hands on. I've been reading the past newsletters, and William made a comment in issue 2, "Why bother? What do we need televised PTerry in any form for? Okay, you might win over a few more people who, by virtue of being thoroughly illiterate, have not already discovered the books." Well maybe it's because I live in Canada, or else I was just ignorant, but I'm certainly not illiterate, and I didn't know about PTerry's books until I saw the animated version. When I read the books, I found that what I pictured mentally was different than the cartoon version, but the images from the TV were hard to shake, and I had to make an effort. I agree that you don't get the same enjoyment from watching the TV shows as reading the books, but it was the cartoon that introduced me to Discworld. I think spin offs are okay, as long as the original books are still available.
* "beccaelizabeth" < email@example.com >
With reference to your article about merchandising - I love all the discworld related stuff you can get. For instance, I got a Hogswatch card for yule, and I have a dried frog pills box which should come in very handy. What you say about the TV shows putting people off reading the books I have to disagree with. One of my brothers doesn't read anything that hasn't been on TV, and the other simply doesn't read, so TV is the only way they get Pratchett. I think the two mediums appeal to more or less different sets of people. That said, I haven't watched the cartoons (too busy reading) so I don't know if they are good. I do know the graphic novels I read were good.
Also about Josh Kirby cover art. It doesn't bear much resemblance to the books, but very few covers do. It is on the other hand quite excellent in itself, and a lot of fun to look at.
RM Replies: Strangely we haven't received a single correspondence from anyone who has been put off the books by the cartoons.
* From: "Kathryn Hore" < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Just adding my voice to that of Bill Daley. I too have been surprised by the amount of Discworld products mentioned here and there about the net, in DWM and such, but they are mostly absent in Australia, at least I haven't found anything about. The Clarecraft figures I have long held a desire to see, probably as I tend to have a rather expensive hobby collecting pewter and occasionally other types of figurines. I also empathise with Konholio Flibble about the length of time it takes for the books to be released in Australia, Jingo was released here mid-Decemberish '97, but I'd been hearing about it long before that from friends overseas. However, I must admit, I've grown rather used to that and the books are no less worth it for the wait.
* From: "MNeasham" < MNeasham@aol.com >
Re. Bridget Doherty's letter about the Star Trek holodeck program - how about if Vetinari was in fact also Q.
* From: "Kirsty Queenan" < QUEENAK2@bp.com >
Some younger people have problems loaning PTerry's book out of libraries, as the are often in the adult section which are restricted to over 16's.
My mum is currently as University studying Medieval History and was told by a lecturer that ALL History students should read PTerry books. Why History students in particular I couldn't tell you.
JA Replies: Maybe they need to develop a sense of humor?
* From: "James Bartlett" < JAMESBT@pembrokeshire.ac.uk >
As we have now recovered from all the new year parties I was just thinking what is going to be done for the year 2000. (I am talking Discworld style). Is there any thing? If not then lest get something done, and soon.
* From: "Mrs J Rigden" < email@example.com >
I took exception to one of your letter writer's criticism of Josh Kirby's covers because he felt that he had not read the books. I think it is OBVIOUS that he reads all of the books, as well as putting his own creativity into the Discworld covers. That's what an artist is supposed to do!
Apart from the artistic talent, the main difference between his covers and those of any other illustrator of the Discworld is that Josh Kirby has captured the essential humourous nature of PTerry's work. In my opinion no other artist has managed to depict this vital element of PTerry's books.
* From: "John Edwards" < Sfirstname.lastname@example.org >
Why is it that the original Hardback copy of Lords and Ladies has the Queen of El... fair folk on the cover and yet the paperback had the King?
Perhaps Ben Worsop (issue 9) should have said the difference between PTerry's books and real life is the difference between being sober and being knurd.
* From: "Frog." < email@example.com >
When I read in "Konholio Flibble's" letter that maybe the illustrators of "The Pratchett Portfolio" or "The Colour of Magic" Graphic Novel should do the covers for Discworld books my heart stopped in disbelief [Does this mean you croaked? - RM]. I have so fallen in love with the Josh Kirby artwork that I have spent months tracking down his artwork collections. In fact I often though how brilliant it would be to have a portfolio of the characters, and when I saw a spine of a book in the book store that said "Pratchett Portfolio" I thought my dreams were realised. I pulled the book out and discovered with bitter disappointment that it wasn't Kirby's work. I put the book back and refused to buy it. To me Kirby's highly unique style captures the humourous, magical, comical, quirky, and surreal world that IS the Discworld.
* From: "Ross A Chapman" < firstname.lastname@example.org >
In regards to the letter by "Konholio Flibble" in DWM Issue 9.
If you haven't seen copies of Jingo wherever you live in Australia then you must be somewhere in the Northern Territory, or another out of the way area. Jingo was scheduled for Australian release, in Gollancz hardback, on November 1st. It was slightly late, but it came out on November 10th in Adelaide, and this was one of the last cities to get the book. All the major bookstores around the city have copies. They are $34, a reasonable amount for a hardback.
Considering this was about 1 week after the official UK release (admittedly many bookstores had them out months earlier) I think that New Holland, PTerry's Australian distributors, did very well.
PTerry spends a month travelling Australia every year. This is more than most authors do in 5 years. His Antipodean schedule is extremely exhaustive. Now, on top of his hectic schedule, he will be coming over for the first ever XXXX Discworld Convention (assuming we can organise the bloody thing) in the year 2000.
The waiting list at your library is not rare for new books of popular authors. Remember that the library probably has 5000 or more people who use it, and quite a number would be PTerry fans. Your library would only get 1 or 2 copies of the book. You don't pay for it after all, only through your taxes.
* From: "Roberts, Stephen" < email@example.com >
With regard to merchandising my initial thoughts then were much the same that there appeared to be a "band wagon" with a queue of "real" CMOT's waiting to exploit PTerry's work. However, I feel that Terry must be congratulated on the way he has apparently kept control of the whole merchandising issue. Certainly the merchandise I have bought and seen always seems to be of excellent quality and very much value for money.
I am a little unsure about the impact of the animated features. I bought the Soul Music videos and enjoyed them a great deal. I was sceptical at first that they would ruin my own mental image of Discworld and its characters but I was pleasantly surprised that I was not watching it commenting "that's not how I imagined it". I think your comments regards the books not fitting neatly into 25 minute chunks and it becomes too fragmented and difficult to follow were spot on. BUT, the Hogfather kindly brought me the Wyrd Sisters videos this Hogswatch and when I watched them in full without ads etc, they were quite enjoyable to watch.
The one thing I dread however is a live action adaptation of the books. I think the animation works well and I suspect that Terry can have some influence over the characterisations. This, I fear would not be the case if actors were being selected for the roles. I have read in various places that Mort is possibly being made into a film, if this is so it would be interesting to see how that turns out, and if successful if it would spawn a whole new line in merchandise. I can just see the toy shops stocked out with cuddly dolls of Death with eyes that glow in the dark (with optional My Little Binky), a plastic foldout Unseen University Micro Machines set, and a Fisher Toys Alchemy Set for the budding alchemist ?
Anyway, I would hope that Terry continues to keep a tight control over his creation so that we continue to get value for money and most importantly that the merchandise enhances rather than diminishes the written word.
JA Replies: For this insightful prose, Stephen receives this month's letter of the month.
I think I was expecting something like a pantomime. The only other local production I'd seen involved a pirate, a flying boy and a ticking crocodile. I was concerned that I wasn't going to enjoy the production and that I was going to have to say so in the newsletter. But I needn't have worried.
This production of "Mort" is based on Stephen Briggs official adaptation which left me feeling a little happier. The Progress Theatre itself is quite small and intimate. Pratchett plays are obviously very popular as the theatre was sold out and extra chairs had been added.
The Shinfield Players were excellent - with only around a dozen actors filling all the parts. I was really impressed with the lead performances of Mort, Albert, Igneous Cutwell and Death (who managed to SPEAK LIKE THIS, well done that sound man).
In a similar way to the "Soul Music" and "Wyrd Sisters" cartoons, some of the jokes were said instead of thought and unlike the cartoons important parts were narrated.
Was it as good as the book? Well of course not, it was different and very entertaining. Unlike panto, for me at least, you didn't want it to end (so you could go home and do something less boring).
I, for one, will be keeping an eye out for future Discworld productions from the Shinfield Players.
If you would like more information about the Progress Theatre, or would like a programme of future events contact the box office:
Progress Theatre, The Mount, Christchurch Road, Reading, Berkshire Tel: 0118-960-6060
We first sampled the scumble, which was a wonderful scrumpy. It has a refreshing taste and a considerable bite. We could all imagine getting drunk quite easily on this. Mind you, some of us could get drunk quite easily on orange squash. AND be sick afterwards.
Next we tried "Black Hogswatch Beer". It was certainly black: even when held up to the light it was impossible to see through. It had that distinctive Brown Ale taste and brought back some embarrassing memories (in the aftermath of such ales).
Finally we tried "Ridcully's Revenge". We might have known from the stopper on this bottle that this was going to be lively. After wiping down the table we started to pour and then stopped and waited 15 minutes until the head had died down. In total it took about 30 minutes to pour the whole pint. None of us are ale drinkers, so we found someone who was and they said it was a pleasant tasting ale (and who are we to argue).
We were very impressed with this selection of beers, although it has to be said that they don't live up to the reputation of their fictional counterparts. Scumble doesn't actually eat through furniture, for example, which to my mind was a disappointment. The bottles, however, look great next to my other Discworld stuff...
Wallbro are running a competition for DWM readers. Simply send an email with the subject DWM to firstname.lastname@example.org with your Name, Address, DOB and what new Discworld merchandising you would like to see and they will choose a winner at random. Don't worry if you don't win as there will be another chance in issue 12 to celebrate DWM's first birthday.
For further details contact Eric the Beer-Monster.
Address: (Hogswatch beer) Wallbro, 11 Hornbeam, The Fairways,
For PTerry fans in Australia "Chris Mann" < CMann@bigpond.com > suggests Infinitas Bookshop, 5/1 Horwood Pl, Parramatta NSW a store which has a large collection of Sci-Fi/Fantasy books, plus some Horror, as well as the complete set of miniatures as well as the cards and pewter figures.
In the seventh part of our Short Stories series, Phil Penney tells
us about "#ifdefDEBUG + 'world/enough' + 'time'". Phil runs the
unofficial Discworld fan club "The Guild of Fans and Disciples".
For more information email him on
PTerry wrote this story in 1990 for an anthology called "Digital Dreams" edited by David V. Barrett (Nel 0-450-53150-3). Published in paperback only, this is an excellent book containing 20 stories with a computer theme. The contributors included Neil Gaiman, Garry Kilworth and Dave Langford. My favourite title is a story by Ray Girvan & Steve Jones called "Lord of the Files"!
First editions of the book are not valuable particularly, although copies can be tricky to track down. Being out of print, the problem I found was that they don't really filter into the 2nd hand market because (a) they're paperbacks and not worth much and (b) it's such a good book, why sell it?
Fortunately, the story has been re-printed recently in another computer themed anthology "Cyber Killers", edited by Ric Alexander (Orion, June 1997). This is a pretty good book and is still in print. There is a hardback and a large paperback edition, with a small paperback edition published in May 1998.
The title of this story is enough to arouse curiosity in itself, but the subject matter is equally unexpected. It is a vision of the future in which computer junkies - "afers" - spend their whole lives hooked into virtual reality scenarios. Our narrator is a computer engineer whose job it is to sort out the mess when something goes wrong. Like last month's story "Turntables of the Night", the story is told in first person perspective, but in this story the style is more like a Philip Marlowe detective novel.
Our narrator, Darren Thomson, is called in to look into a strange case. A man, hooked up to his computer, has been found dead and in the next room is his girlfriend's body - and she's been dead for 5 years. As Darren investigates, under the scrutiny of a cop and an official from the computer company, he realises first that the dead man has had access to some very powerful equipment and second that the computers have not mal-functioned at all...
The copper leaned over my shoulder.
'How did you do that?' he said.
'Well,' I said, 'there was no negative bias voltage on the sub-logic multiplexer,' which shut him up.
Thing is, there wasn't anything wrong. It wasn't that I couldn't find a fault, there was nothing to say that a fault existed. It was as if it'd just been told to shut down everything. Including him."
As the story unfolds, it becomes a very thought provoking piece. I wouldn't pretend that PTerry is the first author to write about this subject matter, but given that his best work is in comic fiction, he handles it very well. There are elements of humour, but it is not primarily a comic piece.
PTerry's fascination with technology and computer development is evident. I'm told that he once wired his door up to a voice synthesizer so that when it opened, it said "Creak, Creak, Creak"!