Discworld Monthly - Issue 13: May 1998
Table of Contents:1. Editorial
3. British Signing Tour Details
4. Readers' Letters
5. Last Continent Competition
6. Results of Clarecraft's Bonsai Mountain Competition
8. Discworld Convention Membership Offer
9. Review: Wyrd Sisters in Woodley, Reading, Berkshire
10. Review: The Last Continent
11. The End
*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 fourteen by Saturday 23rd May 1998.
Jason Anthony, email@example.com (editor)
William Barnett (deputy editor)
Ritchy Rich (high flying consultant)
PTerry will be going on a British signing tour in May, see section 3 for more details.
According to firstname.lastname@example.org "The Wyrd Sisters" cartoon is now being shown in episodes in Israel. It is being shown on the Children's channel at varying times, so check listings in paper.
The third Discworld game called Discworld Noir is due out Summer 1999 and will not feature Rincewind. Noir will be darker than the other two games and will include Death, Vimes, Nobby, Detritus and Gaspode according to a recent post by PTerry in alt.fan.pratchett
The American GOFAD group run by Joe Schaumburger, has now reached over 130 members/inquiries and is growing steadily at the rate of 50-60 new inquiries a month. Anyone interested in joining need only send an email to: email@example.com
The IRC channel #DISCWORLD on undernet is still a tad underpopulated writes "fly boy" a #DISCWORLD op. If you want to join in Discworld discussions go and visit. For those who have not discovered IRC (or Internet Relay Chat) it is a system where you can type messages to other Internet users in real time. To be able to use IRC you will need an IRC client such as mIRC available from www.mirc.com
The Performit Theatre Company will be performing Stephen Briggs'
adaptation of "Men at Arms" at the Kaleide Theatre in RMIT in
Melbourne, Australia from the 21st-23rd May and 28th-30th May with
tickets priced at $8. Bookings can be made by ringing (03) 9925
3089 or visiting
"The Independents" the Plymouth based theatre group will be performing Terry Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters adapted by Stephen Briggs at the Plymouth Atheaneum Theatre from 3rd June-6th June 1998.
The play starts at 7:30pm prompt and tickets are 5.00GBP for adults and 4.00GBP for concessions. There is also a 2:00pm matinee on Saturday 6th June 1998.
Telephone "Granny" on (01752) 338134 for tickets or E-Mail "Verence the Fool" at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friar Street Bookshop
|Wednesday 6th May 1998
Dillons, Oxford Street
|Thursday 7th May 1998
Eason & Son, O' Connell Street
|Friday 8th May 1998
|Wednesday 13th May 1998
|Wednesday 13th May 1998
Times/Dillons event at L2 (Tickets available through The Times Metro Section)
|Thursday 14th May 1998
|Friday 15th May 1998
|Beverley (N Yorkshire)
The Beverley Bookshop
|Friday 15th May 1998
|Saturday 16th May 1998
|Thursday 21st May 1998
|Thursday 21st May 1998
|Friday 22nd May 1998
|Friday 22nd May 1998
|Hay On Wye
Hay Literary Festival event (Tickets available from the festival box office tel: 01497-821299)
|Saturday 23rd May 1998
|Sunday 24th May 1998
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 known only to ourselves.
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: "pyromax" < firstname.lastname@example.org >
As a reaction to what Elliott Kalan writes about any possible Discworld movie, I would like to say something. I think it will be very difficult to make a movie which will rise up to the expectations of half of the Discworld fans. Everybody imagines things differently while reading the books, so how could you make a straight translation of one novel which seems/feels right to all those people? I personally think that is an impossible task, which nobody should even begin to dream of undertaking. The only possible way to make a film which will be any good is to let Terry create a new story with a whole lot of new parts and characters and places. This to reduce the possibility of recognition and subsequent rejection of scenes. And even then there should be a budget even James Cameron can't get together for a second time, if only to pay for the special effects. Then you'd still have to pay some damn good actors to play the roles. But now I come to think of it, maybe this is totally the wrong way. From what I hear the plays are pretty good, so maybe it should be done by some film-student on a low budget with actors nobody has ever heard from, on location in somebodies backyard. Off course only involving people who know the story by heart (and all the other ones too). And then you can let the story speak for itself, instead of the actors/special effects.
Now I'm confused. Please help me,
* From: "David Poole" < David_Poole@europe.mccann.com >
If there was a Discworld movie I think the following (mainly British) cast could do it justice.
DEATH (Voice of) James Earl Jones. Ridcully Brian Blessed. Other Wizards Robbie Coltrane/Mel Smith, fat bloke out of pie in the sky. Windle Poons Buster Merryfield. CMOT David Jason. Foul Ol' Ron Bill Owen (Compo out of Last of the Summer Wine) or Warren Mitchel. Rincewind Nicholas Lyndhurst. The Patrician Alan Rickman. Vimes Warren Clarke. Carrot Hugh .....? out of the full Monty. Mrs Cake Patricia Routledge. Chief Assassin Richard Wilson.
JA Replies: There have been similar discussions about the casting of a Discworld movie on alt.fan.pratchett for some time. I am unsure what cast list they came up with though.
* From: "RIEN11" < RIEN11@aol.com >
In regards to translating one of PTerry's delightful pieces into film, I thought my two cents were owed a soapbox. As a former film student and an avid fan from the States, I think the only possible way a successful film version of one of the existing Discworld Adventures could take place is if it was handled independently from The Holy-Wood and taken upon the backs of fans of the works themselves. I would run out of finger-like appendages trying to list the multitudes of film students and students of film who would jump at the chance of translating some of the better novels. In brief personal correspondence with PTerry himself I was not surprised to learn that the rights to this sort of metamorphosis is unattainable, either through personal control by PTerry or pre-determined control by the publishing agents. It's a pity because I am sure the previous comments made by other contributors to the Newsletter remind us that the most we would expect from the "Big H" would be a disappointing garble of slapstick, omnipotent narration (I cringe at that thought alone) and no doubt the presence of Leonardo DiCaprio as Mort, Carrot, or (this makes me perceptively shudder too) even Rincewind! Personally, I think the joy that comes from a Discworld novel stems from the readers undying adoration for the subject matter. It ISN'T slapstick, but the elements are there. It ISN'T parody, but the satire is as obvious as a falling brick. The feeling that one gets of being spoken to personally (or at least as a member of a small group) by PTerry makes the experience more than a time killer. A film would have to be as small and un-Studio as possible. I know, I know, some of the effects necessary to effectively translate the fantasy would have to be pinched and tweaked. But if they can do that for stage and have an effecting run of it, I'm sure a happy medium could be struck. I could think of no greater horror than to see a filmed version of one of my favourite stories done with money in mind.
* From: "The Forrests" < email@example.com >
Since the Discworld series essentially hit double figures, several years ago now, an argument amongst fans has been growing. This argument has essentially two sides, one is those who liked PTerry's earlier books, who want to see Rincewind return a bit more, and who appreciate the syndicated nature of seeing the watch in many of PTerry's works. Then there is the other side, who argue that PTerry spends too much time re-hashing old characters and should be breaking new ground. In part, these two sides can be seen in the recent argument about Hogfather. On one hand, we have the lovers of Rincewind and the Watch, who believe that Hogfather was too dark and depressing, and who feel that it was incongruous with the rest of the discworld series. On the other, we have those who believe that Hogfather was an expression of how well suited a vehicle the Discworld is for PTerry to explore themes that may not be as simple as civil unrest in Ankh-Morpork. Unfortunately there is no "right" answer. PTerry's books are popular enough that they attract a wide readership, who enjoy his books for entirely different reasons.
* From: "Paul O'Donnell" < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Not being a master of English Literature myself, I sought an educated opinion about the "Quality" of PTerry's work. That person's opinion is that PTerry is a literary featherweight, who only uses simple English, very simple plots (no more than two or three threads) and only applies superficial flesh to the bones of characters or plot. But my expert did concede it was bloody funny, but found the repeated use of foot notes tedious.
The question is can humourous literature be quality literature? If PTerry was to engage in multi threaded, multi time-lined plots and set about vast narratives to explore characters and situations, would it be funny?
* From: "David Bloomer" < email@example.com >
I've just read the comments on the Companion and have to agree. Having a Star Trek fan for a brother I think that an encyclopedia is a good idea, as the Star Trek one on CD Rom is great. It would be really brilliant to see Great A'Tuin from the beginning of the cartoons on my monitor.
While surfing on the net I came across something which I think you'd all be interested in. I found out that first editions of Mort are worth between 50GBP - 120GBP! I know that Equal Rites is worth something but it wasn't mentioned when it was shown on Channel 4's Collector's Lot. A wise investment if any fans bought Terry before he was really big.
* From: "Fernando Fava" < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Is there any other PTerry fans or readers in Argentina? It would be very nice to know, so if someone does like Terry's books please contact me by email. My name is Santiago Fava and I'm from La Plata - Buenos Aires - Argentina.
* From: "Le Grand Gourou" < email@example.com >
Hi! I happen to be a TP fan (yes, I know it's unbelievable), only, contrarily to most of you, I'm French (nobody's perfect).
I'd just like to say a word about the current state of TP fanhood in camembert country. Indeed, TP books are immensely successful, both in translations (Patrick Couton, who does the DW translation, just got a Prix de l'Imaginaire for them) and, surprisingly (it's France, remember) in English versions (well... okay, not so surprising: the latest translation is that of Reaper Man... Couton might do a great job [actually, I found the translated Mort to be very, very inferior to the real stuff] but he does it slowly).
So I wonder about the lack of active fanhood in France. There are only a couple French Websites about Pratchett, and they're not so popular (I happen to be running one, and I've had less than 80 connections in four months; the other one, which has existed longer and is registered in Yahoo! France, has hardly had 200 connections). I know this doesn't mean much, as Pratchett fans are not necessarily on the Internet, but still, I wonder. Similarly, I've never heard of anything like real fanhood in France. No fan-club, no nothing. Yet, Pratchett sells a lot in here. Although I do think he would sell more if the English books were more readily available. Well, I hope this letter will trigger reactions. Similarly, I'd like to know if people out there would enjoy a French-speaking DWM. I think I could manage the monthly translation.
JA Replies: It appears that England is the only country where we can take access to PTerry's books for granted. This letter is similar to ones we have had from Spain, Italy and Israel. If you would like "Le Grand Gourou" to translate DWM into French then let us know.
* From: "Allan Phillip lear" < firstname.lastname@example.org >
There has been a lot of discussion in issue 12 over the levels of merit of the Discworld books. I personally am in the "deep stuff but if you enjoy it then fine" camp, which seemed to be quite prominent. That is the point of my email. The discussion was conducted with a wonderful amicability that would not be found in many other fan groups. This is something we should preserve and treasure, for fear of descending into the stereotypical-trekkie- nit-picking-pedantic-anoraky-unpleasant-shouting-no-compromise arguments that is too often the general public's view of culty groups such as ours.
* From: "Ian Hogg" < email@example.com >
There are a lot of creative people out there who could really contribute to a Discworld/Pratchett collective effort, and in the hope of kicking something off, here are a couple of suggestions:
Guild of Merchants guide to Ankh Morpork
In the early books, much reference was made to the "Guild of Merchants guide to Ankh Morpork". So why don't we write this ourselves. Those guild titles (excluding those already named in to books) are up for grabs, and what merchant would fail to grab this shameless piece of self publicity.
Discworld Trivia Game
Something suggested in the letters page of the DWM issue 12 by Caroline Walcot, was a Discworld Triva game. This is the type of thing that could be easily produced by the internet fan-base. For example, if each of the 6500 readers of the DWM submitted a question, then this would give a full set of questions straight away (Provided they all asked different questions - Ed.)
If the editor also produced a Java/Javscript/HTML front end for this, then the whole package could be downloaded and used as the basis for Trivial Pursuit games at home as well as being an interesting site on the Net.
Foolish though this may be, I'll even volunteer to edit and produce a front end for all of the questions - perhaps even publish it?
If anyone is interested in supplying questions, then please get in touch at: DWTrivia@illuminations.demon.co.uk
JA Replies: I have emailed the producers of the Trivial Pursuit game asking for comment whether this is feasible or even legal but have had no reply yet. On a more positive note, we have awarded Letter of the Month to Ian for his original ideas.
* From: "Brian Grinter" < firstname.lastname@example.org >
I still think the Streets of Ankh-Morpork and the map of Discworld are firstly very enjoyable (look up all the places you've "been" to in past novels, use it while you're reading a current novel etc.) and secondly they make a great conversation piece. I had Terry sign both of mine last time he came to Australia, then I laminated them and made wall posters of them. A few guests have looked at them and said "Wow, Discworld" then we learn we both read Discworld novels, and when they see they're both signed, well... (what, that they are worth less than the unsigned ones... - Ed)
* From: "Christopher Mann" < CMann@bigpond.com >
Although many people might find the Discworld Maps part of the paraphernalia that any fanatic should have, and otherwise useless (which is why I originally purchased both, along with just about everything Discworld I have), I offer this use for them - on the Discworld MUD, a very interesting place that requires very little hard disk space, you are required to travel around Ankh-Morpork, and in some cases, the entire Disc. The Ankh-Morpork in this MUD is definitely based on SOAM, as many of the characters I have encountered are based on the characters in the books (except for the witchy wizard, who moans to be a witch for some reason). So do not criticise the Streets of Ankh-Morpork, instead, download the MUD client www.zuggsoft.com and connect to Discworld MUD and make it useful.
* From: "Felipe Mugica Perez" < email@example.com >
I read a letter in the last issue of DWM about a translation of it to Spanish. Well, I think that it would be a very good idea, specially for someone, like me, that doesn't control English very well and loses the meaning of many words. What I don't know is whether the number of Spanish readers (or from South America) will be enough. Here, in Spain it's a bit hard to find Terry Pratchett's books. The first ten books were published in Spain some years ago but now it's almost impossible to get them.
- What is the name of the Discworld's first tourist?
- Davina D. Spaffor gets the Himalayan mountain
- Scott Kelly gets the volcanic mountain
- Paul Davidson gets the valley mountain
We would like to thank Elton at Clarecraft for supplying the prizes
in this competition. For more information about Clarecraft's
and ask for a catalogue. Please mention DWM
in any correspondence.
- What beach lies on the continent XXXX?
- What is at the centre of Ankh-Morpork?
- How many continents are there on the Disc?
- Which city lies on the Rim of the Disc and conducts experiments on Great-A'Tuin, one involving Rincewind and Twoflower?
- Which city lies between Tsort and Ephebe?
This month's answers can be found in section 11.
With more than one thousand fans and at least ten guests due to attend, the Convention will be the biggest ever Discworld event.
Fear not! The venue, with nine large function rooms, is big enough to accommodate all those who attend with ease.
Make sure you are there for the premier Discworld event - people will be talking about it for years to come.
As a special offer for subscribers to the Internet's Discworld Monthly, we are holding the membership fee at the pre-April prices of 35UKP for Full Attending, 25UKP for Special Attending, and 15UKP for Supporting Membership until May 31st.
A printable form is available at:
Please mark your forms "Discworld Monthly Offer" and return them to the following address: The Discworld Convention, Suite 35, 29 High Street, Romford, Essex, RM1 1JL.
Jason: The characters of Magrat, Nanny Ogg and the Fool were handled well by Sheila McDermott, Krysia Blake and Mike Franklin. Pam Sims put in a valiant effort as Granny Weatherwax but failed to convince me in the way the other witches did. Lord and Lady Felmet were unfortunately not how I imagined them at all.
I felt that although I knew the book well and could fit the story together, people new to Pratchett would have a hard time following it. Quickly swapping between scenes works well in books and on the big screen, but on stage it's annoying when every few minutes the scenery needs to be re-arranged.
Although I enjoyed the play, I felt too much was missing especially most of the jokes. Other noticeable exceptions were Death's "COWER NOW BRIEF MORTALS" speech and the scene where Granny knocks down all of Lady Felmet's mental defences.
What's not clear is how much of this missing material is due to Stephen Briggs' adaptation or the limitations of this particular production. I for one will not be going out to purchase the play to find out.
William: The Fool gets my vote for best character. He looked great, but then it's easy to get the costume right for a fool. More importantly, he fitted my idea of the Fool from the novel: embarrassed by his awkward, ridiculous appearance (accentuated by this guy's considerable height). Also smart enough to recognise that it was all self-inflicted and somewhat rueful about that, too. Perhaps I'm reading too much into it, mind you. His expression and posture when one of his excruciating, Shakespearean word-plays fell flat was really effective. Magrat and Felmet were also well done in my opinion, fitting in with my vision of the characters.
But that's part of the problem in reviewing a play like this: I view it entirely in the light of my version of the Discworld. I didn't really enjoy any of the PTerry jokes because I knew them all already. I spent more time mentally filling in the bits that had been altered or excised entirely. What's more, I don't see that the exclusions made the play any more successful - I strongly suspect that, if you didn't already know the book, you'd leave the theatre with the very firm opinion that this PTerry bloke's books were a load of rubbish. The story requires so much editing to make it a manageable length to perform that you have to ask if it's worth it.
A good production of a suspect adaptation of a brilliant book - one of my favourites, in fact, which might be a lot of the reason why I wasn't particularly taken with this play.
Richard: In the best Shakespearian tradition the set looked very simple. This disappointed me at first, but as the play went on it did allow for the very quick and frequent scene changes that the play required - by adding a throne the stage became the Great Hall at Lancre Castle, adding stocks turned it into the dungeon, etc. This, contrary to Jason, didn't bother me at all; if a scene opens with a lavish set you can be that all the action for the next hour of so will be restricted to that scene - which I find almost claustrophobic. Lighting must have been good, because I didn't really notice it, but some of the sound was faded a bit clumsily. There were a couple of nice pyrotechnical effects as well.
Magrat gets my vote for overall best actor, though all three witches were excellent (even Granny Weatherwax), the Fool was also spot on. Duke Felmet wasn't what I expected, and Lady Felmet, despite being well cast and acted, didn't have the impact that she did in the book (though this is almost certainly the fault of the adaptation).
The play worked well, with a reasonable pace and keeping to the style of the book, up to the interval (which supposedly lasted fifteen years). The second half seemed to go into overdrive. I doubt if anyone would have difficulty following the story - it's not that complicated - but it did seem a bit rushed.
The Librarian is ill and none of the wizards can remember his name. If they knew his name they could use magic to help him. The only wizard who may know his name was last seen on the continent of XXXX.
TLC is the story of the Faculty's desperate attempt to find the Discworld's most inept wizard, Rincewind. And Rincewind's attempt at staying alive in the most inhospitable continent on the Disc.
Jason: TLC follows on from "Interesting Times" with Rincewind deep in the desert continent of XXXX. There are two distinct storylines running through this novel. The first follows Rincewind and the second follows the rest of the Faculty.
TLC moves along at a leisurely pace and never seems to get very far. Death makes a couple of unexpected appearances that I feel were there just because Death *has* to be in every novel.
Ponder Stibbons develops into a more defined member of the Faculty and gets an almost starring role in the Faculty story line.
Although it's good to read about Rincewind again and TLC contains lots of jokes and anecdotes about Australia, I found it rather disappointing especially compared to the higher paced and more exciting Jingo.
William: Interesting little number, this. TLC doesn't seem to be in the same mould as other recent Discworld novels. I often don't particularly enjoy Discworld books on their first reading, but that wasn't the case with TLC. Having said that, I left TLC feeling as if I'd read only half a new Discworld book.
TLC seems to be very much played for laughs. It revolves around Rincewind and the Faculty of UU, and a lot of the humour comes solely from the character interaction. There are some great jokes in there, but most of the stuff about Oz was rather lost on me: yeah, they've got kangaroos, duck-billed platypuses and corks around the brims of their hats, but that's not news (Australian readers please direct all complaints about stereotyping to T. Pratchett, c/o Transworld Publishers).
The weird thing is, nothing much ever seems to happen. I haven't
fully figured out all of the plot yet (I never do until the 2nd or
3rd time round) but I never had the feeling that something was
developing behind all the banter and one-liners. Good banter, though:
'I hope not.' said Ridcully briskly.
Actually, taken out of context, that doesn't seem very funny after all.
Richard: I haven't read it yet, I do have other things to do.
We would like to thank Sally Wray at Transworld Publishing for supplying our review copy of The Last Continent.
You can purchase "The Last Continent" direct from Amazon.co.uk via:
(The above should all be entered as one line in the address box of your browser with no spaces)
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* Answers to this month's DiscTrivia questions *
- What beach lies on the continent XXXX?
- Bone Die Beach
- What is at the centre of Ankh-Morpork?
- The Opera House
- How many continents are there on the Disc?
- 4 - Klatch, Counterweight, XXXX, Unnamed
- Which city lies on the Rim of the Disc and conducts experiments
on Great-A'Tuin, one involving Rincewind and Twoflower?
- Which city lies between Tsort and Ephebe?
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