Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 14: June 1998

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. New Zealand / Australia Signing Tour
4. Readers' Letters
5. Results Of Last Month's "Last Continent" Competition
6. DiscTrivia
8. Feature: PTerry's Short Stories - Part 9 - "History in the Faking"
9. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 14. As you may have gathered we had a hard time sending out our last issue. Due to reasons beyond our control and a new "super" version of our mailing software nearly 2000 emails went out incorrectly.

Please note our new email address is . Any messages sent to will still get through but we have had a complaints that messages were unable to get through on that address.

For those that entered the Discworld Mystery in Issue 12 the answer according to Danny Gibas (who set the mystery) was Lady Ramkin.... The main clues were the carriage tracks and the note that read +++1784M+++ TwO bLocKS FroM CemeTAry+++ If you look at the letters under 1784 on your keyboard you get QUIR so the message should read +++QUIRM+++ Two bLocKS FroM CemeTAry+++ which is the address of Lady Ramkin's Sunshine Sanctuary for Sick Dragons according to the Discworld map "Streets of Ankh Morpork".

*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 fifteen by Sunday 21st June 1998.

Jason Anthony, (editor)
William Barnett (deputy editor)
Ritchy Rich (speed reader)

2. News

The next PTerry book (after "The Last Continent") will be called "Carpe Jugulum" (Seize the Throat?). It is a vampire book and will feature all four witches: Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Magrat Garlick (with baby) and Agnes Nitt.

Rumours suggest that the book after that will be called "Uberwald" and will be set in Angua's home.

The "Wyrd Sisters" cartoon is now being shown in episodes in Israel in a regular time slot Wednesday's at 15:45.

"Soul Music" is being shown on the ABC in Australia. It's on Fridays at 5:30 in the evening.

"The Last Continent" is due for release in Australia in the first week of June just in time for PTerry's upcoming XXXX tour, see section 3 for details.

The Changeling company will be staging a play of MORT at the Central Theatre, Chatham, Kent on the 6th June 1998. Tickets are available from the box office on 01634-403868 and then on the 7th June 1998 at the Hazlitt Theatre, Earl Street, Maidstone. Tickets available on 01622-758611. Both performances begin at 8pm.

Matthew Pettitt ( ) has come up with a Discworld Quiz. Sadly, It only works for those unfortunate enough to use Microsoft Internet Explorer 4(tm). Visit

A fellow subscriber, Helen Wildash from Adelaide in Australia, needs your help. She has just started her own webpage and needs book reviews and comments to help her with her computer / book / movie site. Visit:

Matthew Warwick, inspired by an letter from Ian Hogg in issue 13 which suggested making a Discworld Trivia game, has decided to take the idea a step further and create a game using Macromedia Director. Which should be "A full multi-media extravaganza". Matthew needs your help. Please send any questions, pictures, sounds, animations or anything to do with the Discworld that could be used in the game to (please email first if you are going to send anything larger than 50k)

3. New Zealand / Australia Signing Tour

This information comes from a post make by PTerry on in which he says there may be one or two yet to be confirms.

New Zealand

Monday 6 July - CHRISTCHURCH
12.30pmSIGNINGWhitcoulls, Riccarton Mall
6.00pmAUTHOR TALKUniversity Bookshop
Tuesday 7 July - WELLINGTON
12.30pmSIGNINGWhitcoulls, Lambton Quay
Contact: Suzannah, 0-4-472 1921
3.30pmSIGNINGWhitcoulls, Queensgate Mall, Lower Hutt
6.00pmAUTHOR TALKAhradsens Bookshop, BNZ Centre, Lambon Quay
Wednesday 8 July - AUCKLAND
11.30pm SIGNINGWhitcoulls St Lukes Mall
Contact: Rod Hayman, 0-9-815 1882
12.30pmSIGNINGWhitcoulls, Crn Victoria & Queen Sts, AK City
4.00pmSIGNINGDymocks Booksellers West City, Henderson
6.00pm AUTHOR TALKDymocks Booksellers, Elliott St, AK City


Thursday 9 July - BRISBANE
12.30 pmPages Brisbane Mall
6.00 pmMary Ryan's - talk/signing, Brisbane Mall
Friday July 10
9.30 amPulp Fiction Signing, Shop 9, Anzac Square Arcade, 265 Edward St, Brisbane
11.00 amDymocks Indooroopilly, Shop 3071 Westfield, Shopping Town, Indooroopilly
1.00 pmAngus and Robertson Myer Centre, Shop 8-10 Myer Centre, Elizabeth St Mall, Brisbane
4.00 pmFly to Sydney
Saturday July 11 and Sunday July 12 - Phancon
Monday July 13
10.30 amGalaxy signing, 222 Clarence St, Sydney
12.30 pmDymocks Signing, 428 George St, Sydney
4.00 pmFly to Melbourne
Tuesday July 14
10.30 amSlow Glass Books, 305 Swanston St, Melbourne
12.30 pmA and R Melbourne Central, Cnr Elizabeth and Bourke Sts, Melbourne
2.30 pmMinotaur Signing, 220 Bourke St, Melbourne, (this one is awaiting confirmation, it says here)
6.00 pmEvening event at Robinsons Bookstore, 3/11 Station St, Frankston
Wednesday July 15 - fly to PERTH, and media
Thursday July 16
12.00 pmDymocks Midlands Signing, (this is all the address I've got as yet)
6.00 pmDymocks Sun-Downer Talk and signing, Perth Parmelia Hilton
Contact: Hema 089 328 8199
Friday July 17
11.00 pmCollins Karrinyup, Shop G79 Karrinyup Shopping Centre, Karrinyup Rd, Karrinyup
And Home...

4. Readers' Letters

If you have any letters / comments, please email

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 to protect the guilty.

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 or Please mention DWM in any correspondence.

* From: "Stephen Pearce" ( )
Thinking of Paul O'Donnell's letter in the last issue made me think of another important question when it comes to what makes a novel "great". Which is more important, the entertainment value of the book or its literary style?

I think that PTerry's style is simple, because to make it more complex would probably put his work out of the reach of his many young fans. The style he uses is also very particular to the Discworld too. The stories are very lighthearted and almost informal. I don't think PTerry is trying to teach us things about life, he just wants to make us laugh. THAT is a skill that many people, even some of the "classic greats" of literature lack.

* From: "Ross Taylor" ( )
I am writing in reply to Paul O'Donnell's letter in the May issue of DWM:

You asked if humourous literature can be quality literature..... Yes it can, and yes, it can also be funny. Take Dickens for example, Great Expectations has an incredible depth of plot, whilst still maintaining a level of humour (albeit 19th century humour is not quite the same as PTerry's). Enough literary utterings.

The point I am coming to is this: If we dissect books to look at their literary qualities we miss the most important part: The story. By examining a book in minute detail, we bypass the story.

You may have gathered by now that I really did not enjoy English Literature. Too much detail and not enough story. Take everything at face value - If you read between the lines too much, you forget what is written on them.

* From: "Stephanie Park" ( )
I would like to respond to Paul O'Donnell's letter about the Discworld books. I don't think that complex multi-thread plots are necessary for great literature. Of course a lot of great literature has such plots, but so does a lot of really awful stuff. In my opinion, the depth and complexity that is a part of great literature isn't always in the plot. In the Discworld books, it's the humour itself that's deep. Every time you read it, you get a new joke, catch an obscure reference, or notice something that you never noticed before. I've read some of the books dozens of time, and I'm still finding new things. I think that they are great literature, though I doubt that they'll ever be recognised as such by the scholarly types that everyone seems to think know all. Personally, I think that they are missing out on a lot of good stuff.

* From: "Greebo3" ( )
There are fairly frequent questions as to PTerry's Literary Value. I personally think their is insufficient coverage of the views of Greebo in the books but that could be the result of bias on my part.

* From: "Tony Green" ( )
I have only ever been seriously disappointed with one PTerry book and that was "Small Gods". When I read it, I was afraid that PTerry was burned out and that I'd now read everything of his that was worthwhile. I found the plot thin, the jokes contrived and the whole thing too quickly and shoddily written as if he was writing to a tight publishers schedule. I was therefore somewhat amazed to see it occupying the second place on the list. I obviously operate different standards to the rest of your readership. [and to the DWM editorial panel - Ed] Incidentally, after SG, I read "Soul Music" and my faith was instantly restored, so much so that this would have been my choice as all-time favourite. So there you have it, one totally biased and opinionated letter.

* From: "paradux" ( )
I was introduced to Discworld by a dear friend in Exmouth who sends me a care package on a fairly regular basis. But to those fans in the US who have problems finding the books, has recently discovered some of them, and a few at a great price - $5.99usd. I managed to get five of them, but so far, any of the others are still only available in hardcover at exorbitant prices or "hard to get" category. If anyone out there knows of a good place in the NYC area or on the net to find the books for a good price please contact me either by emailing DWM or me directly.

Also, I wanted to mention something about one of the books. Small Gods, albeit hilarious, is profoundly philosophical as to religious beliefs. I don't think it's light-weight at all. But who am I to say.

* From: "Manuel Viciano Delibano" ( )
My name is Manu Viciano and I'm from Castellon, Spain. I want to answer to a letter I found in issue 12, sent by another Spanish reader. Well, it would be nice to have a DW magazine here, in Spanish. I'm quite fluent in English, but there's lots of other PTerry readers here who aren't. Discworld books are being published again, but the last published one by the new editorial is Mort, so you can guess that not-english-speaking fans here are a bit delayed. It would be a good idea to translate Discworld Monthly into Spanish, and even to add some local articles or comments. AND I'd like to cooperate, only I can hardly manage to send emails, so creating a webpage can be discarded, at least for me. Anyway, if anybody does it, please contact me.

* From: "Dougal1017" ( )
It is well known that being a wizard is not for the fairer sex. So far as that the wizards themselves are scared that they might be quite good at it. It is also well know that the Unseen University is the only place on the Disc to learn the art of magic. Lastly it is known that Eskarina was the Disc's first female wizard (of sorts). So my Question is, how is it that there is a 5th level female wizard called "Marchesa" in The Colour of Magic, where was she trained and how can Esk be the Disc's first female wizard when there is one before her? Your help would be greatly appreciated!

* From: "Pernille Slavensky" ( )
After I've read both the letter of a Spanish and of a French PTerry addicts, I thought I might let my own little quack be heard as well. As a Danish fan, I can't help be a little jealous of the fans from the English-speaking countries. Here in Denmark it is just as hard as in France to get your hands on translated copies. Last time I looked, "Equal Rites" had just been translated into Danish. It was about the time "Men at Arms" came out...

I've read "Colour of Magic", "Light Fantastic" and "Equal Rites" in both Danish and English, and I must say the Danish versions are absolute rubbish. Half of the puns and jokes are gone, and sometimes the whole meaning has disappeared because of "word by word" translation. As a cause of that, I've bought the rest of the books in the English version, having found a wonderful bookstore which takes pride in having the newest books almost as fast as the English bookstores - a quality I seem to be the only one to appreciate. (I know of only two other Danish fans, besides myself. I've tried to convert everyone I know, but what's a poor girl to do? Danes must not have a sense of humour...)

An unexpected side effect, though, is my fantastic English grades in my final exams. My teacher was extremely impressed with "quaint" and "picturesque"... And: English hardcovers costs half as much as Danish paperbacks. That is, I've saved about 8GBP per book. If a penny saved is a penny earned, I should be rich by now...

* From: "Gino Lucrezi" ( )
I would like to ask for the help of all Discworld Monthly readers in pointing out to me which of the scripts available are easier to perform for beginner actors (our cast changes every year...) and aren't too long (say less than one hour). You can send your suggestions to me at

* From: "David Bloomer" ( )
Strata is a kind of start for Discworld, at least that's what it says on the cover. One thing that does spring to mind is the Broken Drum which is mentioned quite early in the book. This shouldn't be called a review though as I've only half read it but I had to send this in because we have to send letters to Terry to write more sci-fi novels. That isn't an attack on the Discworld books, I love them ( most of them, 'specially Pyramids) and I think that Terry needs to break his run with a non Discworld book. Back to the book. They've found a flat world and need to find out who (if it wasn't the Company) made it. It's odd to think that this book is written by PTerry, its style seems very different. In other words not as friendly as his other books.

With Strata you can see the idea of the Disc coming into shape in PTerry's mind. I think that for any fan of PTerry this is a must read.

* From: (Troy Whyte)
This hardly rates even a bother but having just finished Feet of Clay, is the "Thinking guide dog" to Foul Ole Ron, Gaspode. I know that it may be obvious (how many talking dogs would there be in Ankh-Morpork anyway?) but I wanted to be certain as I had thought that he had lost the ability of speech after Moving Pictures.

* From: "John Brine" ( )
I had my first taste of PTerry while serving in the British Army in the Gulf War. I was one of the first British soldiers to be sent out to Saudi Arabia and after the first two months I was bored silly. My father sent me a innocent looking paper back called Guards Guards, I WAS HOOKED! I found that the Watch characters were like real soldiers I knew, and the interesting plot and the wise cracks kept me giggling and tittering all through the book. The book passed round the unit and you knew where it was by following the laughter. I have since found and collected any Discworld book I could get my hands on, my favourite being Men at Arms. The other day I had a interesting thought while re-reading Feet of Clay. What if Carrot's lady friend's family came to the city to get her back? We all know that Vimes hates the undead!

JA Replies: Angua's family! Interesting point - maybe that's the plot of the next book after Carpe Jugulum?

* From: "Neill Tupman" ( )
Just quick note to let you know that Sussex Stationers (shops all over Sussex, would you believe...) have The Last Continent on the shelves for 9.99GBP (rrp 16.99GBP), the cheapest I've seen it.

* From: "Mark Oosterveen" ( )
I've just read PTerry's new Discworld book, "The Last Continent", and I think it's one of the best he's written. Firstly, it's a Rincewind novel, and it's a testament to the Wizzard's strong character that he remains one of the most popular of PTerry's inventions despite appearing in the least funny books. "The Colour Of Magic", "The Light Fantastic", "Sourcery" and "Eric" are amongst PTerry's least amusing books, and it is unfortunate that he seems unable to write at his best using Rincewind. Until "Interesting Times", that is. And this. "The Last Continent" is a major step forward for PTerry as it is easily his most mature work so far, and - surprise - bloody funny. Not only does it have as many sly references about Australian culture as "Soul Music" did about rock, or "Moving Pictures" about films (there are clear nods to Mad Max, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Fosters Ice), it also - at last! - fleshes out the characters of some of the supporting Wizards. The Senior Wrangler, previously devoid of personality, now steals scenes due to his amorous infatuation with Mrs Whitlow. The Chair of Indefinite Studies, once merely a name, will never be taken seriously again after revealing his sexual connections with croquet. Overall, PTerry has taken characters and developed them, given us everything we realistically expect from a Discworld novel, and given me a bloody good laugh in the process. Bravo!

* From: "Didactylos" ( )
The Last Continent, what can say but, Hmmmm. Apart from it's moments of sublime humour, which we expected anyway, it was the first Discworld book that I thought was, well, dodgy. A bit indecipherable, even on the second read, none of the characters Rincewind came into contact with were explored too deeply (a bit more of Nigella would have been nice), also leaving out the luggage (aka 'Trunkie') was a big mistake, just think of the things he could have done to the drop bears! It was good to see Ponder coming into his own, but I think that Ridcully and the other wizards could have been far more irritating. Sorry PTerry, but I think we'll just chalk this one up to experience and leave ecksecksecksecks to die, peacefully, shall we?

* From: "Leo Boberschmidt" ( )
"The Last Continent" !!!!!!!! Another book!!!!!!!!! It is now May 2nd and here in the U.S. we don't even have "Jingo" available yet.
Amazon.con says "available in May 98" -- well, it's May 98 but no Jingo.

* From: "Chris Morris" ( )
I found TLC to be very funny in parts, but not up to the usual standard I expect from the Discworld.

I usually find that I can't put a book down until I found out how the murders were done or how the vizier is to be beaten or how the god is to be reinstated etc., but this one I had trouble getting into.

Perhaps it was the lack of Luggage, perhaps the fact that the wizards who are normally so dynamic! And in this they were just sort of doing the usual UU things without being in UU. I know it's important that they should stay in character but in Reaper Man, Soul Music, Moving Pictures etc. they managed to stay in character and change! (I don't know how PTerry pulls it off but I liked it.)

Rincewind was there of course but again, he didn't seem to sparkle! Even the Librarian was out of sorts so no bone-crunching or de-limbing of people saying the M word! His illness was not even properly explained!

But, even after all that I did enjoy it! Just not as much as other DW books.

But I can't believe that a "pie floater" actually exists as described! perhaps someone of antipodean origins can enlighten me to that one!

* From: "Peter Thomsen" ( )
In answer to your TLC review last month. I can only say that I agree wholeheartedly. It IS like reading only half a book.

On the other hand I quite liked Jingo and Hogfather. Hogfather being a little different from the norm. And that's good. PTerry is a writer, and writers evolve (at least the good ones anyway). Jingo, I felt, was more a relapse into the old Colour of Magic days. Not that many threads in the story. Basically, just two. It is still a good book though....

* From:
I was pissed off that in the news letter the review was short and very vague if YOUR GOING TO REVIEW A BOOK MAKE SURE THAT THEY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT.The commennt about the (poo deck ) joke being out of context was quite stupid dosen't the prat that wrote the article know that any TP jokes read out loud aren't funny. TLC was pure piss take on the side of the author who used his usual style of writing to support the australians in there fight against crap stereotyping. Any one who thinks that the early books are any different from the recent one dosen't truly understand TP his style is always the same you just have to have some experince of life to truly enjoy TP'S books. If you want proper reviews ask fans not take all the credit your selves. Dvid jones

The Prat That Wrote The Article replies: Well, thanks for your input, Dvid. We've taken the liberty of presenting your mail in its full unedited splendour. Here at DWM we have the perhaps controversial policy of reading books prior to reviewing them. We've had numerous letters regarding TLC but none of quite this standard.

* From:
Hey... I do not know a lot about Disc World (I bought the Playstation game used without knowing about it) I have just completed the game and I LOVE IT!!

I know this is mostly english (however I am in the States California) I would like to ask a couple questions

1. Is there a book?!?! If so how may I pick one up. Also how similar to the game is it??

2. Did you get the number of that donkey cart?!?!?!

RM replies: We understand there is a series of books based on the games (but I doubt if they're much good).

5. Results Of Last Month's "Last Continent" Competition

Last month we offered the chance to win one of four copies of "The Last Continent" if you could answer the following question:

Q1. What is the name of the Discworld's first tourist?

The correct answer was of course: Twoflower (or Zweiblum in German, Dwukwiat in Polish, Smorblomst in Danish, Deuxfleurs in French, TweeBloesem in Dutch or Tvablomster in Swedish)

We had nearly 400 hundred correct entries (and one or two incorrect ones) from all over the world. The four winners who were chosen at random are:

Matthew Kiessling, Florian Bretin, KI Berry and Jonathan Townend.

For those who didn't win, you can purchase "The Last Continent" now from via the following link.


(The above should all be entered as one line in the address box of your browser with no spaces)

6. DiscTrivia

Hello once more, trivia try-hards. Those of you waiting for questions from Jingo, you'll just have to hang on a little longer - it's due for release here next month :). This month's installment is about little-known characters - so start thumbing through those books. Thanks to Grotweiler ( ) for providing two of the questions. - Danu Poyner ( ), Queensland, Australia

Q1 - Who is the head of the musician's guild?
Q2 - Who did the Great God Om succeed?
Q3 - Who is Commander Vimes' great-grandfather?
Q4 - What is the Death Of Rats' name?
Q5 - Where might you find Big Sally?

This month's answers can be found in section 8.

7. Feature: PTerry's Short Stories - Part 9 - "History in the Faking"

In the ninth part of our Short Stories series, Phil Penney tells us about "History in the Faking". Phil runs the Discworld fan club "The Guild of Fans and Disciples". For more information, visit or email

The Guild of Fans and Disciples has branches in Germany, South Africa, USA, Australia, New Zealand and is run from the UK.

PTerry wrote "History in the Faking" for the "London Evening Standard" in 1990 (Weekend Section, 2-Feb-1990). This is a medium that PTerry has gone back to several times since he left journalism in 1980 and he has often contributed pieces to newspapers which he used to work for, such as the "Western Daily Press". I know of a few such articles, but there are supposed to be many more which remain undiscovered.

Getting hold of old copies of newspapers is obviously much harder than obtaining second hand books, but if you're desperate enough, it is usually possible to locate them. Unfortunately, LES don't keep back-issues from that far back, so the trick I used was to contact one of those businesses that provide a newspaper from the day that you were born. Luckily, there is one in London that stocks London Evening Standard's, but unluckily they charge 20 pounds for the service. These people must be raking it in!

The story itself is a tongue in cheek view of the future (2190 AD) from 1990. It seems very dated now and is probably incomprehensible outside the UK culture. An annually elected television presenter, known as The Wogan, is interviewing a historian and trying to shed some light on life in the 20th century based on archaeological artefacts.

"Well, from 1995 it was the First Church of the Universal Garden Centre. You see, for many years the one common Sunday experience shared by families around the country was visiting the local garden centre, ostensibly for the purpose of buying ornaments, groceries, white plastic garden furniture, Christmas decorations, concrete plaques, rubber boot removers in the shape of a humourous earwig..."

"And plants?"

"Hmm? It's a novel idea. Anyway, the law made it illegal to buy anything on a Sunday apart from mild pornography and strong drink and thus the manager of one garden centre, who was later canonised as St Darryl of Blackbury Nurseries, hit on the idea of proclaiming his place of business as a house of religion. And the rest, of course, is history."

PTerry had a very different audience for this story than his usual fiction, so it is not surprising that it has a different writing style than his usual work. It is a sort of "disposable" piece, which doesn't really work 8 years on, but was never intended to. For this reason, you won't find it in any modern anthologies and I don't expect it will ever be re-printed.

Next time, I won't be looking at a short story, but at PTerry's venture into the world of poetry!

8. The End

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* Obtaining PTerry's Books *

If you live in the UK you can go to most book shops and pick up PTerry's books without problems. Other countries may find it more difficult. You can order any of PTerry's books over the Net from

* Answers to this month's DiscTrivia questions *

Q1 - Who is the head of the musician's guild?
A1 - Mr. Clete

Q2 - Who did the Great God Om succeed?
A2 - Ur-Gilash

Q3 - Who is Commander Vimes' great-grandfather?
A3 - Old Stoneface

Q4 - What is the Death Of Rats' name?
A4 - Grim Squeaker

Q5 - Where might you find Big Sally?
A5 - House Of Negotiable Affection

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