Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 15: July 1998

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Discworld Convention 1998 update.
4. Readers' Letters
5. Who's Who on the Discworld: Twoflower
6. DiscTrivia
7. Advertisement: Rincewind - Agotchi
8. Review: Men At Arms - Melbourne, Australia
9. Feature: PTerry's Short Stories - Part 10 - "The Secret Book of the Dead"
10. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 15. You may have noticed our letters section growing constantly over the last few issues to the extent that it's now over 50% of the whole newsletter. From this issue we'll try to keep the letter section within reasonable bounds although this will be difficult due to the vast quantities of mail we receive.

We would like to thank the anonymous individual that sent 53 anti-spam messages to our email address. Discworld Monthly takes spam and unsubscribe requests very seriously, especially 53 of them. You receive Discworld Monthly because you either emailed us with a subject of subscribe or filled in the subscription form on one of the many web page that carry our forms. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY WE GET EMAIL ADDRESSES. If, for whatever reason, you no longer wish to receive Discworld Monthly, simply email with the subject of remove. Please also include the address you used to subscribe if different from your current address.

Danu Poyner (our DiscTrivia writer) is thinking about producing a Discworld Trivia Game and asks:

"If anybody is interested in a Discworld Trivia Game being produced, please email with the subject line - DTriv - so I can get an idea about numbers." Thank you, Danu.

Last month we reported that "Soul Music" was showing in Australia but we were wrong. A myriad of readers carefully pointed out that "Wyrd Sisters" has taken over the time slot. In our defence it was an Australian reader that gave us the information... And their name is...

And finally... Once again we forgot to select Letter of the Month last issue. I'm thinking of getting LOM? tattooed on my head so when I look in the mirror in the morning, apart from scaring myself I will remember to select a winner.

*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 sixteen by Friday 24th July 1998.

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

2. News

In England, The Queen has recently recognized PTerry's skills by awarding him an OBE for "services to literature". Presumably this settles the "Is Discworld literature?" debate.

November 1998 sees the UK release of the paperback of Jingo and the next Discworld novel, "Carpe Jugulum" in hardback.

PTerry is working on a book called "The Science of The Discworld" with I. Stewart and Jack Cohen, the project is due in March 1999.

PTerry has recently posted the following about a movie of Mort to looking like it won't happen now, despite months of development work.

Without going into lots of detail, it's hit the familiar Hollywood iceberg (the one which would've set Good Omens in Indiana without the Four Horsemen). People suddenly grow an extra head and say things like "we have to make this relevant to the American teenager". And it's at times like this I get very glad that control has not been completely relinquished, because people are going to start suggesting really dumb things. There's still some UK involvement, but I really cannot see a purely UK movie made. Mort isn't fashionable UK movie material -- there's no parts in it for Hugh or Emma, it's not set it Sheffield, and no one shoves drugs up their bum...

Down Under Tour addition...

PTerry will also be doing a "Meet the Author / Talk" at Hale School, Wembley Down, Perth on Friday 17th July 1998 at 9am.

The Highfield Players will be performing Stephen Briggs' adaptation of "Wyrd Sisters" from Thursday 9th to Saturday 11th July 1998 at 7.30pm at St Peters Church Hall, Highfield Road, Hall Green, Birmingham. Tickets are priced at 4.00GBP for Thursday and 4.50GBP for Friday and Saturday, call the following for more information: 0121-777-5974, 0121-745-1961 or 0121-604-8439.

The Wivenhoe Youth Theatre present "Wyrd Sisters" by Terry Pratchett on Thu 27, Fri 28 and Sat 29 Aug 98 7:30pm at Wivenhoe Centre, Phillip Road, Wivenhoe, Essex. Tickets from Londis in Vine Parade and the Wivenhoe Festival Office 3.50GBP/2.50GBP concessions. More details at

HMS Colingwood in Fareham, Hants, England are performing their 3rd Pratchett play "Men At Arms" starting 16th July for 4 nights, tickets are priced at 3.50GBP. For more information contact "Andy" ( )

Andrew Bartley has now become the official host for the #Discworld IRC channel on Undernet. If you would like to become a member and chat live to other Discworld fans visit the following URL:

Matthew Pettitt ( ) has modified his on-line Discworld Quiz we mentioned last month so it now works with both Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. To test your knowledge visit:

If you are a fan of the computer game "Civilization II" by MicroProse, Floris vdMeijs ( ) has converted the "Discworld Mapp" by PTerry and Steven Briggs into a .MP file for Civ II. If you want to download the map visit

"JAK" ( ) would like to correspond with other Discworld fans that like to paint Clarecraft's pewter miniatures with a view to sharing modelling and technical ideas.

3. Discworld Convention 1998 update.


Membership of the Discworld Convention 1998, the highlight of the Discworld fan's calendar, closes on 15th July. Although membership applications after this date may be successful, we can't guarantee that any places will be left. So, the sooner you apply, the better!

The event takes place at the sumptuous Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool, on 18th - 21st September 1998, and promises to outshine the huge success of the Discworld Convention 1996.

Full Attending membership for the Convention costs 40GBP, while Special Attending membership (for OAPs, children up to 16 years, and the unwaged) costs 30GBP. To obtain an application form, send a SAE to:

The Discworld Convention 1998, Suite 35, 29 High Street, Romford, Essex RM1 1JL

Tel: 01708 440145
Fax: 01708 477784

A printable application form can be found on the World Wide Web at:

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 make you look silly.

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: "The Ghost" ( )
Recently, I had the joy of having five of my Discworld books signed by PTerry himself, at Waterstone's bookshop, Exeter. Various rumours passed along, and at one point I remember we were all looking at something, without anyone knowing what. Very surreal. PTerry finally arrived, and I pressed my five books into his hands (Colour of Magic, Strata, Dark Side of the Sun, Feet of Clay and of course Last Continent). He signed them, with one of the most indecipherable signatures I've ever seen, and a cheery message as well. He seemed at ease and comfortable, and I'd like to express my gratitude that he still finds time to do this and keep in contact with his fans. Thanks, mate, and no worries eh?

WB replies: 5 books is a bit greedy, isn't it?

* From: "Tina Madsen" ( )
Here's a little reaction to the letter from Pernille Slavensky in issue 14.

You feel alone? Sure, I feel sorry for those who can't enjoy the Discworld novels because they hardly exist in Danish. Actually, you can't get them anymore, those few who were translated, only if you look for them in second-hand bookstores. I know, I work in a bookstore in Odense. Trust me, a lot of people would like translated Discworld books, but since we can't get any, we do the second best thing. We try as hard as we can to always have a couple of copies of each Discworld novel and here is why I asked you if you felt alone. The books are a hit. They almost sell better than most Danish authors, and mind you, these are original english versions. Don't worry, most Danes have a perfectly healthy sense of humour.

If there are any Danish fans out there, who are having a hard time finding Discworld novels, write me at for addresses. This is not a cheap way to help our sales, but my way of helping those who'd like to read more Discworld. I used to be in their shoes. The few original Discworld novels I read in the past, were those I could get through our local library

Last note: Someone wrote something about Small Gods, not liking it. I took a break from Discworld a few years back (god knows why!), Small Gods got me back. I found it awfully funny, especially dealing with the gods in such sometimes slapstick-humour-ways. Two words: Wonderful story.

JA replies: You didn't happen to go to school with Mike Rampton, did you?

* From: "Emils Klotins" ( )
I wonder if anybody knows that the first Discworld book "Colour of Magic" has been translated into Russian and published in Moscow about half a year ago?

Also, the translation mentions that the publication of the Russian translation of "The Light Fantastic" is underway, with the Russian title either Bloody or Ominous (don't remember exactly) Star.

Having read most of the Discworld series and having good Russian and English I would like to mention also that the CoM translation has IMO been very successful.

* From: "Mark Oosterveen" ( )
I would like to point out that there is a Probationary Constable Swires in the Watch in Jingo. He is a gnome and I can't believe PTerry's resurrected a character last seen in "The Light Fantastic". Amazing!

* From: "Simon Round" ( )
In response to Chris Morris's letter in DWM14, the "Pie Floater" does exist in the world. I do not know if it exists for real in Australia but it certainly exists in Yorkshire (England). Known simply as Pie 'n' Pea's and usually eaten with mint sauce instead of tomato sauce. You haven't lived until you've eaten Pie 'n' Pea's.

I found TLC to be a very funny book. Definitely a good addition to the Discworld series. Although I do feel that some of the new characters could have done with a bit more flesh on their bones.

Finally a word to wise. If you go to any future PTerry book signing's the be prepared to queue for a while or get there early. Myself and my wife queued at the York signing for an hour. PTerry was supposed to be signing for only an hour but when we reached the front the queue was just as long. PTerry was still going strong, laughing and joking with each person. Very warm and friendly. It would be interesting what word's he uses in each book. I know that he was rotating through a number of different messages while signing TLC. G'Day.

* From: "Robin E Kendrick" ( )
If by "Pie Floater" you mean a food consisting of a large plate with an upside down meat pie on it with green mushy peas over it with a generous blob of tomato sauce on top! Yes, I'm sorry it does exist and if you ever come to South Australia please goto the corner of Franklin Street and King William Street in Adelaide after 5.30pm and you will find what we call "The Pie Cart" there is one outside the Adelaide Casino but it is not the original pie cart but they do an all right copy of the original pie floater. But I must warn you, if you are going to eat one say the day before being in a confined space say an airplane or an inclosed building the day after you will not be popular!!

* From: "K Massam" ( )
Dougal1017 asked about Marchesa/Esk being the first female wizard. The problem about this debate arises from the Unseen University being considered by far the best place to get a wizards education, to the point where wizards from UU don't consider anyone educated elsewhere to be a proper wizard. Even so, Many other countries do have their own wizards schools, Just look at the last continent, with the BU (ok, this was a bit of parallel evolution, but ts the only one I can remember at the moment.) Therefore, since anyone that wasn't educated at Unseen University can't be considered a true wizard, then Esk can be reasonably considered to be the first female wizard, with Marchesa relegated to a user of magic who happened to be female.

Troy white enquired as to whether the "Thinking brain dog" used by the tramps could have been Gaspode, quoting Gaspode's loss of speech at the end of Moving Pictures. I therefore point out that Gaspode went to sleep behind the high energy magic building one night (mentioned in Men at Arms) and woke up with his talking ability renewed. Therefore the dog in question could indeed be Gaspode, but with all the unpredictable magic about the place, it can't be certain.

* From: "Ellen" ( )
In a previous issue of Discworld Monthly said:

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!

I looked Marchesa up in my copy of Discworld Companion, and it says that she graduated from the college of wizards in Krull. Esk was the first woman to be admitted to Unseen University.

* From: "SD Smith" ( )
Last Saturday I went to see Guards! Guards! at the Royal in Hanley (that's Stoke-On-Trent for all you non-Potters) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Congratulations must go to all 13 actors who managed to play about 100 characters between them, they must have been exhausted by the end of it.

This being one of my favourite books I was a little apprehensive as to whether I'd like it but I thought it worked really well, even though parts of the plot were left out or edited down.

The dry ice was brilliant and the lighting effects were superb.

I think the most important aspect was the varied nature of the audience. There was a young lad in front of me who loved the effects (but couldn't really understand what was going on) and an old lady behind me who kept discussing the website with her friend. It was cool to see so many people of different backgrounds coming to see the play. I think this demonstrates just how appealing PTerry is.

Also, I'd just like to thank Dvid Jones for his brilliant contribution to the last issue. Great standard of English! If only we could all be so coherent...

* From: "Paul Andinach" ( )
In Issue 14 you claimed that Mr Clete was the head of the musician's guild and that the Death of rats is called the Grim Squeaker.

Mr Clete is not the head of the musician's guild. He's the secretary. It's made quite clear in "Soul Music" that he's *not* the head of the Musician's Guild, he's just the person in charge.

Grim Squeaker is a *title* not a name.

* From: "Ian Cowley" ( )
In issue 13, your trivia section had a question about Tsort, ephebe and that general area:

Q. What city lies between Tsort and Ephebe?

The answer you gave was Djelibeybi, which I am pretty sure is not entirely correct. Djelibeybi is a country, and therefore not a city. It's the same as saying "What city lies between Italy and Germany: Austria. I seem to remember that the capital city of Djelibeybi is Khot-Lip-Khin, and so the answer should be KLK, not Djelibeybi. either that, or the question should say which country, not which city, lies between Ephebe and Tsort.

JA Replies: Thanks Ian and Paul for pointing out that Danu made some mistakes, we have requested that he be suitably embarrassed.

* From: "Peter Dymoke" ( )
What was it somebody said about life imitating art? I found the following in Private Eye issue 952:

"Suganda Samity is no fly by night organisation," Ali Hossain angrily replied to reporters in Dhaka, after they had questioned his ethics. "We are a highly professional institution, and the sole purpose of our existance is to teach the ancient and honourable art of thieving to the younger generation."

Committee member Ali Hossain was speaking on behalf of the newly-formed Suganda Samity organisation, created by the ten thousand professional thieves who operate in the Bangladesh capital. "We have already enrolled two thousand pupils in our training school, and we are teaching them how to master the basic skills of our profession - pickpocketing, forgery, and breaking and entering with light violence. We also run an intelligence service, so that domestic servants can give us inside information that will help us rob their employers. In return we give these informants a share of the proceeds of the burglary, because it is only right and proper that we treat them with honesty. However, hijackers cannot become members of our organisation because their activities are anti-social."

The original was in The Kathmandu Post, 31/3/98.

JA Replies: Peter gets this month's "Letter of the Month" for his efforts in finding this original and somehow appropriate piece.

5. Who's Who on the Discworld: Twoflower

PTerry's first Discworld book needed some exceptionally good main characters. Rincewind, a comically inept wizzard was an obvious, and very good, choice for a fantasy world, but Twoflower was simply inspired. Working as a clerk in an "in-sewer-ants" company, Twoflower became restless and decided to save up and visit Ankh-Morpork, becoming in the process the Discworld's first tourist.

The comic potential for a tourist exploring a world to which the reader is also completely new is immense. The notion that Twoflower has fabulous wealth compared to the Ankh-Morporkians and that he carries wondrous items (the iconograph and the Luggage) will be very familiar to anyone who has been to an economically poor country, as is the fact that most of the people he meets will try to rip him off... and the envy he has of the heros who experience the excitement of regular bar-room brawls, compared with Rincewind who would give anything for Twoflower's "safe and boring" job. Twoflower is also the type of detachedly interested person who will rush to look up the flower he has just seen in his book of local flora and fauna, and probably trample the unfortunate plant in the process. Twoflower's naive trust in human goodness, and the Broken Drum's landlord's greed, are responsible for one of the biggest fires in Ankh-Morpork, which starts the "Colour of Magic".

While preparing for his holiday, Twoflower spent a lot of his time at the Docks listening to stories of Ankh-Morpork from the sailors and creating his phrase book. Therefore during his first hours in the Big Wahoonie, he communicated by either speaking like a thesaurus or in the time honoured tradition of talking very slowly and loudly. After meeting Rincewind in the Broken Drum and a lengthy conversation where Twoflower speaks only in punctuation marks (an excellent way of suggesting bemused expressions), the Wizzard - with his flair for languages - befriends Twoflower and learns that in-sewer-ants has something to do with the reflected sound of underground spirits, and that tourist means idiot.

The Colour of Magic was PTerry's first major writing success. As is often the case with "new" authors, many people found his style of writing difficult to get to grips with, not least, it would seem, one Josh Kirby, who dutifully painted Twoflower as PTerry described him - with four eyes.

The end of "The Light Fantastic", when Rincewind finally sees Twoflower safely onto the ship that takes him home, is one of the saddest moments in the whole series. It isn't until some fifteen books later in "Interesting Times" that Twoflower pops up again (portrayed with the correct number of bespectacled eyes on the cover), but this time he has caused a civil uprising in his own country after he publishes his manifesto: "What I Did On My Holidays".

6. DiscTrivia

Hi guys. This month I thought I'd try out something new. It's the DISCWORLD CROSSWORD!!! Also, I would like to apologise for the mistake in last month's section - Old Stoneface wasn't Vimes' great-grandfather, he was an ancestor. Also, a few months back, Ptaclusp IIa was the accountant, not Ptaclusp a. Thanks for all the mail I've been getting, it's very encouraging. -Danu Poyner ( ) Brisbane, Australia


  1. Sergeant in the Watch
  2. Slow, almost solid river
  3. Six-inch-high god trampled by the Luggage
  4. Powerful fat man who is said to have an incredible sense of humour
  5. Archancellor who allowed Esk's entry in Unseen University
  1. Sourcerer defeated by Rincewind
  2. _____ Ogg. A witch
  3. Dwarf playwright
  4. Past king of Lancre
  5. A peninsula where pygmies live in coral houses
This month's answers can be found in section 10.

7. Advertisment: Rincewind - Agotchi

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However, these units are in limited supply! Order yours now at only $10 each (batteries $159.99 + shipping) and Frighten A Wizzard (sic) Today! (tm). And remember, order the separate voice pack ($299.99 + shipping) and you can hear every single syllable of the constant screams your Rincewind (tm) utters.

Thanks Andrew Brookes ( ) for this unique view of things to come.

8. Review: Men At Arms - Melbourne, Australia

Bill Daley ( ) provides us with a review of Men At Arms in Melbourne's Kaleide Theatre RMIT.

It was with a feeling of nostalgia that I entered the building housing the Kaleide Theatre at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

Let me say first that I loved it. The theatre itself is smallish, ideal for staging a live play. [ie no need for binoculars for those in the back row.] This was the fifth staging of the show and the theatre was packed, a good omen. [Oh very good!- Ed]

The technique of "freezing" the actors while a "voice over" filled in character backgrounds and plot details was used throughout the play. This was mostly successful, although the reader initially appeared to be trying to impersonate a chipmunk on caffeine over-load. As the play progressed she did wind down to a more acceptable speed.

Death was the major prop of the play and was quite impressive. He came as a black robed structure, seemingly 3m high with moving skeletal arms and incredibly illuminating blue eyes. Death's voice came in two parts, an outstanding bass ridden rumbling audio and a projected subtitle, in CAPITAL letters of course.

The casting in general was quite good. The one real let down was Lady Sibyl Ramkin. This is in no way a criticism of Jenny Norman who played the part. A very attractive, petite teenager with a head of flaming red hair stands no chance of credibility in this part.

Angua, like Death's voice, came in two parts, the human part played wonderfully by Olivia Herring and the "Wolf" part played unconvincingly by someone's old fur coat wrapped around a pillow and thrown onto the stage. [The worst prop of the night]

Michael Webb who played Vimes was excellent. I could almost see his face gaining lines and his hair greying as he built his character over the night.

Mark Ellul and Melinda Foster playing Detritus and Cuddy respectively formed a great background comedy duo on stage. I found them more entertaining in the play than I had in the book.

Boffo/Beano played by Kathy Macdermid was the superior make up/costume job of the night, a real clown. I can think of no higher compliment.

In summary this was one of the most entertaining evenings I've had in some time. I enjoyed it, the rest of the audience enjoyed it and it was quite obvious the cast enjoyed it. I look forward to their next Discworld play, although looking back over some of what I have written I may use a pseudonym when ordering the tickets.

9. Feature: PTerry's Short Stories - Part 10 - "The Secret Book of the Dead"

This issue, I'm looking at a very rare thing indeed - a Terry Pratchett poem. As far as we know, this is PTerry's only dabble into the world of poetry and it was probably written as a favour to his old friend Neil Gaiman. Neil and Stephen Jones gathered together a collection of mostly original "nasty verse" and macabre poetry and Dreamhaven published it in 1991 under the title "Now We Are Sick".

The book was limited to 1000 copies, of which 250 were numbered and signed by all the contributors. Later, a paperback edition was published, but didn't have a very big print run either. Since PTerry's contribution has not been re-printed, these books are quite collectable and even the paperback sells for 8 to 10 UKP. You can pay up to 80 UKP for one of the 250 signed copies, although they do seem to crop up fairly frequently on the US market.

Apart from the editors, other famous authors who contributed include Diana Wynne Jones, Brian W. Aldiss, Garry Kilworth, James Herbert and Storm Constantine. There are some delightfully horrible poems which deal with the most gruesome of subject matters imaginable, so it's important to have a warped sense of humour to fully appreciate this collection.

PTerry's poem is called "The Secret Book of the Dead" and is fairly tame compared to most of the verses, but is very funny for all that. It is a parody of a poem by Philip Larkin which starts "They f*** you up, your Mum and Dad" which you can probably find by searching the Web. We haven't received permission to print Terry's work in full, but here's the first verse of five:

They don't teach you the facts of death,
Your Mum and Dad. They give you pets.
We had a dog which went astray.
Got laminated to the motorway.
I cried. We had to post him to the vets.

Phil Penny runs the Discworld fan club "The Guild of Fans and Disciples" from the UK. "GOFAD" also has branches in Germany, South Africa, USA, Australia and New Zealand. For more information, email "

10. 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 *


  1. Sergeant in the Watch - Colon
  2. Slow, almost solid river - Ankh
  3. Six-inch-high god trampled by the Luggage - Quezovercoatl
  4. Powerful fat man who is said to have an incredible sense of humour - Creator
  5. Archancellor who allowed Esk's entry in Unseen University - Cutangle


  1. Sourcerer defeated by Rincewind - Coin
  2. _____ Ogg. A witch - Gytha
  3. Dwarf playwright - Hwel
  4. Past king of Lancre - Verence
  5. A peninsula where pygmies live in coral houses - Orohai
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