Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 16: August 1998

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. Who's Who on the Discworld: The Librarian
5. DiscTrivia
6. Article: Discworld MUD
7. Article: Because It's Fiction
8. Feature: PTerry's Short Stories - Part 11 - "TROLL BRIDGE"
9. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 16. By the time you read this it will be too late to join the Discworld Convention. Of course you did remember to upgrade your special attending memberships. We look forward to meeting with you at the convention (I don't - WB).

We recently received a very early copy of the new Discworld GURPS roleplaying game from Steve Jackson Games, although presumably the finished product will have the pictures in it and won't be on photocopied paper. We won't have time to review the 200 plus pages in this issue. At first glance it looks to be a complete and well written book, but look out for the full review next month.

Due to problems with our service provider our web site was off-line for two days this month. We apologise to anyone who tried to access our pages during this period.

Each month we get a multitude of letters asking questions like "Where can I get the Discworld Maps?" and "Who produces the Discworld Videos?". So here are some of our recommendations...

- Books, Audio Tapes, Maps & Plays -

- Figurines (pewter and clay) - Clarecraft

- Candles, Beer Mugs etc - Waxworks

- Beer - Eric and Arth The Wall Brothers

- Ties, T-Shirts, Scarfs, Mouse-Mat

- Videos Does any one know of any web resources that sell the "Soul Music" and "Wyrd Sisters" videos?

We received our second (in fifteen issues) piece of non electronic mail this month. Deb McFarlen gets a "kind" friend who has internet access to transfer copies of DWM each month via their (strictly internal) office email. I hope you don't get caught, Deb.

*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 seventeen by Friday 21st August 1998.

Jason Anthony, (editor)
William Barnett (deputy editor)
Ritchy Rich, (child care expert)

2. News

A Discworld WebRing has just been set up. Unlike the other two Discworld WebRings, this one works - and is proud to have Discworld Monthly as a member. If you have a quality Discworld site please think about submitting it to the Ring. We would like to make this a great place to go for Discworld seeking travellers. Contact me (Danu Poyner - ) or visit the DW Ring Webpage at for more details. Thank you.

Book Releases - 5th November 1998

This November sees the release of the new PTerry novel "Carpe Jugulam" published by Transworld, in hardback at 16.99UKP ISBN: 0385409923 and Audiobook at 8.50UKP ISBN: 0552146536.

Other new releases include the paperback of "Jingo" priced at 5.99UKP ISBN: 055214598X and the hardback of "The Bromliad: Truckers - Diggers - Wings" priced at 12.99UKP ISBN: 0385 410441.

This years Edinburgh Fringe Festival sees two stage adaptations of PTerry's works.

The first is Mort - produced by Primary Colours, from August 25th to 29th, tickets 5UKP (3UKP concs) at the Subway, 69 Cowgate at 2:45pm. For Enquiries tel 0131-226-5257 or fax 0131-220-4205 and for tickets call 0131-226-5138.

The second is Hogfather - produced by Velvet Jacket, from August 7th to 30th, except 9th, 16th and 24th and 27th at the Edinburgh College of Art, Lauriston Place - Fringe venue 73 at 6:15pm. Tickets are 7UKP (5UKP concs) and are available from 0131-226-5138. More information is available from or the Velvet Jacket website:

Death. Romance. Wizards. Curry. What else could it be, but Terry Pratchett's Mort? The play, adapted by Stephen Briggs, will be performed by the Whitley and Ridley Theatre Society at the Gordon Masonic Halls in Moonee Ponds, Melbourne, from August 20 to 29. Discworld as it was meant to be on stage - low-budget adventure and rollicking good fun! For more info and bookings check out the WARTS website at

The Powerhouse Theatre, Peterborough will be the home of Stephen Briggs' adaptation of Guards! Guards! performed by the Revelors on the 9th-12th September 1998. Tickets are priced 4.50UKP and are available from Starlight Stage Services, Eastfield Road, Peterborough, Cambs - 01733 312812

Kristian & Nicola have completely redone the look of their Discworld site called "Nicola's Guide to the Disc". They have added a small news section and included a scan of the signing Terry P. did of a printout of one of their pages. The site includes details of the major characters and is well presented. This site is quite famous as one of their graphics was used on the documentary Channel 4 made about the Discworld phenomenon called TV-ROM.

Czech readers might like to check the following Discworld page

According to Ian Collier ( ), PTerry has provided the words to the new British "Magical Worlds" stamp set. Pictures on the stamps include The Hobbit, Narnia and Borrowers.

Thomas Lynch who likes Discworld and plays Warhammer would like help designing an Empire Ankh-Morpork City Watch unit, with all the favourite characters. If you can help Thomas email

Jamie Summers has a "Johnny and the Bomb" poster and a Pratchett factsheet for sale, both of which are signed and in good condition. For more information email

3. 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 keep the size down.

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: "Sabrina" ( )
I am wondering where (or even if) I can get a copy of any Discworld play. I'm not even sure how many there are... I have a hard enough time finding Discworld books in my area, since I live in America. Is it even legal UK-wise for someone like me to get a bunch of friends and perform for our own silly amusement? We obviously wouldn't perform for anyone for any amount money, because we would be terrible :D but I'd love to at least read the plays.

JA Replies: You can get the plays from an on-line book shop such as BookPages or Amazon. As for performing the plays I think the only requirement is letting PTerry know what you are planning. -

* From: "Anne Q" ( )
In last month's trivia section you said Rincewind defeated Coin, he didn't, he saved the boy first from the staff, then from the Things.

I've got a Discworld website which although isn't very original has got a quite detailed index of Discworld characters. It is located at

* From: "Gabriel Strange" ( )
This may sound very strange, and it probably is, but from what I can gather Mort will not be made due to the Americans, and PTerry saying NO.

Here's how it can be made. And have a big budget....

There must be what at least 1 million Discworld fans in the UK alone. If PTerry was to say we will make Mort how it is in the book and how it should be but we need cash, and then say to all the fans you can buy shares in the movie at 2UKP each, with the possibility of being an extra. If every fan then buys one share that's 2 million UKP already toward the film from the UK alone.

But not all fan will buy just one share some will buy loads.

It has been done before. It can only go two ways it can be made or it can stay in the situation it is in now. I would personally be willing to purchase 50 shares in the movie.

As Granny Weatherwax would say "It's all headology, it don't matter what you use just as long as yer hearts in it."

Look at the likes of the Rocky Horror Picture show. It started out from nothing, and now it's a world wide hit, all because someone gave Richard O'Brian a chance in a small theatre. We the fans could give Mort the one chance it needs.

WB replies: erm...

* From: "Brucianna di Rosenkavaliera" ( )
In issue 15 Danu (DiscTrivia) said the Six inch high god trampled by the Luggage was called Quezovercoatl it should be Quetzovercoatl.

* From: "Soren Vestergaard" ( )
Why's everybody always picking on Danes? Eh? There aren't many of us who read Discworld, but we most certainly have got humour! Most of us, anyway! I'll bet most people who know so-called humourless Danes are people who don't understand the language, and therefore are quite unable to make such statements. I feel that there is a great deal of humour in our country. I mean - look at Aqua! They're a laugh, aren't they?

If there are any more danes out there, you can write me. I'm always up for a debate on PTerry's books, even Only You Can Save Mankind and Good Omens.

JA Replies: That's it, no more picking on the Danes (except certain referees in the World Cup).

* From: "Tom Wild" ( )
Let me just start by saying what a great newsletter you have. I have subscribed from the beginning and think it is brilliant. I am 11 and most people think I'm too young to read PTerry books. When I reserved a copy of "The Streets of Ankh-Morpork" at Waterstones and asked for my copy they remarked "I think the book you're looking for is probably in the child's section. I think you're a bit to young for that kind of thing.". In the end I had to pretend it was for my dad. Then they finally gave it to me. I would like to hear any other readers' views on this and know whether anyone else is experiencing the same thing.

* From: "Martin McCully" ( )
Having to work on Saturday evening for the last few weeks I have had the joyous pleasure of being able to watch early evening TV on BBC1, now my point is that there is a programme on around 5pm which is called Due south, basically it's about a Canadian Royal Mounted Officer (a mounty) in some American city. The interesting point is the similarities between the said mounty and Captain Carrot of the city watch:

  1. both have a wolf as a best friend
  2. both seem to be incredibly simple
  3. both from the mountains
  4. both moved to the big city
  5. both are law enforcement officers
  6. both only see the good in people and believe that every one is a good chap and all arguments can be settled by talking about things.
  7. they seem to know everyone
  8. they both love strange and obscure facts, and memorise and live by the letter of the law
  9. they are both incredibly naive to the way of people i.e women and criminals
  10. they are both big, as many criminals have discovered
  11. they only wear their uniforms, that's about all I can think of at the moment but I will probably think of more striking similarities the next time I watch the programme.

What I was wondering was this: is Carrot the inspiration for Frazier the mounty in Due South? Does T.P know about this as the similarities are so striking it seems too similar to be a coincidence?

* From: "Bojanka Stefanova" ( )
The translations of PTerry is a major theme in the reader's letters. I have not come upon a letter written from a Bulgarian fan so I think the following list of PTerry's works translated in Bulgarian might be helpful.

'Colour of Magic' (1992), 'Eric' (1992), 'Light Fantastic' (1993) 'Equal Rites' (1994), 'Mort' (1995), 'Small Gods' (1996) 'Soul Music' (1997), 'Guards!Guards!' (1998 May)

'Carpet People' (1995), 'Only You Can Save Mankind' (1997) 'Truckers', 'Diggers', 'Wings' (about 1994-96)

The problem is finding PTerry in its original form. First the price of the translation is 3 to 4 times cheaper than the original. And secondly PTerry in English is very hard to find. My three english versions were bought at the Book Fair that is held twice in a year. So far I have not been able to find a bookshop that sells PTerry in English. (Ordering books is not a thing that a Bulgarian can afford.)

How can I get in contact with other Bulgarians who read DWM?

* From: "Greg Wolff" ( )
It is widely known that the reason for Tolkien's frequent use of terrifying spiders in his stories is largely due to the fact that he was bitten by a spider in Africa as a child.

As I read Jingo lately, I was reminded of Terry Pratchett's equally frequent reference to terrifying camels! Could it be that there is some distant memory of Terry's which relates to a harrowing camel experience?! Was PTerry perhaps the object of a perfectly aimed camel spit?

* From: "Noam Mendelssohn" ( )
I read all about PTerry's tour through the land down under, and other countries around the world, and have come to represent another large fan club. Israel.

I am an Israely soldier, and have read practically anything written by Terry, and, surprisingly, he is VERY popular in Israel, especially by soldiers for some reason.

Are there any plans of him to come to Israel for a tour in any given future? he has plenty of fans here, and will be welcome.

* From: "Toby" ( )
I don't now whether this topic has come up so far, but have you ever thought about adding a "Small Ads" section, just for DW stuff ? I am sure there are a lot of people out there who are looking for Clarecraft stuff, rare books etc...

JA replies: We tend to include "Small Ads" in the news section because there are usually only one or two each month. If, in the future, we start getting more we may dedicate a section to it.

* From: "Tinselgirl" ( )
Talking about PTerry book signings - I had Soul Music signed by PTerry, and had to wait for ages in the queue. When I did get to him eventually, I was so happy and stunned and really getting caught up in the "oh my gawd it's actually him" vibe that when he asked how to spell my name, I couldn't remember! I stood there for a couple of seconds, mute, turning bright red, but he didn't bat an eyelid, just smiled encouragingly. Maybe he did think that I was a complete plonker, but he didn't show it. My brain finally kicked back in gear, and I got my book signed, correctly spelled name included. I think that he must come up against all sorts of people at book signings, but now I really admire his patience and good humour as well as his writing. (Next time I go to a book signing, I'll just follow your example and tatoo my name on my forehead :))

Oh, a question. What do you think the prospective makers of Mort wanted to do that made PTerry change his mind? I know he joked once that they wanted to cut out Death...

JA replies: Tinselgirl gets this month's "Letter of the Month" for sharing her embarrassment in front of PTerry with us. If you've done something embarrassing in front of PTerry then let us know.

4. Who's Who on the Discworld: The Librarian

The librarian of the Unseen University has a propensity for bananas and sleeps in a box under the desk in the centre of the library. This is not as unusual as it seems because unlike every other librarian in the universe he is an orang-utan. This wasn't always the case though; after all who would employ an ape? - "Congratulations you have the job and your salary will be three bananas a day." The Librarian was transformed into his present shape when a huge magical event took place at the beginning of The Light Fantastic. He has since refused all offers of help to turn him back into human form - even going as far as ripping the page out of the yearbook that had his picture in. He considers having four hands and good balance excellent skills for a librarian.

The Librarian is one of the most popular characters from the Discworld. This is despite his role as part of the supporting cast, but then one of the features of the series is the success of the minor characters: the members of the Faculty, the beggars, the Death of Rats, for example. Like the latter, the Librarian wins our sympathy and support even though he doesn't speak, or at least not in the usual manner.

It could be the mystery that makes the Librarian so appealing. Like any mime artist, you never really know what he is thinking. After all, what do orang-utans think about and what are their values (probably nothing to do with books, but this is fantasy). Few people can be considered a friend of the Librarian, and he's certainly not a person you want to get on the wrong side of. But consider the pathos of a sad looking, long limbed, furry orange sack, totally removed from its normal habitat, wandering alone around Unseen University, keeping to his own agenda - how could anyone possibly not like the Librarian?

As we mentioned some time ago (way back in issue 1 in fact) the Librarian's development seems to have been a matter of chance. When PTerry originally transformed him into an ape I doubt he had any intention of using the joke again; the skill with which he expanded upon it is an excellent example of his ability as a humourist and a writer. Having said that, the Librarian's role in The Last Continent was perhaps not what many fans were expecting. Let's hope the both author and character revert to type on their next outing.

My all time favourite Librarian quote has to be "Oook!"

5. DiscTrivia

Hello peoples! I hear you liked the crossword - although it didn't come out so well for some of you - so try this word-search. Also, don't forget - if you like the sound of a Trivia Game or would like to help or anything at all - PLEASE join the list by going to - we need you all.

[This word-search will only look correct if you are using a fixed space font such as courier new. If your mail program uses proportional fonts by default then you will need to check its documentation of how to change the font. - Ed]

T A K K E N D O K !

Luggage Esk Binky Greebo Skazz Klatch Lezek Rincewind Ysabell

When you've finished, just read the letters left over and discover the secret message!!! -Danu Poyner ( ) Brisbane, Australia

This month's answers are not listed anywhere. You'll have to figure them out for yourselves.

6. Article: Discworld MUD

Ellen Kaye-Cheveldayoff ( ) enthuses about the Discworld MUD.

I stumbled across Discworld MUD by accident while surfing the web about 2 months ago. I had never played a MUD before, so I was a total newbie. (I'm still a newbie, just a little bit more informed now.)

For those of you who don't know, a MUD (which stands for Multi User Dungeon, or Multi User Dimension) is an internet text-based game that can be accessed via a telnet connection, or by a program specialised for this purpose, called a MUD client. Many people can play at once, and you can interact both with the game, and with the other players.

After you create a new character, you enter Ankh-Morpork at the Mended Drum. From there you can explore the city, and when you're ready, join a guild. You can fight things, go on quests, and chat with other players. Apparently, the layout of the city is based on The Streets of Ankh-Morpork, but since I don't have a copy, I can't confirm that for certain.

In the short time I have been playing, I have already been to a lot of the famous places in Ankh-Morpork: Unseen University, the Patrician's Palace, the Temple of Small Gods, The Fresh Start Club, the Travelling Shop, the Shades (where I died -- fortunately I got another chance. But after you die 7 times, it's final. So some good advice to a fellow newbie would be to stay away from the Shades until you're tougher.) But if Ankh-Morpork, City of One Thousand Surprises, in all its fetid splendour is not enough for you, then you can venture outside the city into Holy Wood, the Sto Plains and the Ramtops. And if you really have wanderlust, you can take a trip to the continent of Klatch.

But, before you start your adventures on the Discworld MUD, be warned: it is addictive. Since I started, I've been playing for a few hours each day.

So head on down to the Official Discworld MUD webpage ( and check it out. It has all the information you need to know to get started.

Happy Mudding!

7. Article: Because It's Fiction

Mark Stedmond ( ) discusses whether comedy can be serious, and why we don't expect any evil in it.

The Discworld is a fictional place and therefore anything can happen (would you seriously accept that a rather large skeleton who's good with a scythe is really called "Bill Door"?) but it's this fiction that enables it to be used as a vehicle to show us what a crazy world we happen to live in.

As a recent convert to PTerry I have yet to become so wrapped up in them that I can't see the hidden messages in them - Take "Small Gods" for example - It's a great book (and bloody funny) but if I ever read a book which warned of the dangers of forgetting the central point of religion then this is it. Even people who don't believe in religion can see the warning in this book. Vorbis is evil, "Evil in intent" and in any other way you care to think of and yes, it is easy to miss this because of the gags - but making a sailor kill a porpoise - the seafarer's symbol of the dead - the guy is sick. But as pointed out the Discworld is fiction and glorious it is to.

Why is it that when we read something in the Horror department of the book store we are disappointed if there isn't someone getting horribly killed every second page but if we read something from the "Humour" section eg: PTerry, we feel that there should be no evil whatsoever, if Vorbis wasn't evil then why read "Small Gods" - it would be boring. I think that PTerry has hit the nail on the head - this world is full of some pretty serious stuff but it also has its fair share of humour and we are inclined to forget this.

PTerry is one of the most gifted writers I have ever seen (although there are some who would disagree - people with no sense of humour, accountants, etc etc.) and if we can't accept a few quirks then we should all give up reading and return to the imaginary "perfect world" some people think we live in.

Well that's my rant over, Keep reading everyone and it's always good to know I'm not the only PTerry fan in the world. If any readers are from Ireland (even better - the general Wexford area) - email me to reassure me that I'm not the only Irish fan !!

8. Feature: PTerry's Short Stories - Part 11 - "TROLL BRIDGE"

The most re-printed of PTerry's short stories, "Troll Bridge" was written in 1992 for the Tolkien tribute anthology "After the King". Edited by Martin H. Greenberg and published by Tor, original copies of this book are fairly rare, so it's just as well that it has appeared in two subsequent anthologies:

"The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories" Edited by Tom Shippey, Oxford University Press, 1994

"The Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy" Edited by Mike Ashley, Robinson Publishers, 1998

This second one is in the UK shops right now, and is reviewed in the latest issue of the fan club newsletter if you want to know more about it.

The big question that surrounds this story is whether it is set on the Discworld. "Theatre of Cruelty", written the following year, was widely marketed as the *only* Discworld short story, and yet "Troll Bridge" contains references to Cohen the Barbarian, Trolls, Dwarves, wizards and talking animals. The only direct contradiction to Discworld principles is that the cold mountain air supposedly makes trolls less intelligent whereas in "Men At Arms", the exact reverse is true.

The story itself involves Cohen the Barbarian on a mission to fulfil a lifelong ambition - to defeat a troll in battle. A traditionalist at heart, Cohen chooses a troll who lives under a bridge, but nothing is ever as it seems - not even his horse!

"It was an old horse. It was an old rider. The horse looked like a shrink-wrapped toast rack; the man looked as though the only reason he wasn't falling off was because he couldn't muster the energy. Despite the bitterly cold wind, he was wearing nothing but a tiny leather kilt and a dirty bandage on one knee.

He took the soggy remnant of a cigarette out of his mouth and stubbed it out on his hand.

'Right,' he said, 'let's do it.'

'That's all very well for you to say,' said the horse."

This is possibly my all-time favourite short story. The style and the humour are typical Discworld, with some wonderfully funny dialogue. And underneath it all, there is a subtle message interwoven into the piece which makes it all the more poignant. The talking horse is very reminiscent of Quoth, the raven or Gaspode the Wonder Dog - all of whom provide a sceptical, sarcastic and down-to-earth dialogue to compare with the optimism, naivety or simple-mindedness of the other characters.

Next time, I'll be reviewing the aforementioned "Theatre of Cruelty", the one story which I expect you will all have already read since it is freely available on the Internet. I'll tell you where next time...

Phil Penney runs the Discworld fan club "The Guild of Fans and Disciples". For more information, e-mail him on or visit Branches in Germany, South Africa, USA, Australia, New Zealand and run from the UK.

9. The End

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