Discworld Monthly - Issue 17: September 1998
Table of Contents:1. Editorial
3. Carpe Jugulum Tour dates - November 1998
4. Readers' Letters
6. Review: Discworld GURPS (roleplaying game)
7. Review: Three new Clarecraft pieces
8. Clarecraft Competition
9. Feature: PTerry's Short Stories - Part 12 - "THEATRE OF CRUELTY"
10. The End
Last month we asked if anyone knew where your could purchase the "Soul Music" and "Wyrd Sisters" cartoons on-line. Here are some recommendations we received.
- Most of the videos will be in UK Pal format and will not work on American NTSC videos without conversion.
- In Australia Myers sells "Soul Music" for $20 each video.
- Wolf Schenk (from Germany) managed to get his copies by emailing
- firstname.lastname@example.org (the distributors of the videos).
- Matthew D Perkins ( Perkinsm@btinternet.com ) says there is an order form at the back of Clarecraft's figurines booklet.
*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 eighteen by Friday 18th September 1998 (First day of the 1998 Discworld Convention).
Jason Anthony, email@example.com (editor)
William Barnett (deputy editor)
Ritchy Rich, (sleep therapist)
PTerry will be in Cheltenham (at the Cheltenham Literature Festival) giving a talk on Saturday 18th October, according to the programme, he is going to discuss the Last Continent. I am hoping the he will do some book signing too. Reserver tickets cost 8 UKP (7 UKP reduction) or unreserved 6 UKP (5 UKP reduction). They can be booked by phone 01242-227979. The box office is open Mon-Sat 9.30-5.30, or during the festival (9th-18th October) everyday 9.30-10pm.
Beckenham Theatre Centre, an amateur dramatic group, situated in Beckenham, Kent will be holding open auditions for "Mort" on Thursday 10th September at 8 p.m. and on Sunday 27th September at 6 p.m. for performance in late January 1999. This will be preceded by a reading on Thursday 20th August at 8 p.m. Email Andy Creedy on firstname.lastname@example.org or tel/fax on 01813250319
Snap Dragon Gifts are now able to supply Clarecraft sculptures in their cyberstore, located at www.snapdragongifts.com
"Olov Livendahl" ( email@example.com ) wrote to inform all Swedish Discworld fans that PTerry will visit Bok & Biblioteksmassan in Gothenburg, at 11.00 on October 23 (Friday) he will talk with Johan Wopenka, editor. It doesn't say exactly what this Wopenka guy is editing but then I don't think he will be the main attraction.
Unfortunately it seems like you will have to pay at least 460 SEK to get in. Those of you who want to know more should call: +46 (0)31 708 84 00.
The St Neots Players will be performing "Wyrd Sisters" on 24th, 25th and 25th September 1998. There will be a newspaper quiz on The St Neots Town Cryer with a first prize of the animated video of Wyrd Sisters. For more information visit www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~miknjan/players.htm
Griffin Youth Theatre is putting on a production of Witches Abroad (3rd-7th November 1998) at Rotherham civic Theatre. This is a premier production, written by Ross Michaels and Peter Jeffrey with approval from Terry & Stephen. "WITCHES ABROAD" will be the third adaptation staged by GYT, following "MORT" (1996) and "WYRD SISTERS" (1997) - both of which got critical acclaim and packed houses at Rothetham Arts Centre. This production will be the biggest and best yet, with sets designed by Central St. Martins undergrad Ross Clark, and original music by Ross Clark & Chris Pearman.
If you want to book seats telephone Mike on 01709 366602 and he'll send you further info & a booking form, or telephone the Rotherham Civic Theatre on 01709 823640
Email ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) for Further information.
) says that since Wednesday, 12th August 1998
the Discworld online Fanclub (DWOF) has been online. It's a German
club, so most Discworld Monthly readers won't understand it. The
Toby Priske ( Tobias.Priske@writeme.com ) is looking for Clarecraft's "Discworld" which they stopped producing about a year ago.
Ian Cairns ( email@example.com ) has PTerry's black hat, which he won in a competition a few years ago, along with a bunch of signed paperbacks that he would like to sell. Apparently he has a letter of authentication.
Bill Parnell ( B.Parnell@tay.ac.uk ) wonders if any picture(s) of HEX are in existence. He is desperately looking for some.......
Nikki Varney ( Nikki_Varney@dialog.com ) has seen someone selling Librarian soft toys at science fairs and wants to know if anyone has a contact name and address as she has a friend who'd really like one. (a friend eh?)
Karen Relton would like to hear from any TP fans who are currently enrolled at Newcastle Uni - She has been there a year and hasn't met ANY yet!!!!! Please email Karen (after the start of term) on Karen.Relton@ncl.ac.uk
Saturday 07 November 1998
Forbidden Planet, 71 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1DG
Tuesday 10 November
12.30-1.30pm Waterstone's Booksellers, The Old Carlton Cinema, 17 Oxford Street, Swansea SA1 3AG
5.00-6.00pm Blackwell's, 13-17 Royal Arcade, Cardiff CF1 2PR
Wednesday 11 November
12.00-1.00pm Andromeda, Units 2-5 Suffolk Street, Birmingham B1 1LT
5.00-6.00pm Waterstone's Booksellers, 91 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2BW
Thursday 12 November
12.30-1.30pm Waterstone's Booksellers, 93-97 Albion Street, Leeds LS2 5AP
7.30-9.30pm Sheffield Off The Shelf Festival Event, The Grosvenor House Hotel (Tickets 4.50/3.50, capacity 400) Tickets available from Waterstones: Sarah 0114-272 8971
Friday 13 November
12.30-1.30pm Waterstone's Booksellers, 78-80 Peter's Street, Derby DE1 1SR
5.00-6.00pm Waterstone's Booksellers, 1-5 Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham NG1 2GR
Saturday 14 November
11.30-12.30pm Heffers, 20 Trinty Street, Cambridge CB2 1TY
Wednesday 18 November
12.30-1.30pm Waterstone's Booksellers, 13-14 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2AN
5.30-6.30pm John Smith & Son, 57 St Vincent Street, Glasgow G2 5TB
Thursday 19 November
1.00-2.00pm Methven's Booksellers, 26 Peascod Street, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 1DU
5.00-6.00pm WH Smith, Unit 1A, The Harlequin Centre, Watford WD1 2WS
Friday 20 November
12.30-1.30pm Ottakars Bookshop, 100 The Glades, Bromley, Kent BR1 1DJ
4.30-5.30pm WH Smith Ltd, 69 Churchill Square, Brighton BN1 2ET
Saturday 21 November
11.30-12.30pm Waterstone's Booksellers, 69 Above Bar, Southampton SO14 7FE
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 try to make them interesting.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or www.snapdragongifts.com. Please mention DWM in any correspondence.
* From: "Greg Wolff" ( Greg.Wolff@agric.gov.ab.ca )
I think that the similarity between Carrot and Constable Benton Fraser is purely coincidence. The series "Due South" is a Canadian production which portrays this mountie in the stereotypical way that Mounties are often thought of by people outside of Canada (and by many Canadian residents). Many other aspects listed are also typical Canadian stereotype, e.g., the wolf, mountains, uniforms, knowledge, etc. I would also say that Constable Fraser is a lot less naive in the ways of women than Carrot Ironfounderson!
Incidentally, as far as I know, the city that "Due South" was filmed in was Toronto (Ontario, Canada), but the stories are set in Chicago. The writers probably had to pretend it was Chicago, otherwise the American viewers would refuse to watch it! Now that touches on aspects of some previous letters about producing a film of Mort . . .
* From: (Name and address supplied)
Hello all you crazy Pratchett-ites. I receive this Discworld information every month without ever having read any of Terry Pratchett's work but it all sounds extremely high humoured. I'm more interested in sexual gratification to be quite honest ... [The letter has more to say but in the interest of our younger readers we felt this message was best edited.... Ed]
* From: "Mei-han le Fay" ( email@example.com )
I didn't do anything embarrassing at all when I met PTerry in Melbourne but I sympathise and empathise with Tinselgirl's sudden loss of vocal ability and mental capacity in the presence of a personal god. That particular malaise struck many of us down, myself unfortunately included; I'd spent about two months planning a whole possible conversation but the first time I reached the head of the queue about all I could do was squeak, "Thank you" without keeling right over. Being determined to do better than that, I tagged along with the entourage to a second venue, where I lined up again, and when I met PTerry a second time, quoth he: "Have I signed for you already today?" Quoth I: "Yes." And with further effort I managed the phrase, "I'm stalking you today." Quoth he: "Well that's all right then, shows I'm getting somewhere in life, as long as you don't have a bread knife." Quoth I: "...."
Five minutes later, walking down the street with an armload of priceless Discworlds, I stopped dead and shouted at a tree, "No - I still haven't graduated from TEASPOONS!!!"
So I didn't do anything embarrassing in FRONT of PTerry, but because of him I did embarrass myself in front of the city of Melbourne. That may or may not count. But, hey, nullus anxietas...
JA Replies: Mei-han gets this months letter of the month for in our opinion writing the best letter of the month.
* From: "Alex Rigozzi" ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
This is just a short note to tell you about how, on PTerry's tour in Tasmania I Spilt his whiskey on his hat. He was signing my book and I put my hand on the table out of nervousness and accidentally knocked his whiskey onto his hat. PTerry then said "Great - Now I can suck my hat" and signed my book. Ever since, when one of my friends wants to point out how clumsy I am they just say "remember Terry Pratchett's hat...
* From: "The McSephneys" ( email@example.com )
In reference to your letter in the last newsletter about maybe PTerry being spat at (or bitten) by a camel, I would just like to say, I know someone who was bitten by a camel and he seems to be scarred for life from it... So it's a possibility...... In my eyes anyway.
* From: "Mary Rickard" ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
You have a brilliant newsletter, I'm really impressed with the devotion you show to the works of an *obvious* genius. I'm completely addicted to Pratchett (as is, naturally, everyone who's ever read some). Out of curiosity, and not to diss Pratchett in the least, considering he's more or less my idol, but has anyone noticed any incongruities in any of his books? I.E. in "Equal Rites", Esk reads the labels of the bottles at Hilda Goatfounder's stall, and thinks they have funny names, but later on in the book she tries to learn to read at UU library. Just wondering... Anywayz, I was wondering if there are any Canadian readers out there who could get in touch with me - Pratchett here is just starting to make it big, and it's still hard to find Discworld books, but mail me if you're interested. ;) "Always nice to meet fresh blood..."
* From: "Leo Boberschmidt" ( email@example.com )
Thought you might like to see a U.S. review of "Jingo." [Yes, we finally got it here in late May or early June].
Terry Pratchett's Hilarious 'Jingo' (Rhymes With Bingo!) The
Washington Post: Monday, July 27, 1998; Page D04
* From: "John Walford" ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
In his article "Because It's Fiction", Mark Stedmond says
)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.)
I doubt if PTerry's accountants would agree with Mark's comment
* From: "David Reusch" ( email@example.com )
You might find it interesting to know that Christopher Stringer and Robin McKie in their book "African Exodus: The Origins of Modern Humanity" start their second chapter off with a quote from PTerry:
"Most species do their own evolving, making it up as they go along, which is the way Nature intended. This is all very natural and organic and in tune with the mysterious cycles of the Cosmos, which believes there is nothing like millions of years of evolving to give a species moral fibre and, in some cases, backbone."
* From: "Munro, Steve" ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
The main reason for my note is your letter from Martin McCully about the similarities in Corporal Carrot and Benton Fraser of the series "Due South".
I very much doubt that Carrot influenced the creation of this series despite the obvious parallels in the characters. Many of Fraser's traits come from the original premise of using the American stereotype of Canadians as ever-so-polite people to build someone who was just too good to be believable. We're really not quite the saints our friends south of the border like to claim, but there is an essential reserve and decency running through the Canadian character that contrasts with the somewhat more boisterous Americans.
btw ... Fraser's father was killed in the line of duty, a fate which, to stretch a point, might be said of Carrot's own father. Fraser Sr. however, makes regular appearances on the show (seen only, of course by Fraser Jr.) giving fatherly advice that is not always in tune with the realities of modern-day Chicago.
While Fraser may seem naive about women, there is also something very deep which we only get to see in a few episodes. Probably the best was a double-episode called "Victoria's Secret" (the title is itself an allusion to a lingerie catalog) in which we learn that years ago, Fraser arrested a woman he deeply loved, protecting her from death during a snowstorm, and bringing her in as his prisoner. There is a transcendent scene in which he lies in bed thinking about her while snow falls inside the room, and Sarah MacLaughlin runs on the soundtrack. I am not sure that you will find scenes like that in PTerry, although some come close for their poignancy.
Fraser has problems with women because he has been hurt and never allowed himself to get close again, while Carrot just doesn't get it, albeit in (usually) a charming way.
Now to what extent the creators of Due South and PTerry know of each other's work, it's hard to say, and the common character traits do look tempting. But I suspect that Paul Haggis (who created the series) and Paul Gross (who acted as Fraser and had a lot to do with the character) created him on their own. Carrot as a character was there first, to be sure. You'll just have to connect with someone close to the show to plumb this issue any deeper.
* From: "kelly wolfe" ( email@example.com )
I have just recently read Wyrd Sisters and I have a complaint. I hate to be petulant but I had the wonderfully conspiratorial feeling in the beginning of the book that Tomjon would turn out to be Carrot. As I kept reading I was very disappointed indeed to see that he was not. The story was very similar - the mysterious baby, the sword, the gifts from the witches, etc. it was carrot to a tee! dammit. I have one word to say about my horrible disappointment: buggrit.
- Why is it probably not a good idea to arrive at Pearl Dock?
- What famous place lies at the end of Short Street?
- What might you find at the corner of Widdershins Broadway and Filigree Street?
- How many gates lead into (or away) from Ankh-Morpork?
- How far is Sto Lat from Ankh-Morpork?
See, it did come in handy. Don't forget to check out the Discworld
Ring at www.users.bigpond.com/Hormel - now with 14 members!
And if you want to see a trivia game made visit
www.listbot.com/subscribe/disctrivia to get on the mailing
list. We need your help!
Danu Poyner ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
This month's answers can be found in section 11.
Alright, before we go any further let's clarify a couple of points: I haven't played Discworld GURPS (Generic Universal Roleplaying System), or even plain vanilla GURPS, but I do roleplay on a regular, nay weekly, basis. I don't have any intention of playing Discworld GURPS either, for reasons which may become clear...
GURPS, as the acronym suggests, is a roleplaying system designed to be endlessly expandable. Created by Steve Jackson, legendary author (with Ian Livingstone) of the immortal Fighting Fantasy game books (happy memories - principally of cheating in the battles), GURPS has an extraordinarily wide range of optional add-ons, ranging from medieval to sci-fi to covert operations...and now to the Discworld.
The first thing you notice about the Discworld Supplement is its size, weighing in at over 200 pages. As a resource it's excellent, with comprehensive entries on regions of the Disc, major cities, characters, institutions, religion, magic, you name it. Obviously it specialises in Ankh-Morpork, the most fertile locale for adventure, but the Supplement will be valuable in reminding you of obscure items you may have forgotten: Krull and the Circumference, the Tezuman Empire and the Great Nef, for example. But more of that later.
Discworld GURPS should arrive ready to play. Steve Jackson Games include 'GURPS Lite' with the Discworld Supplement, a stripped-down copy of the core rules for character generation, combat, magic and so on. The Supplement then launches into a comprehensive and possibly exhaustive (or at least exhausting) description of the Disc itself, from Great A'Tuin up. Any non-Discworld fans who tried to absorb all this information probably wouldn't be in a condition to roleplay afterwards, or even move around very much, but I doubt that anyone other than fans will go for this in the first place. Even so, do we need all that stuff about the sun's orbit, the eight seasons and slow light all over again?
The section on the Disc's geography seems more useful. I can't identify any areas that have been omitted and there are a lot that I'd completely forgotten about. It's worth noting, though, that actual roleplaying rules only start to emerge when character creation is discussed. This might indicate the exceptional flexibility of the GURPS rules, or it might suggest that the designers got bogged down in all their source material... The character suggestions vary from the obvious to the unusual to the plain stupid; barbarian hero, history monk and 'guerilla mime' in that order, I think. Characters from the books are used for some of the examples, which are pretty important since the descriptions for character classes are otherwise way open to interpretation. Some new skills, including broomstick flying, fools' lore, L-Space theory and programming Hex, are included, but they don't look very useful. And, sure, 'shouting at foreigners' is a really entertaining idea for a skill, but how many times are you going to laugh at it in use?
One appealing area for character development is the non-human department, featuring trolls (special disadvantage: troll brain), werewolves, mummies and vampires as well as the more conventional dwarves. Gaspode the Wonder Dog gets a look in as a 'sentient animal'. The chapter on magic goes into appalling detail on the differences between witches' magic and wizards' magic, Unseen University and so on. Suffice to say that if you know any non-fans thinking of trying this, tell them not to bother. It'll be quicker (and more fun) to read the whole Discworld series. With your bottom sewn up. In a hot, airless cupboard. Apart from adaptations of existing GURPS spells, some specialised Discworld ones are given, but they're not very inspiring. 'Tap narrative power' (like Lily Weatherwax in Witches Abroad)? We've already seen that joke. Mind you, you could actually cast the Rite of AshkEnte, which would be cool...until your DM made a hash of playing Death of course. Or it turned out that Death was missing and you had to find him.
Finally, there are also equally detailed and daunting sections covering deities, religion and Discworld wildlife, so you certainly won't be short of a few encounters when you start playing. But then, do we really want to participate in the stories?
As anyone who's tried it will tell you, comedy roleplaying is pretty hard to get right. Paranoia is my only experience of intentionally comic roleplaying, and I found that it very seldom clicked. Roleplaying can be hilarious, especially after a few drinks - the old 'dice up the nose' gag never fails to reduce me to tears - but to create a deliberately funny scenario isn't easy. The Paranoia adventures are always great to read, but a lot harder to put into practice.
Interestingly, the designers discuss many of these issues in some detail at the end of the Supplement: how it's quite hard to be funny, different types of comedy possible and the futility of reducing the varied and wonderful characters in the stories to a bunch of stats. All of this information, though, is secreted at the back of the Supplement like a guilty secret, or perhaps an apology of sorts. It's useful and admirable to give assistance with the practical side of using these rules - in the old D&D manuals you only ever got a horribly stilted 'sample of play', apparently between a group of six chin-stroking, teetotal monks who never swore or argued - but I feel that in this case it only highlights the fundamental flaws in the whole idea of Discworld roleplaying.
Who's going to write these adventures anyway? PTerry? The game designers? You or me? The whole point about PTerry is, only he can write like he does. I can conceive of a ghastly future where gigabytes of fan fiction posing as GURPS Discworld modules flood the Net, full of recycled jokes and the authors' own attempts at humourous invention. In fact, the supplied 'scenario seeds' could be regarded as a warning from just such a dark future. Aside from the dismal gags thrown into the text, they seem to offer very little scope for actual adventuring. How do you fancy roleplaying drunkenness, or digging through a big pile of refuse? Hilarious, no?
It comes down to personal preference. I can't fault this package as a gazetteer for those who are keen to try Discworld roleplaying, but I really question why anyone would want to try doing so in the first place. I found the same problem when TSR released its DragonLance scenarios (where you played the main characters of the books ... which were based on a series of AD&D adventures...) it was never the same as reading the books and I soon became disillusioned with it. I find the idea of stats for the fictional characters nonsensical (although PTerry originally conceived The Luggage for use in a D&D campaign), particularly the ones who can't be reduced to strength, intelligence and so on - suggested stats for Death's 'skeletal form', anyone? A certain mind-set is going to lap up the details of spells, deities and weird creatures but I far prefer to make my own assumptions based on the books, which I wouldn't dream of trying to categorize or formalize, let alone inflict on other people.
Discworld GURPS should appear in the shops by the time you read this review. You can get more information about Discworld GURPS from Steve Jackson Games web site at www.sjgames.com/
The Luggage Box is unusual addition to the Clarecraft collection because it has a practical side, it can hold small items such as keys or paper clips. The lid of the luggage lifts off to reveal a small (60mm x 35mm x 28mm) green felt lined interior. The detail on the luggage is good with lots of little legs, large handles at each end and distorted wood to accommodate the rather large white teeth, but we felt it would have looked better with a hugh red tongue lulling out. People who haven't read Pratchett should certainly ask questions upon seeing this model for the first time!
Clarecraft have captured Rincewind in a particularly natural pose - mid stride with his clock bellowing behind him. The expression on his face is one of terror and there is a real feeling of movement. Considering the number of Rincewind models in Clarecraft's collection - one could ask why create another? But, if you are new to Clarecraft's pieces or like me don't have a Rincewind, then this would be a good one to go for.
Albert is a strange piece, he comes dressed as his role as a pixie in Hogfather in a green pixie costume (complete with bell on the end of his pointy hat) and holds a glass of sherry in one hand and a pork pie in the other. Although fans should recognize the piece as Albert would others? I think it's another case of a piece being made of a character that isn't enough of a character, in a similar way to Foul-Ole-Ron.
It's good to see Clarecraft back on form after their disappointing (at least, in our opinion) Bonsai Mountains.
For more information about Clarecraft and their products visit their
www.clarecraft.co.uk/ or email Elton at
Please mention Discworld Monthly in any correspondence with Elton.
- What job did Rincewind do at the Unseen University?
- In which novel does Albert visit the Unseen University?
- What material is the Luggage made from?
The answers (along with your name and address so we can send the prizes should you win) should be emailed to email@example.com before 18th September 1998. The winners will be announce next issue and will be chosen at random from the correct entries.
Copies of the original magazine are now considered collectors items and can sell for 20 to 30 UKP. Only a true collector would pay this, however, and the more casual fan needn't part with a penny because Terry has allowed the story (in its longer form) to be available on the Internet at the excellent LSpace web site:
Sadly, many people have abused PTerry's kindness and have taken a copy of the story for their own Web pages. These people obviously don't realise that they are violating copyright laws by doing this.
The story involves a murder being investigated by the City Watch. It is very much in the style of "Guards! Guards!" with Carrot taking the central role and eventually solving the case by lateral thinking.
It's not a very long piece, and although it has all the characteristic wit and cleverness of the Discworld, it could definitely benefit from being a bit longer. The idea behind the story is a clever one with considerable possibilities - in fact you could imagine Terry writing a whole book around the concept!
Next time, I'll be looking at a short story that has not yet been published in the UK - only in the US. Given that PTerry's name in an anthology guarantees huge sales in the UK, this seems very odd!
Phil runs the Discworld fan club "The Guild of Fans and Disciples".
For more information, visit
or e-mail him on
. Branches in Germany, South
Africa, USA, Australia, New Zealand and run from the UK.
We prefer information to be sent via email, but can accept information via fax or post at the following addresses:
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* Answers to this months DiscTriva *
- Why is it probably not a good idea to arrive at Pearl Dock?
A - It is in the Shades - although this is probably a good idea if you are coming OUT of the Shades.
- What famous place lies at the end of Short Street?
A - The Drum
- What might you find at the corner of Widdershins Broadway and
A - Assassins' Guild
- How many gates lead into (or away) from Ankh-Morpork?
A - 9
- How far is Sto Lat from Ankh-Morpork?
A - 20 miles
* 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 Amazon.co.uk. www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/redirect-home/87
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