Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 23: March 1999

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. Readers' Survey
5. Review: New Clarecraft Pieces
6. DiscTrivia
7. Feature: Terry Pratchett - who's he, then?
8. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 23. This issue is dedicated to the memory of my grandfather who died yesterday.

In order to try and rationalize and organize some of the hundreds of Discworld web sites, we have created a new search site devoted to the Discworld called "Oook's Domain". If you run a Discworld web site please add it.

I would like to remind everyone that our email address has changed to

I was still receiving considerable quantities of mail on the old account until it shut down in early February.

US fans will be pleased to know there is now an American distributor for the Wyrd Sisters video by Cosgrove Hall. Acorn Media Publishing, Inc. is due to release Wyrd Sisters in a three volume boxed set which will contain all six episodes from the series. The videos are due to be released in August 1999.

Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Frequent Flyer)

2. News

The real "Hodgesaargh", David Hodges, presented PTerry with a cheque for 178.50 GBP (from the proceeds, so far, of his book "The Arts of Falconrie and Hawking a Beginners Guide by HODGESAARGH (David Hodges) and Terry Pratchett") at Stephen Briggs' production of Carpe Jugulum made payable to the Orangutan foundation.

He still has copies for sale for 3.20 GBP of which 1 GBP will go to the Orangutan Foundation.

To order a copy send a cheque to: David Hodges, 68 Gotch Road, Barton Seagrave, Kettering, Northants, NN15 6UQ

or see him at the Clarecraft event in July where he will be doing a falconry display (with his falcon LADY JANE).

PC Gamer will be featuring an interview with PTerry in the April 1998 issue due out on Monday 15th March. He will be talking about the forthcoming Discworld Noir game.

PTerry has recently made a shock announcement that he will no longer be contributing to or reading A recent thread got dangerously close to a story line in his new book "The Fifth Elephant". PTerry said "despite everything, RSN [real soon now] someone is going to plonk down some theme or situation which is right in the *heart* of a story that I'm planning. I do not want to end up faced with a public accusation of plagiarism or theft; the fact that it might well have no legal foundation is beside the point."

US fans looking for Discworld figurines and plates can get them from Snapdragon Gifts. They now carry the full line of Clarecraft Discworld figurines, pewter miniatures and cards and have also added the Waxworks Discworld plates and the Inklings Discworld desk and wall calendars.

Waxworks have just released a model of The Mended Drum. Details and pictures can be found on their website.

Terry Pratchett's Maskerade will be performed by the Drama Society of the University of Kent, at the Gulbenkian Theatre, The University, Canterbury, Kent on the 11th - 13th March 1999. For more details please e-mail Lynne ( ) or see the UKC Dramatics Webpage ( Tickets are available from the theatre on 01227 769075 6/4 GBP conc. For details on booking, and the theatre facilities, please see

Pocklington Dramatic Society are performing Wyrd Sisters in Burnby Hall, The Balk, Pocklington, East Riding of York on Wednesday 10th, Thursday 11th, (no Friday performance) at 7.30 pm. and Saturday 13th March at 2.30 and 7.30 pm. Tickets available from Norma Jennings, 3 the Mile, Pocklington (Tel. 01759/302324) Email: Price 4.00GBP or 3.00GBP concessions available each night. Group (minimum 10) concessions by arrangement.

The Doncaster Young Lit will be performing Stephen Briggs' adaptation of Guards! Guards! at The Doncaster Little Theatre on the following dates: Tuesday 27th April, Wednesday 28th April, Thursday 29th April, Friday 30th April and Saturday 1st May 1999. Curtain up at 7:30pm every night. Tickets cost about 5 GBP, depending on which night you go... For more details, please ring the Box Office on (01302) 340422, or email Scott at .

Maskerade is being performed at Long Stratton High School, Norfolk from April 7th until April 10th at 7.30p.m. Tickets are now available at 6GBP & 5GBP concs. It is being performed by Spotlight Players a local amateur group. Tickets are available from Anne Coates on 01379 740041.

The touring version of Guards Guards plays at the Swansea Grand Theatre from March 1st to 6th. The bookings are going very well, so if you are interested, book early :-)

The Swansea Little Theatre will be presenting Maskerade at the Dylan Thomas Theatre from Tuesday June 22nd to Saturday June 26th. Tickets are available from April from the theatre, just ring (01792) 473238 for information or write with an SAE if you require a booking form to MASKERADE, Dylan Thomas Theatre, Gloucester Place, Maritime Quarter, Swansea. Tickets are a mere 5GBP per person with a 10% discount for groups of 10 or more.

Teesdale Comprehensive School in Barnard Castle, County Durham are performing an amateur production of Wyrd Sisters on the 10/11/12 of March 1999. It starts at 7.30pm and tickets are 2GBP for children and OAPs, 3GBP for adults. If anyone interested can email me at ( ) for further information.

"Loki Carbis" ( ) is running a Discworld-based freeform (sort of like a LARP with no weapons) at Conquest '99, in Melbourne Australia, over the Easter Break. For more information about the game, take a look at For more information about the convention, see

Martin Ross ( ) has set up a new PTerry club known as The Watch House.

The Ultimate Discworld Trivia Quiz has moved. Its new address is

* New Releases *

The new double volume of THE COLOUR OF MAGIC and THE LIGHT FANTASTIC to be jointly called THE FIRST DISCWORLD NOVELS will be published in April at 16.99GBP

DEATH'S DOMAIN (a new map of Death's Domain) will appear in May, at the same time as the paperback of THE LAST CONTINENT.

NANNY OGG'S COOK BOOK and THE FIFTH ELEPHANT will be released in November.

Terry's, Ian Stewart's and Jack Cohen's THE SCIENCE OF THE DISCWORLD will be published in June.

Gollancz will be issuing the Kidby 2000 diary around August, and soon after a Guards trilogy.

Blue Cat's mugs really will be available in the next few weeks.

Small Ads....

Peter Trace ( ) is looking for anyone willing to sell a hardback copy of Eric.

Brenden Matthews ( ) is interested in getting 3-4 people together to make a web page. It will have TP stuff as well as tons of other cool stuff.

The following people are looking for other Discworld fans to correspond with:

Clare Hooper ( ) who as well as being a Pratchett fan, writes a lot (relatively speaking!) of poetry and a little bit of prose, is looking for people with similar interests.

Andrea Turner ( ) is looking for "penpals" who are into Pratchett and sci-fi generally. She is not the type of person to analyse Terry's books - she just enjoys reading them.

Lee Underwood ( ) is looking for another Discworld fan to talk with.

Ian Barnes ( ) works as a Computer Systems Engineer and is into flying, motorcycling, archeology, and scuba when he can afford it, so there should be no shortage of topics of conversation if you wish to mail him.

Matt from Australia ( ) would like to talk to anyone who loves to talk about the Discworld. Either by email or ICQ. His ICQ number is 23129618 under the name Diceguy.

Leigh-Anne Stewart ( ) writes: I'm 19, live in the Merseyside area and love Discworld. If anyone wants to write to me I'd love to hear from you.

Pierre Benz ( ) is looking for true Pratchett fans to correspond with.

Anne Q ( ) is looking for Polish Discworld fans.

Andy Clifton ( ) is into the Discworld and metal and would like someone to send emails to. He would also like to get hold of Discworld T-Shirts and large posters.

Gytha ( ) wants to correspond with like-minded maniacs.

"Littlebloke" ( ) want to talk and exchange ICQ numbers with other Discworld fans.

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 meaning their reverse completely to.

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: "Susan Sto Helit" ( )
RE: The issue of the Klatchian Wolfhound

Blatantly it isn't Angua: she's the wrong breed of canine, being a WOLF not a WOLFHOUND. Besides, she's doing something else at the time, isn't she?

* From: "David Hopkins" ( )
Much as I respect the esteemed editor of the DWM [Deputy Editor - Ed], how is it possible that the *Klatchian* wolfhound seen in Jingo is Angua?

It is mentioned in several places that Angua is an *Uberwaldian* werewolf, and is even described in Men at Arms as a "fine Ramtops bitch" (by someone unaware of her true status).

How is it possible to confuse someone from the Ramtops with someone on the other side of the Circle Sea (ie, Klatch) - I don't think that wolfhound can possibly be Angua.

*From: "Mark Oosterveen" ( )
Now look, I don't mean to be petty or anything, but that "Klatchian Wolfhound" in Jingo is NOT Angua. Read the actual passage and you'll see it doesn't make sense if it is. If it is Angua, why does Vimes not recognise it? And why is Angua not at the scene of the crime when Vimes gets there? I am sure I haven't messed up on this one.

* From: "Mort" ( )
Hate to take this argument on to another newsletter, but it [the Klatchian Wolfhound] _ISN'T_ Angua for one simple reason. Look in Men at Arms, when Carrot meets the Wolfhound Angua for the first time - Angua is a Ramtop Wolfhound (Corgi pb, p113).

WB replies: (to Susan, David, Mark & Mort) Right, let me get this straight. Vimes is leading a procession through the streets. His "policeman's sixth sense" suddenly alerts him to the sniping possibilities offered by a window in the old Barbican. He charges off. "Angua looked around. Every face was turned towards the street theatre, and there was a cart near by. She sighed and strolled behind it... There was a gasp, a faint but distinctly organic sound, a muffled yelp and then the clank of armour hitting the ground." (pp.83-84, Corgi pb) Vimes is overtaken by something that "...looked like a wolf would look if one of its _ancestors_ had been a long-haired Klatchistan hunting dog, one of those graceful things that were all nose and hair." Vimes is never passed by a Klatchistan hunting dog, just something that looks like a Klatchistan hunting dog. The creature that passes him resembles a wolf and has a distinctive nose. One of the crucial characteristics of Angua's wolf form is its formidable sense of smell. Is there just a hint of a connection there, perhaps? A clove is found at the scene of the crime (p.85). When we next see Angua she reports to Vimes "I followed the clove smell all the way down to the docks." (p.102)

Now alright, perhaps Angua in her human form diligently followed the smell, having stripped off her armour (and yelped) beforehand. Duh. Meanwhile, one of 71-hour Ahmed's incredibly intelligent and highly trained Klatchistan wolfhounds deposited a clove of garlic at the crime scene just before Vimes got there. I know which theory my money's on. In Men At Arms, Carrot says "...what a splendid bitch. A Ramtop wolfhound, if I'm any judge." All this remark tells us is that she looks like a Ramtop wolfhound. From this we might deduce that a) the different breeds of wolfhound look fairly similar; b) most wolfhounds look fairly similar to werewolves; and c) PTerry might not have researched his previous reference to Angua's appearance too thoroughly when he wrote Jingo. Any questions?

*From: "Kipper Brown" ( )
In Sourcery on p.12 and I quote "On the other hand, it was quite interesting to watch, and at least this was a bit more original than the usual symbolic chess game, which Death always dreaded because he could never remember how the knight was supposed to move", but supposedly Death can remember everything.

* From: "leigh takagaki" ( )
I lower to my knees and beg assistance. I really need to know what Death's coat of arms means, I have failed to discover it anywhere. My reason for being so very anxious to know it's meaning: I am considering tattooing it on my flesh.

WB replies: We think it means 'Don't fear the reaper.'

* From: "Jill Chapman" ( )
I am a Canadian and I discovered dysk books about ten years ago in my teens. In response to the history teacher who reads them: I will soon be an english teacher and I think they should be put on the curriculum, esp. Wyrd Sisters and Lords and Ladies, as contrast to Shakespeare. I think after reading one of those, Hamlet or the Scottish play (sorry, I'm a theatre student) or Midsummer's Night would be much more interesting to a fifteen year old who was afraid of the Bard.

Does anyone know how I could get my hands on any of the play adaptation of Dysk novels, or if any Canadian productions have been done?

* From: "Colin Fitzgibbon" ( )
Has anyone noticed the similarity between fans lining up to get books signed by PTerry, and children lining up to talk to the Hogfather? After waiting forever in an endless line, you get to have a conversation with THE MAN HIMSELF, but no matter what you really planned to say, your tongue is gripped by a terrible compulsion and you always answer 's' and 'nk you' to any question asked before shuffling off with your books.

My own experience was that my tongue said "I'm glad Rincewind is still alive ..... 'nk you" (as the books were passed back). This was after Eric, but before Interesting Times. Rincewind? Rincewind! Not one of my favourite characters, but that's all I could say! Damn, damn! Die of embarrassment.

JA replies: We did say we wouldn't run any more signing related letters... but we liked this one.

* From: "Rosemary Warner" ( )
I've been reading the back issues of DWM and someone asked how much time has passed on the Discworld. I think I have an answer: Cohen The Barbarian is 87 in The Colour Of Magic. In Interesting Times he is in his early 90s.

There is a passage in Feet Of Clay which says "After 2 years in Ankh-Morpork, Carrot still felt uneasy about d*mned." In Men At Arms Colon talks about how "last year there was this dragon" etc etc. Since Carrot arrived in AM at the beginning of Guards! Guards! we can assume that between GG and MAA there was one year (the Year of the Notional Serpent [Reaper Man]?) and between MAA and FOC there was one year. If we assume that Interesting Times took place halfway between MAA and FOC, we can see since Cohen has aged 6 years-ish between TCOM and IT, the length of time between TCOM and FOC is about 7 years.. Hogfather must have been set in winter so if FOC and Jingo were both in summer, there must have been a year between them. Unfortunately I have not got my own copies of The Last Continent and Carpe Jugulum yet so I can't work it out any further than that. So there's the answer up to Jingo - 8 years have gone past since TCOM.

Of course there's added complications such as the beginning of Wyrd Sisters having taken place 15 years before the present, but never mind.

* From: "mariart" ( )
I'm interested in the Hay-on-Wye Literature Festival taking place in May, in Wales. I'm interested in presenting a book, so I need the requirements or the data such as e-mail address, web page, fax, etc. to get in contact directly with the people in charge of that Literary Festival.

I hope you can help me, I'm writing from Mexico.

* From: "samuel willcocks" ( )
As for history teachers being able to appreciate PTerry's gags more - most people know about the French witch-hunter Pierre de Lancre, and it only takes a slightly twisted mind to laugh out loud at Genghis Cohen and the Silver Horde, but did ANYBODY else out there know about a minor fifteenth-century family of West Bohemian yeomanry called Littlebottom? I kid you not.

I am no longer based in Bohemia actually, I'm now in Slovenia (a sort of post-communist Lancre) where PTerry's book trickle through with fairly pleasing regularity although i've yet to meet anybody else here who reads them. The bookshop on Wolf Street (again, I kid you not) has the hardback of Carpe Jugulum at an entirely reasonable 17 pounds - no mark-up for the import - and I look forward to giggling my way through another truckload of east/central european cliches and rip-offs. I should say that as a medievalist my main area is Vlad Dracula...

JA replies: We don't know if this information is correct but in case it is we have awarded it letter of the month.

* From: "Shelley Parkinson" ( )
Does anybody know of any Discworld or PTerry events going on in or in the vicinity of Lancashire? I'd love to go to one of the events, but so far (being a 23 hrs a week student) I can't get to any as they are too far away!! Please can anyone help?

* From: "Michaela Alexandria de Bruce" ( )
Someone either has a great sense of humour at my local bookstore, or else, someone is as dense as the conterweight continant. Located under the Travel section is the "Tourist's Guide to Lancre". Anyone want to book a flight?

* From: "Orin Thomas" ( )
Last month Mark Overton asked if it was possible to get a scanned image or Terry's signature.

Terry's signature does appear on Lspace - but it is important to note that his signature has changed since he started signing. The signatures I have on books signed in 1992 look very different to those signed in 1998.

Most likely they are original - Terry jokes that an unsigned Pratchett is worth more than a signed one just because there are less unsigned ones around :-)

4. Readers' Survey

It's been over a year since our last readers survey and we've gone from 4000 to over 13000 subscribers in that time. Now that we have so many readers we thought we might harvest your opinions.

Please take the time to answer the following questions. This information should appear in the next issue and will not be used for any other purpose. All entries will be entered in a prize draw to win a copy of Timothy Zahn's StarWars book "Vision Of The Future" (because I got a spare copy). Please email all entries to before Saturday 20th March 1999.

  1. Are you male or female? (please answer male or female :) )
  2. How old are you? 0-10/11-20/21-30/31-40/41-50/51-60/61-70/71+
  3. What is your nationality?
  4. What is your occupation?
  5. What is your favourite PTerry book? (doesn't need to be Discworld)
  6. Who / what is your favourite PTerry character?
  7. Would you be interested in reviews of PTerry's non Discworld works, such as the Johnny Maxwell series?
  8. Would you like re-reviews of older Discworld novels you may have forgotten?
  9. Would you like to see more or less readers' letters? The results and the prize winner should be announced next issue.

5. Review: New Clarecraft Pieces

Clarecraft sent us a bumper pack of pieces to review, so we will review five of their new pieces this month and another four next month. Three of the pieces are based on ideas from PTerry's latest novel Carpe Jugulum, although it shouldn't spoil anything to read about them.

The Official Seal of Lancre (DW89) is a rubber seal on the base of a potato. Of course the potato isn't real but it is excellently made and looks like a real spud. One of my dogs was convinced it was real and tried licking it a few times. The rubber seal has a picture of a duck and the words "KINGDOM OF LANCRE - ADMYT ONE". The seal is even heavy enough to be used as a paper weight. I suspect this piece is for the collector who really needs a potato sitting on his mantlepiece rather than a casual buyer.

Quoth and the 'Eyeballs' (DW91) has a wonderfully crafted jet black raven sitting on a ceramic jar of olives, taken from an infamous scene in Hogfather. Although this piece looks great one has to wonder what makes it Discworld, in essence it's just a big black bird.

Angua as a Wolf (DW102), is only available to members of the Clarecraft collectors guild. This piece looks like one of those wolf figurines you'd find in many jewellery shops. Clarecraft's Angua is only different because they have sculptured her with a city watch badge hanging from her collar, but in essence she's just a dog.

Greebo's Vampire Snack (DW104) is one of the better Clarecraft pieces I have seen because they have really captured Greebo's sinister look with his torn ears, multiple scars and one blind eye. In this piece Greebo is squatting down with an unfortunate vampire bat trapped under his right paw.

The final piece from Carpe Jugulum is Scraps (DW103). When most people say their dog is a Heinz breed they mean that it has bits of multiple breeds in it. Scraps really is a Heinz, physically made up from bits of different dogs sown inexpertly together. Clarecraft have created a wonderful piece, capturing Scraps with saliva dripping from his mouth, sections of different colour fur, two tails and one front leg longer than the other.

If you would like more information about Clarecraft's pieces, the collectors guild or want to place an order on-line you should visit Clarecraft's website at or email Elton at

6. DiscTrivia

Welcome to DiscTrivia for February 1999. This month, I have geared myself up for a flood of e-mail. Because, this month - I'll be running a little skill game - Anagrams! All you have to do is make as many words as you can out of the one I give you - and e-mail me them all. It's not as easy as you think though, because you've got to stick to the following rules....

All words must be three letters or longer (no 'I' and 'to' sort of words) Names of Disc characters and places are allowed, but no names like Bob, or London. You cannot use the same letter more than once in a single word. You will score more points for longer words - 1pt for a 3ltr, 2pts for a 4ltr and so on. You don't have to use Disc-related words of course - just any English words. All entries to be received by 10th March, 1999. The highest scoring entry will be announce next issue and will receive a Discworld badge.

Ok - here's your word. It is ESMERALDA

Please mail all entries to - and IMPORTANT - use the subject line 'dwm', or your entry will be disqualified. In your entry, please list all your words, and your name and e-mail address.

Good luck, Danu

7. Feature: Terry Pratchett - who's he, then?

Report by Neil & Alicia Hopkins ( )

A rainy Thursday night in Sheffield. An observer might have noticed a certain buzz in the air, as huddled knots of disparate people began to gravitate towards the Grosvenor House hotel. My eight year old daughter, Alicia, tugged urgently on my sleeve and said "C'mon Dad - hurry up, he'll be here soon!".

Who were we waiting for? Only the best selling writer living in Britain today, that's who ...

There is a common perception of the average Discworld fan as a pimply fourteen year old boy in an anorak. The second iteration of this would have the fan as a slightly plump girl with pale skin and a penchant for lacy black dresses and purple eye shadow. The queue that we were in was a illustration of demographics in action - there were snowy haired octogenarians, middle aged mums and dads, students, an extraordinarily tall youth, a blind girl and her dog, bikers, goths, people in suits and ties, and, at most, one or two anoraks amongst the four hundred strong crowd. Given that it was in fact raining quite heavily outside this can perhaps be forgiven.

We filed into the hall, past the Waterstones table groaning under the weight of multiple copies of the paperback of Jingo, and the newly published hardback of Carpe Jugulum, a Discworld vampire tale tagged as 'Bloody funny'.

Another brief wait, and then the man himself ambled on stage, removed his trademark black hat, looked faintly embarrassed by the somewhat hyperbolic introduction, and then began to speak.

He kicked off by talking about his forthcoming project - 'the Science of Discworld' - in which the wizards of the Unseen University accidentally create a miniature version of a strange ball shaped blue-green planet, and naturally send in Rincewind, a wizard so incompetent that he can't even spell the word wizard, to watch the evolutionary process in action. Terry has worked with a couple of bonafide biologists and physicists to produce an outsiders guide to science and evolution, that promises to be educational *and* funny at the same time. He also poked gentle fun at those 'ascent of man' diagrams that show the progression from Neanderthal to Homo sapiens by shambling across the stage and saying -

"This is me getting out of bed in the mornings, and you'll notice that in the pictures they manage to never actually show the man's willy at any point."

Talking about Carpe Jugulum, he explained the introduction of darker and more complex themes in the Discworld canon by explaining that in amongst all of the comedy you need to have some "tragic relief".

For me personally the most interesting part of his talk was the insights that he gave into the process of writing a Discworld novel. He explained that he uses the railway tunnel method - that is starting from either end and working towards the middle - and that using a word processor allows him far more artistic freedom to work on different parts of a story at the same time. He used the analogy of painter, who does not start in the top left corner of the canvas and paint in a steady progression to the bottom right. Rather, they sketch out the broader picture, make sure everything fits, and then go back to put in the fine detail and flourishes.

The very last stage of writing is when he goes back to put in the cigarettes and sherbet lemons.

Cigarettes are those little bits of expository dialogue at the end of the story that tie up the loose ends and lay the story to rest, named for the final scene in a typical American cop show where the detective would explain the plot for anyone who hadn't been paying attention. Sherbet lemons refer to the sweet shop that Terry frequented as a lad, whose proprietor would carefully measure out a quarter of sherbet lemons and then throw in an extra one for luck. The Discworld equivalents are the extra jokes and footnotes that Terry puts in after his editor has accepted the manuscript and he is, as he says, "working on my own time".

Terry reassured fans that he will never write the "last" Discworld novel, and that although the frequency might drop from his current book a year, his grandfather lived to the ripe old age of 96, so it looks like we can expect at least another thirty or so installments of the Discworld saga.

Opening the discussion out to questions from the floor, Terry talked about his love of the 'Tombraider' games with the improbably large breasted Lara Croft. He excused the wholesale slaughter of endangered species on the grounds that they get in the way of the gorgeous scenery. He then wondered where all of the stuff that you find in these games appears from - "Perhaps there should be a 'Tombstocker' game where you run around a large maze filling it with guns, ammo and keys ..."

He also talked about his experiences as a press officer for the nuclear industry, relating the tale of the man who triggered the alarms going *into* the power station where he worked and was actually too radioactive to be allowed in. On further investigation it turned out that he had been dismantling a luminous control panel from a world war II bomber - safety standards were different in those days, and after all, if you flying a bombing mission over Dresden then a mild dose of radiation was the least of your worries.

He also recalled the time when a train carrying low grade waste had jumped the points in a shunting yard. Under railway regulations this was officially classified as an accident, and because of the cargo it was therefore a 'nuclear accident'. Terry's thankless task was to try and quell the waves of panic radiating outwards from the site, and to pacify the TV film crew who turned up too late and were almost disappointed not to find a glowing crater!

Terry finished the evening with the almost obligatory book signing and seemed in danger of being mobbed as the crowd surged forward. It seems hard to believe that there are still people who haven't heard of the Discworld, and yet as I was talking to my brother on the phone about the event he asked -

"Terry Pratchett - who's he, then?"

8. The End

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