Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 25: May 1999

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. The Last Continent - Signing Tour Dates
5. Review: Death' Domain
6. Results of last month's Clarecraft Competition
7. DiscTrivia
8. Review: The Cunning Artificer: The Drum
9. The Cunning Artificer Competition.
10. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 25. Last month we forgot to wish Terry Pratchett a very happy 51st Birthday on April 28th. So happy belated birthday wishes, Terry.

The paperback of The Last Continent should be released in the UK this month, although it appears that Israel, Holland and possibly other countries have already had this book. Does this signify a change in attitude from Terry's publishers or did the books get to these countries early by mistake?

I would also like to congratulate Phil Penney (of Guild of Fans and Disciples fame) and his wife on the birth of their first son Alan on Thursday 8th April 1999.

Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Deflated Tyre)

2. News

Last month we mentioned Ryan Williams' local theatre group will be performing "Wyrd Sisters; Director's Cut". The location and dates have now changed to Stafford Gatehouse Theatre, from the 6th-8th May 1999. Tickets can be booked on 01785 254653.

The Roundabout Players will be performing Stephen Briggs' adaptation of GUARDS! GUARDS! from Thursday 13th May to Saturday 15th May 1999 at the Manor Trust Centre, Gorsey Lane, Wallesey, Wirral. Tickets are available by phone 0151 639 6509 and cost 4 GBP or 3 GBP for concessions. For further information email:

The Unseen University has a new virtual presence on the web. It includes the crest of the university, maps, information about UU, Hex activities, a Student Bookstore and the Library.

"Psychoboy" ( ) has created a Discworld club at

* Advance News *

Stafford Players will be presenting "Men At Arms" from 10th-13th November '99 at the Stafford Gatehouse, Stafford.

The show starts at 7.30 p.m. and ticket prices are 5.00 GBP, 4.00 GBP concessions) with a 3 FOR 2 Offer on the Wednesday night.

Tickets can be got from the Gatehouse Box Office, on (01785) 254653. For further info, contact Dave Love on or

Tomas Larsson's computer died shortly after we wrote about his Discworld Voting Site in the last issue of Discworld Monthly, so a lot of readers didn't succeed in getting to his site. The URL is still:

Small Ads....

"The Antipop" ( ) is thinking of starting a play by email "Discworld" textgame and needs people who have a good imagination and understanding of Terry's creation. A good knowledge of English would be an advantage. (That excludes the DWM editorial team - Ed)

"Bob Moolenaar" ( ) has a limited edition Clarecraft Statue, but has certificate 802 for model 801. If you have model 802 and certificate 801 Bob would like to swap.

"Debbie" ( ) and "Matthew Blundell" ( ) would each like to know where you can get the first Discworld game for the PC.

"Simon Kincaid" ( ) recommends you visit for really low priced Terry Pratchett books.

"Da VincebopperZ" ( ) is looking for anyone who would like to make a web page, or just chat about Discworld.

"Katrina Craig" ( ) has a spare Discworld calendar for anyone who wants to email her with their address.

"Patrick Allan" ( ) would like to know if anyone has a web site which they would like a link to from his page.

"Emily Rynne" ( ) is looking for some "penpals" that she can confer with. Anyone and everyone who loves, worships, dotes on or just reads Discworld can contact her.

"Zoe Fradde-Blanar" ( ) is looking for East-cost American Discworld fans (male or female) to commiserate with about the lack of books here.

Clare Hooper would like Fionnuala Gibney to email her again, but this time let her have an address to reply to please! (The email she received has your address hidden, she'd love to reply but currently can't)

"Probyn Steer" ( ) desperately needs some 3D computer images of the Discworld for a play that is going to be staged in Canberra in June.

"Rincewind the WiZZard" ( ) is looking for Discworld fans from England or Holland to exchange emails with.

"Evangeline Cheng" ( ) of New Zealand would like to exchange mail with other Pratchett fans in New Zealand and Australia. She also enjoys reading Lackey, Eddings, Davis etc. She is 17 yrs old and would like to communicate with those of like age. (That also exclusdes the DWM editorial team - Ed)

"Luis Espionosa" ( ) wants to knwo how many Discworld books have been translated into Spanish, and would like to talk with other Discworld fans.

David Godden & Lee Bishop-Godden ( ) have started a story club that is a spin of from the discworld club at yahoo, The Watch House.

It is for story telling on any subject, but better if it is fantasy related. They have had some serious discussion about trying to write a Discworld story, but the general concensus seems to be that they should not tread into the murky waters of plagarism without permission to do so.

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 make you sound like some Discworld hating freak.

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: "Shadow Wolf" ( )
Hey, Don't get me wrong I not some discworld hating freak, but some of the letters a crap. So what if the English teacher can't write english properly or know the name of a stupid out of date shakespearn play. Also so what if many characters on the Disc smoke, have you thought that PTerry doesn't condone smoking that is why he doesn't add detail. I agree with Fatbloke about the Angua issue thoes fools out thier where put in their place by the editor. And lastly who cares how long the series has taken place over on the Disc, the only person who knows that is PTerry and he isn't likely to tell us. But it these thing also are the reason why I love Discworld Fans

JA replies: As is our custom with this sort of letter, we have left Shadow Wolf's letter in its unedited glory.

* From: "Mark Oosterveen" ( )
I wrote to Terry about the Angua issue and had the following reply which should settle the argument once and for all. Which is probably a good thing.

)From: Terry Pratchett ( )
)Reply-To: Terry Pratchett ( )
)To: Mark Oosterveen ( )
)Subject: Re: Settled once and for all.
)Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 13:21:58 +0000
)The animal is Angua, rushing to the scene of the crime.
)After all, she has just changed into a wolf...
)Terry Pratchett

* From: "Beth" ( )
I gave my sister "Hogfather" as a Hogswatchnight present a year and a half ago. I bugged her for several months, asking if she liked the book, but she always replied that she was reading something else, or just did not have the time. She later admitted that she did not get most of the "jokes".

I persisted, and gave her my copy of Maskerade, and waited for her reaction. She loved it, passed it on to her husband, and they have been searching out and reading Discworld novels ever since.

My sister says that PTerry has saved their marriage, as they now have something to talk about, besides the kids.

WB replies: Next month PTerry saves the world.

* From: "Rosemary Warner" ( )
I realised I was wrong about the amount of time passing on the Disc almost as soon as I had sent the letter. After re-reading Soul Music I also noticed that at least 16 years must have passed between M and SM. Oops! But then I realised that if Cohen the Barbarian is 87 years old in The Colour of Magic and is "in his nineties" in Interesting Times (and I have checked these references) then that means at the most 13 years have passed between TCOM and IT Since IT comes after SM, either PTerry has got his maths wrong, or as it has been said before "there are no inconsistencies, just alternative pasts". There! And in my opinion, the *extra* time must be between Mort and Sourcery - it would give Susan time to grow up.

* From: "Greg Bradfield-Smith" ( )
Over the course of this summer STERTS Theatre Company are presenting 16 performances of Lord's and Ladies, adapted for the stage by Magrat Garlick.

We thought we had found a Librarian outfit, but it turned out to be (whisper this quietly) a monkey costume!

Can anybody help?

They cancelled our lottery grant (sob). We haven't got enough money to make a new outfit. We cannot afford to hire a costume from May to September (cue song). We might be able to afford to buy a second-hand costume at a knock down price. We are going to make a donation from profits to Terry's favourite charity, which will please all lovers of orang-utangs, but we will be happy to add an extra sum out of takings if someone is able to lend us an outfit for the summer.

For those of you who don't know, STERTS, known as the "Theatre On The Moor", is at Upton Cross, in Cornwall, between Liskeard and Launceston. Formerly an open air amphitheatre, it now has a tent over it to keep the wet out. It is a great place for amateur and professional theatre and music. You can dance your heart out to live bands. A favourite there is Celtic electric folk type stuff, but they have acts from all over the world). If you are coming to Cornwall its worth finding out what's on while your here. Actual performance dates are to follow. Other productions this year include the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. End of advertising feature.

This is our second TP offering. Wyrde Sisters, which we did 2 years ago, pulled the best audiences the theatre had ever had, a lot of them turning up in costume.

Looking forward to seeing you at Lord's and Ladies,

* From: "Linda Mitchell" ( )
I first entered the Discworld about three years ago and have not looked back. After living in our own madness enacted daily on the streets of Johannesburg, I feel that Ankh-Morpork would be a comparatively tame place to settle in my old age. However, apart from occasional mental vacations out of my city into the Disc, I have discovered a rewarding by-product of being a Discworld woman.

Having sat in irritating boredom in airport lounges far too often, I make a rule to carry at least one or two Disc novels with me. The result? Disc readers appear like magic from all corners of the room, and a few hours of interesting discussions follows before boarding our respective planes. Pratchett readers transcend all the know boundaries I can think of. People from different nationalities, educational and economic backgrounds are able to link up, using the Discworld as a common denominator.

Regarding your discussion about incorporating Pratchett works into the school curriculum, I don't think it is such a good idea. Basically, teenagers by definition don't like anything that is recommended, suggested or even worse - placed on a compulsory reading list. The magic of the Discworld lies in its discovery, so rather let the little budding Discworldites find the books themselves in public libraries or bookshops. Anyway, reading Discworld may encourage independent thinking, a stimulated, active imagination and intellectual curiosity, all of which tend to contradict most education departments on this planet.

JA replies: To help Linda attract other Pratchett fans in airports lounges we have awarded her letter of the month and hence two Discworld badges.

* From: "Becky Swaney" ( )
Though it almost seems sinful, occasionally I've passed up a Terry Pratchett book. I don't know if I do it to heighten the anticipation of being able to sit down in a week or so; after I've been waiting for it, and being able to lounge around and read one of his books.

I've considered the idea that maybe it's because I'm an American. Not that being an American means that I don't get the fullest sense of satisfaction from reading a Terry Pratchett novel; but because we have to wait so long for the books. I'm a very quick reader, and I have to force myself to hold off on a Terry Pratchett books or constantly reread them. But how do you fill the dull months in between the time the rest of the world has already laughed over his newest writing venture and you've just bought the previous one.

Any chance of adding a "recommendations" section to the newsletter? I'm always looking for something new and exciting to read, and would appreciate any input -- especially from other's who hold Pratchett in such high regard.

JA Replies: Would anyone else like to see a "recommendations" section along these lines? Talking of which...

* From: "Harald Aberg" ( )
While many have tried to compare PTerry to other writers and other humourists none has, as far as I know, truly hit the mark. There actually is one writer whose work in many ways strike a startling similarity with that of PTerry.

The American writer/humourist Garrison Keilor whose book Lake Wobegone days at least is very pratchetty in it's humour. I heartily recommend Lake Wobegone Days to PTerry fans. The book describes the writers adolescence in the small American town of Lake Wobegone. The books humour is very low key although in many places absurd and Garrison Keilor uses Footnotes to a great extent just as our beloved PTerry.

Come on... give it a try.

* From: "Toby Fenn" ( )
Re: The Ramptons response to Jill Chapman

Well, yes it would be more grammatically correct if, and only if, Hamlet WAS "the Scottish play", but it isn't of course, Hamlet is the Danish play, Macbeth is the Scottish play, so what Jill is saying should be read as "I think after reading one of those, Hamlet or Macbeth...." and not "I think after reading one of those, Hamlet, the Scottish play....".

Sorry to be picky but I've been working for 14 days without a day off and I get a little pedantic when I'm tired. Although strictly speaking I'm not actually being pedantic. Sorry I couldn't resist that one. :)

I'd really love to see how you'd edit this letter to make it more boring and uninteresting, tough job!

* From: "Deborah Jacobson" ( )
RE: Adam Linville's letter in issue 24.

Just a small note on this observation... The *beginning* of Small Gods is contemporary with the other DW books. Small Gods takes place in the same generation as Pyramids, as evidenced by the appearance of Ibid and Xeno the philosophers. In Pyramids, one of Teppic's teachers, listed as the 'head tutor,' is Dr. Cruces, whom we also see in Men At Arms, having been promoted in the meantime to president of the Guild. (It makes me wonder how quickly the Assassin's Guild goes through presidents... surely competitive examination is not merely for the students...)

WB replies: So, can anyone explain Mightily Oats and Pamphlet bloke or are they anachronisms? [JA - Yikes! I'm scared of spiders!]

* From: "Paul Dean" ( )
Hi everybody, can anyone supply the recipe for Nanny Ogg's carrot and oyster cake. It sounds just the thing.

WB replies: There's a forthcoming "official" Discworld cookbook to look forward to. I'm sure it will sit nicely on any bookshelf, next to the official STAR TREK cookbook. Alternatively there are some recipes on L-Space

* From: "Beth Charlton" ( )
Re: The Nussbaum Family's Letter in issue 24

Belief in L-space is a mystical thing! I often wonder myself how my collection of Discworld books has taken over my bookshelf and I suddenly find the volumes I never thought I owned sitting between my copies of Reaper Man and Carpe Jugulum! Do not question the mysteries of the Librarian, for in time good things come to those who believe!! (remember the day she found Mort just laying on the floor of a friends old apartment!)

* From: "Floris vd Meijs" ( )
I'm not really into British publishing ethics, but is it common that books are published before they should be published? For quite a while now, I've been paying attention to this phenomenon; it happened to CJ (October 30, a friend of mine got himself the first ever signed CJ, so it was just out). It happened to the paperback of Jingo (same as CJ), it happened to the paperback of TLC (I saw it in my bookshop at early April), it happened to Death's Domain (saw it today--April 21). The funny thing is that Amazon still says "not yet published", and my bookshop (in Holland!) has got a big pile of them.

* From:
Has anyone seen a decent screen saver featuring A'Tuin with lots of stars and stuff? I tried writing my own, but it came out rather... mediocre (ok, crap).

4. The Last Continent - Signing Tour Dates

Saturday 8th May

  12.30pm Ottakars, 76 High Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1EJ

Wednesday 12th May

  12.30pm Dillons, 19-23 Oxford Street, London
  4.30pm Methvens, 19 High Street, Aylesbury, HP20 1SH

Thursday 13th May

  12.30pm WH Smith, 1-12 Regent Street, Swindon, SN1 1JQ
  4.30pm Ottakars, 115 Commercial Road, Portsmouth, PO1 1BU

Friday 14th May

  12.30pm Waterstones, 65-69 New George Street, Plymouth, PL1 1RE
  4.30pm Ottakars, 96 Pydar Street, Truro, TR1 2BD

Saturday 15th May

  12.30pm WH Smith, Bristol Galleries, Bristol, BS1 3XB

5. Review: Death's Domain

Death's Domain is the latest 'Discworld Mapp' from PTerry and Paul Kidby. Following on from maps of the Disc itself, Ankh-Morpork and Lancre, we now have the opportunity to own a stylish guide to Death's house ('Mon Repos') and gardens.

The map itself has nothing hilariously funny about it, but it's nice to spot the little details around the edges and smile to yourself when you get the reference. The chief concession to humour is in the key to the various locations: The Hill of Night, The Stream of Unconsciousness, The Well of Souls, The Lawn of Pitiless Infinity and Tennis, etc. However, there are 36 of these and they use the same sort of joke about four times, so be careful not to read it all at once.

The notes accompanying the map are actually pretty good. As well as going over the principal items of Death lore that have emerged from the books - Albert's role, the Death of Rats, the Lifetimer room and so on - they cover some new ground in a moderately amusing fashion:

Death noticed that houses like his sometimes had peacocks in the grounds, the owners presumably feeling the need to have the lawns covered with very expensive manure and the neighbours awoken at 5am by a sound like a gibbon with its head in a bucket...

While the artwork of the map is not particularly inspired, some of the illustrations that accompany the text are very effective, perhaps because Kidby's style is better suited to these smaller, more detailed pictures. Best example for my money is a sample of one of Death's still lifes, '...a bottle, a pile of vegetables and a boot...until you look carefully.'

Final verdict: the only thing wrong with Death's Domain is the PRICE. At 6.99 it's for obsessive collectors ONLY. I wouldn't say the content was especially poor, but there's just not enough of it to justify this cost.

6. Results of last month's Clarecraft Competition

Last month we asked: What makes Carrot's sword special?

A. It's magical.
B. It gives the wielder a feeling of power.
C. It's a long piece of metal with very sharp edges.

The answer was of course that it was just "a long piece of metal with very sharp edges" (Guards! Guards!) with nothing magical about it at all. We had over 340 correct entries and quite a few wrong ones making this the most popular competition we've ever run. The randomly selected winner of Clarecraft's Captain Carrot (DW100) is Matt Richardson of Kent, England.

If you would like more information about Clarecraft's products email

7. DiscTrivia

The idea for making a Discworld Trivia Game came shortly after I began writing [trivia] for Discworld Monthly. I kept getting emails from people saying how much they liked the questions and how I should make a proper game. This struck me as a really good opportunity. There are other Discworld trivia games around: on web sites mainly, but they all had huge flaws. This one was going to be better. I spoke to Terry on his Last Continent tour here in Australia, he liked the sound of the idea but suggested I talked to his agent - Colin Smythe. After a few lengthy emails, it was agreed that I could make the game, but it would have to be completely unofficial and to make no profit.

Having organised this, I then created the discussion group. This was to enable people who wanted to help to submit their ideas. We had lots of ideas for the type of game: some said it should be like the others already on the market, some said it should be multiplayer over the internet, but we eventually decided that it would be best, and most feasible, to mimic the You Don't Know Jack series. For anyone who isn't familiar with YDKJ, my advice to you is to play it. The idea doesn't sound too inviting at first, but once you have played it, you're hooked.

After a few other little odds and ends had been sorted out regarding features in the game, all was silent for some time while I worked out a game structure. The game structure had to make it possible to choose which questions to ask in a logical succession. It is quite complicated, and I won't bore you with the details here. Then we needed to decide on question types. These are still being considered, but we were mainly interested in the standard multiple choice type at the time. All questions that are submitted must follow a rigid format, and so this was explained to the group, and later an online submission form was added to make things easier.

To test the game structure, we needed to make a small test version, using about 30 questions. It was not meant to be released to the group, but unfortunately my programmer misunderstood and put it up for download at the web site. I'm sure all the people in the group remember the problems there.

Now we are in the process of making a test version that is designed for use, which should be completed early next month.

If you are interested, or would like to help - please go to and join the fun. We really need some sound engineers, graphic designers, musicians, programmers, and people with a sense of humour.

The final version of the game, which we aim to have available by the end of this year, will be available for free download on several web sites. There will also be a CD version, with extra features, for which we will charge postage only. Here are a list of definite features for the final version:

- Danu Poyner, April 1999

8. Review: The Cunning Artificer: The Drum

The Drum is without doubt the best known public house on the Discworld. Like a well known character, it has appeared in many of the books, starting with The Colour of Magic, where it was called the Broken Drum. However it has been fixed up and re-built many times in Ankh-Morpork's history to the extent that it is currently known as the Mended Drum.

One of the first things you notice about this model is its considerable weight. The Drum is made up of three main pieces, the pub itself, a tower and the brewery which "butt" against each other to make one large model.

Although this is a model of the Drum, the front, whilst very detailed, is just that of an unremarkable building with an entrance to a bar - albeit with the words "The Drum" minutely cut into a sign above the door. It is the rear of the building that most people will find interesting.

Bernard has created the drum with a small river jetty that is accessible via a large passage-way through the building. The rear courtyard includes a "Watch Communications Tower" that should make an appearance in "The Fifth Elephant" if PTerry's readings at last year's Convention is anything to go by.

The courtyard also has a stack of beer barrels and the river edge is lined with small wooden rowing boats (although why you would need them when you could probably walk across the river Ankh without getting wet is beyond me).

True to Bernard's previous form, this piece exudes quality and character with individual tiles and bricks visible. It even manages to look old with stained walls and slightly sagging roofs. Bernard has certainly captured the look of Ankh Morpork.

The piece we had for reviewis numbered 311 and Bernard will only be creating 500 in total (so does this mean he's already sold 310 of them?). The UK price for the Drum is 160 GBP plus 5 GBP postage. Other countries should email for more information. For a chance to win this review model see the next section.

If you would like more information about Bernard's Drum and other models, including plates, buildings and candles visit his web site at

9. The Cunning Artificer Competition.

If you would like to win our review copy of the Drum, send the answers to the following questions to before 22nd May 1999. Please remember to include your postal address in case you win.

Who was saved by Susan in the Drum?
Who went to the Drum to forget?
What is the name of the arcade machine in the Drum?

The winner will be randomly selected and will be announce next month.

10. The End

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