Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 29: September 1999

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. Recommendations
5. DiscTrivia
6. From The Pen Of The Cunning Artificer....
7. Review: Discworld Noir
8. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 29. It appears that although we didn't feel our review of last month's Clarecraft event was overly negative, many readers felt we were being quite hard on the event. We have received several emails saying how much people enjoyed the event, and that our reviewer must have been somewhere else. Some of the more pertinent letters appear in section 3 and a review in section 6.

Since last issue we have also discovered that the Clarecraft event raised nearly 5,000 GBP for charity of which around 4,500 GPB went to The Orangutan foundation and the rest went to Amnesty International. For more information about Clarecraft visit

We will include our review of the Fifth Elephant in next month's issue.

Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Sub-marine Editor)

2. News

Terry will be going walkabouts in November on a Fifth Elephant Signing Tour, we will include a full tour schedule next month.

Luke Twigger ( ) has written an adventure for GURPS Discworld called "Implamps R Us" you can download it from:

The Assassins Guild now has a presence on the web at

"Hibiscus Dunelm" ( ) has created a new Discworld page and club at:

"Angua" ( ) has a Discworld club at

The club is for all fans of the Discworld, although we cannot always guarantee a sane thread in the msg board, but there is always something going on. The club has also got a web site devoted to it which people can got to see what is going on in the club at the moment. The address is

American readers might appreciate knowing that they can order the Wyrd Sisters video from a number of retailers. They should just check out a site like (a comparison shopping site) and look up "Wyrd Sisters" in their video section.

Small Ads....

"Gina Jordan" ( ) is looking for Discworld 1 for the Playstation in Ireland.

"Mike Philo" ( ) is looking for DW44 "Death on a Motorcycle" for a reasonable price. If your local stockist can supply it, please let him know.

"Jadite Le Fae" ( ) would like to correspond with fans of both Discworld and Catatonia, between the ages of 15 and 18. She also likes cats and her other interests can be seen on her web site at

"Crimson" ( ) is looking for people willing to help design and build a Discworld emulation webpage.

"James Salvona" ( ) has completed the game with his sister and would be happy to help anyone in need.

"Skazz" ( ) would like to buy the first Discworld Game for the Playstation.

"Lisa Usher" ( ) writes: My other half got me the Soul Music boxed set from HMV. And my brother got Wyrd Sisters from Woolworths! HMV can get anything for you if it appears on their list. Just go up to the cash desk and ask.

"Ann" ( ) would like to get a copy of Discworld II.

"Jason" [not me - Ed] ( ) is looking to correspond with sci-fi/fantasy fans (pref female)

"Becky Grice" ( ) is looking for Irish Pratchett fan clubs, and is also looking for Clarecraft figures in the South.

"Urich, Karl - TX" ( ) says: On I just discovered a Terry Pratchett book called 'Big Kevin and Little Kevin'. Did you ever hear of this one? You can also get Science of Discworld for 6 GBP at

"Jeff Turner" ( ) as an avid reader, has all the softcover Discworld books. His greatest frustration is that the great art from Josh Kirby is lost behind titles on the front and a synopsis and computer bars on the back. He would like to know if there is a collection of the cover paintings published separately?

"josh weiner" ( ) would like to know if there are any PTerry fans in Israel? If so, please write. He has the Colour of Magic in Hebrew and says: the translation is OK, but Rincewind is called "stam-ruach" (lit: just wind), and Twoflower is zug-perach (lit: a pair of flowers).

"Adelene Shand" ( ) is looking for Discworld Merchandise in South Africa and preferably in Natal. I can't get any models or posters and have to order from Britain. Are there any shops which sell Discworld things? Please contact me if you know of any.

"Eve Laben" ( ) has a problem with Discworld Noir. She can't get anywhere because the system is screwing up big style (That's a technical term you know.) There's a particular file on CD2 that keeps shutting her system down when she tries to open her note book in act 2. The file name is tin3_dxd. If anyone has had similar problems and knows how have solve them, please get in contact.

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 fit in with our sensitive natures.

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: "kirsten ostapowich" ( )
I just wanted to say that L-space does exist to all you non-believers. I work in a Library in Canada, and it is just amazing how you can loose hours when in the stacks! I have not gone so far as to try and do time travel or access other libraries through it, but then I have not been working in my Library as long as the UU Librarian has. If you don't believe me, try it yourself. Go to your local library and hang out in the stacks... its amazing how time flies.

* From:
Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your newsletters, although since I am in the US a lot of the stuff is not available...yet. Went to Canada to get a copy of Carpe Jugulum and really enjoyed it... LMAO at the "Pictsies" (which I got right away) and marvelled at PTerry's restraint at not making reference to "woad warriors".

Is the show South Park shown in Great Britain? I was sure I caught a reference to it (e.g. "Oh no! They've killed Thcrapth! The bathtardth!") that is often used for the character of Kenny.

Looking forward to reading the Science of Discworld if it ever becomes available in these hinterlands... and one wonders in passing if Angua and Susan have ever met each other in Biers?

* From: "Bob Southwell" ( )
Re "Andy Reynolds" letter last month:

I took some umbrage from Andy's letter in Issue 28. FWIW I thoroughly enjoyed the Soul Music video but not the Wyrd Sisters one. My enjoyment (or not) was not influenced by the quality (or lack) of the animation. Yes, it wasn't as swish as a Disney but I didn't expect it to be; No, it wasn't so dreadful as to detract from the whole experience. I was in fact astounded at the extra bits that seemed to be put in, visual gags etc. I'm sorry that Andy's feelings about the "poor" animation spoiled it for him. I think Cosgrove did an excellent job. FWIW, PTerry seemed to like them.

I think it's like the books: if you like them, read them, if you don't, don't.

* From: "Holyoake, Suzi R" ( )
Who did the Clarecraft Discworld Event review?... I only ask as it seems to be a completely different event to the one that I attended as I had too much to do in too little time and still managed to miss some stuff I wanted to see or do! (and, having talked around many afpers/atm-ders, a different on to the one they attended too). So - I thought you may appreciate a different perspective to the one in the review.

JA replies: There are just a couple of the many letters we received praising the Clarecraft weekend, it looks like our reporter will have to lighten up in the future.

* From: "Martyn" ( )
With regards to Andy Reynolds comments .... while I accept that anyone is entitled to an opinion, if he dislikes the newsletter so much why is he on the mailing list at all. As for Carpe Jugulum being a rip off of the smurfs. Perhaps he should re-read it, when he might discover that there is a lot of other stuff going on in the background, like Vampires and Phoenix.

Also does he not read other books that often, a lot of PTerry's stories are satires (for Andy that means "P*** takes" ) on other authors. For example Maskerade, lords and ladies to name but two.

In the field of animation there are a number of styles, and I think that the Discworld animation's are very good, and reflect the mood of the pieces well. Perhaps Andy doesn't realise that an animation if made of about 24 drawings each second! a hell of a lot of work. Hand drawn take more skill than some one just hitting some computer keys every now and then!

I'd also refer Andy to Cindy L Wells comments, that are quite accurate. Although I was surprised that the DM crew missed that little gem about the Pictsies and the ancient Picts .....

* From: "samantha hughes" ( )
In response to Dario lovell's letter last month, may I suggest that the first book for anyone to read in the Discworld series is Mort, as this was my first book, and also my husbands, (who incidentally never read before I convinced him to read the Discworld). He says that the down to earth style of Death gave him a smile, and that it was nice to then go on to the Colour Of Magic, and to know what those CAPITAL LETTERS MEANT !

* From: "Ray Daley" ( )
OK, those people looking at the nac mac feegle obviously haven't seen Braveheart or Highlander. There can be only one thousand? - Highlander (there can be only one) they are all a parody of celts and clansmen, wearing woad (blue body dye to make their enemies afraid). Come on people, these are the people who made Hadrian build that wall, he was scared of them coming down and killing all his people. Everyone in the UK knows the Scots like a fight and a drink, and good luck to them for that, I hope they enjoy it! as they say "anyone who gits in me wee, gits a face fulla heed!"

* From: "FloridaDream" ( )
Re: Toon Delie's letter about slow light

  1. It does fade, slightly. This is why the hub of Discworld is colder than the rim. The same effect applies on earth. The poles are slightly further away then the equator, so they are slightly colder. (Temperature gradient ~60 degrees C, vs one of several hundred in space.)

  2. Since visible light doesn't interact with air (for all practical purposes in this case) there is no reason why moving air should affect it more than still air - that is to say, not at all. (Yes, light can be affected by HOT air moving upwards, but that's another story.)

  3. Because Terry Pratchett says so, that's why!
  4. To paraphrase 'The Science Of Discworld', Discworld-physics doesn't work the way it does because of the rules of mathematics, but because of the rules of what makes a good story. Until the wind affecting the sunlight becomes a vital part of a plot or a good joke, 'slowlight' will remain unaffected by wind.

RM replies: Not sure I'm with you on point #1 - but otherwise spot on. Let's face it, any physicist trying to explain the Universe without a sensible speed of light has as much chance as a mathematician trying to .. er mathematize without the number 12.

* From: "Malaclypse" ( )
The Seventeenth century natural scientists had an invisible college, which is where Pratchett got the idea from in the first place. I know this because it is printed in the Unseen University Challenge's rules, where it reads

"That if anyone is to say Pratchett 'stole' the idea, they are to ruthlessly executed"

(or, as it turns out it actually says "We cannot be having with this attitude", but "ruthlessly executed" sounds much better)

* From: "Jonathan Fowler" ( )
With reference to Prosser's letter last month.

During the Sorcerer's attack on Al-Khali, during which Rincewind is trapped in the snake pit with Njel the Destroyer (Son of Harebut the provision merchant), randomised magic leakage from spells reflected from the defences around Abrim's tower allow Rincewind to wave his hand and blast a corridor out of the pit, subsequently meeting up with Conina and the Seriph; he does some more magic again after that, I seem to recall .... from the description in the book, he seemed to enjoy the experience ....... :-)

PS Is Prosser any relation to the Mr Prosser who demolishes Arthur Dent's cottage in "The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" ?

* From: "ornithorhynchus paradoxus" ( )
It looks like some people who read the books hate the animations, for example:

Andy Reynolds ... the animation of Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music was and is a disgrace, especially in this day and age of technology. ... you will never see a Disney feature made in the slip shod second rate way that Pratchett's animated work is.

WB - ... I chiefly object to the crass commercialism...

My son Craig (11) loves to read books. His current favourites are Brian Jacques - the tales of redwall series and J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter.

I have tried many times to get him to read Terry Pratchett, no chance. What he hates about these books is the constant change from one scene to another. It's not always obvious in P Terry's books but with the tales of redwall you get a gap and a friendly squiggle so scene changes are obvious.

The Video is an entirely different kettle of fish (soul probably).

Craig reckons that SOUL MUSIC is much better than the book. You know when there is a scene change. The music was okay but didn't quite match their instruments. He says you probably need to be old to recognise it (thanks a bunch Craig). As for the technical quality, some styles of animation are better suited than others. (Disney style would definitely not suit South Park for instance). Craig enjoyed SOUL MUSIC and totally lost it when DEATH said "OH B****R" as his motorbike leapt into space over the gorge. He reckons Christopher Lee was excellent as DEATH.

I saw PTerry at a recent Bristol signing (didn't have time to queue unfortunately) and he was thoroughly enjoying himself.

The Videos are like the books, they are there to enjoy.

JA Replies: ornithorhynchus paradoxus gets this month's letter of the month.

* From: "David Hopkins" ( )
If the Discworld has an Olympics it wouldn't actually be called the Olympics at all. The nearest equivalent would be the Cori-Celestics.

* From: As above so below ( )
Well, so far I'm disappointed with Discworld Noir. It's like playing Tex Murphy with just enough Discworld-speak to validate the product. Not what I would have expected - the links are too tenuous. In Discworld games you want characters like the librarian etc. Terry, what were you thinking?

* From: Louise Ledwich ( )
For the last three nights in a row I have opened up "The Science of Discworld" at page 152 AND IT IS STILL THERE! Call out the wizards, use magic or lies-to-children or narrativium or l-space or whatever but just get rid of it!

On page 152 on the third line it states: "In April 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped down on to the surface of the Moon - - - - " April???? April????

As someone who knows exactly where they were and what they were doing when something as momentous as Man walking on the Moon happened take it from me it was JULY.

* From: "ezz" ( )
Sorry Posser, but remember to measure twice and cut once. Chris was right. The gonne does fire 7 times.

Perhaps you should send Chris a prize :-)

JA Replies: We also had similar letters from James McGraw and Alice Aforethought describing seven shots.

* From: "John Simpson" ( )
Although normally content to be an anonymous reader of DWM I felt compelled to write in support of "Name withheld for obscure and sinister reasons" - I would endorse all said person's comments about the animated versions. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed them and found them close enough to the books - if PTerry himself doesn't complain about what's been done to his work then why should you?

As for WB's comment "I chiefly object to the crass commercialism implicit in the production of these cartoons" - am I missing something? Are PTerry's books provided for free? (I paid for all my copies). Surely the whole point of producing works of entertainment/art/great literature (take your pick!) is that people who choose to can purchase said items if they wish, thereby allowing the author and a few others in associated industries to earn a crust? And people obviously DO want to buy said items - I haven't seen any PTerry material on the "remaindered" shelves - so the "marketing guys" were apparently correct. Here's hoping that the lie down in the dark room has made Bill feel a bit better and a bit more tolerant of something which gives a lot of people pleasure, even if it isn't quite the way he would have done it!

* From: "Matthew Richardson" ( MRICHARDSON@KIAD.AC.UK )
The review of the new DW Noir game sounds very good, but you only mention the PC version, and so does the website with the 35GBP offer with the Josh Kirby poster. I haven't used an IBM PC by choice for several years, not since I discovered the Apple Mac, so now even though I own a machine with is the equivalent of a Pentium III 600 (if they made one) with better sound and graphics than 90% of PCs, I cant play the game, and when or if it is put on the Mac all the posters will have gone. In your position of leverage over the Discworld community, do you think you might be able to find out from the game publishers if a Mac version will be released?

JA Replies: Unfortunately the games writers Perfect Entertainment went out of business earlier this year so I would seriously doubt there will be a MAC version. I don't know if it would work but have you considered a Windows emulator like SoftWindows 98?

* From: "esmerelda weatherwax (Beignon)" ( )
I'm a fan of Paul Kidby, some of his portraits in the Portfolio are pure genius, I simply adored the cover of the Science (Caravaggio or De La Tour?), but why in the hell that horrible Esmerelda, with a mean (not nasty) expression and a man's skull?

I wonder why Kidby portrayed her so desperately ugly. Just plain machismo (witches and powerful women just HAVE to be ugly)? PTerry often says she's definitely not beautiful but nevertheless handsome, make two archancellors fall in love with her, and some men complimenting her (the phantom of the opera, Casanunda, not to mention some men under the influence of Nanny's best cooking).

How do other Discworld fans see her? I'd be very interested in having other people's opinions on the subject.

4. Recommendations

In order to reduce the size of the letters section with large letters recommending other authors we thought we'd keep things simple by listing the name of the person doing the recommendation and the recommendation itself.

Discworld FanAuthor
Sharon ClaptonKatherine Kerr
Richard MasseyDavid Gemmell

There is a list of comic-fantasy authors at

5. DiscTrivia

Welcome back to Disctrivia for the September 1999 issue! This month we're going to do something a little different. How many of you have tried to convince others to read a Pratchett book, but have never been able to suggest just the right one for them to read? This month, we want you to write to us and tell us which book you would recommend a first-time Discworlder to read and why. The demographics will be included in next month's issue, and the most imaginative entry will be awarded with two Discworld badges.

Send your entries to with the subject line DWM Comp. If this subject line is not used you will not be eligible for the prize. Your entry should look like this...

Name: John Doe
Country: America
Book: Colour of Magic
Reason: Because it's the first one (duh).

All entries must be received no later than 10 September 1999. Thankyou and good luck.

-Danu Poyner, Brisbane, Australia.

6. From The Pen Of The Cunning Artificer....

Well, greetings dear friends. What joy this summer has brought, fine weather and the subsequent bronzing of the odd limb, and the chance to frolic with a few friends at the Clarecraft event. I read with interest the comments from our own dear editor regarding the above. It was a shame he only managed only the one day, it was well worth doing the complete package. It was a splendid occasion but indeed not too much went on. I mean it was not jam packed with games, klatches, side shows and equestrian events. It was by and large rather laid back and mellow. For some the idea of stocking up on a truckload of figurines without needing a second mortgage was an opportunity not to be missed. Others found simple delights in camping it up in a nice bit of countryside, where their kids could wander in complete safety, while they mused and mingled with a few hundred kindred spirits. Just the thing for a summer weekend and all for 2.50GBP.

Then of course there was the man himself, doing his signing thing, chatting to fans, and the partners of fans, the children of fans, the fans of fans, and witnessing the strange goings on of the alt-fan gang. It was a good 'do' and the laid back atmosphere belied the huge amount of preparation that went into it. Over the previous few weeks, I saw any number of Bob and Trish's gang carting stuff to and fro, mowing grass, painting sheds, and generally running themselves ragged, egged on by young Elton who with loud hailer and cattle prod was demonstrating his modern management skills.

To top it all I think some 4,500GBP or more was raised for the Orangutan foundation so a bit of good all round in my opinion. Of course what is really at the crux of the matter, and is as welcome as crabs in a nudist colony, is the dirty word 'commercial'. Just where does good honest fan activity and born again capitalism get into bed together. There is always a perceived dichotomy and yet the one cannot exist without the other.

If people, fans, fellow travellers, whatever, did not like the idea then it never would have happened. The fact is there are thousands of folk who enjoy not just the books but the artifacts that the words have inspired. It's not rampant capitalism, like the books themselves they are mostly harmless. No one is forced into it, and compared to the huge readership the number of dedicated shoppers is minute. Probably less that 2% overall, and that's in spite of all my plugs in this rag and others.

But there seems to be this perception in some peoples mind that the whole thing is becoming just too damn commercial. So in partnership with several other 'makers' of Discworld artifacts, statuary, lumps, blocks, and daubs we are establishing our own electric broadsheet. Now make no mistake, this is commercial. For a start its FREE, now there's a catch if ever there was one. Published via the net once a month its for all the makers, craftsmen, dare I say it, artificers and artists to shamefully plug their work. Also to tell the story behind their creations, which books, which characters make the making the fun it is. This will be the real studio grit, with a letters and gripes section; in full colour, with music, and a full frontal pin up of CMOT Briggs to boot. It will have a problem page edited by Miss Emma Chissit whose social skills and pelvic exercises have been the talk of Fleet Street for close to Forty years.

All right some of it will be a bit tongue-in-cheek and hopefully fun to read. But it will be the first open forum where anybody who is making or wishes to make articles, pictures, or anything that takes the words of my good friend Terry as focal point and turns them with their own skills and talents into objects or pictures can contribute. The brainchild of Elton Murphy aided and abetted by my son Tom there will be a web site of some description and we will link this to anyone's Discworld homepage.

This is a chance for all those that make things, be they the likes of Clarecraft or the dedicated fan in a shed, to participate equally in telling their story, selling their gear, meeting the fans and collectors. Isobel and I have been making bits of ceramic, candlewax, polymer-resin, and stone into representations of Discworld characters longer than anybody has. To some extent we started the whole commercial scene, and what's more in all my long, varied, and extremely chequered life it's one of the things I'm most proud of. (see edition 1 of the Discworld Market Traders own organ)

But first and foremost I am a Discworld fan. I read the books because I like them, they make my world a better place. So whether you care for what I make or not, whether you buy it or not, what the hell, at the end of the day it's the books or rather the man behind them, that really count.

For more information about Bernard's products visit and for more information about the new newsletter visit

7. Review: Discworld Noir

James Clark ( ) writes about the third Discworld Game Discworld Noir.

I probably am one of PTerry's crumblie audience as I was in my mid thirties when I started reading the work of the master and I am in my early forties now.

This is basically an unsolicited review of Discworld Noir (No Clues) This may be a bit biased as I am a fan of both PTerry and Humphrey Bogart the in-built references to Casablanca, To Have and Have Not and the Maltese Falcon were excellent. The credit that there was too much interference from PTerry showed in a computer game which flowed in the indisputable style of the master. The game feels complete and has an ending that like the genre ties the loose ends in a way that they can be used again.

The interface was clean and easy to use and the screen rendering, particularly the rain and lightning, were flawless. Well I didn't really want to find any flaws. The butler's legs didn't quite work.

Once played you could run the game a second time as a true interactive movie and a nice addition would have been the ability to run the game as a movie but only after completion.

The game has a dark menace that was missing from the first two games and I hope PTerry can find room in later novels for at least a cameo appearance for Lewton (the main protagonist) in his forthcoming books.

Lots of reviews will look at the game from the computer gaming viewpoint. If you are coming from a Discworld or a Film Noir direction this is an excellent piece of work that stands up in its own right. I will be playing it again, a rare compliment I can assure you.

A nice feature is that once you have solved a problem in getting to a particular location the game generates a shortcut that you can use or not as the whim takes you. For example if you have found a ladder to enter a window you could use the ladder or just double click on the window. NB no ladder and no window not a clue just an example.

I did play the game on a particularly fast machine: 400 MHz Pentium II (dum-dum-dah-dah intel ditty) with a fast graphics card and loads of memory. I would recommend viewing in a darkened room with the sound effects and music turned down slightly.

I also found it an advantage to have the subtitling turned on, without which a pun with the golden sword may pass you by for some time.

If you like film Noir and games of this type you would also like Grim Fandango from Lucasarts (even if it does have a large gap in its story board).

8. The End

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