Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 33: January 2000

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. Recommendations
5. Results of Our Cunning Artificer Competition
6. ISIS unabridged Hogfather Audio Book and Competition
7. Main Character Kill Off - The Votes Are In
8. Terry At The Guildhall Winchester
9. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 33 and the new Millennium. As I write this editorial in early December 1999 I can only wonder what effect the Y2K bug will have on our lives. If you can read this then I assume that we all survived!

We also discovered (from many of you) the following quote can be found on the first page of Interesting Times, although some also thought is was in Small Gods, Soul Music or Good Omens.

"When someone is saved from certain death by a strange concatenation of circumstances, they say that's a miracle. But of course if someone is killed by a freak chain of events - the oil spilled just there, the safety fence broken just there - that must also be a miracle. Just because it's not nice doesn't mean it's not miraculous."

Apologies to reader Tahirah AbuBaker who, last month, I mistakenly called 'he' instead of 'she'.

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

2. News

Wyrd Sisters will be playing in Ottawa, Canada: 6th Feb 2000 and 7th Feb 2000 at the Great Canadian Theatre and is also playing in Toronto, Canada on 1st Feb 2000 at Ted's Wrecking Yard. For more information email Greg at

Video Empire ( still has some second-hand videos of Soul Music and Wyrd Sisters according to Joe Chester ( ).

ISIS Publishing Ltd have created 3 new full and unabridged Discworld audio books on CD. Feet of Clay (24.99 GBP, 8 CDs), Guards! Guards! and Hogfather (25.99 GPB, 10 CDs each) have been given the digital treatment. You can order them direct from ISIS on 0800-731-5637. If you order all three titles you will get a limited edition signed Josh Kirby poster worth 16.99GBP.

Hot news from Science Fiction Weekly's news page -

Neil Gaiman confirmed that Terry Gilliam (Brazil, Time Bandits) will write and direct the feature film version of Good Omens, the novel Gaiman co-authored with Terry Pratchett. Gaiman told SCI FI Wire that Gilliam will write the screenplay with Tony Grisoni, who worked with Gilliam on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Peter Samuelson, Marc Samuelson (Arlington Road) and Chuck Roven will produce the film, and talks are ongoing with several studios to develop the project.

Gaiman said he plans to keep his distance from the film. "Terry Pratchett and I have elected not to get involved--we both got our fingers burned some years ago trying to write a Good Omens movie for Sovereign Pictures, for producers who bought Good Omens and then immediately began trying to turn it into something else. We decided that this time around we would give the book to people who seemed to understand it and let them make the film."

Gaiman also had high praise for Gilliam and the Samuelsons. "We turned down a lot of producers before the Samuelsons came along, and they impressed us by understanding what the book was about (and not just understanding what happened in it and the meaning of several of the longer words)," Gaiman said. "I think Terry Gilliam is the perfect director for Good Omens in every way, and I've been an enormous fan of his since Jabberwocky."

Gaiman added that he is "really looking forward to going and eating popcorn at the premiere. Or those little raisin things with chocolatey stuff on them."

Good Omens: or, The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, is a tongue-in-cheek telling of the Apocalypse from the viewpoint of an angel and a devil who realize their best interests lie in working together to postpone the Day of Reckoning.

Robert James came across some information about a new film being made in the US by Dreamworks SKG (Antz, Saving Private Ryan) called "Mort: the dead teenager". Apparently it's about a teen named "Mort" who gets killed then goes to meet Death. Sound vaguely familiar? Wonder if TP knows anything about it? [JA adds: from looking at the web site below it appears that the film is based on a comic series, and the teen in question meets Teen Death, son of Death]

Small Ads....

"Jackie Rose" ( ) is desperately seeking the Death Soul Music jigsaw puzzle. Does anyone know if you can order it from the Internet or if any shops can get it?

"Amparo Piera La Roca" ( ) would like to hear from other Terry Pratchett fans from Spain.... and doesn't mind what age they are only their brain state... (the more crazy the better).

"Rainbow" ( ) is apparently a mature 16 year old who is looking for an e-pal who is aged 14+. She enjoys Discworld, Mercedes Lackey, Neil Gaiman's Sandman, and writing... And asks /anyone/ who likes LJ Smith (YA author) to get in contact...

"Fis ." ( ) is trying to find a person who can talk Discworld. Fis is looking for a person aged between 18 - 21 and preferably female and is interested in most sci-fi, Formula One and travelling as well as too many other interests to list here.

"Bob" ( ) is looking for Discworld fans in the Delaware area, USA. Anyone else is welcome too.

"Peter Johnstone" ( ) is looking for the first Discworld game, or information on where he can buy it. Please e-mail if you live in Surrey (England) and have any information.

"Steven Myers" ( ) is looking for a e-mail pal who is interested in Discworld books. His other interests includes music and football. He is looking for any gender from the age 16 to 25.

"Kate Jarman" ( ) would like an e-pal who likes Discworld and Formula One aged between 15 and 20.

"Ryan Jarvie" ( ) will be visiting Perth, Australia in mid-January for an exchange and would like to get in contact with other fans from Perth.

"Brian" ( ) has Discworld 2 and two Discworld models to sell. He lives in Ireland and would like to talk with other Discworld fans. He would also like to know if anyone has any second hand models for sale.

"Benji" ( ) has the first two Discworld games and would like to swap them for any Clarecraft models. Anyone in the Glasgow area will get preference.

"Paul Foreman" ( ) is new to the Net and would like to correspond with anyone who is interested in Pratchett, football, cinema, formula one and U2.

"Tanja" ( ) would like to see a Discworld play in Finland, and would like to know of any fan activity in Finland.

"Bradley Heath" ( ) is looking to obtain "Theatre of Cruelty" after he read it was a collectors item. He is also looking for someone to chat with who's interested in: RPG's, Discworld, Dragons, Cats, Massive Attack and dance music and computers.

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 avoid upsetting those who still think we are in the 20th Century.

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: "David A Oates" ( )
Did anyone else get the suggestion in Fifth Elephant that Carrot may be part werewolf 1) mention of non changing werewolves interbreeding and 2)his remarkably fast healing, a stressed characteristic of werewolves?

Loved the book. I order them when they come out in UK to avoid the wait. Wonder if we'll ever see Esk again. Wouldn't she make an interesting character as she grew?

* From: "Jason Parlevliet" ( )
Just adding my voice to the chorus of pedants, desperately screaming "No it isn't!". The new millennium doesn't start until 2001.

JA Replies: We received many letters on this subject and whilst technically there wasn't a year 0 and therefore blah, blah, very well done everyone.

* From: "N. Sane" ( )
I've been a subscriber of DWM for about two years and have always enjoyed reading it. About a year ago I read that a local amateur company were putting on Wyrd Sisters (one of my favourites) and offered them my assistance.

Well, one thing led to another. I had a great time setting up the lighting and eventually snogging 2nd Guard (I think that's what he was playing - I spent most of the time just gazing at him from the lighting box not really listening).

A year has gone by and I have to say that it has been a very good one. I have got him reading the books now. There is no greater thing than hearing someone snigger while reading a book (except perhaps looking over their shoulder and laughing along).

I look forward to more DWM in the future - and if anyone wants a Director, Asst. Director or Lighting Designer/Operator for an amateur Discworld show in Surrey, SW London or bits of Middlesex - do let me know!

* From: "Debi Bunny" ( )
In reply to Miss Hippy Chick's query about Gaspode.

Gaspode first got the power of speech through the intrusion of Holy Wood, but as is illustrated with Greebo, magic never quite wears off. Because Gaspode sleeps outside UU so often (Men at Arms) he is exposed to a high magical field which reactivated the original spell, I think. Hope that helps.

* From: "Chris Bridges" ( )
With reference to Kevin's letter about the fifth elephant last month.

Obviously evolution has played its constantly-reshuffling hand here. Seeing that five elephants was in excess, and that there are certainly many places in the universe that are painfully shy an elephant, evolution (which works with frightening speed in the Discworld cosmology) worked quickly to even things out. Plenty o' people just dying for a nice elephant, no sense wastin' a good one...

JA replies: Chris Bridges wins Letter of the Month for sending us the Letter of the Month.

* From: "Avin" ( )
Do you know if there was a rewrite in between the book "Good Omens: The nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, witch" and the new cover book of "Good Omens"?

I read the first release years ago and recently read the second version and I swear the second one goes into more of a description of the jokes and so isn't as funny. I haven't been able to find the first release (with the nice and accurate prophecies part) again, I guess it's pretty rare now. One of the things that I think are different are the "house plant" references. Any one know?

* From: "Dave Nunn" ( )
Is it just me or do other fans find the books fantastic but the Plays a load of CMOT Dibbler sausages?

An idea for the future - write a narrator into the script & you may find a lot more humour come out as most of it is in the descriptive text of the books not the spoken word.

WB replies: Which sounds like an argument for not adapting the books at all.

* From: "Michele Fontana" ( )
We'd like to introduce ourselves: we are an Italian role-games player association, which have been conquered by the great talent of T.P. One of us has read many of his novels (even if they were not translated) and has discovered the "Discworld" roleplaying game trying, in this way, to spread the ingenious setting and the incredible funny ideas by Terry Pratchett. We've become particularly interested about every T.P. product and, obviously, particularly about the game. We'd like to know if you could help us solving some problems we've met by reading rules and if there was any other player among the group. So here we are:

  1. Can any of you help us with some ideas about how the adventure, that the players should face, could develop? We'd rather not replay T.P. stories.
  2. We've got some problems with magic and wizards, what kind of spell should such characters be able to cast?
  3. Is it possible to create a playing group made by a dwarf, a troll, a werewolf, a gargoyle, two assassins and a thief?
  4. How many points do you suggest to use at the beginning of a campaign? We thank you very much for your attention and we truly hope to receive as soon as possible your answers and ideas.

* From: "Agent Clossick" ( )
A reply to 'Andy Brigham'

Why not just use the Discworld encyclopedia book to get your character descriptions? More reliable than Discworld fans, who are well known for their eccentricities, drinking too much, falling about and general unreliability.

* From: *pixie* ( )
I'm presently reading a rather good biography (Isaac Newton The Last Sorcerer by Michael White) One of Newton's contemporaries, Robert Boyle of the gas laws (who like Newton was a practising alchemist) was a co-founder of 'The Invisible College' - the earliest form of the Royal society :-0

* From: "Shannaka Beveridge" ( )
If there was to be a Discworld movie and only Discworld fans were to be in it (and I do think this is a good idea) there is one draw back; chances are the acting probably wouldn't be very good. But that problem aside I would like to play the part of Susan. Anyone who hasn't joined the Ankh Morpork City Watch ( should because (in my opinion) it's the best Discworld page around. (Apart from Discworld Monthly of course - Ed)

Last month Joe Johnson wrote a letter about other species becoming wizards. As far as I know you have to take some sort of test or training to become a wizard, so that rules trolls out. Magic isn't really a dwarfs profession, they're better with an axe but if they wanted to they could probably become a wizard it's just they don't want to. I don't have an opinion on the undead. By the way, Rincewind does perform a few things using magic, they just usually don't work properly.

* From: "Jennifer Knight" ( )
I was just wondering if Terry Pratchett has the final say in the scripts for the videos. If so how could he have missed the Christmas cracker joke. Correct me if I'm wrong (I'm sure people will - Ed), but people on the Discworld have no idea what Christmas is? In the book you never find out what the joke is that the fool said to get such a terrible reaction from the guy in charge. I would love to know how this slipped past the main man.

* From: "Trucker Johnson" ( )
Pratchett saved my life!

Ok, not really. But he did save my sanity. A month ago I was in hospital having some minor surgery and a friend of mine gave me my first Pratchett - Pyramids. I laughed so much I nearly broke my stitches. Since then I have read 2 other Pratchett's - Guards! Guards! and Men at Arms. They are brilliant. I am currently reading the Hogfather and love spotting the religious, historical, and mythological references.

Terry must have a wide range of knowledge to be able to build so many references from such disparate sources together. The humour ranges from the obvious gags and puns to the deep layer of satire concerning history, religion, culture, socio-politcal relations, to contemporary issues. All melded together quite seamlessly so that the book can be read at many levels of discourse.

I am very impressed

* From: "Geraldine Tan" ( )
Does anyone happen to know whether John K. Webb, mentioned on p.25 of "Science of Discworld" is married or otherwise attached?

I looked him up at his university's web site (University of New South Wales, Astrophysics Dep't.), and he is a cutie.

I was wondering if you could help me in this area please.

* From: "Reg Pither" ( )
On Wednesday, 15th December, I, my sister and my friend went to see the Burnside Players' performance of Wyrd Sisters in Adelaide, Australia, as advertised previously in DWM.

The show was a great success, with each character splendidly cast and each scene drawing roars of laughter from the audience.

In particular, Granny Weatherwax and Felmet were very well portrayed, with Felmet always rubbing his hands with either a cloth, sand paper, metal brush or a cheesegrater (leading him to have his hands heavily bandaged) and Granny's brain-melting glare.

The high-point of the show had to be when Nanny Ogg broke out into song in the bar scene with firstly a verse of the Hedgehog Song and then the Wizard's Staff Song, the latter sung to the tune of Greensleeves.

The two and a half hour play was very enjoyable, and I am now thankful that it was advertised in this newsletter as I would otherwise have been unaware of its existence.

* From: "Scott Pierson" ( )
After reading all the books (in order) and watching all the videos I have noticed something. All the books give a description of different types of races that live on the Discworld. They mention the Dwarfs, Trolls, Humans, Undead(that includes vampires), The librarian (which is an ape not a monkey and those who think otherwise are wrong) even the gargoyles. Out of the twenty three Discworld books only four give the impression that PTerry is talking about the Black community.

The only ones that I have found that do talk about this type of people are Small Gods, Pyramids(which is my favourite), Interesting Times and Jingo. Maybe I am wrong on this subject if so then I apologise but I think that PTerry should have a main character that represents this type of people. Possibly he could bring back Tepic or even Dios.

Now the other thing that I want to mention is that me and a friend are in the process of making a new Discworld Club called The Guild of Cowards. This is a totally new club one that has not been mentioned in any of the books(so I don't want any smug person saying that there is not a Cowards guild in the Disc world). What I want to know is if there is anyone (in any country) who would like to help make this site possible. We are hoping to have it up and running by February 2000, I will give more information to those who respond to this letter.

JA replies: From what I can remember (which isn't much - WB) somewhere near the start of the series Terry says something like: Once you get other species in society the colour of your skin becomes far less important.

* From: "Aaron Dick"
I was thinking in the usual position (The porcelain throne) and I realised something. PTerry has never really based something in Klatch or the other dark continent type places. "This is Impossible to do!" I hear you cry in his defence, "There are no people there to do a story on!" But I beg to differ. Not only has it been quoted that the jungles are teeming with life (Read Eric) but there is a good reason for him to write about them. All he has to do is write a story loosely based on such stories as The Jungle Book, Tarzan, The Lost World (Y'Know the one with the dinosaurs in a hidden valley) and Indiana Jones in the Temple of Doom. Let us know how the Disc deals with these situations and what deeper meanings can arise from them. Who else would like to see a story like this?

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
Ian CockerillLarry Niven - Ringworld series
Shobhana SimpsonOrson Scott Card - Lovelock
Kipper BrownPhillip Pullman - His Dark Materials trilogy

There is also a list of comic-fantasy authors at

5. Results Of Our Cunning Artificer Competition

Last month we asked what location was depicted in Bernard's latest Discworld Plate? The answer was, of course, the Unseen University Library.

The randomly selected winner of the competition was Nathan Kluthe and he wins a hand-made silver Death's head pendant.

For more information about the Cunning Artificer and his products visit

6. ISIS unabridged Hogfather Audio Book and Competition

When ISIS said they would send me a copy of their Hogfather Audio Book I wasn't expecting this eight cassette monster. The difference with the ISIS Audio Books and the ones with Tony Robinson is that the ISIS books are complete and unabridged. The running time of this book is just over 11 hours. The book is read by Nigel Planer (who many will recognize as Neil from the classic BBC series The Young Ones). He is easy to listen to, and doesn't try too hard with the voices.

The box itself is slightly smaller but wider than a hardback novel and features Josh Kirby's normal cover. The back features short biographies for both Nigel Planer and Terry Pratchett.

If you feel the need to hear Discworld books rather than read them then this is the way to go. The biggest problem would be finding enough time to listen to it all. It's quite a weird feeling having a book read to you, but it does allow you to concentrate on the story.

The ISBN of the book is: 0-7531-0520-9

ISIS have agreed to supply a copy of the Hogfather Audio Book in our new competition. In order to win this audio tape send the answer to the following question (along with your postal address) to before 20th January 2000.

Q. What was the first Discworld book Graham Higgins illustrated?

The winner will be randomly selected from the correct entries and the results of the competition will be announced next month.

For more information bout ISIS books you can contact ISIS on 01865-250333 or email

7. Main Character Kill Off - The Votes Are In

Last month after being inspired by an interview with Terry on Reaperman suggested that Twoflower would be the main character that Terry will kill off in the next few years.

We have received a large amount of mail on this subject so have decided to show the results in order of popularity.

Patrician 18.18%
Albert 9.10%
Death 9.10%
CMOT Dibbler 9.10%
Susan 9.10%
Cohen 9.10%
Nobby 4.54%
Agnes Nitt 4.54%
Sam Vimes 4.54%
Angua 4.54%
Carrot 4.54%
Count De Magpyr 4.54%
Ridcully 4.54%
Lesser member of Watch4.54%

Watch out Havelock, the people have spoken.

8. Terry At The GuildHall Winchester

Keith Miller ( Keith.Miller@NTL.COM ) writes about Terry's recent talk in Winchester.

November 27th 1999 saw what may be the most exciting event to happen in Winchester since um, err, ah, well OK, possibly the only exciting thing to ever happen in Winchester.

PTerry, working with a mike that gave more feedback than the incident with the loaves and fishes, was on fine form. PTerry was introduced to the audience by Mr. (can't remember his name, let's call him Binky - why not). After the introduction, PTerry presented Mr. Binky with a banana.

PTerry talked a little about his journalistic background before going on to talk about the new Discworld book. This was not, as had been expected, The Fifth Elephant but rather the next novel he is working on and is near completion. Certainly a pleasant surprise for us all.

The new book is going to be centred around Ankh-Morpork's first daily newspaper and has the working title of "The Truth". PTerry read a couple of extracts from the book and gave us a quick precis of the main characters. Of these, three characters immediately stood out as fine examples of Ankh-Morpork's twisted citizenry. The first is the photographer on the paper who uses an iconograph with attached flash. The problem with this is that the photographer is a vampire; every time he takes a photo he writhes on the floor in agony or, in extreme cases, turns to dust. Another fine trait of the photographer is that he has signed a temperance pledge and is forced at times to sing temperance songs very loudly to avert the temptation of human blood.

The other two characters that I immediately liked are, in PTerry's words, "straight from a Tarantino movie". And yes, there will be a discussion on what they call a sausage in a bun in Quirm! One of these characters would desperately like to have a drug habit but is guaranteed to find the only person in Ankh-Morpork selling curry powder at A$1000 a gram. He also has to have it explained to him that yes, while sometimes drugs equal chemical, chemical does not always equal drugs. PTerry promised the parents in attendance that the language used would be no worse than that which a 9 year old child hears in the playground every day!

PTerry then talked a little about the Fifth Elephant, but did not go into much detail. One of the funniest things of the evening was when he went on to talk about his fans, and how he classifies them into little stereotypical groups. I won't tell you which one I fall into, but I have a sneaking suspicion I may well be a 'Skazz'.

We then had a short question and answer session which covered topics as wide as the fan base in Poland and the possibility of PTerry winning the Booker prize (He said he would like to win the Booker prize, but only because it would annoy so many people!) PTerry also admitted that he holds out very little hope of there ever being a Discworld movie, saying that it would be unlikely that anyone would be able to raise the finance to fund such a project.

That concluded the evening speaking, after which PTerry embarked on yet another marathon book signing session. I went over the road to the pub until the queues had died down a bit. This took a nearly two hours. Of course the consequence of this was that by the time I got to meet PTerry, I was feeling a little bit pi**ed.

PTerry duly signed my book for me, but managed to spell my name wrong (Kieth instead of Keith). 'Oh no', I exclaimed in my semi-inebriated state, 'not a Kieth'. Underneath my message (To Kieth in the last days of the century of the fruitbat) PTerry wrote "KIETH THE MAGNIFICENT" and proclaimed that Kieth was better than Keith anyway, as no-one ever listened to a Keith! How can you argue with logic like that.

It was great to see the man and hear him talk. I hope to do it again someday, and when I do I shall write KEITH in BIG letters on the dedication slip!

9. The End

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