Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 51: July 2001

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. Article: Last Hero - Jacket Information
5. Article: Pulling The Elephant's Teeth
6. Review: Soul Music - DVD
7. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 51. We were recently contacted by Leo Breebaart to say that LSpace has larger and better quality scans of the British Discworld covers than Amazon. The relevant page is located at

Also whilst you are visiting this excellent site you can find out the origin of the name 'Vetinari' and about 1800 other references in the "Annotated Pratchett Files". Leo is always on the lookout for new annotations and updates/improvements so please take a look at this valuable reference.

It appears that we are once again looking for a new trivia writer. If you think you can create some challenging questions each and every month then let us know by sending some sample questions to . Remember we cannot offer you fame or money or any kind of recognition other than your name in the newsletter. And we'll probably spell it wrong too.

Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Wyrd Scientist)

2. News

WH Smiths are having a huge summer sale in June / July. Terry's works should be heavily discounted. The sale ends on 15th July so be sure to visit soon:

Blackstar have recently been in contact to let us know that the forthcoming release of Soul Music on region 2 DVD is now available for pre-order for 14.39GBP. For more information visit: Whilst on the subject of this DVD, also have it on pre-order for 13.99GBP.

Wonderland Productions present Terry Pratchett's 'Wyrd Sisters', an abridgement of the adaptation by Stephen Briggs at C, Venue 34, Edinburgh Festival Fringe from Wed. 1 August to Sun. 26th August 2001 at 2.40pm (finishes 4.00pm). Tickets cost 7.50GBP (5.00GBP for concessions). Call box office on 0131 225 5105 or 0131 226 0000 or see for further information.

ISIS have (in record time) recorded The Thief of Time with Stephen Briggs. Unfortunately I didn't have time to listen to it all before the deadline for this issue (but what I did hear sounded greate) so look out for a full review next month. You can purchase The Thief of Time directly from ISIS's web site for only 27.49GBP at

John Holmes ( ) writes to say that there was an interview with Terry in The Times on Wednesday 30th May 2001.

Ook, a large Discworld/PTerry site, is now holding monthly audio book contests. This month, the 1st prize winner will receive:

- 1 unabridged copy of The Fifth Elephant signed by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs
- 1 unabridged copy of The Truth signed by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs
- 1 unabridged copy of The Thief of Time

In addition, three runners-up will receive 1 unabridged copy of The Thief of Time! For more info about the contest, including rules and how to enter, visit:

In order to enter, you must be a registered member of Ook. To register, visit Ook at:

Ducan Worrell ( ) found the following news about the new Truckers movie: Andrew Adamson, the director of Shrek, says he plans to take the animated techniques used in the movie even further when he directs an animated version of writer Terry Pratchett's Bromeliad Trilogy. He told the BBC's website that he intends to make the characters in the books (Truckers, Diggers and Wings) "as physical and real in the world as we are. ... What I hope for is that every time people walking out of the theater see something out of the corner of their eye -- they will think it is one of the characters from the movie." Adamson also praised Pratchett, whose novels are outsold in the U.K. only by Harry Potter writer J.K. Rowling's. "Terry's an amazing writer and has an incredible way of taking things that we know and see on a daily basis and turning them around and showing them to us in a different way."

Small Ads....

Please note, DWM has no way of checking the veracity or validity of any of the items in our small ads section. As always, exercise caution when giving out your details over the Internet. We *strongly* recommend parental supervision for younger readers who follow up any of these contacts.

Further to the article RE: Game Computers stocking Discworld Noir in a DVD case without the instructions manual - we bought this version and the manual is contained on the CD ready to print off or refer to during the game. Having finished the game, we would like to play the others in the series so if anyone has a copy please let us know on . The DVD is part of a new Infogrames budget series and will be distributed across the UK.

Victor Miralles ( ) is a Spanish Discworld fan who has recently arrived in London for the summer. Victor is looking for places where he can meet Discworld fans.

Anita Grant ( ) lives in Warwickshire and would like to hook up with fans at the next signing. Anita has only read five Discworld books and would like suggestions on which ones to read next.

Ed Martin ( ) is still looking for a copy of Discworld 2 for the PC.

Courtney Owen ( ) would like to discuss the Discworld series with anyone who wants to talk! Courtney says: I am 15 and doing my GCSEs at the moment. My first exam is coming in 2 days! I have been revising for weeks and found that reading Thief of Time really relaxed me when I had a break! Any other Discworld fans out there doing any exams I'd just like to say good luck!! and relax by reading Discworld books! It really helps!

Knight Juniper ( ) would like to get 2000 and 2001 Discworld calendars to finish off his collection.

L.J. Goddard ( ) is looking for the Discworld games on PC. L.J has Discworld Noir, which has been released by Infogrames but is looking for 1 and 2.

Roslyn MacPherson ( ) needs help me with the instructions for the Playstation version of Discworld Noir. She has a manual but can't work it out.

Mellissa Harrison ( ) is a Pratchett fan from the States (Pennsylvania, to be exact) and only needs a hardcover of "Guards! Guards!" to complete her collection. She is willing to pay for shipping and everything, she just have to find someone willing to part with theirs... Can you help?

Rod and Jean Bell ( ) are looking for a cheap copy of Discworld Noir on the Playstation.

Barry J Etheridge ( ) would like to know if there are any Pratchett fans in and around the Stewartry area of Dumfries and Galloway who would be interested in meeting for the quaffing of ale, telling of stories and other vaguely Discworld related activities. If there's enough interest he'd be hoping to get a small local chapter of the Fans Guild going this autumn.

Achmony ( ) has a message for Brenden Matthews in Bundaberg: if you read this please get in contact with Leah.

Nadira ( ) will be studying in a London uni in September and would love to get in contact with anyone living in London.

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 your name sound Egyptian.

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: "Graeme Towers" ( )
The whole point of the name "Ptraci" is that (apparently) all Egyptian names start with a silent "p", because there was a pharaoh called with a similar prefix.

This is why when a senior assassin refers to him as "pah-teppic" at the start of the book, he corrects, no its pronounced "Pteppic". "Ah, Teppic,".

Therefore, Ptraci, a name which looks decidedly Egyptian, is actually pronounced "Tracey", as in the common girl's name. This is meant to be what is known as a joke. Your friends etc obviously do not get it.

* From: "Chris Gibson" ( )
I recently went to a signing of The Thief of Time at Ottakars in Sunderland and felt very humbled by the occasion. Terry was only supposed to be there for an hour but the amount of people that showed up far exceeded an hour. It was great watching people who never knew anything about the signing stopping and asking what the hell was going on.

I asked PTerry how he'd managed to get an OBE without any kind of formal recognition for his contribution to literature. He looked quite stunned so I elaborated to make sure that he understood it was a good thing I was speaking about.

How can a man who is constantly in the Bestsellers chart, has wrote over 25 books, every single one selling like hot cakes, be given an OBE without any award given along the way. I'm pretty pissed off about the Harry Potter phenomenon when our PTerry has been writing his little heart out for far longer.

Well done Ottakars for managing to keep us alive with sweets and juice while we waited in a much bigger queue than they were expecting.

* From: "E. and E. Cunningham" ( )
There are those of us out here who have been following the Way of PTerry for years. (Rule One in this case is "Beware of little old ladies dressed in black"). And it is written :

  1. Personal is not the same as important
  2. Running from is more important than running to
  3. Walk a mile on these paws and
  4. There is often an unexpected chocolate.

The Discworld contains a whole Philosophy of Life (oh dear! capital letters!) which is far superior to the usual ones in your Public Library's Philosophy Section - for a start, it's funny! It also outlaws not only racism, but speciesism as well. There is probably a martial art in there too but I must admit I have not tried looking for it. Perhaps you just read the books aloud to your opponent and watch him die laughing.

I am one of your older readers (65 in three weeks' time - see Rule One), but this again is one of the wonders of the Way of PTerry - age appears to be no barrier.

By the way, if Andew Kopittke wants cards with the correct suits to play Cripple Mr Onion, he will find them in the Minor Arcana of the Tarot Pack.

* From: "Kevin Green" ( )
Whilst holidaying in Ireland recently, I came upon a bar in the delightfully named small town of Skibbereen, called Sean Og's. OK, not quite an exact match, but pretty damn close. I wonder how many other sightings of DW characters names there have been?

* From: "Stuart" ( )
As a journalist I once interviewed Stephen King. I asked him if film adaptations ruined his books. His reply was to point to the bookshelf where some of his novels were sitting and say - 'There are the books - they've always been there, they always will - they never change, they can't be ruined'. And that from a man who's probably had more film adaptations than most.

The Johnny Maxwell trilogy - No they're not Discworld novels, but they show all the hallmarks of wit and characterisation not to mention ingenuity of plot that the Discworld novels do.... and there are cross references and parallels if you look for them. I'd recommend them to any Discworld fan and only wish Terry Pratchett would write some more of them.

Take Johnny and the Bomb - Mrs Tachyon - not disimilar to Nanny Ogg and Guilty is a dead ringer for Greebo. Then there's the mysterious Sir John.... a parallel with Death? And how many times can you spot the phrase, 'Millenium, Hand and Shrimp?' I counted at least three. Then there's the group of central characters - Johnny, BigMac, Yo-Less, Wobbler and Kirsty - see any parallels with The Watch?

These novels are priceless and should be supported as much as the Discworld series!

DWM replies: Stuart gets this month's letter of the month.

* From: "Jon" ( )
I am a long-running fan of PTerry, and have loads of his books, and when I went to (Admittedly a great site) I was horrified to see the readers' reviews of the Soul Music film. THEY ALL LIKED IT!!!!!!! ARE THEY MAD(er than me)? In itself it may be a reasonable film, but the fact that they changed the characters of Death and Susan so totally completely spoiled it for me. Death is supposed to be a tragic character in the story, but the most sad scene in the book (When Susan meets him after her parents' demise) he seems totally cold and unmoved. I may be going mad, but didn't anyone else feel that Death was a little upset at witnessing his daughter's death? Also, Susan was much too willing to go with the Death of Rats and generally not Susan at all.

* From: "Yvette Mooney" ( )
Re: The Name Vetinari.

Ahem, sorry, gotta respond to this one - is it just me, or is VETINARIAN actually spelled VETERINARIAN? Thereby nullifying that whole theory?

* From: "Kristin Roe" ( )
In every issue I see things I want to comment on (especially in the Letters section) but somehow I never get around to it. Well, that evil habit ends here! But where to start ...

To John Duffy, re the similarity between Medici and Vetinari: 'Have others spotted this at all', you ask. Yes, Terry has! And in fact talked about this very subject - ie his reasons for choosing the name Vetinari - in the interview you'll find in Stephen Briggs' 'Discworld Companion'. And of course made some amusing jokes while doing so.

To TW O'Bryan: About the signature thing in 'Good Omens', there's actually nothing decided as to what Terry writes and what Neil writes. The thing is who signs the book first! Whichever one of them that is writes the 'Burn this book' comment, and then the latecomer does a little sketch thing on the top and marks a spot on the page where one should 'apply holy match'. Neil was here in Oslo last year and filled me in on this when I made him sign my copy of the book ... he was quite surprised to see that Terry had already signed it because apparently he - Neil - hardly ever gets to do the second part. That's what comes of living in America, expatriate fool!! ;-D

* From: "Tom Sutcliffe" ( )
In reply to Brian Ashbury's letter about a man named 'Ogg' in JK Rowling's books:

I saw this as well, and it reminded me that in The Truth, there are two characters mentioned called Hermione (Harry's King's daughter, and also Lady Hermione, one of Altogether Andrews's personalities). Given I'd never met the name before reading the Harry Potter books, it can't be too common!

* From: "Shawn Smith" ( )
To all our American Brothers & Sisters:

You may not all be able to do this, but if you can get up across your northern (or down across your southern, if Alaskan) border into Canada, get thee to a book store, and ask for Terry Pratchett's books; the Canadian copies of Discworld books have the British artwork on them. Hope this can help some of you.

* From: "Jane Atkinson" ( )
Just a quick correction to the translation from the Latin version of the Guild of Thieves Motto: Not "Whip it quick", but "Flog it quick" meaning to sell the stolen goods as soon as possible, is what is intended.

* From: "Ben Warsop" ( )
Thank you for mentioning that Douglas Adams died last month.

Readers of DWM might be interested to know that Douglas Adams founded a web-site based on the original premise of the Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy - roving researchers (like you and me) writing guide entries on subjects we know about. The guide is of course updated regularly and published electronically.

As well as writing guide entries, researchers debate all subjects under this and every other sun, including but not limited to 'life the universe and everything'. Since January 2001 this website has been funded by the BBC.

It is friendly, informal and slightly off-beat, and you can find it at

JA replies: Ah, I wondered where all my TV license money went!

* From: "Rebecca Swainston" ( )
I've been trying to convert my friends to the wonders of the Discworld. It hasn't worked. Is there anyone from the Washington (England not U.S.A) Tyne and Wear area who wants to e-mail me about the Discworld and stuff? I'm a music student but don't be put off by that. Incidentally, does anyone ever go to any of the web communities at Hotmail? There are a few Discworld ones, which look promising if anyone would ever go. One more thing, I'm rereading the series in chronological order this time, and has anyone noticed the references to Thief of Time in Witches Abroad and Small Gods? I was so excited I nearly got out of bed.

* From: "hooleygan1" ( )
As a new subscriber to your excellent publication, may I thank you for a truly great and excellent read. Could I be bold enough to make a few comments on your readers' letters of issue 50.

To "Deborah Cottam" and her enquiry about laboratory technicians at the Unseen University. I believe that the Thaumaturgists referred to in Equal Rites page 125 were laboratory technicians. Terry Pratchett writes:- "A thaumatugist could just about be trusted to wash out an alembic. Many spells required things like mould from a corpse dead of crushing, or the semen of a living tiger, or the root of a plant that gave an ultrasonic scream when uprooted. Who was sent to get them? Right." As a laboratory technician working in education for some 17+ years that sums up the job perfectly.

* From: "Deborah Fassel" ( )
The words "Sto Lat!" appeared at the end of a wedding announcement of a Polish girl. The best translation we have come up with is "Congratulations!" And here I thought it was just a place that grew cabbages.

* From: "David Williams" ( )
Yeah, you've probably been swamped with students telling you this, but one of the questions on this year's English combined A-Level paper was a stylistic analysis of -- the opening two pages of Wyrd Sisters! That's one for the argument that PTerry's work is suitable material for study.

* From: "ChrisD" ( )
Hmmmmm.... There is actually more than one nationality living in the great land of XXXX. Of course there is the XXXXians but, as usual, minorities like the Fosterites are forgotten. Thank many gods I'm not one, but they are still here; definitely in-continent!

* From: "Ian Cowley" ( )
Here's what I got in my signed books:

Last Continent: You bastard, no bloody worries you bastard.

When I got to the front of the queue, said something along the lines of "So, do you ever actually use the Discworld MUD, which of course you deny all existence of and do not know about?", to which PTerry replied loudly "Mud? I have no idea what you're talking about". "Oh yes. Of course you don't" said I. PTerry then gave me a very odd look in the eyes and said "Would it be alright if I signed this "you bastard"? To which I replied "Of course!". It would appear I maybe rankled him a little with the MUD question. Hehe.

* From: "Ben Clymo" ( )
In response to a couple of articles from DWM issue 50, a complete bibliography of Terry's work, including pictures of all the UK covers (and some others too) can be found at his agent's website on

* From: "Colin Pilkington" ( )
Our friend is quite right to say that 'nuncle' is short for 'mine uncle'. This was a regular practice and is why so many shortened forms of names begin with 'n'. We have 'mine Anne' = Nan; 'mine Helen' = Nell; 'mine Edward' = Ned. A very Pratchett-like word is 'orange' which was originally 'norange' from the Spanish 'naranja' but people that they were saying "an orange" rather than "a norange". Having just come back from the States can I offer my sincere condolences to American fans who are denied the pleasure of our Josh Kirby covers.

* From: "Liz Emerald" ( )
Just something I thought all science-minded fans would be interested in, it seems that the great Terry has been right all along. In a recent issue of New Scientist (available on their website, search for Issue no 2291, 19th May 2001) there was an article entitled "The King lives!" which was talking about the possibility of there being an infinite number of universes, each with a different take on history. This has now become a new scientific theory and not just of a single mad professor. A guy from the University of Massachusetts said: "as long as a history is consistent with the laws of physics, it will not only happen but happen an infinite number of times" and two professors from the Independent University of Barcelona agree. It seems the Trousers of Time are working their way into the world around us, the most amazing part is that these scientists seem to believe that events such as those in Lords and Ladies could happen when these O-regions, as they term them, begin to overlap. Scary or what! More about the research behind the theory can be found at apparently.

* From: "yoav lubelsky" ( )
Just something to show that the Discworld and Roundworld touch at some unexpected places. The process of cell death in responses to signal start at a receptor containing a DEATH DOMAIN (yes like the map book) who interact with a protein called MORT and the whole complex is named 'death inducing signalling complex' or the DISC. It's probably just one of them strange Phnomenan, phnomeno.. stuff you hear about all the time.

DWM replies: Are you making this up?

* From: "Martin Watts" ( )
I don't know if you are aware of this one... I've just received an email including information about an open source alternative to MP3 as a way of coding audio files. The name of this system - Ogg Vorbis.

So I had to take a look and found the following:

"With the concept of an audio encoder free of licensing entanglements already in the air, Montgomery, a recent MIT graduate, began work on Ogg Vorbis, named after the "bad guy" in Terry Pratchett's novel Small Gods."


I suppose they will shortly be approached by an aggrieved Nanny Ogg, ably supported by Granny Weatherwax.

4. Article: Last Hero - Jacket Information

Below is the Jacket Information from the advance publicity going out from Gollanz... We would love to tell you more about the book but we haven't seen it yet! We believe it is a graphic novel like Eric but this time with Paul Kidby doing the drawing.

He's been a legend in his own lifetime.

He can remember the great days of high adventure.

He can remember when a hero didn't have to worry about fences and lawyers and civilisation.

He can remember when people didn't tell you off for killing dragons.

But he can't always remember, these days, where he put his teeth ...

He's really not happy about that bit.

So now, with his ancient sword and his new walking stick and his old friends - and they're very old friends - Cohen the Barbarian is going on one final quest. It's been a good life. He's going to climb the highest mountain in the Discworld and meet his gods. He doesn't like the way they let men grow old and die.

It's time, in fact, to give something back.

The last hero in the world is going to return what the first hero stole. With a vengeance. That'll mean the end of the world, if no one stops him in time. Someone is going to try. So who knows who the last hero really is?

The Last Hero is due for release in October 2001. We will provide more information as soon as we discover any.

5. Article: Pulling The Elephant's Teeth by Tom Orgel

( )

It's just about three months ago that I was able to lay my hands on a paperback copy of "The Fifth Elephant" here in Germany, and, like most of the German readers I know, found the "Elephant" one of the weaker stories of PTerry. Sure: nice local crisis, nice characters, lots of politics, diplomacy and some neo-Nazi, body-cult werewolves, but we all missed some deeper storyline behind the scenes.

Up until 2 weeks ago I always found the naming of the Scone of Stones a quite weak choice by PTerry (Dwarves aren't known for their creativity, but PTerry is). Naming a dwarven scone "Scone of Stones" is somewhat like, say, calling a book "Bound Stack of Paper"... Nevertheless, it rang some bell.

But only now I stumbled, so to say, over another stone in History: the Lir Fal, or Stone of Lir. This interesting piece of rock is one of the four sacred artifacts of Celtic Ireland, a stone, that the rightful High-King of the Celts had to touch. (If it screamed, he was the right one, if not, he could never be king...). The Lir Fal was transported to Scotland later on and lay hidden in an Abbey at the small village of Scone/Tayside, for which it was subsequently named "The Stone of Scone"! Bingo!

Its history is also interesting for the unravelling PTerry-story: The Stone of Scone was for centuries was the place to crown Scottish Kings (to sit down and be crowned, to be exact) - until the English in 1297 "confiscated" it and inserted the boulder into the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey, so as to symbolize the sovereignty of each and every British king (or queen) over both Ireland and Scotland. Then the Stone was stolen in 1950 - and was returned to the English shortly afterwards! Or replaced by a copy. (They deny it, of cause!;-) Both Irish and Scottish Fundamentalists have claimed the theft and state the original to be hidden somewhere in their respective home countries.

Another rural myth hints that the English in 1297 never even got the real one in first place, as it was replaced even then by a fake. Interesting lumb of sandstone, really. (Check out some sources:,

Finding this little scrap of information, the whole story finally reveals its core (or just another layer?):

In the internal struggle of the Scots separation movement, you'll find both the moderate types, going simply for acknowledgement of their parliament, and the Traditionalists, fighting for true separation. You've even got the Scots of Big Apple (or the Dwarfs of the Big Cowpie of A-M), who pride themselves still on being Scots (a fact the traditionalists among the Scots deny just as stubbornly as some dwarves...).

And there are the Fat-Mines. Has anyone not thought of oilfields (and their economical importance for the modern world - i.e. Ankh-Morpork).

Are we right here?

The "Elephant" is truly one of PTerry's masterpieces.

6. Review: Soul Music - DVD

For once American fans can claim an early victory over the British. Acorn Media Publishing are releasing the Cosgrove Hall animation of Soul Music on region 1 DVD (The DVD can only be viewed on US, Canadian & modified players) at the end of July (The UK version is due out two weeks later). Acorn are also bringing out the US VHS version at the same time.

The cost of the VHS twin-pack and DVD will be 29.95 USD and at the same time the VHS triple-pack and DVD of Wyrd Sisters will be reduced to the same price.

The DVD starts with an animated menu of Great A'Tuin with the options to select episode or special features. There is unfortunately no option to play all episodes in turn so you need to watch an episode, go back to the menu, select the next episode and then play it.

The picture appears to be of pretty good quality but not enourmously better than a new VHS copy, it will however not deteriorate with usage like VHS. This type of animation doesn't improve massively with DVD compared to more traditional movie formats. Having said all this the computer generated Discworld introduction still looks great.

I noticed on a couple of occasions the sound broke up a little but this could be due to early preview copy that I watched.

The extras on the disc include the original interview with Terry that appeared on the British Soul Music video, Welcome to the Discworld Pilot, Storyboards, Terry Bio, Character Bios, Filmographies and a list of Discworld Books including "Amazing Maurice and his educated rodents"...

Soul Music caused quite a schism in Discworld fandom when it fist came out with many fans loving it and others absolutely hating it. I personally feel that Cosgrove hall captured the feeling of the Discworld well.

You can order Soul Music from Acorn's web site at

7. The End

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