Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 53: September 2001

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. Review: Clarecraft Event 2001
5. Review: Eric Audio Book
6. Article: Gilliam On Good Omens
7. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 53. Just as the memories begin to fade of the recent Clarecraft Event (see section 4 for a review) the first issue of the Discworld Chronicle and my ticket for the 2002 Convention arrive in the post. It seems a long time ago since I ventured up to Liverpool for the 1998 convention [about 3 years, I suspect - WB] and now we are less than 12 months away from the next one. Tickets are apparently selling well and it is recommended you act promptly if you want to get a ticket. You can order tickets online (and get up to date information) at

By the time you read this I will have been to see KATS production of Carpe Jugulum in Thatcham ( Look out for a full review next month.

Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Dungeon Master)

2. News

Goulburn Valley Grammar School, Shepparton (Victoria, Australia) is putting on Wyrd Sisters on the 6th and 7th of September for 5AUD a ticket for everyone. For more information contact Amanda at

Lizmari ( ) would like to conduct a poll on which characters are the most popular. Everyone should vote only once, but can vote for more than one character. Lizmari will tally the votes and we will publish the results in a future issue.

Terry is offering fans the opportunity to appear as a character in his next book. All proceeds from the auction will go to the his chosen charity, The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. The character auction will take place at BAFTA in London on the 16th October, though sealed bids can be made before hand via the Medical Foundation.

For further information please see or contact

A page with further details should be uploaded to the site at by the end of the week.

From Colin Smythe:

The Discworld Thieves' Guild Diary for 2002 (ISBN 0-575-07104-4) is published on 16th August at 10.99GBP, and the Josh Kirby Discworld Calendar for 2002 (ISBN 0-575-07356-X) on 30th August at 9.65GBP.

I've been asked what the binding of the de-luxe edition of THE LAST HERO is going to be. As of 9th August Gollancz hadn't made up their minds on this, which is why it hasn't appeared in publicity.

For American fans, Acorn released the Cosgrove Hall production of 'Soul Music' on videocassette and DVD on 31st July, while the release date of the British DVD was 13th August.

Following the success of his first Discworld Quizbook, Dave Langford is writing another, called 'The Wyrdest Link', which is to be published by Gollancz in April 2002.

I'm not sure whether I've mentioned that Terry wrote an introduction for the new edition of Dave's novel 'The Leaky Establishment' which was published last April by Big Engine (ISBN 1-903468-00-0 @ 7.99GBP). I've much enjoyed reading the novel and heartily recommend it to you. Set in a nuclear weapons establishment, it deals with among other things, plutonium 'footballs' that are not where they should be.... Terry started his introduction with the words 'I hate Dave Langford for writing this book. This was the book I meant to write. God wanted me to write this book.'

Come this November you'll be seeing in the London underground, on the sides of buses and railway stations posters for 'The Truth' paperback and 'The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents', as well as colour advertising in the national press. There's also a similar push in the press and elsewhere by Gollancz (Orion) for 'The Last Hero'.

I've just seen the cover of the German edition of The Last Hero - Wahre Helden. Unlike the British and American editions which have the picture of Leonard painting the view of the Discworld from the Moon, this has a space shot of the Discworld, looking up at it between A'Tuin's head and front flippers. Its ISBN is 3-442-54531-5.

The latest issue of G.O.F.A.D.'s 'From Ramtop to Rimfall' (no.29) arrived in the post this morning. The Guild's address for those who have yet to take out a subscription is Disciples, Haltings, Farthing Hill, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1TS, email . An excellent and enjoyable production on the editor Elizabeth Alway's part, but a CORRECTION. Don't believe what's on p.2 about the Discworld Encyclopedia being published on 1st October 2002. I know it's been announced on Amazon, with an ISBN and Stephen Briggs given as illustrator (!), but it's not true, and it's not likely to be published in the foreseeable future. Terry hasn't given the go-ahead on it or written anything for it, and is unlikely to do so for some time, given his writing plans for the next few years. Amazon were supposed to have removed the announcement weeks ago, but as of today I see it's still there, causing inevitable and unfortunate confusion.

News from Stephen 'CMOT' Briggs

PLAYS Methuen have contracted for my stage versions of 'The Truth' and 'The Fifth Elephant'. Publication in the UK expected Feb 2002.

Oxford University Press are interested in a play version of 'The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents'. No further details as yet.

I'm staging 'Interesting Times' in Abingdon (Oxon) on 20-24 November. Tickets go on sale 10 September. A couple of publishers have shown vague interest in publishing that one, too, so I'm keeping fingers crossed!

AUDIO I'm due to start recording 'The Amazing Maurice..' for Isis Publishing on 18 September.

PUBLISHING Work's already under way for the 2003 diary - the (Reformed) Vampyres Diary.

MERCHANDISING Now that 'The Last Hero' is imminent, I'll have to get to work on the spin-off mission patch, plus a tie-in with the 2002 Diary (The Thieves Guild).

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.

Peter van Lint ( ) is looking for anyone who would like to write to him in Spanish about Pratchett, the Discworld, Harry Potter or anything else.

Laura Tennant ( ) writes: I went to the Discworld event this year and met a lad I would have liked to stay in contact with called KIAN. I don't know his second name or if that's the correct spelling but he dressed as TEPIC in the Maskerade. So if you know him or are him, contact me - thank you. Anyone else who was there that I met, contact me too, I was dressed as the Susan who didn't get a prize in the Maskerade and I had a scythe!

LoneKnight ( ) has created a message board called 'Good Omens - A Terry Pratchett's Message Board' at: writes: I have spare copies of The Hogfather (New) and Equal Rites (stolen library copy, not by me though), British covers. If anybody would like them you can have them for the cost of the postage. [We are sure that SmnRose will do the honourable thing and return Equal Rites to its library - Ed]

Rosemary Green ( ) is trying to get some information on the lecture given by Janet Goodall a couple of months ago on links between UU and 'roundworld' adult education. Rosemary works in a UK University and would be really interested in what was said. Did anyone take notes/get a transcript?

Andrey Zinchenko ( ) writes: I am a 16 year old fan from Ukraine. I am looking for the book 'Lords and Ladies'. I have no chance to buy it here because in Ukraine there are only the first 7 Discworld books. If you have other Discworld books that you don't need, I'd be happy to receive them.

Janine Parmenter ( ) has a number of secondhand Terry Pratchett books for sale, in excellent condition. There are quite a few hardbacks with jackets again in excellent condition - if interested please visit:

Shelley ( ) writes: I am a final year English student about to embark upon a dissertation... argh! My topic is vampires, and one of the texts which I hope to write about is Terry's 'Carpe Jugulum'. If anyone has or knows of any theory texts which deal with this text, I would appreciate it if you can contact me. If you would like to recommend any books specifically about vampire films or books, or have any help whatsoever, i.e. you know about the theories behind vampires, please get in touch!

Cary Storms ( ) has a paperback version of 'Lords & Ladies' - Corgi edition - free for anyone in the Ontario area. I love the newsletter, as I haven't met anyone here yet who has heard of Terry, let alone read his books!!!!

Eugenia Andino ( ) has created a mailing list called The Guild of Translators. Its purpose is discussing the problems of translating fantasy authors into other languages. Eugenia adds: We don't have to limit the list to translation, but to anything that has to do with viewing these books as 'proper literature': for example, asking for help in research. You can subscribe at

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 but if we told you why we'd have to kill you.

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: "kim reed" ( )
I'm 14 (any other young DW fans out there?) and I was introduced to the Discworld series through the Harry Potter books. I enjoyed them so much that I was given a list of books of the same(ish) genre. Among others was The Colour of Magic. I was instantly hooked. I told my friends that liked Harry Potter about Discworld and now they are reading them. It's unnecessary to dismiss Harry Potter as it brings in another generation of Discworld fans. I'm sure TP didn't write the Discworld series just for it to be read by people of a certain age.

* From: "Knud Larn" ( )
Please be advised all you rich people that one very fine copy of the original British edition of the Colour Of Magic in hardback with dustjacket has come up for sale in Andromeda Book Co, UK.

For the bargain price of 6,000GBP.-

Though my financial capability by no means is small, it does NOT extend to this level, alas!

* From: Kimberly Chapman ( )
Thought you might be interested in the Discworld cake I made. I have set up a web page all about how I did it, complete with several pictures:

* From: "Momo" ( )
We met Terry in London for an interview. You can read the prolog here

and the interview here

But the text is in German. For all English speakers - don't worry: Some original words from the master are online too, you can hear it with RealPlayer.

* From: "lara collins" ( )
We have now attended signings for both The Truth and The Thief of Time and found that we were the only ones in costume! What is wrong you people??

We were the only ones to dress up and as a result we got our photo taken by several groups of people and got more of a response from Terry himself.

After all, book signings are boring - after three hours of wristnumbing signing you need something to laugh at and lighten the atmosphere a bit even if it is a couple of nutters dressed up as your own characters on Oxford Street.

Lala "Agnes Nitt" Collins and Dave "Rincewind" Wishart

DWM replies: Letter of the Month goes to Lara and Dave.

* From: "Jackson, Paul" ( )
As one of the more senior PTerry fans (hooked since I bought the first book in 1983), I have been reading the debate on Rowling vs Pratchett with some interest. I have to say that I am a little dismayed. I am sure the librarian would be highly amused, if not entirely surprised, at the power of a particular book, or set of books, to invoke behaviour like slagging off other authors because they are not PTerry.

It has always struck me that most Discworld fans are thoroughly reasonable and open people. The Discworld series is, after all, partly a reflection of what we see in the (un)real world, not least the silly biases of a few blinkered souls.

Personally, even though I am now an ageing wizard in a university, I enjoy J K Rowling, the same as I enjoyed C S Lewis, Tolkien, Philip K Dick, Iain M Banks, Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, etc. They are all different, they all lead to different pictures, but that doesn't stop me enjoying them any more than someone else's interpretation of PTerry's books.

This leads me to another point - the cartoons. Has it struck anyone that the slagging the cartoons got from unhappy PTerry fans because they didn't reflect their own brains, has led to the halting of production entirely? Now we are left with no more cartoons [Good - RM], no matter how different they are from our own views. Surely this is just cutting off your nose to spite your face.

* From: "Jan Pearce" ( )
I have been a DWM subscriber for many issues now and always enjoy reading them. I've shared the joy of others' enthusiasm for something that gives me a great deal of pleasure and been enormously grateful that there are other people who share my enthusiasm. (Discworld fans seem remarkably thin on the ground in the North of Scotland, although I successfully converted my husband and teenaged children). What I can't fathom however, is the amount of angst that goes into some e-mails: What did PTerry mean by this? What was his intention there? What is the hidden meaning behind that phrase? I love the books for what they are, a privileged glimpse into someone else's glorious imagination, an escape into an appealing fantasy where I can get away from the humdrum and into the extraordinary. I'm easily pleased but I was thrilled witless when I won a signed copy of 'The Thief Of Time' at my local bookshop. I read it almost at a sitting and never once stopped to worry over any hidden agenda or what PTerry was thinking at the time he wrote the book, nor did I cross reference it to any other book, DW or not. Am I missing out, or are there a lot of people out there who just don't get out enough?

Thank you Mr Pratchett from the bottom of any organ of your choice, in the words of the immortal Nobby, 'You're a toff'

DWM replies: This crops up pretty frequently. I think it's inevitable that a forum like DWM will attract a wide range of commentary and criticism. Some fans criticise in different ways to others.

* From:
Just a quick question, why do some people think that Eric is not a Discworld novel? It is set on Discworld. It features / stars Rincewind and the Luggage (and that damned wossname-parrot) I don't understand where the question arises.

If someone could fill me in...

WB replies: Since Eric was originally intended as text with pictures, it's certainly *different* to the other books.

* From: Keith Jackson ( )
Although you're right that the animations received mixed reviews from fans, I don't /think/ you're quite right about the reason for Mort's cancellation. I remember Terry being asked about the delay and saying that things had gone quite a long way preparing towards making Mort but what made him stop the project was the treatment Channel 4 gave the originals. Wyrd Sisters was broadcast as a number of episodes in the early evening but Soul Music, although ready at the same time, didn't appear for months and was broadcast at some unGodly hour of the night. The kind of thing I recall Terry saying went along the lines of "If they can't treat my work better than that, better it's never made in the first place."

Chatting to Bernard and Isobel Pearson at the Clarecraft Event last weekend I confirmed how careful he is about any spin-offs. Even they have to get Terry's permission for each and every piece before it can be sold and he's very selective. "It'll do" simply doesn't come into his vocabulary and while that might seem picky, we do have the benefit of some fantastic figurines, buildings and other items that we can be proud to own. I don't think we'll ever see tatty plastic Rincewinds being given away with breakfast cereals or kiddies' meals at burger restaurants!

* From: "The Lady" ( )
As there is no real way to know how others interpret the books & characters, when they suggest a certain actor/person for a character in a potential Discworld movie you get an insight into their mind. By their choice of actor you have more of an idea of how they see the character. I find it very interesting to read all the various suggestions for a particular character in a casting thread. It shows how differently we are all affected by the stories & writing.

WB replies: I see your point, but those discussions tend to run and run and run...

* From: "Kay Steele" ( )
For all you Americans out there that are whinging on about not being able to find Discworld books, here's 2 things:

1. The Science Fiction Book Club ( has a whole moose-load of them (not all, but most), PLUS the Johnny Maxwell books. Yes, I know, they're book club editions. If you're a Serious Collector you can turn your nose up at them. If, however, you're just someone who wants to READ them, they'll work just fine.

2. Bud Plant Comic Art/Bud Plant Illustrated Books ( has a couple of different Josh Kirby items, one of which is a portfolio of all the Discworld covers. BEWARE though! Their actual catalog is perilous! My husband and I just blew $400 on books from them, and 3 of the things we wanted were already gone!!!

* From: "Chris Stanley" ( )
A Polish correspondent tells me that 'Sto lat' is actually the title of a Polish party song, more or less equivalent to 'For he's a jolly good fellow'. 'Sto lat' means 'hundred years', and the lyrics to the song are as follows:

"Sto lat, sto lat, niech zyje, zyje nam. Sto lat, sto lat, niech zyje, zyje nam. Jeszcze raz, jeszcze raz -- niech zyje, zyje nam. Niech zyje nam!"

Which loosely translates to:

"Hundred years, hundred years, let him live for us, Hundred years, hundred years, let him live for us, Once again, once again, let him live for us!"

I can confirm both the translation and the song itself, through a Polish friend and my own knowledge of the language.

DWM replies: This had better not be a load of swearing in Polish.

* From: "Nathan Kennedy" ( )
A quick question that you may be able to help me with. If everyone is so concerned about which sex The Great A'Tuin is, then why doesn't anybody want to know which sex the four elephants are? I mean, if one of them wandered off in search of a bit of how's your father, then it's going to be a bit difficult for the other three to carry on holding up the Disc, isn't it? Just a random thought.

* From: "Sandi Whalan" ( )
I agree Wyrd Sisters on video did not do much for me but our whole family enjoyed Soul Music.

I have 13 and 8 year old sons. The 13 year old is a very reluctant reader (much like myself) so on our last holiday we got The Carpet People and Truckers on audio tape. That's all it took and he's hooked. (And we had the best drive - no bickering from the back seat). Anyhow, when we got back he found a copy of Diggers in his school library (a place I was sure he didn't even know existed) and started reading it. We have since listened to some of the Discworld series on audio and both kids love it.

Maybe audio, video & plays do not live up to the books but they all have their place - if that's what it takes to get someone hooked. I am pleased that through easier mediums my son has now got a new interest in reading. Thanks for the help PTerry.

4. Review: Clarecraft Event 2001

The 2001 Clarecraft event took place in its normal field just outside the village of Woolpit in Suffolk on the weekend of the 3rd, 4th and 5th August. The weather held up for most of the weekend with only a few heavy showers causing any inconvenience.

The trader's area included the usual suspects: Clarecraft, Waxworks and Paul Kidby. Also present were representatives of the 2002 Convention, book sellers, Steven Dean with his many Discworld bargains, Jay Hurst with his wonderful Discworld artwork and of course the obligatory Dave Hodges selling whatever it is he sells.

Paul Kidby's stand had an unbound copy of the new Discworld novel The Last Hero on display. I only had a small scan through the book but it looked great. Paul has put a lot of effort into both the artwork and layout of the book.

Also on display and subsequently sold was a proof copy of The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents, a children's book set on the Discworld. We look forward to reviewing this wonderfully titled book soon.

Friday night saw a live band performing in the main area whilst heavy drinking took place in and around the bar. I was personally glad of the good weather as the taxi I ordered never turned up (taxi service is pretty poor in this part of Suffolk) and I had to walk three miles back to my B&B.

Saturday saw a huge intake of Discworld fans and the traders were kept busy with the new influx. Even Josh Kirby made an appearance for a few hours during the day. Late afternoon saw a lively question and answer session with Terry. He discussed future novels and how the next book would be set at the same time as the Thief Of Time and that civil unrest is building in Ankh-Morpork. Terry also said he was pleased with the progress on the upcoming Truckers and Good Omens movies and how neither he nor Paul Kidby ever want to work on an illustrated Discworld novel again.

The Maskerade followed shortly after the question and answer session. Terry had commissioned several miniature silver Great A'Tuins, which he handed out to any previous winners that were present. The quality of the costumes were of varying quality from good to excellent and there were several skits performed which proved quite entertaining. The winner was finally selected as DORFL who looked stunning in his huge red costume.

Sunday saw the replay of the Maskerade (for latecomers) and then the Charity auction hosted by Bernard Pearson that raised an amazing 7,390 GBP for the Orangutan Foundation. (Terry offered a manuscript for "The Amazing Maurice and his educated rodents" which finally sold for 1,125GBP.)

Following the success of last year's auction where Terry offered a place in a future novel he offered two places this year. One for a female character who would be portrayed as a lady of negotiable affection [If only I'd known - WB] and the other for a male character who would be a member of the Watch. Terry mentioned that both characters would probably be killed off but may die in heroic circumstances. The female part sold for 700GBP and the male part sold for 2,000GBP. Terry joked that Mr Rincewind only gave him 10GBP to get in the first book.

During the course of the weekend most of the Discworld artists and celebrities were cornered and were asked to produce a small doodle on a piece of card. The card was then offered for auction and was sold (unseen) to Colin Smythe for 260GBP.

I personally left with some wonderful Discworld prints from Jay Hurst (an extremely talented artist) who I believe we shall hear more from in the future.

From talking with many of the Discworld organizations I left with the impression that the weekend was a complete success with most fans leaving exhausted, somewhat poorer but happy.

5. Review: Eric Audio Book

Last month we mentioned that ISIS were releasing Eric on audio book format. Peter Johnson quickly got a copy for us to review.

Eric is quite unlike most Discworld novels because it was written as an illustrated novel first, in conjunction with Josh Kirby. Consequently the written content is only about half the size of a normal Discworld book. This translates into a much shorter running time of just under 4 hours and fits onto only 4 cassettes. Luckily ISIS have kept the box the same size as their 8 cassette novels so it will fit in with the rest of your Discworld audio books.

ISIS' recording is, as always, excellent with Stephen Briggs handling the different characters with ease. I found that Quezovercoatl's Welsh accent was particularly funny and also enjoyed Rincewind.

As Eric is that much smaller than most Discworld books it is available for only 17.99GBP including VAT and delivery in the UK.

As always you can order this and all other unabridged Discworld audio books from ISIS web site or via 0800 731 5637.

6. Article: Gilliam On Good Omens

As taken from Neil Gaiman's web site (

Terry Gilliam told Neil Gaiman recently that the upcoming feature-film version of Good Omens will vary a lot from the text.

"I'll warn you in advance that we created a very different climax," said Gilliam, "And we dropped favorite characters."

Gilliam also said, "We added some scenes involving cattle drives in the Old West and song and dance sequences from our favorite Bollywood films. We also tried to make the Metatron more Jewish for the sake of the financiers. Woody Allen would be perfect ... or maybe Mel Brooks. Then there is the snuff movie that Crowley is producing, which we get to see in utterly graphic detail. ... We thought it would make him more active in believable evil. And we eliminated most of the comedy. I felt it held the book back from being the 'great and profound work' which we hope the film will be." Gaiman added the comment, "So I don't think we're going to have anything to worry about."

It's clear Gilliam was not serious but just being funny. Neil published the article because it made him laugh. According to later posts by Neil many people took the above far more seriously than anyone imagined, which seems to happen a lot on the Internet.

7. The End

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